Kurious Oranj

Lyrics

(1)

They were curious orange
They were curious oranj

Pained and intense, man  (2)
They were inquiring
They were curious orange
They were curious orange
They rode over peasants like you, they rode over peasants like you,
And their horses loved them too, and their horses loved them too
They were curious curious curious orange
Curious curious curious orange
They were curious curious curious orange
They built the world as we know it, all the systems you traverse
Rode slipshod over all dumbshits
They were curious orange
They were curious orange
They were curious orange

They freed the Blacks too.(3)
They built church in one day, man,
Amish (4)
They were curious orange
They were curious orange

Ba ba ba ba
They were curious orange

Curious orange
They were curious orange
They were curious orange

Their clothes were cool
Paved way for atom bomb 
They made the Jews go to school
They sent Hitler/missionary girls to Arab states, and the sun-baked men
did drool  (5)
They were curious orange

They made Hitler laugh in pain
They turned Napoleon over and didn't know
They invented birth control (6)
They were invulnerable to cool
They were curious orange


They were curious curious curious orange

They were curious orange
They were curious orange

They were beyond Ooobenblief (7)
They were primo efficient to a man.
They were Stuyvestant smoking. (8)
They were the Reformation spring
And everybody in the world turned Reformation blue
They were invulnerable to cool
And everybody in the world...
And they were inquiring

They were curious curious curious orange
They were positively deranged and they were curious orange.
They were curious orange

They were curious orange

Notes

1. The album I Am Kurious Oranj was written for the ballet I Am Curious Orange, choreographed by Michael Clarke and performed by his troupe to the live accompaniment of the Fall. The theme was more or less William of Orange (1650-1702), aka William III, ruler of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Holland. William was seen as a standard-bearer for the Protestant faith, deposing the Catholic James II, and waging war against the Catholic king of France, Louis XIV. In some ways the song is about William, but at times it seems to be about Protestantism in general. The ballet coincided with the 300th anniversary of his accesion to the English throne. According to Mark E. Smith in his book, Renegade, "We adapted the title from a Swedish porno film--I am Curious, Yellow. I was trying to make the point that we all share some kind of common knowledge that's within ourselves; that comes out in all sorts of things. Some people call it a gene pool. It's as if you already know subconsciously about historical incidents. You don't have to have been taught it. It's in-built. At the time I wanted to put this across, basically as a loose explanation of what was happening in Belfast: it's in the head and bones and there's nothing you can do about it." (158-9)

According to Russell, though, "I am Curious, Yellow is NOT a porn film - but when it came out (early 70s?) in Manchester there was only one cinema showing foreign films - Swedish, for example - and that also showed for-the-time porn, too, anything with a bit of nudity or a saucy title, nothing on the modern internet... WR Mysteries of the Organism also showed there, if i remember rightly. But the "I am curious" films are wonderful (and witty) examinations of bohemian/student lifestyles in generally stuffy 60s Sweden. The original film had Yellow as a suffix , while there's a whole other film called I am Curious, Blue made up entirely out of outtakes, and almost as good as the first version (the two are complementary and can now be purchased together on dvd). The Yellow and Blue refer to the colours of the Swedish flag."

^

2.The lyrics book has "pains in the arse, man" which makes more sense.

^

3. This may refer to the "Black Irish," a term which may have been used by Catholics to describe Protestant Irish. However, I am unsure about this, having found little corroboration of this usage; it seems to more commonly refer to an Irish person with dark hair and features. England under William was heavily involved in the international slave trade, so the term probably doesn't refer to those of African descent. There is a Royal Black Institution that is associated with the Orange Order, but this connection seems tenuous. Otherwise, MES seems to be having fun attributing all kinds of historical events to William III and his retinue.  According to Keg on the Fall online forum, "The 'Glorious Revolution' and constitutional reform that went with it (historians generally include the Act of Settlement 1701 in this) is seen as the foundation of the modern state, ie parliamentary democracy, Bank of England, National Debt. The monarch would no longer be able to rule without a sitting parliament. So MES is just referencing things back to this pivotal time in British history, in an 'it all started here' way." This seems as plausible an interpretation as I've seen. 

^

4. The Amish originated in what is now Switzerland and parts of Germany toward the end of the 17th century. They are known for cooperative building projects, in which they raise a barn, a house, or a church in one day. The Amish (along with other new world Anabaptists) are largely Pennsylvania Dutch (a term in which "Dutch" is an old variant of Deutsch, or German) so they may also be lumped in here for the Dutch theme, as well as the Protestant one. Throughout, MES seems to be conflating William and his court with Protestants and Dutch in general, but even that may be too narrow an interpretation, as the following lines show...

