Is PiL's "Poptones" about Peter Sutcliffe?

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Seems to me that it probably is.

Venga (Venga), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 22:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Lydon has said it was about a homosexual rape; I think the song came out some time before Sutcliffe was identified and caught.

Dee Xtrovert (dee dee), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 23:07 (sixteen years ago) link

it's about a dead body riding in a car to be dumped in the forest right?

is he a famous dead body?

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 23:08 (sixteen years ago) link

I think the song came out some time before Sutcliffe was identified and caught

Well I mean the Yorkshire Ripper, who of course is/was PS.

Venga (Venga), Tuesday, 28 March 2006 23:32 (sixteen years ago) link

Well PS was 'active' from '75 to '81 - Poptones came out in '79. I guess Lydon would have heard about him but the subject matter seems pretty different to me. I think PS's m.o. was more urban whereas Poptones seems to be a rural nightmare. I've always wondered about that "Japanese car' bit as well, it's horribly specific. It's a great song and a great lyric.

Ned T.Rifle (nedtrifle), Wednesday, 29 March 2006 06:34 (sixteen years ago) link

"Praise Picnicking" ?

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 29 March 2006 06:50 (sixteen years ago) link

I've always wondered about that "Japanese car' bit as well, it's horribly specific

chilling, isn't it? immediately conjures up a mid-seventies datsun in crappy grey, with plastic seats and ... gah. astounding song - perhaps my favourite thing they ever did - but one that really freaked me out when i first heard it (at a relatively tender age).

grimly fiendish (grimlord), Wednesday, 29 March 2006 09:27 (sixteen years ago) link

Possibly my alltime favourite bassline. Definitely my alltime favourite PIL song. "Nearly injured my pride"!

Myonga Von Bottom (Myonga Von Bontee), Wednesday, 29 March 2006 09:45 (sixteen years ago) link

seven years pass...

I'm pretty sure it's about driving out to the countryside to have a picnic with a top 40 cassette in the tape deck, only to end up being raped and murdered. Maybe it's kind of supposed to symbolize society selling you idyllic dreams when reality is much bleaker. Regardless, there's some black humor to it (especially "I can't forget the impression you made/ you left a hole in the back of my head").

destroyalltacoson May 23, 2006

fake irish times letters mac d (nakhchivan), Sunday, 13 October 2013 20:32 (nine years ago) link

it never struck me that these lyrics were dark or anything until now. weird.

akm, Monday, 14 October 2013 19:24 (nine years ago) link

the music is quite dark and malevolent though. although i never knew it was meant to be about a murder. i thought it was about someone having a nervous breakdown.

Old Boy In Network (Michael B), Monday, 14 October 2013 19:26 (nine years ago) link

He explained that song in detail somewhere. It was based on a rape/murder he read about in the newspaper

kornrulez6969, Monday, 14 October 2013 22:49 (nine years ago) link

Ok, from the Wikipedia page...I guess no murder

John Lydon (1979/99): “It's straight out of the Daily Mirror, so I can't guarantee its authenticity.”[11] “This was another newspaper story which fascinated me. A girl bundled blindfolded into the back of a car by a couple of bad men and driven off into a forest, where they eventually dumped her. The men had a cassette machine with an unusual tune on the cassette, which they kept playing over and over. The girl remembered the song, and that, along with her recollection of the car and the men's voices, is how the police identified them. The police eventually stopped the car and found the cassette was still in the machine, with the same distinctive song on the tape.”[12]

kornrulez6969, Monday, 14 October 2013 22:51 (nine years ago) link

four years pass...

let the sick play

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 17 December 2017 22:17 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

Talk about getting a song stuck in yoru head

| (Latham Green), Thursday, 22 September 2022 20:05 (two months ago) link

Bye teh way the version from American bandstand to me is the definitive

| (Latham Green), Thursday, 22 September 2022 20:06 (two months ago) link

yeah but they are miming there aren't they?

link.exposing.politically (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 22 September 2022 22:52 (two months ago) link

when post-punk and early new wave are described as "dark", "eerie", "cold", "gloomy", "ominous", etc.

...this song is the blueprint. because damn. very classic.

ミ💙🅟 🅛 🅤 🅡 🅜 🅑💙彡 (Austin), Friday, 23 September 2022 00:42 (two months ago) link

I think I was thinking of this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMZFyaI0Wsw

However, the American Bandstand is definitely the definitive mimed video version.

What is poptones about? A painful human suffering? Or confusion and being dazed?
Or the strange juxtaposition of pop music and crime? The singer just sounds annoyed, not really scared.
Song about an event is not the same thing as the event. It is a cloud of thoughts, feelings, uncertainties...

"I can't forget the impression you made
You left a hole in the back of my head
I don't like hiding in this foliage and peat
It's wet and I'm losing my body heat"

| (Latham Green), Friday, 23 September 2022 12:55 (two months ago) link


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