Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Newt Gingrich, Lazarus v.2012

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Last Tycoon that there are no second acts in American lives. Serial adulterer, former Speaker of the House and current aspirant Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is currently having a good go at disproving this theory. As a reminder of how Mr Gingrich was regarded last time around, here is Ike Willis with “Eye of Newt” from his 1998 album Dirty Pictures. Sample lyric:
When that crazy Republican 
came a’ barrellin’ down the political chute
How could we ever know? When will he ever go?
We're a nation under the Eye of Newt.
Why is he so very, bible-thumpin’ reactionary?
Square of head and square of chin
All he wants is a perfect world,
for American boy and girl
Just as long as they look like him

Fun fact: Willis played guitar and sang with Frank Zappa for many years and was a member of his 1988 band, as heard on the double CD set The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life. Which means that Willis can play guitar in 17/8 and sing a reggae version of “Stairway to Heaven”, though from memory not necessarily at the same time.

Here is Zappa himself on the subject of newts. This clip from his movie 200 Motels, possibly one of the worst movies ever made, starts with the dance sequence “The Lad Searches The Night For His Newts” before we get “The Girl Wants To Fix Him Some Broth” (which contains the line “Some nice soup, with small dogs in it”), “Little Green Scratchy Sweaters and Corduroy Ponce”, “A Nun Suit Painted On Some Old Boxes”, “Dental Hygiene Dilemma” and “Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You”. Warning: contains Keith Moon dressd as a nun. The soprano is Phyllis Bryn-Julson who made a memorable recording of Pierre Boulez’s Pli Selon Pli and performed with him and the Ensemble Contemporain in a wonderful performance of Boulez and Birtwistle at the Wellington Arts Festival in 1988.

I love the soundtrack to this but accept that I am in a vanishingly small minority. However, Theodore Bikel (who was in the movies The African Queen and My Fair Lady and starred in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway for, like, forever) is undeniably great in it, especially in the closing song where he sings the timeless lyric, “Lord, have mercy on the people in England, for the terrible food these people must eat.” Also on YouTube.

1 comment:

Penny said...

Some of those cartoon sequences, and the voices, remind me of the Simpsons. Well done Frank!