^

5. Two vocals overlap here, with one taking the "Hitler" line and the other, seemingly edited in, taking up with "missionary girls." 
As far as I can make out, Protestant missions to the Middle East began in the early 19th Century.

^

6. Most of these deeds are not attributable to William or any of his crew. The birth control reference is again perhaps aimed at Protestantism in general. And, for the "Dutch" theme, the world's first birth control clinic, I am told, was in Holland in the early 20th century. So it goes with the "gene pool" method of history (see note 1 above).

^

7. Uben blief means "overflowing."

^

8. "Peter Stuyvesant" is a brand of cigarettes, named after the Dutch director of the New Netherlands (a large colony whose capital was New Amsterdam, which later became New York City). He held the post while William was the regent of Holland, and at one point New York City was called "New Orange," when the Dutch briefly recaptured it from the British in 1673 (at this point William was the ruler of Holland, but not yet the king of England). 

^

Comments (40)

russell richardson
  • 1. russell richardson | 08/05/2015
"I am Curious, Yellow" is NOT a porn film - but when it came out (early 70s?) in Manchester there was only one cinema showing foreign films - Swedish, for example - and that also showed for-the-time porn, too, anything with a bit of nudity or a saucy title, nothing on the modern internet... . WR Mysteries of the Organism also showed there, if i remember rightly. But the "I am curious" films are wonderful (and witty) examinations of bohemian/student lifestyles in generally stuffy 60s Sweden. The original film had Yellow as a suffix , while there's a whole other film called I am Curious, Blue made up entirely out of outtakes, and almost as good as the first version (the two are complementary and can now be purchased together on dvd). The Yellow and Blue refer to the colours of the Swedish flag.
Sumsiadad
  • 2. Sumsiadad | 30/01/2016
This may refer to the "Black Irish," a term which may have been used by Catholics to describe Protestant Irish.


As far as I've always understood it, Black Irish refers to Irish people with black hair and dark eyes, a physical type which is notably more common in Ireland than in England and Scotland (let's leave Wales out of this for the moment). My father used to repeat the old wives' tale (or old father's tale) that they were descendants of shipwrecked sailors from the Spanish Armada. Anyway, this has always seemed to me like a derogatory term, and the opposite of what you state: used by the Protestant Irish, who were largely Scottish and English settlers, to described the 'native' Catholic Irish.

As the song is more about Protestantism, though very loosely, than William of Orange in particular then the line, 'They freed the Blacks too', probably refers to the ending of the slave trade - particularly the efforts of the Abolitionists, who were often evangelical Christians or Quakers.
Zack
  • 3. Zack | 03/07/2016
I don't know anything about musical theater beyond what I have gleaned from parodies on 'The Simpsons', 'Mr. Show' and the like, but I am vaguely aware of a Broadway trope in which the cast literally sings the praises of the show's hero. I'm sure that in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' there's a number where the cast sings about how great Jesus was, and in '...Technicolor Dreamcoat' isn't there a song about the goddamn coat?

The wonderful TV Tropes website calls this either a Bragging Theme Tune ("the song is about just how amazing a character is, describing how all his enemies pale in comparison") or an "I Am" Song ("a song which establishes a character's personality, role in the plot, and/or motivations right away").

"Kurious Oranj" reminds me very much of these types of Broadway musical numbers and likely served a similar role in the 'I Am Curious Orange' ballet.
nairng
  • 4. nairng | 06/02/2017
Hey Bzfgt,
"Pained & intense man" I think is wrong...The VII lyrics books has "pains in the arse, man", which I think is correct. There's an overdubbed vocal so it's not very clear (I refer to the vinyl versh, dunno if CD differs), but to me "pains in the arse, man" is more of an MES line than "pained & intense man".
Love the site, etc etc
N
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 11/02/2017
Nairng, the cd version seems failrly clearly to be "pained and intense, man." I will see if I can find the vinyl version on youtube, I bet it differs.
jholv
  • 6. jholv | 13/02/2017
are these the 'official' lyrics ?? I always heard "and their heart says: love them too"
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 15/02/2017
jholv: usually the lyrics here depart from sources like the lyrics books if peoples' ears hear something different on record. Beyond that, what does "official mean"?

