Take Two: Living with…Echo and the Bunnymen…for a week again

So here we are again.  Another year on and it’s Take Two for Echo and the Bunnymen at the Godiva Festival, in Coventry.  Last year’s washout seems to be heading for some proper sun sun sun (all parts of anatomy crossed).

I have, of course, been living off the Springsteen live experience for the last two weeks leaving little room for other music so it’s time to let someone else in to the space. apart for a final parting recommendation for the triple gold that has been my constant travelling fellow Live In Concert 1975 – 85 Bruce Springsteen & The Street Band!!!

So welcome back to the Bunnymen.

As a year ago, it’s a return to  my favourite Bunnymen compilation, Songs to Learn and Sing. I only ever had it on cassette (an original no less, no TDK copy) so it whirred in various cars very happily in the late 80’s and early 90’s before being forgotten in some dark corner of a drawer, and then the garage. I’ll confess to having ignored their recent incarnation so I’m hoping the festival wwill be as much a discovery as a revisit.

For the most part, it’s the second half of this album that I loved from Never Stop onwards. So in the days when cassettes would flip and rewind this would pretty well go on a repeat spin again and again. Take your classic indie band sound, insert a few xylophones and strings, and those partiuclarly weird set of lyrics and you had the Bunnymen for me.

Which leads nicely in to the three key questions that have to be asked

What’s with the Echo?

Having thought for many years that the Echo part of their name was a throwback to the classic song Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins, I now discover it was more homely. The Bunnymen started life as two men and a drum machine – the drum machine was called Echo. When Echo was kicked out the band, he vowed that he would return with vengeance. He has yet to achieve that ambition despite the fact their drummer died in a tragic motor accident in the late 80’s they have always replaced with human sticks.

What’s with the Bunnymen?

Again quite mundane and homely – the human elements of the band didn’t want to get taken too seriously and were not in to big egos, so came up with the name Bunnymen. And the Bunnymen became the support group to their drum machine before ousting him in a coup.

What’s with the Tortoise?

One of the Bunnymen’s most beautiful songs and certainly the most mysterious for me lyrically is Seven Seas

Seven seas
Swimming them so well
Glad to see
My face among them
Kissing the tortoise shell

It’s always left me wondering, what is kissing the tortoiseshell? Does it mean breaking out for freedom? Are they conjuring up visions of south seas beaches where the tortoises roam? Or is it something more sordid?

Or is it just a Bunnymen excuse to slip in a reference to tortoises in a song, because they can and the song can acquire fame as the tortoise song? … Rather like REM’s decision to use the expression ‘pushing an elephant up the stairs’ in The Great Beyond. Now everyone knows that as the elephant song, in the same way that Seven Seas is the tortoise song, I guess.

So to the video of the week, which will continue the Seven Seas theme featuring a penguin, a rather strange fish, a set of flippers and a way of connecting Liverpool, Casablanca and Amsterdam. And of, of course Ian MCulloch’s hair – honestly, we were all jealous then.

If I get close enough (I never was at Springsteen, trust me!!), might post some pics if nothing else to show whether Ian McCulloch’s hair still lives up to it’s days of fame and glory.

[this has been unashamedly hacked from Part One of Living with…Echo… with only the subtlest changes in plot.  So a bit like Die Hard 2 but I’ll make a lot less money than Bruce Willis]