posted on November 11, 2008 at 8:12 pm

i was angry and sickened
to see
the bali bombers execution
so lovingly raked over by the local rags
including headlines like
“straight to hell”
“this is what weve been waiting for” etc
isn’t it enuff that they were executed?
in the weeks leading up to the executions
certain papers gave us long lingering glimpses
into the bombers fate
including the absurd(ist) sight
of a man being given a medical check up
to see if hes fit for facing the firing squad(!?)
like a headline i saw once
“cow injured in a slaughterhouse”
is this fucked up or what?
no the newspapers were overplaying their hand
the people do not want garish bloodthirsty revenge
the people wanted justice
we are not interested in the gory details
a small sentence could have said
the bali bombers were executed today at 5 pm
that says it all
dont the cheap sensationalist rags realize
that in attempting to whip up this fervour n fever of hate
against 3 misguided foreign criminals
they become the very thing they hate?
they are instruments of ignorance.
the death penalty….
that is beyond my scope
like abortion
like euthanasia
real questions of life n death
i go deep in my heart
i can find no pithy answers
there are always arguments for and against
i dont even want to open any of this up
it ends up with people cursing at each other
which at the age of fifty four
im tired of all the cursing at each other
so dont fuck around with me you bastards
yes i been enjoying the peace on here lately
i used to enjoy a bit of discord
but now…ah i long for peace
i remember a phrase
oh it was so long ago
i was watching an abc version of the emperors nightingale
which you must all surely know the tale
if you dont
i will quickly retell it in killer new speak
but will stop for the poignant phrase
(which is the reason for all this malarkey)
in china i s’pose
or maybe tai wan
there was a bit of a spoilt olde emperor
not content with being a (fuc)king
he needed to go the whole eton-hogge
and become a bloody emperor
which means
he owned several kingdoms
including the animal kingdom n kingdom come
anyway this olde emp
he really digs the singing of this nightingale bird
which sings outside his window
(presumably for chicken feed…)
i mean
have you ever heard a nightingale
i hear even jokermen sing to their tune
theyre certainly up there with larks
as in you could say
steve kilbey sings like a bloody lark
steve kilbey sings like a bleedin’ nightingale
and both would be correct
the nightingale is a lovely singer
the emperor is always listening to his feathered friend
(i saw mick jagger play this part once….he was great
as the fey monarch)
and you know
to tell ya the truth
the little nightingale is flattered by the emps attention
(could be the imperial birdseed…)
and he hangs about singing
until one day
one of the emperors flunkies
brings him a mechanical nightingale
its a little pre-sampler device
a wondrous singing machine
driven by clockwork
(maybe this eastern potentate has never seen clockwork?)
and anyway
olde emperor rubberlips is smitten
the freakin’ birdietron can sing over n over n over n over
whenever he likes
not like the real bird which has lice
and quite frankly
has sometimes relieved itself on the imperial furniture
the real bird that moults n lays eggs n builds nests
(however the nests could end up in the soup, i guess)
the birdietron is instant gratification
the emp loved to wind it up n let it go
n he listened to it over n over n over
sort of like my neighbour pru daly
who one hot night in 1968
listened to “stand by your man” about 100 times in a row
uh huh
the emp gave the birdietron a good caning
meanwhile the nightingale is feeling like
the proverbial spare prick at a prostitutes wedding
hes pissed off with the emp
and so he should be
the emp has disregarded the real deals improvisation
and variation and composition and the bird
wears a badge which says
keep music live!
all the emp gets is that mech repetition
but he kinda digs it
the nightingale pisses off
in an avian huff (great name for my next band!)
and the emp dont even notice
the birdietron blew its fucking head gasket
and no one in the whole empire
could sort it out
it was kaput
it was over
it was gone
the birdietron was mess of springs n sprockets
it had sung its last swan song
it was now silent
now the olde emp
kinda hooked on the b-tron
he goes into massive withdrawals
uh huh
just like the gear
he starts to shake sweat shudder n shiver
he loses his appetite
he lies in his beddy
wasting away
i’m very young
i had never seen death personified before
i’m watching a blacknwhite tv show in the early sixties
the old emp is about to cark it
death approaches
its…a pale faced man dimly glimpsed beneath
a heavy black cowl
the emperor is crying out now
crying for his real nightingale
who appears
assesses the situation
and sings a beautiful tune
death withdraws from his business with the emp
and turns as if hypnotized
and says to the camera
i must go
the bird sings of a quiet churchyard
the grass wet with tears…..

and that is the thing that has stuck in my head forever
that even death needs a sanctuary a haven
and that the bird could sing it to him
which illustrates the power of music
when death has buggered off to find the churchyard
the bird sings for its emperor
who gets immediately better
everyone is happy
except the emps son
who was hoping for a bit of throne
too bad
the greedy debil

27 Responses to “revenge+ the birdietron”

  1. avatar
    the dean | 11 November 2008 at 10:05 pm #

    sounds like the emperor got ripped off, I bought the same thing on ebay.

    seriously though I am against capital punishment and am horrified when our fellow australian revel in it. I am also deeply touched when a parent of a victim is opposed to it as they know it just brings more sadness.

