Australians in Europe

Lyrics

 

MES: So what if it goes all right, er, say... say it works out real good, would you be up to doing something, say, around like March, April? We could get it... I'd like to take it around to Liverpool, Manchester and places like that, y'know. Trevor Stuart: Yeah, you can have me until April the 20th. MES: Yeah, you got work on from there? TS: Yeah, going to Australia to do a show. MES: Right, OK. ​ (1)

Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe

Australians in Europe
Never ever breathe
Australians in Europe
Get a whiff of that antipodean breeze (2)
Australians in Europe
Higher!

Australians in Europe

Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Think, "Why did Great Grandad leave?"
Australians in Europe never ever see
He was consigned to a boat after using a huge great cleaver. (3)

Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe​
Never, ever...

...breathe

Australians in Europe
The biggest things invented I have ever seen  (4)
Their cover versions are naff and they live in Berlin  (5)
Your like a Van Gogh savage, McGregor's kilt, (6)
With no chin

Australians in Europe

Australians in Europe​

Australians in Europe​
Australians in Europe​
Wake up and suss the scene
You'd better leave them parents, and fly Hamburg to Berlin
They're just a bloody twister, so who do you think your foolin' (7)
Australians in Europe

 

Notes

1. The song begins with MES talking with Trevor Stuart, who played Luciani/John Paul I in MES's stage play, "Hey Luciani" (thanks to Reformation for this information).

^

2. Antipodes are any two places on earth exactly opposite to each other on the globe (i.e., if one were to bore straight through the earth from one, one would wind up at the other). This is roughly true of England and Australia and New Zealand, so these are often referred to as "the antipodes" in England (the actual antipode of England is located somewhat south of New Zealand). 

^

3. From 1780 to 1848, Great Britain transported prisoners to Australia, particularly to New South Wales which was established as a penal colony.

^

4. According to Rich:

"We Australians are very proud of our big things eg Big Pineapple, Big Sheep, Big Lobster, Big Ned Kelly. They usually have gift shops attached. I personally climbed to the top of the Big Pineapple in the 70's (for you Brits a pineapple is what you would refer to as an 'aubergine,' not to be confused with a 'courgette' which of course is a watermelon.)"

Now that's weird--an aubergine is an eggplant. I have not been able to confirm this, but Rich ought to know (unless he's mistaken about what an "aubergine" is).

^

5. jensotto: "Nick Cave moved to Berlin and the Bad Seeds stayed there 1985-89. The Triffids [an Australian band] were also playing in Europe in the same period." Cave released Kicking Against the Pricks, an album of cover versions, in 1986, a year before this song first appeared (thanks to Portsmouth Bubblejet).

http://annotatedfall.doomby.com/pages/the-annotated-lyrics/australians-in-europe.html#h6767

 

6.   This seems to refer to a tartan, or quilt pattern, worn by the Scottish Macgregor clan, and thus is maybe a dig at loud, colorful clothing, perhaps where the colors clash. This perhaps even explains "Van Gogh savage": From a catalog entry from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, concerning Van Gogh's painting The Zoave: "In the oil painting, Van Gogh heightened the 'savage combination of incongruous tones,' fleshed out the character's likeness, and placed him in a convincing setting." The quote within that quote is from a letter to Van Gogh's brother Theo. I recognize this is a stretch.

^

7. Joseph has called it to my attention that "twister" can mean a crook or villain in British slang, although it is an old usage. See also "Twister."

