This Is Serious Mum - Guide to the Little Aesthetics, Beat, 19/11/86


You crush the neck of your bass guitar against the thumb and fingers of your left hand. Trying to play sweetly, but Christ! Where's Eugene? Why isn't Eugene coming through? Hot under here. What song is next? Do I start it? My brother might be dead, but I didn't kill him. He's gone now. Goodbye.

Your Questions Answered

(Q) What stance do TISM hold in regard to Jim Morrison?
How many bricks could he shift in the morning before smoko? When it was cold, did he wear brick gloves, or were his hands calloused enough for him to do without? What did he feel when first walking onto the building site, and saw all the off-cuts, half-bricks, white and yellow sand heaps, cement bags, lime bin, mixer and wood frame? Did he like his life as a brickie's labourer, or did he ever wish, as he looked around the lot, to become a big rock star?

(Q) Who does Hugo Race think he is fooling?
TISM have consistenly argued, ever since the partitioning of the Palestine, that "Hugo Race" has no legitimacy. They do not recognise "Hugo Race" as being in any way real, and fully support the struggles of those people trying to regain a homeland by abolishing him.

(Q) How many members are there in TISM, who are they and what do they play?
You are all members of This Is Serious Mum. We died so that you may live in us. Thomas, do you want to put your fingers in the holes left by the nails? Do you wish to see my wounds, can you feel my breath on your cheek as your hand slowly presses into the mark of the spear? Thomas.

(Q) What is the band line-up?
(A) 1. Jock Cheese
- Bass; Straight left forearm to the left side of the face; Vocals.
2. Humphrey B. Flaubert - Vocals; I didn't feel anything, even after I woke up in hospital; Drum rhythms; Dance.
3. Leek Van Vlallen - Guitar; you are severely reprimanded, but due to your good record you incur no suspension; Vocals.
4. John St Peenis - Sax; I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I just want to play well on Saturday; Dance; Synthesizer.
5. Ron Hitler Barassi - Vocals; I'm sorry, we don't wish to make any further comment; Dance.
6. Les Miserables - Vocals; just one more question, do you think this blemishes your image as an example to young children?; Dance.
7. Eugene de la Hot Croix Bun - Vocals; why don't you buzz off, pal? You are scum, you and all your journalist friends; Synthesizer.

(Q) Will TISM ever get on "Countdown"? Has the band any ambitions in that direction?
Yes. TISM very much want to appear on Countdown, but only if Hugo Race comperes the show and promises to sing "Jump In My Car" with T.M.G.

(Q) Hugo Race?
No, Daffy Duck is my favourite cartoon character.

(Q) Has TISM ever been in love? What does TISM think of love?
Yes, of course love exists. TISM just very much doubt that it will ever find the right girl, and often sits lonely at discos and parties thinking "When will I ever meet someone I really like?"

(Q) Do TISM see themselves as being in any way clever or special?
Well, I suppose in some ways I am a special person. Not too many people have the intelligence I have, and there is an element of thought in everything I do.

However, TISM does not consider itself in any way special, except possibly in the sense that it holds this view of itself. Certainly, it thinks that " in rock could ever claim to be a genius, or even especially talented. Every person in rock uses a form of expression so limited that nothing of lasting value will ever be created. Rock by definition is transitory and one dimensional..." Because of this basic limitation, which effects rock music at its very core, there has sprung up a whole camouflaging infrastructure that serves to try and extend rock music beyond its confined perimeters. This infrastructure is called the rock "industry". Its main objective is to use rock music to make money, and to do this it must somehow try to overcome the limited appeal of rock music. It has therefore made music merely the common ingredient in a "product" whose main appeal is generated by factors other than musical enjoyment. By the creation of an "image" the music - and of course the musician - is placed in a context of great seductive attractiveness to many people.

"...Music and 'image' are indistinguishable, and both tap into the potent reservoirs of self-delusion and vicarious enjoyment..." There is an image for every character type. You want to annoy your parents? Buy an [Uncanny] X-men record. Be intellectual? Talking Heads. Agressive? Heavy Metal. Arty? Smiths. Romantic? David Sylvian. And so it goes. "...By taking an essentially transitory music form and giving it these associations, 'Rock' (with a capital R) becomes something that appeals to the perennial and permanent desires of people..." Two further things should be noted. The first is that the appeal of rock music is very potent in advanced technological society because it is only in these societies that its members have enough time and money to indulge in these sorts of self-satisfactions. In poorer societies unhappiness, self-hate (etc. etc.) must merely be borne by the individual, and be collectively transposed to an external object (like "God" or "the Devil").

But in an affluent society a more decadent, though less primitive, palliative can be sought. Secondly, "...because the appeal of rock music lies essentially not in the valid form of the music, but in a basically illegitimate appeal grafted on to that form, the satisfactions to be gained from any single creation within that form are extremely dubious. This basic artificiality means rock's appeal is to the less admirable, more self-decieving elements in a person's nature. The corruption of its appeal ensures the objectionable quality of what that appeal feeds on..."

The only really worthwhile or lasting achievement of rock music is the sum total of its transitory elements. Though each musician or band, no matter of what longevity, is at core limited, the whole historical achievement of this form of music is quite great. Rock music is flawed, and therefore consumes voraciously all those who choose to express themselves within its limitations. The only thing that could be seen as of genuine, lasting value is the form itself, which, no matter who is using it, seems to be able to capture and express an essential element of our natures.


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