Multiple Choice

 
I’m occasionally asked what the songs are about and where I get ideas from. With insight and intelligence I usually shrug and say something like: “Dunno. Varies, s’pose.”
And then people truly know that they’re in the presence of genius. Or at least a man full of Guinness. So allow me to buck the trend by regaling you with a step by step account of a set of lyrics coming into life.
A few years ago, I was sharing a house with tinkerer, thinker and drinker, as well as drummer extraordinaire, Doug Jopling.

C

C

B

D

B

C

B

D

D

C

A

B

C

 

 

 

 

I’d been sitting at the kitchen table marking multiple choice test papers and to make the job easier, I’d scribbled the answers in a vertical column, like the one here. Exactly like it, in fact: anyone who took the higher tier Earth Science test in year 10 in 1998, these were the answers you should have given to the multiple choice section.

Crappy

Caribbean

Beach-hut

Driven

Beyond

Crazed

Bleeding

Dying

Delinquent

Careering

Aimlessly

Beyond

Christ

 

 

 

I finished up and nipped out to rehearse with the band I was singing with at the time.

While I was out, Doug had come back and, a little bored while he ate, had appended my list by turning each of the letters into a word; producing a little vertical poem, as below.

More Sherlock Holmes-like readers will by now have realised the relevance of what I was marking and may recognise the list below as containing key words from the song ‘Multiple Choice’.

 

I took Doug’s list of words and turned it into the song.

 
Multiple Choice
You make me sick, your crappy aspirations
Limited to some Caribbean paradise
Dream of us in your beach-hut-sunset shithole
 
Take away these trinkets for your empty generation
Don’t need more mobile phones; you don’t know what you’re taking.
 
Don’t know what it’s like: driven to despair
Nerves strung out beyond endurance
Everyone and everything sounding like crazed laughter
 
Take away these trinkets for your Pepsi generation
Don’t want your low-cost loans; you don’t know what you’re taking.
 
Thoughtless genuflection to your bleeding idol
Cannot stop your spirit dying
Or quench your delinquent appetites
You are bankrupt in the spirit’s coin
 
Only in shackles, knelt before your throne, the stricken people careering
Aimlessly through your writs and wrangles
Dragged beyond
what Christ they can imagine
 
Take away these trinkets of your empty generation
Screw you and your second homes, you don’t know what you’ve taken
Take away these trinkets for your Pepsi generation
Fuck you and fuck your low-cost loans
You don’t know what you’ve taken.