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 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 Kurious Orange. They Were 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 freed the Blacks too. (3)
They built church in one day, man,
Amish (4)
They were curious orange...
Their clothes were cool.
Paved way for atom bomb--didn't know.
They made the Jews go to school.
They made Hitler laugh in pain.
They sent 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 beyond Ooobenblief
They were primo efficient to a man.
They were Stuyvestant smoking. (7)
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 positively deranged and 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. 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. 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. 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. "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 (11)

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.

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