Open The Boxoctosis

Lyrics

Land of bounty

Open the box, open the box (1)
Open the goddam box!

Open the box, open the box
Open the goddam box!

I opened the box
Of imperial stuff 
And to my surprise
I found twenty five warriors
Warriors
With shields (2)

Open the box, open the box
Open the goddam box!

Open the box, open the box
Open the goddam box!

I opened the box
Of imperial love
And to my surprise
I found twenty five warriors
With ribbons

Land of tolerance
Saints like me
With good word for everybody (3)

Open the box, open the box
Open the goddam box!

Everybody

Open the box, open the box
Open the goddam box!

I found imperious ribbons
I opened the box
And to my surprise
I found love
Imperial stuff

Open the box, open the box
Open the goddam box!

Open the box, open the box
Open the goddam box!

I opened the box
I was well perplexed
I opened the box
It was orthodox
It was looking at me
With imperial love
I opened the box

I opened the b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b...

Land of return to seat
Land of bounty
Land of dope cake

I opened the box

Open the box, open the box
Open the goddam box!

I opened the box
And to my surprise
I found twenty five warriors
At the bottom
At the bottom
At the bottom
At the bottom

Notes

1. Which box? Some have suggested Pandora's box, which seems plausible as at least an allusion...According to Granny on Bongos on the Fall online forum, the song may be referencing a box of toy soldiers given to MES by his sister. On the same thread, worthless recluse points out that the title phrase in the imperative mood is much like something would hear from a customs official. 

Fiery Jack points out that the refrain is very much reminiscent of "Jam the Box" by Bill Summers and Summers [sic] Heat, in which we exhorted to "Jam the box/Jam the box/Jam the hot damn box!"

Basmikel points out a possible connection to the British game show Take Your Pick!  From Wikipedia:

At the climax of the show, contestants would be offered the choice of whether to "take the money" (take all money they had earned so far) or "open the box", which could contain good prizes such as a holiday or a washing machine. It could also contain booby prizes such as a mousetrap or a bag of sweets.

Could the box be a coffin, or MES's closet?  From Sounds, 13 August 1983:

"As a kid I used to be obsessed that like I was reincarnated from the trenches of the First World War. I used to think  that one day I would open the closet and a load of war dead would pour  out all over me. 
The other dreams I had were the usual child nightmares about tripping over or dreaming that you were going to school in your vest..."

Dave points out that episode 144 of The Twilight Zone is called "What's in  the Box?" It's about a  television set that shows a man his past and future...the plot doesn't  seem particularly  relevant, but MES is known to have been a huge Twilight Zone fan, and the title might have stayed with him...

^

2. These lines make me think of the Chinese Terracotta Army, 8,000 terracotta figurines that were dug up in 1974 in a Chinese emperor's tomb. The terracotta warriors are more or less life-sized, though, which makes it seem less likely MES would find a box of them under the Christmas tree.

^

3. These lines are sung in a different voice, which may indicate a different narrator. "Tolerance" is probably never a good word in MES's mouth. The "land" is described at various points thusly: land of bounty, land of tolerance, land of return to seat, and land of dope cake. It is possible the weakness and decadence of modern-day English or Westerners in general is being contrasted, presumably unfavorably, with the disciplined and purposeful "imperial" warriors, whereever their own "land" may be (again, maybe China).

^

Comments (23)

Fiery Jack
  • 1. Fiery Jack | 14/11/2015
The refrain appears to be based on the one from Bill Summers & Summers Heat's "Jam the Box" from 1981. Most versions contained a slightly edited chorus that sounded like "jam the box / jam the box / jam the hot-damn box!" It was a minor, proto-rap hit in the US.
bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 23/11/2015
Great catch!
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 29/04/2017
An echo:

Interview by Jack Barron, Sounds, 13 August 1983:


As a kid I used to be obsessed that like I was reincarnated from the trenches of the First World War. I used to think one day I would open the closet and a load of war dead would pour out all over me.
Basmikel
  • 4. Basmikel | 20/06/2018
I always thought this references first televised British game show Take Your Pick! "Take the money or open the box"
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2018
Interesting, I never heard of that.
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2018
Good connection!
Paul Go
  • 7. Paul Go | 29/11/2018
-osis means abnormal
oct is 8
box a few things

together this might translate as a (medically) abnormal 8 (sided) box.

this album has a 3 titles with some form of greek kenning
another 2 tracks on this album relate to medical things (greek language of medicine)
past about food and biology
fair bit of blood vampire stuff in sparta
Paul Go
  • 8. Paul Go | 29/11/2018
Forgot the relevant bit:

The word 'box' has an unusual double meaning as it has two distinct sources. Latin, relating to wood and containers, and Germanic, relating to hit or fight.