    I believe that NSW still had the death penalty as late as the mid 80s but only for treason.

  2. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 11 November 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    Hard labor mixed with solitary confinement and no flesh-foods for ruthless murderers. No animal, bird, shellfish or fish should be killed for a murderer, King, Prime Minister, President or any Homo Sapien.

    Time to watch Sweeney Todd !

  3. avatar
    captain mission | 11 November 2008 at 11:25 pm #

    i never heard that story, interesting one. i did read the nightingale and the rose by oscar wilde, ooh that is a beautiful story and lodged itself in my mind despite its cynicism.
    i must say the media are disgusting, they basically perpetuate their own hysteria and therefore ours with their endless glorification of death.
    i agree, a quite line or two in the middle pages somewhere would suffice. its amazing how the media influence and shapes our perceptions on reality, both sides of politics, i’m loath to read or watch any of it and then like moth to the flame i do. however thanks to oscar wilde i’m aware of a wider perspective and question everything.

  4. avatar
    Understandascope | 11 November 2008 at 11:39 pm #

    An eye for an eye,
    A tooth for a tooth.

    And the world will soon be blind.
    (and Gummy)

    Thanks Steve Great blog
    Jenny J

  5. avatar
    restaurant mark | 12 November 2008 at 12:06 am #

    great blog today…”to see if hes fit for facing the firing squad(!?)”… are you kidding me??? i know you’re not, but jesus that’s ridiculous…at best.

    hello everyone…sorry for my absence professor kilbey. i’ve got a big job going on and the wife has been under the weather…so been doing the cooking and chasing kids around at night. but i did catch up on my reading sir. love when you write about your process…whether it be music or painting. like you said…comes from the same place. it always inspires me. thanks…
    my band is on a sort of hiatus at the moment…we’re about half through with our second record, but the other two involved need some reset time apparently. i’m the one with the wife, kids, responsibilities…but i’m ready to go. so…i’m about to begin a little solo ( sort of ) project, that i’ve wanted to do for some time. i’ll have help, but it’ll be my deal. tried to send you and sue our album…but unfortunately it didn’t make it. either crappy mail service on one side or the other, or i wrote the address wrong? now, i can’t find it either way…notebook gone missing (kids probably). if i could get the address i would appreciate it and will resend…really like you to hear it…made with love. speaking of love…the new paintings are great! anyway…

    take care everyone

    ps-stay with us kat! sorry about your financial issues…i got a handful myself. we had all this work that would’ve kept me and my partner going for months, but it all keeps getting moved back or cancelled. we’re the first thing that gets cut out of these places budgets…making stuff look pretty is not really a priority in a shitty economy. and of course, sorry about your car steve…that sucks.
    oh yeah…and how about 3 american painkiller shows…new york, los angeles, and atlanta???
    rambling…i know

  6. avatar
    tim | 12 November 2008 at 1:30 am #

    well i gotta take you to task on this one steve…i agree that these rags are opportunistic and perhaps morally bankrupt…but the papers only print it because the public buys lay blame on the media is letting the public off too easy. We are/were a blood thirsty lot long before the modern press came along and yes headlines like this don’t help but lets remember who wags the dog. Do you remember a time when the world WASN’T filled with unrest, war, hatred and murder? Let’s not blame the media for the ills of society…we all have the opportunity to look away to read whatever we want…you say WE do not want gory details…then why does this crap sell in the millions? Oh you are much smarter than this mister kilbey. Its the pornography of violence and death. Why do millions watch crime dramas? With blood and gore and movies with violence. Take away all of it and does it make the world a safer, more moral place? C’mon. I find it sick and repulsive, myself. I deplore violence in the media and film other than war movies which I watch from a historical perspective and with an eye to try and understand it. But as long as there is a market for the gory details, it shall always be. Perhaps you should be railing against the idiots who BUY and READ that crap. Sensationalism sells because we buy it.

  7. avatar
    Finetime | 12 November 2008 at 3:11 am #

    Tim – both you and SK are right. The media should be more responsibile and drop the sensalization. And we the people should be mature enough to reject it. Haven’t we moved beyond public hangings in the town square? Evidently not.

    And a Painkiller show in Atlanta would be most excellent…..

