Pumping An Electric Current Through the Leg Of A Dead Frog

A couple of weeks ago, just as social distancing began to be a thing we were in Stockport on a Sunday afternoon. Up the hill from the town centre is Stockport Civic Centre, a concrete modernist complex with buildings, landscaping, forecourts, steps and this structure, a sort of concrete bunker but above ground, hiding something. There wasn’t a soul around. Wandering round and taking some photos it felt like the world had already shut down.

This should provide some cheer. In 2017 Fujiya and Miyagi, the Brighton based band electronic, kraut, indie- disco pioneers, released an new album. At its heart is this magnificent song, titled wittily Extended Dance Mix, the musings of a middle aged man in a band who may have peaked in popularity and questioning whether there’s any point in continuing, the state of the music scene and the ironic navel gazing of a man dealing with the onset of arthritis, acid reflux, dermatitis and middle age spread. All of this, the band’s career trajectory and relevance and his own health, is compared to ‘pumping an electric current through the leg of a dead frog’.

Highlights of the lyrics include vocalist David Best worrying about his joints-

‘My ankles sometimes involuntarily click
Do you think that’s normal or potentially arthritic?’

And the band’s then- current marketplace position and the groups coming through-

‘On social media platforms, the general consensus is
Our popularity has declined since 2006
Now playlists are full of privately educated kids
Singing in falsetto about the over privileged lives that they live’

In some ways this is very much a wry, very British take on LCD Soundsystem’s Losing My Edge-

‘Pumping an electric current through the leg of a dead frog
Just to see the muscle kick sort of reminded me of
The last ten years and what that’s consisted of”

More physical ailments set to the pumping, sparse rhythm-

‘As the kick drum flexes its metaphorical muscles
My acid reflux flares up through my oesophagus then bubbles
It’s the last piece of my aching bodies puzzle
As our dreams collide with reality and then quickly buckle’

Mid- life lifestyle gets a kicking too, no more tours and clubs but daytime TV and weight gain (very spring 2020) –

‘I’ve put on weight and that’s down to a sedentary lifestyle
Well, that and consuming more calories than I burn whilst enjoying Columbo or Magnum P.I.’

Before finishing with the reality of having to face the camera and the continuing existence of the band

‘Sucking in our guts…
Are they still going? Are Fujiya and Miyagi still going? …why?’

>Lord Sabre Day

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Today is April the 6th, Andrew Weatherall’s birthday. Two Lone Swordsmen’s excellent and krauty remix of Fujiya and Miyagi is your present. Blow the candles out and make a wish.

Ventriloquism

Fujiya and Miyagi, Brighton’s dancey and krauty fourpiece, have a new album out later this month. I’ve quite liked a lot of their stuff in the past without ever totally loving it, although there is a rather nice Two Lone Swordsmen remix from several years ago I’ve played a lot. This is the B-side (is it a B-side? Or just an extra track in a digital bundle? Not sure), where they get remixed by Erland And the Carnival, about whom I knew nothing until a few minutes ago when I googled them and found out they do English folk music and contain a former member of The Verve and the Good, The Bad And The Queen (Simon Tong). I’ve not knowingly heard anything by them, so can’t tell you whether this remix is typical or not, but I do like it.

Ventriloquizzing (Carnivalisation (Remixed By Erland & The Carnival)).mp3