Van Plague?

Lyrics

(1)

From over the ocean came plague
Via the ocean plague came

Plague came & we're not the same
All around is pure tension
Beliefs and tears now & again
From where has this great sadness came

From sou'west flew plague
From what has plague came?

I laughed at chicks with frustration
Fear of plague has sent us home
For love at least of our dear mum
Father takes it in his stride
Says "back in the closet, son"

Was it ocean brought the plague?
Over the ocean came plague

Plague came, nothing is the same
All there is is death and pain
Hearts now broken on our ...
Love dissolved as they do now
Love dissolved by Haitian sun

Did South Atlantic bring plague?
What evil ocean brought plague?

Plague flew up from an ocean
From satan's tree and his baboon
A body's waste 'neath a gibbous moon (2)
Rancid kid drowned in lagoon

From still blue ocean came plague
From Caribbean plague came

Plague came in that Satan made
And our friends became deranged
Secret glamrock, gleeful hands
We stock Far Corporation (3)
Glamrock family leisure zone

It was an evil plague

They sparked up and they built the boat
Put wind in its grim sail
Bringing plague and our peril
Bringing plague and our peril
 
Bringing plague and our peril
Bringing plague and our peril

Notes

1. A song from I Am Kurious Oranj with all the mad thematic confusion that implies. MES weighs in on the lyrics: "When I was working on _Curious Orange_ [the ballet], I heard or read about the theory that William of Orange brought VD [venereal disease] to England. Ridiculous of course, probably originating from mad Catholics, but it inspired me to writing a song about the question where AIDS originates from. There are several theories. For the tune I wanted an Amsterdamish melody, a dock melody."  William of Orange (King William III of England) was born in the Hague, and the "Van" in the title alludes to the Netherlands.  

Acousmetre provides the following helpful remarks:

MES seems to be conflating a number of theories about the spread of HIV here. 

The line about Satan's baboon is motivated by the generally accepted idea that HIV began in chimps in West Africa in the early 1900s. The references to Haiti, the Caribbean, and the South Atlantic seem to reference the theory that Haiti was one of the entry points of HIV into the US. 

But the South Atlantic more generally references the link between the Triangle Slave Trade of the 1800s and the further colonial practices of the 1900s, the second of which is often cited as the landscape which made the mass spread of HIV across the globe possible.

According to Brix, from The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise: "'Van Plague?' is an often forgotten song, but I think it's one of Mark's most touching, a reflection on the origin of AIDS."

^

2. A gibbous moon is a moon (either waxing or waning) that is over half visible but less than full.  

^

3. Far Coroporation was a band that was put together by Frank Farian (original name" Frank Farian Coroporation"), the mastermind begind Milli Vanilli. They are best--indeed, only--known for their cover of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." Since Zeppelin never released a single of "Stairway to Heaven," Far Corporation was the first (but not the last) act to chart the song.

^

Comments (9)

acousmetre
  • 1. acousmetre (link) | 15/05/2014
MES seems to be conflating a number of theories about the spread of HIV here.

The line about Satan's baboon is motivated by the generally accepted idea that HIV began in chimps in West Africa in the early 1900s. The references to Haiti, the Caribbean, and the South Atlantic seem to reference the theory that Haiti was one of the entry points of HIV into the US.

But the South Atlantic more generally references the link between the Triangle Slave Trade of the 1800s and the further colonial practices of the 1900s, the second of which is often cited as the landscape which made the mass spread of HIV across the globe possible.
bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 22/05/2014
Thanks for that, acousmetre! I hadn't considered HIV.
bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 22/05/2014
Or, I guess I had, looking at the notes which quote MES to that effect. I should remind myself of what the notes say before saying anything about them!
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 26/05/2014
"We stock Far Corporation"

Far Corporation were a band,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_Corporation
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 20/07/2014
"Hearts now broken on our beach"

Where is "beach" from? I don't hear it.
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 07/05/2016
Brix, from [The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise[/i]:


'Van Plague?' is an often forgotten song, but I think it's one of Mark's most touching, a reflection on the origin of AIDS.
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 24/06/2016
Yes, I am very touched by the fraudulent theory that AIDS originated with the Dutch. Such a culturally sensitive title, too! Good song, though.
Mark
  • 8. Mark | 21/04/2017
FYI: this doesn't appear in the song list for the "I Am Kurious, Oranj" at http://annotatedfall.doomby.com/pages/arranged-by-album/i-am-kurious-oranj/.
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017
Thanks, Mark.

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