  8. avatar
    heather | 12 November 2008 at 3:59 am #

    yes, the media……who reads them eh? not I. (much)….but I agree it is we, the public, who drive them with our purile obsessions and our lack of integrity

    the emperor story would have been amazing to see as a kid. but i wonder what adventures the nightingale had when it flew away out of favour..

  9. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 12 November 2008 at 5:11 am #

    get me the fuck outta here already, Mary is being such ‘a’ C word lately, i deserve better than this from all you mofos…
    One Love

  10. avatar
    Richard | 12 November 2008 at 8:53 am #

    mechanical bird of prey

  11. avatar
    EDD | 12 November 2008 at 9:15 am #

    Here’s to peace in a chaotic world….

  12. avatar
    Shirley Sally | 12 November 2008 at 9:58 am #

    I remember seeing that on tv when I was little, it was a Chinese Emperor. I remember the toy bird was set with jewels and the real nightingale was dowdy.

  13. avatar
    veleska1970 | 12 November 2008 at 10:23 am #

    “dont the cheap sensationalist rags realize
    that in attempting to whip up this fervour n fever of hate
    against 3 misguided foreign criminals
    they become the very thing they hate?”

    no, they don’t. it’s hypocrisy as its worst.

  14. avatar
    esne snoner | 12 November 2008 at 10:27 am #

    lovely story sk about the emperor and the nightingale – that and your comments re executions brought to mind another enlightenment today regarding a very lucid chap name mamia abu-jamal (wesley cook) who sits on death row for a murder it seems he did not commit – listen to his voice here on Prison Radio with his sad story here – read it and weep – sorry to politicise your blog but it seemed relevant in light of your own comments today

  15. avatar
    fantasticandy | 12 November 2008 at 10:40 am #

    if we don’t fight it…
    wer’e part of it.

  16. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 12 November 2008 at 11:02 am #

    hang in there kat and mark and valeska….how would one get said albums of yours, mark? i may be interested…..
    people have slavered over these executions in the same way they pore over the private lives, adulteries, failings and deaths of celebrities because they are voyeurs….grab an eyefull/earfull while you can….no wonder i hardly watch any fucking television…
    take care all, seems to be some rough vibes around at the moment…
    love always…

  17. avatar
    restaurant mark | 12 November 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    hey hellbound…all ya gotta do is send me your address and i’ll send a copy. i just want people to hear it…we’ve had good response on it, but no label action. i’m no salesman, agent, etc., just a musician that wants cool people to give it a listen. i understand if you don’t want to put an address out here, but you can send it here:
    and for anyone else who’s interested also…

    take care

  18. avatar
    ScaughtFive | 12 November 2008 at 4:31 pm #

    Medical check ups for the death sentenced, oh what a world, what a world made world.

  19. avatar
    CSTCoach | 12 November 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    ahh, is that where the line comes from?? mechanical bird of prey, sing for your emperor…

    a brilliant line. why can’t rock always be poetry?

  20. avatar
    davem | 12 November 2008 at 5:59 pm #

    Good spot Richard and Ryan!! It’s hard to believe the taking of a life ever makes things better. I like the peace too, but miss all the great fiends who for whatever reason remained anons.

  21. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 12 November 2008 at 6:12 pm #

    excuse my above comment, i am getting irritable lately, i hate being played for far 2 long, i feel alone…
    Jonny Rocker

  22. avatar
    steve kilbey | 12 November 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    i’d put the anons on davem
    but you know what’ll happen
    ok lets experiment…

  23. avatar
    Anonymous | 12 November 2008 at 7:56 pm #

    bleeding hearts-

  24. avatar
    knot | 12 November 2008 at 7:56 pm #

    I am sorry to read of the all Time Beings having a hard time being.

    If you were in California I would invite you all over for a nice supper and wine.

    Hang in there.

  25. avatar
    Anonymous | 12 November 2008 at 7:57 pm #


  26. avatar
    Queen Hatshepsut | 12 November 2008 at 8:13 pm #

    Yes, yes! Bleeding heart, hippy, Commie,pinko/Marxist, animal-loving, peace-worshipping – all of it and more! 🙂 Plus I don’t ever make my bed, I cry at weddings, laugh at funerals, sometimes read my horoscope and drink way too much caffeine. Shudder.

    Anyway…so all these years, listening to that line “mechanical bird of prey…sing for your emperor…” and I never knew the story behind it. Hmmm. Now of course I won’t be able to listen to the song without thinking of the story!

    Yikes, the anons are back on…I feel like I could be commenting unto a minefield, ha.

    I’m sorry for all the troubles some Beings are having. I truly wish I could help; having different troubles of my own…let’s just keep slogging through together though!

  27. avatar
    John | 12 November 2008 at 9:01 pm #

    The headlines should have read: “There, are you happy? You sick fucks?”

    John Garratt

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.