^

Comments (48)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 20/03/2014
These dogs might be described as "loose" in a kiln:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andiron
Rich
  • 2. Rich | 22/02/2016
"Australians your biggest things rejected"
We Australians are very proud of our big things eg Big Pineapple, Big Sheep, Big Lobster, Big Ned Kelly. They usually have gift shops attached. I personally climbed to the top of the Big Pineapple in the 70's (for you Brits a pineapple is what you would refer to as an 'aubergine,' not to be confused with a 'courgette' which of course is a watermelon.)
Mark
  • 3. Mark | 20/07/2016
The conversation at the start between MES and Trevor Stuart:

[inaudible]
MES: So what if it goes all right, er, say... say it works out real good, would you be up to doing something, say, around like March, April? We could get it... I'd like to take it round to Liverpool, Manchester and places like that, y'know.
TS: Yeah, you can have me until April the 20th.
MES: Yeah, you got work on from there?
Trev: Yeah, going to Australia to do a show.
MES: Right, OK.
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 23/07/2016
Thank you, Mark. I just listened to the single version and that is all quite audible, just as you have it, so I don't know why I did not have it.

It initially said:

Conversation with Ham A. Circa: Post House Motel.

I looked at that and thought, what the hell is that? I checked the lyrics books and there is no text for this song. Then I thought to check the Lyrics Parade and sure enough, that phrase is there.

I don't know if I ever knew why it was there--there is a good chance I just copied and pasted this from the LP. Does anyone know what the hell that is?
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 11/10/2016
"Conversation with Ham" comes from the "Sinister Times" promo newspaper:

Image
T.L.B.
  • 6. T.L.B. | 13/12/2017
I've always heard the first line as "Australians in Europe never ever breed", rather than "breathe". It makes more sense to me in the context of the rest of the lyric, ie: putting down Australians. Breed is obviously a word usually used to describe animal behaviour. You also get the sense of the Australians being an alien race, which I guess he wants to convey. If you listen to the first time he sings the line, the last drawn out syllable seems tobea 'd' rather than an 'e'.
I also think the "biggest things rejected" line later on is actually "biggest things invented" It's to do with the size of things in Australia, the vast distances, huge indigenous spiders etc.

I also think the line later on is "biggest things invented rather
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt (link) | 23/12/2017
TLB, I think, rightly or wrongly, I hear "Thh" the first line.

Does anyone else want to give it a go and see if we get some kind of consensus--"th," "d," or "indiscernible/undecidable"? No lyrics book version on this one, by the way.

With "rejected," to me it seems very clear he says "invented," so I am changing that unless anyone objects.
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 23/12/2017
Dan, what is Sinister Times exactly --put out of the Cog Sinister office as, as you say, a promo thing? Are they lyrics?

Do we know who wrote/edited it? Is there a version where one can see what it says under "Australians in Europe" or discern the "Ham" line? I get nothing useful from Google.
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 23/12/2017
And cannot blow up the thing you posted.
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 29/12/2017
Sinister Times was "official", c.1988ish I think but on sale for a couple of years. It was produced by MES-associate Dave Luff who was also responsible for both lyrics books. It has the same problems as the books when it comes to whether the lyrics therein are derived from paperwork obtained from MES or are based on what Luff could himself hear - or on fan transcriptions.
jensotto
  • 11. jensotto | 06/01/2018
Australians i Berlin: Nick Cave moved to Berlin and the Bad Seeds stayed there 1985-89. The Triffids were also playing in the same period.
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 10/02/2018
Dan, is there a reason to have something about that here?
Portsmouth Bubblejet
  • 13. Portsmouth Bubblejet | 18/02/2018
As discussed previously, this is the song where I think that the 'Sinister Times' transcription is quite far away from what I'm hearing. On both the single version and the Peel Sessions version, Smith seems to be singing: "Your cover versions are naff and you live in Berlin", instead of "boys use a map". I've surmised that it's a playful swipe at Nick Cave, who lived in Berlin and had just released his album of cover versions 'Kicking Against The Pricks' in 1986, a year before 'Australians in Europe' was released.

I also don't hear the word 'McGregor' at all in the following, in either version, and originally had the last bit of that line as a garbled reference to the popular at the time Australian soap opera Neighbours: "You're like a Van Gogh savage (?) and preggers, Gail, with no sh*t'.
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 19/02/2018
Yes, it's definitely "cover versions"!
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 19/02/2018
OK "Van Gogh savage" I hear too, but what does it mean, is he thinking of Gaugain? I do hear something like "preggers Gail" but I can't get anything clear enough to replace "McGregor's kiln" yet.
Portsmouth Bubblejet
  • 16. Portsmouth Bubblejet | 19/02/2018
No, I can't hear anything clearly in that line either, but I certainly don't hear anything like 'McGregor' or 'kiln'.

