Impression of J. Temperance



Hate wide for dog breeder
in the town of purport
A never seen dog breeder
This is the tale of his replica.


Name was J. Temperance
Only two did not hate him
Because peasants fear local indifference
Pet shop and the vet, Cameron.


One night vet is called out
from his overpaid leisure
To Temperance household:
Delivered, ran out,
and phoned his wife in terror.


The next bit is hard to relate.
(There are no read-outs for this part of the track.)
The new born thing hard to describe
Like a rat that's been trapped inside
A warehouse base, near a city tide
Brown sockets, purple eyes
And fed with rubbish from disposal barges
Brown, uncovered
Brown, uncovered 

No changeling,        (2)
as the birth was witnessed.
Only one person could do this:
"Yes" said Cameron
"and the thing was in the
impression of J. Temperance."


His hideous replica (3)
Scrutinized little monster
DIsappeared through the door (4)
His hideous replica
His hideous replica



1. A weird tale, but one not hard to get the basic gist of; a dog breeder conducting odd experiments, or, if you like, throwing himself into his work and taking the "breeding" part a bit too literally. In one way or another, he produces a dog/thing which resembles him closely enough that Cameron, the vet, runs from the scene of the birth in terror. On the Legendary Chaos Tape (recorded in December 1980 in London) MES reveals that 'J' stands for "Jermyn" (this is corroborated by leftover liner material for Grotesque). This is an apparent allusion to the early H.P. Lovecraft story "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family," which similarly has a theme of interspecies breeeding; Arthur Jermyn commits suicide when he discovers he is descended from a sort of ape goddess whom an ancestor of Jermyn's, an explorer, met in an African city of white apes.    


2. "Changeling" usually refers to a fairy baby that has been left by the fairies that abducted your baby, and more generally any baby that has been switched with another. 


3. The influence of Lovecraft is perhaps evident in the choice of one of the latter's favorite adjectives, the insistence that the thing is hard to describe (which is nevertheless followed, as it always is in Lovecraft, by a grotesque description), and the general mood of the lyrics. The whole thing can be read as a joke (the punchline would be that the protagonist had sex with a dog), but it can also be taken as a homage to pulp horror stories.


4. From "Oh! Brother": "He scrutinized a little monster/And disappeared through red door."


Comments (13)

  • 1. Zack | 26/09/2013

On "The Legendary Chaos Tape" MES tells us what the "J." stands for - sounds like "Jermaine."

  • 2. Colin | 11/10/2013

This song is about bestiality.

  • 3. bzfgt | 15/10/2013 you don't think I covered that with the line "the punchline would be that the protagonist had sex with a dog"?

  • 4. Colin | 22/10/2013

Just giving my opinion. mate.

  • 5. bzfgt | 24/10/2013

Well, OK, then...

  • 6. Colin | 25/10/2013

I don't understand why you have to be pissy about it.

  • 7. bzfgt | 26/10/2013

I didn't mean that as pissy at all, unless you mean my first comment, which was a little pissy, sorry...

  • 8. Antoine | 24/10/2015

Regarding Zack's old comment RE the Chaos Tape, it certainly does sound like Mark says "Jermaine" but with a surname like Temperance, it's most definitely got to be Jeremiah. And interestingly enough, thanks to a quick Google search, the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament touches frequently on temperance:

It might also be worthwhile to add a note for "Changeling," I'm pretty sure I didn't know what a changeling was when I first heard the song:

And thirdly (all my comments must be unbearably wordy, apologies) I've just recently noticed that the line "Inscrutinizable monster... disappeared through the door" in the "this hideous replica/this hideous replica/this hideous replica/this hideous replica/etc" section at the end is echoed in Oh! Brother as "He scrutinized a little monster and disappeared through the red door."

  • 9. Antoine | 02/11/2015

Whoops! What an oaf, I hadn't clued into the Jermyn bit. How did I miss that?

  • 10. bzfgt | 16/11/2015

Yeah, don't know how I never noticed the Oh! Brother thing, good call.

  • 11. Loupen | 18/01/2016

Great post! Love the Lovecraftian 'too-terrible-for-description'-ism.
btw Anyone remember that photo of a dog looks like Vladimir Putin?

  • 12. bzfgt | 19/01/2016

Yeah, I remember that!

  • 13. dannyno | 14/06/2017

From the Grotesque press release:

'Impression' is the oldest song on the album and was written during the 'Totales Turns' period in a bed and breakfast in Retford miles from anywhere when the locals got suspiciously friendly and there was a huge man-sized one-eyed teddy bear on the landing.

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