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Celebrated outsider songsmith Ivor Cutler lives again—in Colonel Sanders?
12:32 pm

Well, here’s the WTF of the day, as far as I’m concerned: with the “Original Recipe” Colonel Sanders long having passed on to the great chicken coop in the sky, KFC has opted to do the Lazarus treatment, with the Colonel now being portrayed by ex-Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond. Having seen its bottom line droop thanks to an injection of competition from relative upstarts like Chik-Fil-A, KFC has changed its tack with an aggressive campaign intended to be evocative of KFC of days past (back when it was “Kentucky Fried Chicken”, prompting the scale-down to “KFC” to make many wonder if chicken was indeed in the, uh, chicken), with the resurrected Colonel strolling around with mandolin bands, singing, talking, folksier and friendlier than ever (albeit doused in a somewhat creepy vibe akin to some of those Burger King ads of late featuring the omnipresent grinning King).

That’s not quite the “WTF,” though, listen closely and the commercial below clearly lifts the song “A Doughnut in My Hand” by Glaswegian poet/singer/outsider Ivor Cutler, only with the crucual replacement of “doughnut” with “bucket.” Is Kevin Ayers’ reincarnation in the Drop the Chalupa dog all but inevitable?

Cutler, who passed away in 2006, was a bona fide treasure, an odd and eccentric poet and songwriter who started doing voiceovers on UK TV, then was spotted by Paul McCartney and drafted into the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film to portray bus conductor Buster Bloodvessel.

Here’s the original song “Doughnut in My Hand” so that you may make the comparison for yourself:

Collaborating with Robert Wyatt found Cutler being offered a deal on Virgin Records, then recording a slew of LPs, minimally accompanying himself on harmonium and over time carving himself a spot as a true outsider in popular culture and celebrated amongst the UK underground. The 1980s saw Cutler signed to the Rough Trade label, and “Doughnut In My Hand” comes from an especially great 1983 collection called Privilege, on which he collaborated with Linda Hirst. “Women of the World” from that album was a minor hit around that time, and a cover of that song by Jim O’Rourke found itself snatched up for a TV ad in the late ‘90s. There’s a nice Guardian piece of the life of Cutler here.

An amusing clip of Col. Sanders filming a commercial after the jump…..

Posted by Brian Turner
12:32 pm
Three times a Lady: three versions of Ivor Cutler’s ‘Women Of The World’

Today being International Women’s Day, here are three very different versions of the song “Women Of The World.”

A moving paen to female empowerment, “Women Of The World” was originally written and recorded by the legendary Scots poet, singer and raconteur Ivor Cutler with Linda Hirst in 1983. However “Women Of The World” is most closely associated with alt-rock scion Jim O’Rourke, who extended Cutler’s rousing folk ditty into a 9-minute epic of shimmering beauty for 1999 album Eureka. By stark contrast, the DFA-signed future-punks Yacht turned in a noisy, electronic thrash-out for their 2007 long player I Believe In You, Your Magic Is Real.

In any of these forms, the power of the song and its sentiment still shines through.

Here’s Ivor Culter and Linda Hirst’s original, and after the jump you will find the Jim O’Rourke and Yacht versions.
Ivor Cutler & Linda Hirst “Women Of The World” (1983)

Happy Women’s Day! 
After the jump, versions by Yacht and Jim O’Rourke…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
09:09 pm
Ivor Cutler: Looking for the Truth with a Pin

Ivor Cutler was a poet, humorist, singer/song-writer, and performer, who was, by his own admission, “never knowingly understood.” Born into a Jewish middle-class family, in Glasgow’s south side, Cutler claimed his life was shaped by the birth of younger brother:

“He took my place as the center of the Universe. Without that I would not have been so screwed up as I am and therefore as creative. Without a kid brother I would have been quite dull, I think.”

Being so usurped, the young Cutler attempted to bash his brother’s brains in with a poker. Thankfully, an observant aunt stopped him. As more siblings were born, another brother and two sisters, Cutler’s resentment lessened after he discovered poetry and music. When he was five, he discovered politics after witnessing the bare-foot poverty of his school friends, and aligned himself to the Left thereafter.

After school, he worked at various jobs before he settled as a school teacher, teaching 7-11-year-olds music and poetry. His work with children inspired and reinforced his own unique view of the world:

He recalled how, in an art class, “one boy drew an ass that didn’t have four legs, but 14. I asked him why and he said it looked better that way. I wanted to lift him out of his cage and put my arms around him, but my intellect told me not to, which was lucky, because I probably would have been sent to prison.”

In the 1950s, Cutler started submitting his poetry to magazines and radio, and soon became a favorite on the BBC. His poetry was filled with “childlike wonder of the world”, created through the process of “bypassing the intellect.” He was, by his own account, a “stupid genius,” , as the London Times explained

Such genius derived from his ability to view life from the opposite direction to that taken by society, and his ability to empathise with the implications of that viewpoint, as in his one-sentence poem: “A fly crouching in a sandwich cannot comprehend why it has become more than ordinarily vulnerable.”

Cutler had a cult following of loyal fans, which included John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who cast him in their The Magical Mystery Tour film; DJ John Peel, who devotedly played Cutler’s releases; Morrissey and more recently Alan McGee and Oasis.

Ivor Cutler: Looking for Truth with a Pin was made shortly before Cutler died. The program has contributions from Paul McCartney, Robert Wyatt, Billy Connolly and Alex Kapranos, and is a fitting testament to the great man, who made life so much more fun. More interesting. More mysterious.

Admittedly, he might not be everyones cup of warmth, but as Cutler said himself:

“Those who come to my gigs probably see life as a child would. It’s those who are busy making themselves into grown-ups, avoiding being a child — they’re the ones who don’t enjoy it.”

I hope you enjoy.

More truth from Mr Cutler’s pin, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
06:39 pm