Princess Tinymeat promo poster
The extremely extreme Irish post-punk band the Virgin Prunes was formed in 1977 by vocalists Gavin Friday and Guggi (Derek Rowen), along with third singer Dave-iD Busaras, guitarist Dik Evans (brother of U2’s The Edge), bassist Strongman (Guggi’s brother Trevor Rowen) and drummer Anthony Murphy (known as Pod) who would leave almost immediately, but later rejoin the group. Pod was replaced on drums by Haa-Lacka Binttii (né Daniel Figgis, a former child actor who was in a 1969 stage production of Waiting for Godot with Peter O’Toole among other things) who also contributed tape loops and keyboards. Binttii performed only on their first two singles “Twenty Tens (I’ve Been Smoking All Night)” and “Moments and Mine (Despite Straight Lines)” and two compilation tracks, “Red Nettle,” which was a part of the famous NME cassette release C81, and “Third Secret” which appeared on a Cherry Red comp called Perspectives and Distortion. (Both tracks are included on the Prunes’ essential rarities album Over the Rainbow.)
After this Binttii was kicked out of the group. What in Satan’s name would you have to do to be kicked out of the Virgin Prunes I wonder?
When Binttii resurfaced a few years later with his new project Princess Tinymeat (a reference to Montgomery Clift’s penis size as revealed by Kenneth Anger in his bitchy gossip classic Hollywood Babylon) it was with a single called “Sloblands” that featured a rather provocative cover (both sides have Figgis with his own meat and two veg out!) and a confrontational abrasive/hypnotic sound that called to mind Swans and also somewhat presages the sound of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. Some of it was abstract, some slightly poppier, if not exactly commercial either. The project’s trash/trans esthetic could be described as being somewhere on the continuum between Frank Tovey/Fad Gadget and Coil on one side and Alien Sex Fiend and Pete Burns’ Dead or Alive on the other, although this is not quite giving Figgis his due as the music heard on Princess Tinymeat’s three singles and sole album, the Herstory compilation of 1987, is much smarter, evil sounding and far more considered than either of these later named acts. Still, I’d put Princess Tinymeat in the category of “Batcave bands,” like the Specimen.
The core of the group besides Figgis were Tom Rice on guitar, Ian Sissy Box on bass and C. Zappa on drums and frankly, aside from this, there is virtually no other information to be found—anywhere—about Princess Tinymeat and this would appear to be the way Daniel Figgis would prefer it, as his own website’s bio page doesn’t even mention the group (or his tenure in the Virgin Prunes for that matter) saying only:
“... following on from a not too brief dalliance with post-punk projects which he entered into in the spirit of both fledgling composer and performance artist…”
Alright then. It’s almost like he’s ashamed of this work. I don’t get it. When you’ve got your dick out on a record cover, you’d think that there would be enough commitment to last a lifetime, but maybe not…
A Virgin Prunes bio on Revoly gives this concise precis of Figgis’ post Princess Tinymeat output and career:
Daniel Figgis later became a composer and multimedia producer and curator, becoming composer in residence with Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Dublin. One of his compositions, “Post Production”, a 23-section suite for four musicians, was performed at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City in December 2006. In 2008, the Arts World financial centre commissioned Figgis to compose and perform the sole European commission to celebrate their 20th anniversary of arts programming. His multi-disciplinary festival, “Snakes & Ladders,” appeared on Broadway on 8 January 2010 at Symphony Space.
Princess Tinymeat’s Herstory compilation album, which has nearly everything the group ever did—it’s only about 37 minutes long—can often be seen in the used record bins. It’s obscure, but it’s not that hard to stumble upon either. If you see it, pick it up, you’ll be glad you did, even if it’s not exactly something that you’ll play a lot.
“Jay Gone Bimbo”
“Wigs on the Green”
“A Bun in the Oven”
“Angels in Pain”
Daniel Figgis’ new ensemble, September 17, 2010 at Pearse Museum Walled Garden in Dublin.
“Snakes & Ladders…an entertainment” at the National Concert Hall.