There was a plotline in 'Neighbours' in the late 1980s about a character called Gail Robinson who was unable to conceive, and 'preggers' is an Australian word for 'pregnant'.
Joseph Mullaney
  • 17. Joseph Mullaney | 20/02/2018
I hear 'great grandad' without 'the'. There are some variations in the (fantastic) Peel version, including references to a Dutchman and New Zealand at the end, but I haven't been able to decipher them yet.
Joseph Mullaney
  • 18. Joseph Mullaney | 21/02/2018
This is what I hear:

Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe

Australians in Europe
Never ever breathe
Australians in Europe
Get a whiff of that Antipodean breeze
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Higher!

Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Think why did great-grandad leave
Australians in Europe
Never ever see
That he was consigned to a boat after using a huge great cleaver

Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe!
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Never ever…

(Brix) Australians In Europe
(Voice of Trevor Stuart low in mix)
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe

(MES) Breathe…
Australians in Europe
You’re the biggest (?- in the Peel version it's `fools')
I have ever seen
Your cover versions are naff
And you live in Berlin

You’re like a (Van Gogh) (?)
You make preggers Gail, with no chin
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe!
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe
Wake up and suss the scene
You’d better leave them parents
And fly Hamburg to Berlin
You’re just a bloody twister
So who do you think you’re foolin’
Australians in Europe
Australians in Europe!
Australians in Europe!

Additional lines in Peel version:
You’d better get a lesson before you turn into a Dutchman
[… ] to New Zealand
Joseph Mullaney
  • 19. Joseph Mullaney | 21/02/2018
`Van Gogh` sounds more like `fat`- something...
dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 21/02/2018
Rich, comment #2, note #4:

RichWe Australians are very proud of our big things eg Big Pineapple, Big Sheep, Big Lobster, Big Ned Kelly. They usually have gift shops attached. I personally climbed to the top of the Big Pineapple in the 70's (for you Brits a pineapple is what you would refer to as an 'aubergine,' not to be confused with a 'courgette' which of course is a watermelon.)


That's definitively hilarious nonsense of the kind that I worry people take seriously!
bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
Yeah I always thought an aubergine was an eggplant...kids could get their hands on this stuff.
bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
I missed "grandad" last week Joseph, I'm going to trust you on that one as I am listening to something else right now...someone will correct us if it's wrong.

I thought it was "granddad," as in grand dad, but Google says British English prefers "grandad," as in gran dad, I guess...
bzfgt
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
Fuck, another one I have to listen to in its entirety and check the lyrics with what Joseph has...
bzfgt
  • 24. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
Yeah he really pronounces "the," it's not "breed"
bzfgt
  • 25. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
"Antipodean" is not clear, it sounds like "antipeedean"
bzfgt
  • 26. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
Yeah it could be "fat," or "Van Gogh" with the "gh" pronounced, like "Van Gough"
bzfgt
  • 27. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
I think it is "Van Gogh savage," and I think it is "McGregor's kilt," not "kiln" (and not "preggers Gail).
bzfgt
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
McGregor's kilt with no chin
bzfgt
  • 29. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
"Fly Hamburg to Berlin," not "try"

I think this is pretty "accurate!" now.
bzfgt
  • 30. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
OK Joseph, the above is my ears and I see it jibes with yours in many places. Macgregor is the main departure. I see you had "fly" too, I changed them then checked with yours and I take it as a good sign where we agree on a chamge.
bzfgt
  • 31. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
But "kilt" removes much of the mystery, it's a clan kilt pattern. And I don't know why "Van Gogh" savage, he may be thinking of Gaugain, or something I don't know about.

https://genius.com/Dag-savage-van-gogh-lyrics

https://www.amazon.com/Hey-Van-Gogh-Elizabeth-Bonzo-Savage/dp/B005B3HK22
bzfgt
  • 32. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
Van Gogh on his painting the Zouave:

Two days into his campaign, he announced to Theo: "I have a model at last—a Zouave—a boy with a small face, a bull neck, and the eye of the tiger." The present work served as a color study for his bust-length portrait of the dashing young soldier. In the oil painting, Van Gogh heightened the "savage combination of incongruous tones," fleshed out the character's likeness, and placed him in a convincing setting.

