No Lucifer: some observations

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No Lucifer: some observations

Postby Dunnocks » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:50 pm

A favourite pastime on the Forum in days gone by was to try to decipher BSP lyrics. Perhaps the sleeve notes on DYLRM make this less necessary. But I have been pondering on some of the references in No Lucifer - and apologies for those that have already been discussed.


The overall theme - wrestling metaphor for the struggle between good and evil - clearly owes something to Barthes: ... stling.htm

In particular note this:

"It has already been noted that in America wrestling represents a sort of mythological fight between Good and Evil (of a quasi-political nature, the 'bad' wrestler always being supposed to be a Red). The process of creating heroes in French wrestling is very different, being based on ethics and not on politics. What the public is looking for here is the gradual construction of a highly moral image: that of the perfect 'bastard'. One comes to wrestling in order to attend the continuing adventures of a single major leading character, permanent and multiform like Punch or Scapino, inventive in unexpected figures and yet always faithful to his role. The 'bastard' is here revealed as a Moliere character or a 'portrait' by La Bruyere, that is to say as a classical entity, an essence, whose acts are only significant epiphenomena arranged in time. This stylized character does not belong to any particular nation or party, and whether the wrestler is called Kuzchenko (nicknamed Moustache after Stalin), Yerpazian, Gaspardi, Jo Vignola or Nollieres, the aficionado does not attribute to him any country except 'fairness'--observing the rules."

BSP's is perhaps a nostalgic English or indeed specifically Cumbrian take on this.

There are also a number of intriguing references in the song (in addition to those highlighted in the sleevenotes):

"The man with the skull and bones" ... could be a reference to the Totenkopf, most notoriously used by the SS:

but I wonder if it could also be a reference to this - the Yale secret society of which George W Bush is famously a member:

"Silk and Cyanide" ... is the title of Leo Marks' autobiography about his time in SOE (Special Operations Executive in WW2). The reference is explained a bit more here:

The "Carlton Corsair" and "Raleigh Twenty" (yeah) are both bicycles, as per the picture.

"Meggido" is the Biblical site of Armaggedon (this is referred to in the sleevenotes)

Any more for any more ?
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Postby kevo » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:57 pm

Fantastic stuff. Do you want to help build the Encyclopaedia of British Sea Power?
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Postby Busty » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:03 am

What the bloody hell happened to that?
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Postby Jonathan Himself! » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:06 am

Silk and Cyanide was recommended in a newsboost years ago, incidentally.
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Postby Martin Our Pravda » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:44 am

Excellent post Dunnocks, I would love there to be a website like which lists and tells you a bit about the references in all their songs.
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Postby vyse » Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:00 am

Yeh that was an enjoyable bit of reading there, I've read Leo Marks' book by the way, and would recommend it also.
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Postby ezears » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:05 am

Martin Our Pravda wrote:Excellent post Dunnocks, I would love there to be a website like which lists and tells you a bit about the references in all their songs.

Like Smiths and Morrissey's 'It May All End Tomorrow' as well.
I learned a lot about Manchester, nevermind all the other places in England and the culture listening to the Smiths. Yeah, I've become a bit of an Anglophile over time.

But I love the same thing with BSP, as I looked up what the Corsair and Raleigh were when I first heard the song. So I find myself 'learning' through music again.

What an awesome idea, since there really isn't a sub-forum for all the discography is there? And for gigs while I'm at it.....(ducks for cover)
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Postby captain.riot » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:48 am

I was kind of blown away when I just read the post. Haven't read the links yet. If I didn't know Ian I'd be thinking he's a man with way too much time on his hands. Look forward to reading up on his thoughts.

Nice touch from Kevo in trying to rope him into compling the 'encyclopedia' too.
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Postby kevo » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:09 am

captain.riot wrote:Nice touch from Kevo in trying to rope him into compling the 'encyclopedia' too.

It's been a work in progess since 2003...!
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Postby sinned » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:31 am

I still say the wrestlers are Jesus and Pan (possibly a more interesting version of "good" and "evil"), I rather think Dunnocks and Barthes have given this interpretation some credibility.
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Postby de lacey » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:02 pm

I think it's possible to see BSP as continuing the legacy of the Commedia dell'arte..

I see them as modern day troubadours.
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Postby Cold Ethyl » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:02 pm

i rather think the wrestlers are two grown men in their underpants who ought to know better.
"Even if I saw these names grouped together completely out of context away from here... lets say a set of albums sitting together in a charity shop - I would immediately think of you and no other!"

thanks Gary...
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Postby circlejer9k » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:32 pm

So, I've heard a few songs by bsp, always been affected by the musical stylings but never really looked into the lyrics.

Now atm the BBC6 dab channel seems to have "no lucfrr" on a perpetual loop, and oh god, that chorus is so heart/nut grabbingly rendered by the vocalist, that eventually i went so far as to check out this fansite and a few other things.

Don't get me wrong, never been to a bsp gig, not in the know, but looking around here and elsewhere, have come to realise the bsp's propensity to create a enigmatic persona for the media and wondered if the songs held that same non-narrative ethos for effect, or was there something more here?

Genuinely confused, there's obvious intense talent going on here in the scores at least, but are the bsp really saying something, or is it just pseudo-intellectual "exploit the student fanbase" fare?

I suppose you might think me a little cynical, and i regret coming across as anything other than openly inquisitive, but in an age of corporate rock by the bourgouis'e, I'm minded to think, "What am I really getting here?".

TL;DR, art spelt with a capital f, or something moar?
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Postby Trev » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:21 pm

'Six weeks left alive': I seem to remember this being the average life expectancy of a German soldier on the Russian Front, or something like that. It's been bugging me for ages. Anyone got any ideas what it refers to?

circlejer9k - welcome aboard! Don't worry, after several years of listening to BSP I'm still confused.

Fully agree with you about how H. sings the chorus on 'No Lucifer', especially 'The wind in your hair': he sings it as if he really means it - which is priceless in itself, and can't be coached or groomed. Reminds me of the Y. vocal on 'Carrion'.
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Postby de lacey » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:26 pm

circlejer9k wrote: I'm minded to think, "What am I really getting here?"

If it comes down to animal vegetable or mineral, I think it's most accurate to describe BSP as kind of like an aural gas...
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