So what would happen if the Victorians had rock bands? They might sound a bit like The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, a bunch of mad hatters writing songs about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, The Empire, and Queen Victoria – who may or may not have been bemused. I catch up with Marc Burrows, Andrew O’Neill, Andy Heintz and Jez Miller for an anachronistic look at the current state of the past.
Good day gentlemen, I trust you are well?
Marc: Evening, we’re fine ta. We’ve just done a week of recording our new album and topped it off with a show at the Weekend At The Asylum event in Lincoln, so we’re all a bit stretched and hung over. But I’m sure we’ll be fine.
Andrew: Howdy doody. I just had my fifth coffee of the day, so my brain has crawled out of my ear and is now running round the block. So apologies for any dribbling.
Mr Heintz sir, you’ve obviously a military bearing, where did you see service?
Jez: In the brothels and bathhouses of Shoreditch. Now that’s what I call service!
Marc: Andy has never seen any sort of ‘formal’ military service. In fact several official looking people have expressly forbidden him from carrying fire-arms or sharp edges of any sort, mostly for his own safety but also for those around him and the good of society as a whole. He did spend a lot of time touring in bands in the 90s though, which had a similar tendency for violence and ear-trauma. Occasionally I’ve seen him have flash backs to his time in ‘Nam. (Dagenham in this case).
Andy: I hunt zombies.
Andrew: On his Nintendo DS. There are no medals available on that.
You are obviously chaps of fairly high breeding, what reduced you to plying your trade with such bawdy entertainments?
Jez: Living the life of a dissolute, dedicated to the relentless pursuit of the pleasures of the flesh, slavish devotion to self-gratification and a determination to leave some form of imprint on this wretched society in which we find ourselves.
Oh, and not paying sufficient attention at school.
Marc: High breeding? You’re having a tin bath mate… I’m from Leicester. We don’t actually HAVE high breeding in Leicester. What I’m doing now is the closest thing anyone from my town has got to proper culture, unless you count that time someone wrote “Drugs are cool, Happy Happy Hardcore” on the wall behind the Three Tuns. Besides, what’s wrong with Bawdy?
Andy: … oh. BAWDY…I thought he was having a go about the lack of hair atop me dome!
Andrew: I’m glad you noticed my high breeding. I was entered for Crufts every year of my childhood, and I still feel a certain comfort when a stranger cups my balls.
I believe you’ve been experimenting also with such new technologies as the wax cylinder – how could such a notion as transcribing sound ever take off! Does this process present its own particular difficulties?
Jez: If you think the wax cylinder is a wonder of science, you’ll love our new ideas. We intend to devise a means of transcribing every single piece of music ever recorded into a simple form of binary information, storing it in such a way that it can travel through the very atmosphere and be re-assembled back into its musical form by even the most idiotic, pimply faced teenager – completely free of charge. The downside is that the composer will earn next to no money and probably live and die in penury and dereliction. The upside is that the composer will earn next to no money and probably live and die in penury and dereliction. This service will be funded almost entirely by adverts for penis enlargement.
Marc: This is all entirely true. We don’t think it will ever catch on though.
Now, you’ve been vociferous of late in the popular press over your support of the Whig party in parliament. Do you truly believe in such fanciful notions as the extension of the vote to Women? Why that’s an idea one could almost attribute to Mr Marx!
Marc: I’m going to put a flag in the ground and say had I voted in the 1832 general election, I probably would have gone Whig. The country was in a right old mess under the leadership of the Duke of Wellington who only got the job because he wrote Abba’s 1974 Eurovision-winning hit Waterloo. That is no basis for a system of government. Earl Grey, leader of the Whigs at the time, had no tolerance for such pop fluff and famously hated Eurovision, saying he “didn’t care for it, even if it is just kitsch fun it’s still mostly shit, and it annoys me that they always cancel Doctor Who to make room in the schedule”. We’re very much in favour of Universal Suffrage by the way. I trust women with the vote a lot more than I trust men.
Andy: I’m with Marc on this…anything that messes Doctor Who’s schedule about should not be tolerated.
Jez: Much as we might despise all politicians, (I never trust a man who climbs a greasy pole for a living unless he’s a very accomplished exotic dancer) Marx is better than most and at least he seems more interested in the greater good than lining his own pockets. Marx argues that, while in pre-capitalist societies it is clearly the labourer that uses the means of production to create product; in capitalism, it is more realistic to say that the means of production uses the labourer. This is one of the clearest examples of the tail wagging the dog.
Andy: Duck Soup was good.
Andrew: Good answers, boys. Top Marx.
On safer ground, you’ve also declaimed the work of that cretin Mr Darwin, have you read his blasphemous tome On The Origin Of Species?
Jez: Have you? Just because On The Origin Of Species is so obviously true that only a narrow-minded, ill-educated, god-bothering retard from the southern states of America would argue against it, it doesn’t make it a good read. I’d rather marry my horse than have to peruse the 600 odd pages of that book ever again. That’s where I differ from our transatlantic friends, as they would be much more interested in marrying their cousins and are generally unable to read anyway!
Marc: I haven’t read Origin of the Species. I’ll put my hand up to that. I covered the basics in GCSE biology though, and I think Andrew probably read it. Just for the absolute avoidance of doubt, the song Charlie is entirely ironic. I want to be entirely clear about that. Evolution is definitely “a thing”.
Andrew: Although gravity is just a theory.
Andy: Jez has a horse?
Andrew: I have read On The Origin Of Species. Unfortunately it was a book about the making of the 1995 film starring Ben Kingsley and told me almost nothing about natural selection. Other than that the film tanked at the box office, while stronger, more suitable films did very well.
In some of your more, shall I say, imaginative compositions you make reference to the works of Mr HG Wells and Mr Jules Verne. What is your opinion on the new Scientific Fictions from men of their ilk?
Marc: I’ll tell you what, this current series of Doctor Who has been a bit up and down, it started strongly, and the first half of the series was definitely propped up by Neil Gaiman’s extraordinary episode The Doctors Wife, but since then it’s been a bit hit and miss. The mid-season finale was okay, and Let’s Kill Hitler did have its moments, even if it was a little contrived in places, however last weeks Mark Gatis-penned episode was really very disappointing and the less said about the Flesh two-parter the better. That said I adored The Girl Who Waited, it was an extraordinary piece of science fiction storytelling, and I remain hopeful about the rest of the series. I’ve heard rumours it’s Omega who’s behind it, but I’m not sure if that will pan out.
Andy: I agree, the pirate episode was totally lame, and having just watched the Toby Withouse episode, The God Complex, I am already getting Amy Pond withdrawal symptoms, but I can’t wait to see how Moffat resolves the storyline set up at the start of the series…and Matt Smith just gets better and better as the Doctor in my opinion.
Andrew: I don’t watch the new series. I just watch that bit from State Of Decay where Matthew Waterhouse completely fails to walk convincingly from one side of the TARDIS control room to the other. Over and over and over again.
I’m sure the public are eager to hear, have you any new compositions you will be introducing at forthcoming performances?
Marc: We’ve just finished recording our second album, provisionally titled This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons, and we’re in the process of introducing the songs to our live set. We think we’re going to hold some back though, so there’ll be something on the record no-one has heard properly. The newest song in the set is Victoria’s Secret, a sort of death rock groover about Prince Albert.
Andrew: I wrote a song about wanking.
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing play White Mischief’ ‘Ghost in The Machine’ night at London’s Scala October 29th.