I assume the second quote is still Van Gogh himself. A stretch, but just maybe a reference to the colors of the kilt. I know, very unlikely

Note if we were doing The Annotated Survivor, we'd really have something though:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPJPFnesV4
bzfgt
  • 33. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
What the fuck is "They're just a bloody twister?" If that's what it really is.
bzfgt
  • 34. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
You guys aren't going to like it, and you;re going to try to talk me down, but I'm warming to this "Van Gogh savage" and "kilt" thing as being a dig at over-colorful clothing.
bzfgt
  • 35. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
Look at this picture of Nick Cave in what looks like a kilt!

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a4/dd/bc/a4ddbcf26c329d309a4b37a2731607da.jpg
bzfgt
  • 36. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
Pants, but they're kilty as hell.
bzfgt
  • 37. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
Aside from a little muddiness around Van Gogh/Macgregor, I think the above is now accurate.
Joseph Mullaney
  • 38. Joseph Mullaney | 26/02/2018
I'm still sure I hear a 'p' sound. Like Portsmout Bubblejet, I'm not hearing 'McGregor' at all.

Also sure it's not 'invented'. It sounds more like 'affected' but without being able to make out the previous word, it's hard to say.
Joseph Mullaney
  • 39. Joseph Mullaney | 26/02/2018
A twister can mean a crook or villain in Britain. It's old usage though.
Joseph Mullaney
  • 40. Joseph Mullaney | 26/02/2018
I'm now thinking that I can hear 'goth' where you have Van Gogh. Which would make sense if the song is at least partly a swipe at Nick Cave.
dannyno
  • 41. dannyno | 04/03/2018
Twister - see my comments on that song here at annotatedfall!
dannyno
  • 42. dannyno | 04/03/2018
Australians in Europe
The biggest things invented I have ever seen
Their cover versions are naff and they live in Berlin
Your like a Van Gogh savage, McGregor's kilt,
With no chin


Ooh dear, I'm not sure any of the variant readings is right.
bzfgt
  • 43. bzfgt (link) | 10/03/2018
Yeah, I was just opening "Twister" in wake of Joseph's comment, good deal
bzfgt
  • 44. bzfgt (link) | 10/03/2018
OO, yeah, maybe "goth savage" I really think the rest of it is right. I'll have a listen.
bzfgt
  • 45. bzfgt (link) | 10/03/2018
I wonder if it's directly related to "crook" since it has a similar (literal) meaning
bzfgt
  • 46. bzfgt (link) | 10/03/2018
Interesting, I already had "crook" in the notes to Twister; if I read my own notes, I'd learn a lot...
Ex worker man
  • 47. Ex worker man | 07/04/2018
point 6 - I heard "you made preggers Gail with no chin" (clearer on the Radio 1 Live in Concert CD) which made me think of Gail from Coronation Street, who as British TV viewers will know is famous for her diminutive jawline.
Wikipedia tells me;
"Early in 1986, Brian's Australian cousin, Ian Latimer (Michael Loney) visits and stays with Ivy. Soon he and Gail are having an affair. Gail admits this to Brian on learning that she is pregnant and doesn't know who is the father. "
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gail_McIntyre

"You'd better leave them parents" sounds more like "you believe in Paris" to me
bzfgt
  • 48. bzfgt (link) | 22/04/2018
Fuck, I really think I hear that Macgregor's kilt stuff, this has to be forensically examined and compared with Peel and live.

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