Wednesday, November 25, 2009


a curiosity only...

by deed of absurdist dissension, and conspicuously excluded from the 1984 Polydor release of Ian Dury & the Music Students' "
4,000 Weeks Holiday", the executive decision to derail the project as the result of craven faint-heartedness prompted two years of bitter sparring between Dury and his financiers. Fearing legal action from the estate of Enid Blyton, or merely reluctant to yield to contractual mutiny, the label insisted on maintaining its censorial stance.

Dury was incensed and unrepentant.

Superficially a 'critique' on children's television, Dury's invective seems driven primarily as the result of childhood exclusion and his inability to forgive those moral tzars for papering over the cracks. His later experience
as observer and educationalist seem to have infuriated him further. Provoked, presumably, by Blyton's inherent class and race division, and by the condescending remit of government licensed broadcasting in general, "Fuck off Noddy" is a return volley. The fury of a small child plagued by chanting bullies in the playground.

The chasm between projected ideal and reality.

Do I think he hit the nail on the head ?

Maybe. Not really. The BBC, virtually single handedly, wove my own security blanket as one of countless thousands of children regularly 'watched' by the box in the corner. A blanket with as many holes in it as unshakable convictions, maybe, it served both as genial babysitter and an eye into disturbing complexities revealed with little or no sentimentality.

Its impartiality in reporting current affairs. Its obligation to historical accuracy.

I am possibly as indebted to the BBC as any indoctrinated child of Stalin or
Mao, but I don't believe the proliferation of political correctness over the past two to three decades has served that model well.

Do I think Polydor was wholly unjustified in imposing nonsensical standards of 'decency' on its contracted artist ?

Absolutely. Fuckin' A. I think Ian Dury - architect of "Spasticus Autisticus" (banned by the BBC in 1981); confrontational pearly king - was rightly pissed at seeing a bunch of suits hop from one foot to the other and urinate over each other like chastened whippets while he tore at the muzzle. In fact, it was probably Polydor's tacit refusal to throw its weight behind anything explicitly controversial after "Spasticus Autisticus" gathered condemnation during the International Year of Disabled Persons which prompted Dury's intransigence with regard to "4,000 Weeks Holiday" in the first instance. Beyond that, he was almost certainly fueled by resentment at the music industry's wholly successful bid to typecast him as curmudgeonly eccentric and rogue.

Or his own collusion to that end. Well. We've all of us painted ourselves into a corner at one time or another.

The cosiest liberals who initially championed him as a model of social inclusion were quick to distance themselves when his awkward utterances deviated from their own self-serving script.

Is it offensive ?

Only in so far as marionettes have cause to suffer indignation.

And wait. If one chooses to employ that same invective now, say, to channel contempt on the worst excesses of 'reality' programming - as in the X Factor - I suggest this casual barbed dart has almost certainly passed its flight test.

Fuck off, Jedward. Fuck off, Louis Walsh.

graphic by barney bubbles, 1981.

IAN DURY & THE MUSIC STUDENTS: FUCK OFF NODDY (UNRELEASED) from "4,000 Weeks Holiday" LP (Polydor) 1984 (UK)

Music link deleted under public nuisance act (1957) 2 QB 169. Repeated play may soften one's brain and/or shower with splinters.


@eloh said...

I had to listen to the song then read the post again.

I like it. I assume Noddy was a damn marionette.

ib said...

Yes! A marionette and more recently - I suspect - a computer generated animation. I'm not sure which Mr. Dury objected to more; the marionette or the original picture book hero.

I actually quite like(d) Noddy.

This was a somewhat bizarre post. It grew into a much more verbose piece than I'd anticipated, given the scant music hall ditty that is the song itself. I very nearly pulled it to put it out of its misery.

Maybe the spiraling wordage was simply a desperate attempt to justify the frippery ? I don't know.

Anyhow. I wasn't anticipating any comments on this one, so thanks, @eloh. I usually only play this tune when I'm really pissed off and/or drunk. Or forced to sit through the living purgatory which is the X Factor.

Eni said...

"Political Incorrectness" as far as Enid Blyton is gradually being dis-entangled which explains why I decided to publish a book on her and her literary works titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (

Stephen Isabirye

ib said...

Interesting, Stephen. I would like to read your book. Although I know Enid Blyton was and is a huge literary phenomenon, the world she depicted seems so uniquely English and middle class that it is vaguely intriguing to imagine how that translate(d)s into other cultures.

Even while I enjoyed her 'adventures' as a young child, I am constantly reminded just how much her preoccupation with class and pre-war values intruded even then.

Of course. It seems enormously petty that her books should have been singled out for red pen amendment if not outright burning just the same.

Not so much 'Big Ears' as eavesdroppers with big guns.

Thanks for the comment and the link.