Mollusc in Tyrol

Lyrics


Testing
Mollusc...role
Ziggurat grave (2)
Tombstone states
(...) to Tyrol 
(...) back on your streets (slave)
Destined to meet

To Weymouth on back (...) (3)
I'm a mollusc raw
I'm a mollusc raw

I scrub the wall, circle, bisexual and (...) mollusc
M... O... D... (...) L... L... U... S... C...
(Check the number)

I'm a mollusc raw
I'm a mollusc raw
The mollusc was a friend of Tony from Austria

I'm a mollusc raw
I'm a mollusc raw

I'm a mollusc raw
I'm a mollusc 
Mollusc
(...)
Mollusc raw
I'm a mollusc raw
(Ziggurat grave)
I'm a mollusc raw
I'm a mollusc raw
Mollusc
M... O... L...
(...)
I'm a mollusc raw
Mollusc
Ziggurat grave
Tombstone states
(...) whiskey
(...) destined to meet

The mollusc to get to (white limpets) (4)
It slithered the roads
Slithered
Tyrol

I'm a mollusc raw
The mollusc, to get to (white limpets)
It slithered the roads
To the Tyrol
To the Tyrol

I'm a mollusc raw
I'm a mollusc role
Changed his name to Martin
Changed his name to Martin
But the braggart had crushed his heart
Like a tiny Eidelweiss (5)
Billy braggart had crushed his heart (6)
And the blood sucked to Vienna airport
Its trail mingled 
I'm a mollusc role
I'm a mollusc role (7)
[... Vienna airport
Its trail mingled]
 

Notes

1. A mollusc, often spelled "mollusk," is any member of a phylum of invertebrate, mostly aquatic, animals, including clams, oysters, snails (of both the aquatic and terrestiral variety), squid and octopi; the giant squid, a mollusc, is the largest known invertebrate. Tyrol is a region of Europe that is located in Austria and Italy. The song consists of a recitation by MES over a tape of music by Craig Leon, which is a song the latter wrote for a ballet and entitled "Donkeys Bearing Cups," which appeared on his 1981 album called Nommos. Nommos are fish-like deities worshiped by the Dogon tribe in the West African country of Mali. The Dogon became famous in the West in 1976 when Robert Temple's The Sirius Mystery claimed that the Dogon must have had contact with extra-terrestrial beings because of their advanced knowledge of the Sirius star system, from which the Nommos are said to hail--a claim which, for some reason, met with little accceptance in the scientific community. It was suggested by one of Temple's critics that his claims were in fact inspired by MES favorite H.P. Lovecraft rather than being based on evidence. 

Tyrol was a historical region in the Alps, spanning parts of what is now northern Italy and Austria. Modern day Tyrol occupies part of this region, in Austria. 

Karlb suggests that Albrecht Dúrer's 1495 oil painting View of the Arco Valley is an inspiration. Arco is a town in Northern Italy, and Arco Castle overlooks it. In Dürer's painting, the hill upon which the castle stands looks like a snail, which probably inspired the title. It would not be the first time that MES wrote a cryptic lyric about a mollusc that seems, upon inspection, to be referring to an architectural artifact--see "City Hobgoblins," "So Queen Victoria/Is a large black slug in Piccadilly, Manchester."

Live Fall shows in the late 80s often began with a taped version of this song, sometimes featuring MES reciting over the music and sometimes instrumental. The above transcription, from Reformation, is incomplete.

^

2. Ziggurats are step pyramids in the Mesopotamian region (largely modern day Iraq) of prehistoric provenance. They were built by Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Elamites and Assyrians. They were not graves, however, but temples (thanks Karlb). 

^

3. Weymouth is a town in Dorset, England.

^

4. "Limpet" is a name applied to a number of aquatic snails (all of which are molluscs); the one in the song seems to have gone terrestrial. 

^

5. The Eidelweiss is a flower that has been used as a symbol of Austria. According to Wikipedia:

The Edelweiss in the 19th century became a symbol of the rugged purity of the High Alps and of the supposedly similar qualities of the native population of the Alpine region. The Edelweiss became current as such a symbol in German literature and poetry of the first half of the 19th century, and soon also in the romantic nationalism of the time, in Austria, Switzerland, Tyrol, and Bavaria.