I should probably mention that 'open' can be used with both derivations, the apparent literal meaning in the lyrics, and opening blow, or opening round of a fight.

The medical abnormality crops up in some ways, but the 8 or oct is conspicuous in its absence within lyrics.
Paul Go
  • 9. Paul Go | 04/12/2018
This is really the thread for wild stallion boy and the ball blessing Kapitan.
Paul Go
  • 10. Paul Go | 06/12/2018
This'd probably be my theme tune. Opening credits anyway.
nutterwain
  • 11. nutterwain | 28/01/2019
Land of return to seat
Land of bounty
Land of dope cake

Could this be returning back to the UK with a reference to humour of Brass Eye? Chris Morris played a superb spoof about the made up drug called 'cake' around this time. Seem to remember Phil Collins being taken in
dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 02/02/2019
comment #11, nutterwain:


Chris Morris played a superb spoof about the made up drug called 'cake' around this time. Seem to remember Phil Collins being taken in


Sadly for this theory, the Brass Eye cake episode was broadcast on 5 February 1997, 6 years and 7 months before the live debut of the song (granted the album was recorded from late 2002, but that would still be 5 years plus).

Phil Collins was in the "Paedogeddon!" one-off episode broadcast 26 July 2001.
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 16/02/2019
Dan, it's true that "around this time" has been defeated, but as for the rest of it "sadly" seems to imply that Brass Eye came after the song, doesn't it? I mean, if we're being reasonable about it? After all, VCRs were invented around this time...

...but I have no idea what "Brass Eye" is or what any of that actually means so if anyone wants it in a note they have to fill in the gaps.
dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 26/02/2019
Bah!
Dave
  • 15. Dave | 21/04/2019
"What's in the Box" is episode 144 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

It is also apparently a famous line from the end of the 1995 film Seven - which I haven't seen so don't want to spoil the ending.

None of this seems to be relevant to the song however.
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 04/05/2019
"The other dreams I had were the usual child nightmares about tripping over or dreaming that you were going to school in your vest..."

Your "vest"? Is that like underwear or something you sleep in in England?
Paul GodBoxoctosis
  • 17. Paul GodBoxoctosis | 23/05/2019
'Land of milking'
As in bountiful "land flowing with milk and honey".
Except, 'milking' as in stealing/squeezing.

One of many Abrahamic references in the song.
'Imperial love' of the Christian God.
Hebrew Ezekiel's vision of an still unbuilt millennial temple, a vision where Ezekiel 'looked inside' and saw 25 worshipers.
The 25 named prophets of Islam.
'orthodox', 'god damn', 'saints', 'good word' 'shield of faith' - all related to Abrahamic traditions.

All at the bottom, or behind it all.
Perplex, as in interwoven into it.
Ribbons, of solidarity and peace.

I hear at least one 'worriers'.
Paul Go
  • 18. Paul Go | 23/05/2019
Pyjamas in bed, naturally. A proper Englishman is never naked, wearing at least a vest, socks and underpants at all other times, even in our dreams apparently.
Paul Go
  • 19. Paul Go | 23/05/2019
-osis means abnormal, oct is 8, B B B B B B B B, together this might translate as a (medically) abnormal 8 (sided) box.

The word 'box' has an unusual double meaning as it has two distinct sources. Latin, relating to wood and containers, and Germanic, relating to hit or fight. 'Open' can be used with both derivations, the apparent literal meaning in the lyrics, and opening blow, or opening round of a fight.
Paul Go
  • 20. Paul Go | 24/05/2019
Here more than anywhere I've learnt, one man's 'bleedin' obvious' is another man's 'insane preponderance of speculative meaning'.
Anyway, that's the easy bit for what it's worth. The hard bit is putting all that together.
Paul Go
  • 21. Paul Go | 26/05/2019
To fall in line with a more normal line of thought, could 'Dope Cake' have something to do with me remembering seeing Reeves & Mortimer's funny Master Chef routine? 'It's a shoe cake, it's a cakey shoe, a cake like a shoe!'. Also, Reeves liked Mark and his music, so, there's that too.

I may have over-done the tranqs this eve.
bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 07/06/2019
Where do you hear "milking"? Where we have "bounty"? "Bounty" sounds very clear here, at least on the RNFLP version, as does "stuff" and "warriors"...
Paul Go
  • 23. Paul Go | 08/06/2019
Land of return to seat
Land of bounty
Land of milking

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