Album: Pere Ubu, 'Long Live Père Ubu!' (Cooking Vinyl)
Friday 11 September 2009
Pere Ubu albums are always prickly affairs, and this one more than most.
It's the soundtrack to Bring Me the Head of Ubu Roi, David Thomas's treatment of the Alfred Jarry play presented with stagings by The Brothers Quay at the Royal Festival Hall last year, with Thomas himself and Sarah Jane Morris playing the "fat toad" Ubu and his wheedling wife. Egged on by his ghastly spouse, the greedy parvenu overthrows the King of Poland and leeches the public purse – "We must tax the dead, but not let the living wait / I have plans for the weather which must not be delayed!" – but is himself eventually overthrown. Reflecting the original play's deliberately repugnant manner, the accompaniment is full of martial, rat-a-tat drum fusillades and pompous marches, synth whines, washes of white noise and colossal bouts of belching, perfectly embodying the childish antagonism of Jarry's irrepressible urge to "épater la bourgeoisie". Ubu, of course, is the role Thomas has spent his life preparing for, and his adaptation and performance reflect his obvious relish in embodying all that is venal, corrupt and selfish about arriviste politicians, amusingly embodied in a running joke about his desire to "wear the big sombrero".
Download this: 'March Of Greed', 'Less Said the Better', 'Bring Me the Head', 'The Story So Far'
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
Apprentice series 11: Claude Littner to replace Nick Hewer as Lord Sugar's aide
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'