Berthold Auerbach published a novel entitled Edelweiss in 1861, where the difficulty for an alpinist to acquire an edelweiss flower was exaggerated to the point of claiming that "the possession of one is a proof of unusual daring". This idea at the time was becoming part of the popular mythology of early alpinism. Auerbach's novel appeared in English translation in 1869, prefaced with a quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson,

"There is a flower known to botanists, one of the same genus with our summer plant called 'Life-Everlasting', a Gnaphalium like that, which grows on the most inaccessible cliffs of the Tyrolese mountains, where the chamois dare hardly venture, and which the hunter, tempted by its beauty and by his love (for it is immensely valued by the Swiss maidens), climbs the cliffs to gather, and is sometimes found dead at the foot, with the flower in his hand. It is called by botanists the Gnaphalium leontopodium, but by the Swiss EDELWEISS, which signifies NOBLE PURITY."

The Eidelweiss was said to be the famous Austrian Adolf Hitler's favorite flower in a 1934 song by tenor Harry Steier. Many will also be familiar with its use as an anti-nazi Austrian nationalist symbol in the song "Eidelweiss" from The Sound of Music.

^

6. Reformation points out that this may be a sly reference to Billy Bragg. 

^

7. "Role" is the Lyrics Parade version. I think I hear "raw" sometimes, but I'm not sure. So these are two suggestions, but the word may be the same all the way through.

^

 

 
 
 
 
 

Comments (11)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 02/02/2014
I wonder...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_pyramids_of_South_Tyrol
Ardinno
  • 2. Ardinno | 30/06/2014
I've always heard "Tuesday...to Martin" as "changed his name to Martin".
Karlb
  • 3. Karlb | 30/03/2019
Ziggurats are not tombs or graves like pyramids..they were places of worship. Marks description suggests the Tyrol as a place of buried Ziggurats. Of interest is Dürers view of the Arco valley in Tyrol. Its a very close starting point for Marks lyric. But from where does the mollusc reference come.? Dürer in his approach to representing forms devised mathematical ways to render natural forms. He devised schneckenlinie or snail-line to render curving/ spiral forms. Dürer also had an ambigous relationship with Wilibald Pirckheimmer (Billy). It has been suggested Dürer was bisexual. Pirckheimmer funded his Grand tour, which was probably when the Arco valley image was made. Dürer was also a supporter and sympathiser of Martin Luther. He had plans to make engravings or paintings of the great man before he died. A final note is the book The valleys of the Tyrol by R.H. Busk,which relates folk and supernatural traditions of the Tyrol. Almost immediately in chapter 1 we encounter the Ladybird, ladybird fly away home rhyme. .probabably belongs in another comments section though....its possible Mark had this book.
Karlb
  • 4. Karlb | 30/03/2019
And its probably mollusc roll.
TeeGee
  • 5. TeeGee | 26/05/2019
As I grew up in Tyrol, I can say it’s a strange part of the world, from first hand experience
. There is superstition, and yes you do need to be game and climb above the Trealines to get to your Edelweiss .
However knowing Mark was a prankster and loved the German Language, I get the feeling, that as Austria and Tyrol, are landlocked, he may well have been trying to ‘create’ some false lore, about ‘Molluscs in Tyrol’.
I never saw any. And yes, I did climb mountains and see some Edelweiss . And yes it gets ‘weird ‘ up there... that’s another story tho .
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
The castle in Dürer's painting looks exactly like a snail!
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
Or rather the hill with the castle on it
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
I think it's "raw." And now I'm convinced it's a snail, and snails don't have claws...do any of them have claws?
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
Some of them do sound more like "role." This will take a little time to settle I think, maybe they all are
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
Damn, it looks like I was responsible for "claw"? What the hell was I thinking....heh, I'll probably say the same about "raw" eventually...it may have to all go to "role"
bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
That Craig Leon album is good

Add a comment