Anyway, are you hearing that instead of, "And their horses loved them too"?
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
The line does not appear in the recorded version i the blue book. The lyrics from there I will enter above.
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
Never mind, they don't differ much, just shorter, except for the line "They were beyond oobenblief."
bizz
  • 10. bizz | 18/02/2017
Crap, that's in the lyrics too, I just messed up with cmnd-F.
bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
I see, three os.
Craig
  • 12. Craig | 28/09/2017
Mark clearly says rode slipshot over on DUMB CHURCH not slip shot over all dumbshits
dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 03/10/2017
"Slipshod", though, right? Horsey word, innit.
dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 03/10/2017
Comment #12. I don't hear "dumb church" particularly. Certainly not "clear".
dannyno
  • 15. dannyno | 03/10/2017
"They were beyond (o)oobenblief"

"Uben" is German for "to practise", or "to do". That's as far as I can get.
dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 03/10/2017
"They turned Napoleon over and didn't know."

It sometimes sounds like "They turned the poem over..." to me.
Craig
  • 17. Craig | 09/10/2017
#14 your right about slipshod.my mistake.
Craig
  • 18. Craig | 09/10/2017
#16 that line always sounded like "they turned the public over and didnt know" anyone else hear that?
bzfgt
  • 19. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
Ha, I thought you were calling us "dumbshits" at first glance. Checking..."dumb church" would fit better with the theme, but it sounds "dumb shits" to me and "all dumb church" doesn't really make as much sense...
bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
Plus it would be closer to a rhyme...alas.
bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
Do I really not have a note for "They were beyond oobenblief?" What the fuck is that?
bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
Well, uben blief is "overflowing."
Craig
  • 23. Craig | 12/11/2017
#21bzfgt rode slipshod over all dumb church makes sense to me because part of this song is about the protestant reformation. The line freed the blacks too refering to "black irish" would make sense as a tie in to that."they were the reformation spring" is also probably a reference to the protestant reformation as well. Unforunatly i cant find the article but i read an interview with mark e smith once of him discussing this song. If i recall correctly he stated that this song was about how we can possibly genetically pass down memorys and feelings from are ancestors,family and that we subconciously remember events and feelings from the past and it ends up influencing are actions.once again if i recall correctly mark smith said this song ties in several history events as a possible example of this theory.has anyone else read a interview with mark e smith were he discussed what i just explained?
Craig
  • 24. Craig | 12/11/2017
So what is the tie in between the protestant reformation and hitler in this song? Alot of early mark e smith lyrics have lines themed at opposing anti semitism. All the lines in this song referencing adolf hitler are odd.the one line about jewish people in the song is "they made the jews go to school". Marin luther started the reformation. He was also german.in two of his later works martin luther expressed angry views toward the jewish people. Writing that jewish peoples homes and synagogues should be destroyed. If you go the the wiki page entitled protestantism and judaism it discusses the relationship that formed between Protestantism and Judaism during the reformation. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism_and_Judaism
Craig
  • 25. Craig | 12/11/2017
Also in 1581 the northern dutch providence declared independance from the spanish empire.a principle motive for independance was to practice protestant christinity which was forbidden under spanish rule.religious tolorance was an important part of the newly found dutch state. As a result jewish people that were religiously oppressed in other parts of the world were welcome in the new dutch state to practice their religious beliefs.
dannyno
  • 26. dannyno | 13/11/2017
Craig, comment #23:


If i recall correctly he stated that this song was about how we can possibly genetically pass down memorys and feelings from are ancestors,family and that we subconciously remember events and feelings from the past and it ends up influencing are actions.once again if i recall correctly mark smith said this song ties in several history events as a possible example of this theory.has anyone else read a interview with mark e smith were he discussed what i just explained?


See the comment from Renegade in note 1:


We adapted the title from a Swedish porno film--I am Curious, Yellow. I was trying to make the point that we all share some kind of common knowledge that's within ourselves; that comes out in all sorts of things. Some people call it a gene pool. It's as if you already know subconsciously about historical incidents. You don't have to have been taught it. It's in-built.
Craig
  • 27. Craig | 13/11/2017
Aww very good dannyo. Next time i comment on something ill try not to smoke a fat ass joint and read all the fine print. I cant picture mark smith smoking pot. I could however pitcure him snorting a line of meth off a big pair of breast back stage after a show. I often wonder how many years of sleep that man has lost with all his partying.
dannyno
  • 28. dannyno | 14/11/2017
Re: that quote by MES.

MES calls it the "gene pool", but it sounds more like some version of Jung's "collective unconscious".

