Shall I mourn your decline/With some Thunderbird wine
May 12, 2022 4:19 PM   Subscribe

Remembering Ian Dury on what would have been his 80th birthday.
Shall I mourn your decline/With some Thunderbird wine/And a black handkerchief? - Sweet Gene Vincent - Lyrics
As national treasures go, Ian Dury was one of the unlikeliest. A cantankerous cripple with a penchant for pills and puns, he was a living breathing saucy seaside postcard, a master of the double or even triple entendre; a Cockney caricature with cleverly constructed couplets coming out of his Aris.
Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll

He suffered from Polio at 7 years old. His 1981 song “Spasticus Autisticus” was written to show his disdain for that year’s International Year of the Disabled which he saw as patronising and counter-productive.
He regarded death with the same good-humored equanimity that he brought to the rest of his life.
“If the world by some quirk of nuclear impotency should survive,” he wrote in 1982, “I for one will definitely feel the urge to dress up and dance about.”
Prior to his music career he was a pretty good artist.
posted by adamvasco (18 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Ian was a man of class.
posted by sainttoad at 4:25 PM on May 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

New Boots and Panties changed my life.

I enjoyed the album as well.
posted by Splunge at 4:27 PM on May 12, 2022 [6 favorites]

posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:47 PM on May 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

Frighteningly talented, outrageously surreal, almost every song on "Doc at the Radar Station" is a mini LSD trip.
posted by mmrtnt at 6:43 PM on May 12, 2022 [1 favorite]


The first white rapper, even before Blondie's "Rapture"
posted by jonp72 at 7:17 PM on May 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

One of my favourite musicians, and lyricists not least. The Blockheads were something else as well - Norman Watt Roy has a legit claim to be in the conversation for best bass player ever, in my opinion.

Anyway, my favourite thing about Dury himself is the density of some of his lyrics. Consider this verse from Poo-Poo in the Prawn:

I was a very hungry fella
I defrosted my paella
Came down with Salmonella
Three weeks intensive care

Four very short lines, and a complete story. Just superb.
posted by Dysk at 11:22 PM on May 12, 2022 [6 favorites]

A mention of Ian Dury on the blue? Definitely a reason to be cheerful.
posted by halliburtron at 11:33 PM on May 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

Here he is talking about Geldoff's premature announcement of his death, on-going treatment for cancer and reasons to be cheerful - two kids. Hats off and yellow socks.
posted by BobTheScientist at 11:34 PM on May 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

Also the song that I request at every queer night I go to:

I wanna be straight
I wanna be straight
I'm sick and tired of taking drugs and staying up late...

Such a good band. I know what I'm listening to all day now.
posted by Dysk at 11:47 PM on May 12, 2022 [4 favorites]

Dury's fluency in cockney rhyming slang could baffle even Bob Hoskins. 'Ave a pipe at the ice-cream on yer daily.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:11 AM on May 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

Ian Dury references:
Reasons to be cheerful: explanation for non-cockneys - right from the start (nobody in their rightful mind likes all of Buddy Holly's stuff) - he had great taste.

Noting that one of those reasons is Adriano Celentano - included after Dury had heard Prisencolinensinainciusol while on tour in Italy - and paid close attention - a few decades before the internet did.

Producers perspective: Songs That Changed Music: Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

Musician's perspective: Day 40 of the 2020 Covid lock down in the UK: Dan Baker arranges, plays and films a copy of Hit me With your Rhythm Stick with himself on all instruments. Let's just say - not such an easy goal.
posted by rongorongo at 2:16 AM on May 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

Reasons to be cheerful straight up saved my life. I love Ian Dury and his music, I miss him. Thanks for the post.
posted by evilDoug at 5:17 AM on May 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

altrockchick has a recent thorough take on New Boots and Panties!!
To describe Ian Dury as a force of nature is almost an understatement.
posted by adamvasco at 5:18 AM on May 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

And now - to my eternal embarrassment - I realize I was talking about Captain Beefheart in my previous comment. No idea why.

I have a vinyl copy of Jukebox Dury which I think might be a compilation album?

Razzle in my Pocket is an amazing song.
posted by mmrtnt at 7:15 AM on May 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

A Genius, with a genius backing band. That combination of musicians and genres is too unusual to imagine anywhere else.
posted by ovvl at 7:46 AM on May 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

Looking again at these fabulous links - I still can't locate how he did it.
He was beautiful, like the head on a Roman coin, against all the odds. He blazed sexual confidence, but displayed it without aggression.
He was filthy - but (from a straight woman's POV) you were in on the double-wink joke.
Everything was cool pre-punk, but Ian had their ridiculous number too.
I never met him properly, I don't pretend that at all. It was just "almost sort of, once' - when we exchanged fan-to-star beams in a loo in North London. Your idol is there, and he smiles and you smile back & you have goosebumps for the rest of your life.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:10 PM on May 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

Clever Trevor live from a German tour. Dury riffs with the audience in German and does things with fingers and handkerchiefs that have to be seen. The audience are very polite but are maybe missing the meanings of lyrics like "Either have they got, Nor neither haven't not, Got no right to make a clot..."
posted by rongorongo at 3:08 AM on May 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

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