Thursday, 21 July 2016

Oliver: Silverfish - Jimmy (9 February 1992)

This went through a tortured route to get here.  I first heard it as part of Silverfish's Peel Session on 12 January 1992 but possibly because I was underwhelmed by their version of Rock On, it didn't grab me, despite Lesley Rankine's "Uh-uh"s which would, but for the dogs breakfast they made of Rock On, have certainly grabbed my attention to my most primal place as I hit the record button.  Flash forward to the 8/2/92 show, when Peel opened the show with the version on Silverfish with Scrambled Eggs, and somehow it all clicked, despite me misreading the song.

Initially I thought it was a continuation of the strap-on thrills of Big Bad Baby Pig Squeal, with Lesley lording her domination over all Jimmys, moulding them exactly as she wanted to before ordering them to crawl. But subsequent hearings caused me to listen to it in a different light.  The "put your head between your legs. Stomach in.  Push your chest up under your chin". And then those exhortations to "crawl".  This wasn't sex or even domination, instead it's childbirth.  In Silverfish's world, the foetal position will only shield you for so long, before you have to deal with muck and devastation of life.
The song is littered with clues: "Go hit/smack it hard" followed by those "Uh-uh"s sound like contractions.  "Watch him slide" (down the birth canal), "cut it off and leave it in the sun" (a dispassionate severing of the umbilical cord leading to a horrible mental picture of the placenta sizzling on the skin - and given the weather that the UK has had this week that's a horrible image which could well have been made flesh).  "This is blood.  This is power" (child as bargaining chip?) - it's a brutal environment that Silverfish conjure here. Albeit one that, in this live recording at CBGB's, in undercut by bass player, Chris P Mowforth, ending the song by seeming to launch into the opening of White Lines (Don't Don't Do It) and inspiring Duran Duran.

Video courtesy of skablankets.

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