cheese wax

You learn from two loons when they call.

Song #5: Twice The Luck

Twice The Luck
The Corner Laughers

"Twice The Luck" was the final song written and recorded for "Poppy Seeds", and is basically a Karla solo effort. Although we live with two black cats, I have it on good authority that the inspiration for the song was actually two other black cats that we met in Cambridge while walking to ASDA with Anton Barbeau to pick up some Quorn for curry after playing a gig in a boat on the river and singing Soft Boys songs in the park on the day that the world was supposed to end. I take it to be a dissertation on the triumph of the natural over the supernatural, the real world over the imagined one. Each verse takes to task a different creation of the human mind (superstition, new-age mysticism, & organized religion) and makes you realize how small and recent it is compared to the grandeur and wonder of the natural world. Cutting off a rabbit's foot doesn't make you lucky; seeing a rabbit in the wild does. It's fun to make up stories about what the lines on your palm mean, but why not use your hands to do meaningful, creative work instead? Seeing what looks like a picture of a religious icon on your toast is kind of cool, I guess; but you know what's even cooler? The fact that there's such a thing as toast that can be made from fire and things that grow out of the ground, and you can put it in your mouth and it's the most delicious thing ever.

If you've ever watched David Attenborough's "Life On Earth", you know that there's nothing dreamed of by the greatest human minds of science fiction and mysticism that's even one-millionth as weird and crazy as what already exists here on our own planet. Folk duo Lou & Peter Berryman wrote another song with a similar theme, and I've always loved this verse:

Of all of the things we've invented, from indelible ink to elastic
I would say without batting an eyelash, that nothing is stranger than plastic
And the oddest of all are the posies, that seem perfectly real till you feel one
But I don't think they'll ever convince me that a plastic one's weird as a real one

It's just perfect. Too bad they can't sing.

More often than not, you find the opposite sentiment in pop music - that reality and science is somehow unromantic and boring. Take the otherwise very catchy song by Farrah entitled "DNA" which opens with the line "If all that I am is DNA". As if that isn't the most amazing and incredible thing that has ever happened or ever will happen??? I'd like to think of "Twice The Luck" as a clever, succinct response to the anti-intellectualist strain that infects so much of modern life. Or maybe it's just a cute, twee, sunshiney little pop song. Either way, I like it.

Notes On The Recording:

*Aside from a few pieces of percussion, Karla played all of the instruments and sang all of the vocal parts. There are no drums, bass or guitars.

*The rhythm track is a loop of non-traditional percussion instruments such as: a filing cabinet, a can of chinchilla food, a container of Zoloft and some tea.

Wikipedia Trivia:

*The folklore surrounding black cats varies from culture to culture. In Great Britain and in Ireland, black cats are a symbol of good luck. The Scottish believe that a strange black cat's arrival to the home signifies prosperity. In Celtic mythology, a fairy known as the Cat Sìth takes the form of a black cat. However in Western history, black cats have often been looked upon as a symbol of evil omens, specifically being suspected of being the familiars of witches, and so most of western and southern Europe considers the black cat as a symbol of bad luck, especially if one crosses paths with a person, which is believed to be an omen of misfortune and death. In Germany, some believe that black cats crossing a person's path from right to left, is a bad omen. But from left to right, the cat is granting favorable times.

*In some cultures, the foot of a rabbit is carried as an amulet believed to bring good luck. This belief is held by individuals in a great number of places around the world including Europe, China, Africa, and North and South America. It is likely that this belief has existed in Europe since 600 BC amongst Celtic people. In variations of this superstition, the donor rabbit must possess certain attributes, or have been killed in a particular place, or killed by a particular method, or by a person possessing particular attributes (e.g. by a cross-eyed man).

*It is believed that Palmistry originated in India with its roots in (Hindu) Astrology (known in Sanskrit as Jyotish), Chinese Yijing (I Ching), and Roma (Gypsy) fortune tellers. The Hindu sage Valmiki is thought to have written a book several thousand years ago, whose title translates in English as "The Teachings of Valmiki Maharshi on Male Palmistry", comprising 567 stanzas. Renowned palmist Cheiro learnt palmistry in India where he is believed to have read ancient scriptures on palmistry. From India, the art of palmistry spread to China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia and to other countries in Europe. From China, palmistry progressed to Greece where Anaxagoras practiced it. However, modern palmists often combine traditional predictive techniques with psychology, holistic healing, as well as alternative methods of divination.

*The basic framework for "Classical" palmistry (the most widely taught and practiced tradition) is rooted in Greek mythology. Each area of the palm and fingers is related to a god or goddess, and the features of that area indicate the nature of the corresponding aspect of the subject. For example, the ring finger is associated with the Greek god Apollo; characteristics of the ring finger are tied to the subject's dealings with art, music, aesthetics, fame, wealth, and harmony.

*The tarot ( /ˈtæroʊ/; first known as trionfi and later as tarocchi, tarock, and others) is a pack of playing cards (most commonly numbering 78), used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play a group of card games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. From the late 18th century until the present time the tarot has also found use by mystics and occultists in efforts at divination or as a map of mental and spiritual pathways.

*The tarot has four suits (which vary by region, being the French suits in Northern Europe, the Latin suits in Southern Europe, and the German suits in Central Europe). Each of these suits has pip cards numbering from ace to ten and four face cards for a total of 14 cards. In addition, the tarot is distinguished by a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool. Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit.

*François Rabelais gives tarau as the name of one of the games played by Gargantua in his Gargantua and Pantagruel; this is likely the earliest attestation of the French form of the name. Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play card games. In English-speaking countries, where these games are largely unknown, tarot cards are now used primarily for divinatory purposes. Occultists call the trump cards and the Fool "the major arcana" while the ten pip and four court cards in each suit are called minor arcana. The cards are traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Kabbalah but there is no documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the 18th century.

*The most well known Virgin Mary toast was part of a grilled cheese sandwich found by Diana Duyser of Florida. Mrs. Duyser claims to have kept the sandwich on her nightstand for over 10 years, during which time she had excellent luck at the casinos. The fact that the sandwich has remained mold-free is considered, by some, to be proof of the sandwich’s miraculous nature. In 2004 the grilled cheese sandwich was listed for sale on Ebay, where the partially eaten sandwich was bought by Golden Palace Casino for $28,000.

*You can make your own Virgin Mary toast with this handy kitchen gadget.

*I was joking about Lou & Peter Berryman; they're brilliant. Farrah's good too.

I have been enjoying these extended liner notes posts. The process from idea to finished product usually results in stories worth sharing and this album is really a gem.
I'm always interested to find out how superstitions start, and curious as to why they tend to outlast whatever it was that started them. We also have two black cats, by the way.