Or perhaps a mistaken reference to "genetic memory": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_memory_(psychology) , cf Johann Herder's "racial memory" or W.B. Yeats' Spiritus Mundi or Anima Mundi.

It's all bunk, of course, and in the case of Herder, dodgy []iVölkisch[/i] bunk which fed into Nazi ideology. But something like this seems to be what MES has in mind.
dannyno
  • 29. dannyno | 14/11/2017
"They turned Napoleon over and didn't know"

If this is "Napoleon" and not "the poem" or some other thing, and bearing in mind the Orange/Protestant Irish theme... might this be some cryptic reference to Napoleon's plans to invade Ireland: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Legion?
dannyno
  • 30. dannyno | 14/11/2017
Re-reading it, it's almost like the text is a parody or satire on the idea of genetic memory, by taking it to an absurd extreme. Did Orangeism pave the way to the atom bomb? Well, you could argue a case, but it would be a bizarre claim to make of a collective unconscious.
dannyno
  • 31. dannyno | 14/11/2017
I suppose a question to resolve is how far "orange" represents Ulster Protestantism and how much William of Orange historically. MES's comment suggests a modern reference point, but it's hard to unravel that from the 300-year-anniversary commentary and the wider Reformation theme.
Craig
  • 32. Craig | 14/11/2017
Very insightful stuff dannyo. I think your right about some of the lyrics and themes being a bit satirical.the fact that he referenced a porn film as the idea behind the title of the song says alot.
dannyno
  • 33. dannyno | 14/11/2017
Well, he calls it a porn film. It's not.

p.s. it's "dannyno", not "dannyo".
Craig
  • 34. Craig | 15/11/2017
Maybe he was jerking off while watching the movie and got confused? A man has to do what a man has to do.viva la france!
bzfgt
  • 35. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
No, Craig, I'm not saying "dumb church" doesn't make sense, I'm acknowledging it makes more sense. Unfortunately, the phonetics just don't seem to be there.

I think that the genetic memory is more of a Macguffin for a more free-associative ramble, I agree that there must be an element of parody. Remember MES is a fan of sci-fi, alternate history, and flat-out pseudo-science, but he's not a gobemouche (ha! I learned that word in the 1980s and never, ever remembered to use it until just now), he gets a kick out of that stuff and I think he thinks it frees the imagination in some sense and gets us out of an overly (four)square take on history etc.

Yes, in part the song seems to be just about Protestantism ("birth control" etc.) which was William III's main driving passion, seemingly...
bzfgt
  • 36. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
Re: Black Irish, I note: "This may refer to the "Black Irish," a term which may have been used by Catholics to describe Protestant Irish. However, I am unsure about this, having found little corroboration of this usage; it seems to more commonly refer to an Irish person with dark hair and features."

I no longer remember where I even got the connection of Black Irish with Protestantism, all I can find about it on the internet now is the reference to hair/features.
bzfgt
  • 37. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
""They were beyond (o)oobenblief"

"Uben" is German for "to practise", or "to do". That's as far as I can get."

Huh, I missed some comments back there somehow. Note that this is now sorted.
bzfgt
  • 38. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
The Blue Lyrics Book attests "Napoleon" (would that those books were dispositive!), and note it comes right after "made Hitler laugh," so I am reasonably secure in that one--it's presence in the lyrics book in any case would need to be reckoned with whereas "turned the poem over" is odd but doesn't seem to provide an avenue for interpretation at all through which it could be corroborated (although seeming can be deceptive in these matters as we well know, so I'm not dismissing it entirely).
Craig
  • 39. Craig | 19/11/2017
Black irish was in my opionion a bit of a racist term to describe the irish. Alot of groups in europe considered the irish the blacks of eroupe. I think part of the eurpean hatred of the irish stemmed from the fact that they were seperated from the rest of europe. They live on an island which caused a divide. The whole "they are not us" mentality and rumors spread about were they originated from. I think the racial hatred of the irish peaked in the united states in the 1800s. There would be signs posted no blacks no irish no dogs.all sorts of rumors spread in the united states about the irish and where the dark haired irish were originally from. Recenly through dna testing they have found two large migrations dating back 4000 years in ireland. One was from spain and those people were from the middle east. The other was from russia and the Ukraine. Most people in ireland today have dna tracing back to the middle east and russia. Im part irish and find it interesting that i might have middle eastern spanish and russian blood in me. We are all of mixed blood way more then we realise.
Craig
  • 40. Craig | 19/11/2017
I need to start checking my spelling when i post shit stoned.

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