Wednesday, September 19, 2018

All The Best Limericks Are Lewd (revisited)

Abraham was a wily old Jew
Who kept company with the Chosen Few
By forswearing sin
And his own foreskin
He proceeded the whole world to screw

It was a limerick that got me my first job as a junior copywriter. I had just turned 20 and was living with my parents in the house where I was born. I knew it was time to leave the family nest and learn to stand on my own feet - so when a friend mentioned that an ad agency in KL was looking for new blood, I immediately wrote to them. A few days later I received a test in the mail and was asked to compose a limerick; then write a news report about it, followed by an editorial. This was the limerick I came up with (of course I had to keep it clean):

A grand gourmand named Gus
Decided to devour a bus
But as he began to chew
He said, "Oh no, this won't do,
The passengers are making a fuss!"

Needless to say I got the job and soon found myself turning into a professional wordsmith, churning out readable text by the column inch. It didn't take long for me to realize I wasn't cut out to be a hack. Within 18 months I quit, after winning $5,000 in a slogan writing competition for Hall's cough drops, and began a checkered career as a freelancer and creative consultant. I continued to compose the occasional limerick - but somehow they were never quite lewd enough...

A fair mädchen was having her lüncheon
In a very chic cafe in München
Well, I got bold and told her
That I wanted to hold her
"Ja ja," she said and we got engaged pretty sünchen

As clean limericks go, this one ranks as an all-time winner (unfortunately I didn't write it and I don't know who did): 

A wonderful bird is the pelican;
His beak can hold more than his belican.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week,
Though I’m damned if I know how the helican!

But enough of clean limericks! Bring on the best and lewdest ones I have collected over the years. I must mention here that some of the dirtiest limericks ever written came from Isaac Asimov, acclaimed writer of sciencefiction novels. Here are a couple I like:

Said an ovum one night to a sperm,
"You're a very attractive young germ.
Come join me, my sweet,
Let our nuclei meet
And in nine months we'll both come to term."


"We refuse," said two men from Australia,
"Bestiality this saturnalia.
For now, we bethink us,
The ornithorhynchus
Is our down-under type of Mammalia."

And I have a gut feeling we owe this classic to Asimov:

The astronomer's crime was heinous:
"We mustn't let convention restrain us;
Though I've made a career
Out of Venus, my dear,
I'm tempted to switch to Uranus."

Let's open the floodgates of debauchery and prurience, shall we? But first, a limerick defining what limericks are really about...

The Limerick's furtive and mean, 
To be kept under close quarantine, 
Or she'll sneak to the slums, 
Where she promptly becomes 
Disorderly, drunk and obscene!

It's almost impossible to trace limericks back to their source. The memorable ones tend to get circulated and recirculated over time till they end up attributed to Anonymous (presumably an obscure Greek lyricist). Here's the rest of my collection to date:

There once was a girl from Ealing,
Who said she had no sexual feeling.
Until a cynic named Boris,
Touched her clitoris,
And they’re still scraping her off the ceiling.


There was a young fellow from Kent,
Whose prick was so long that it bent,
To save himself trouble,
He put it in double,
And instead of coming he went.


A lesbian girl from Khartoum
Took a gay young man up to her room. 
At the start of the night 
She said "Let's get this right. 
Who does what? And with which? And to whom?"


There was an old bishop from Buckingham 
Who spoke of young girls and of fucking 'em 
But a bishop from Wales 
Took the wind from his sails 
When he spoke of young boys and of sucking 'em

From the crypt of the Church of St. Giles 
Came a scream that carried for miles 
Said the Vicar, "Good Gracious, 
Has Brother Ignatius 
Forgotten the Bishop has piles?"


There once was a man from Peru 
Who fell asleep in his canoe 
As he dreamt of Venus 
he played with his penis 
And woke up with a handful of goo.


There was a young woman from Yale 
Who offered her body for sale 
For the sake of the blind 
She had her behind 
Tattooed with her prices in Braille


There was a young fellow from Leeds,
Who swallowed a package of seeds.
Great tufts of grass,
Sprouted out of his ass,
And his balls were all covered with weeds.


There was a young man from Lynn,
Whose prick was the size of a pin.
Said his girl with a laugh,
As she fondled his staff,
“This won’t be much of a sin.”


There was a young lady from Maine,
Who enjoyed copulating on a train.
Not once, I maintain,
But again and again,
And again and again and again.


There was a young actress from Crewe, 
Who remarked as the vicar withdrew, 
The Bishop was quicker 
and thicker and slicker, 
And two inches longer than you.


There was a young plumber from Lee 
who was plumbing his girl with great glee, 
she said,  "Stop your plumbing, 
I think someone's coming..." 
Said the plumber, still plumbing, "It's me!"


A kinky young girl from Coleshill, 
Tried a dynamite stick for a thrill, 
They found her vagina 
in North Carolina, 
and bits of her tits in Brazil.


There was a young man from Pitlocherie, 
making love to his girl in the rockery, 
she said, "Look you've cum 
all over my bum, 
This isn't a shag, it's a mockery."


There was a young lassie from Morton, 
who had one long tit and one short'un, 
on top of all that 
a great hairy twat, 
and a fart like a six fifty Norton.


There was a young man from Harrow 
who had one as big as a marrow. 
He said to his tart, 
"Try this for a start. 
My balls are outside on a barrow."


There was a young girl from Hitchin, 
who was scratching her crotch in the kitchen. 
Her mother said "Rose, 
It's crabs, I suppose." 
She said "Bollocks, get on with your stitchin'."


There was a young girl from Devizes, 
who had tits of different sizes. 
One was quite small, 
almost nothing at all, 
But the other was big and won prizes.


There once was a young man from Brighton,
Who said to a young lass, “You’re a tight’un!”
She said, “Listen, Hon,
You’re in the wrong one.
There’s plenty of room in the right one.”


A lady while dining at Crewe,
Found an elephant’s dong in her stew,
Said the waiter, “Don’t shout,
Or wave it about,
Or the others will all want one too!”


There was a young woman of Croft,
Who played with herself in a loft,
Having reasoned that candles,
Could never cause scandals,
Besides which they did not go soft.


There was a young woman named Sally, 
who loved an occasional dally, 
she sat on the lap
of a well endowed chap, 
Crying, "Gee, Dick, you're right up my alley!"


There was a young gaucho named Bruno 
Who said "If there is one thing I do know, 
A woman is fine, 
a donkey divine, 
But the llama is numero uno."


There once was a man from Nantucket
Whose schlong was so long he could sucket
He said with a grin
Wiping spunk off his chin
"If my ear were a cunt I could fucket!"

Nantucket seems to have inspired more than its fair share of limericks, not all of them lewd - but they do merit a passing mention, if only for their literary value:

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

This soon spawned a sequel...

But he followed the pair to Pawtucket,
The man and the girl with the bucket;
And he said to the man,
He was welcome to Nan,
But as for the bucket, Pawtucket.

What better way to end this post than with a mathematical limerick composed by Leigh Mercer (1893-1977) who came up with this poetic equation:

Translated into plain English it reads:

A dozen, a gross, and a score
Plus three times the square root of four
Divided by seven
Plus five times eleven
Is nine squared and not a bit more.

[First posted 26 April 2017]

Monday, September 17, 2018

Meet Sanuk, my techno-wizard friend (repost)

"Music is a purposeless play, an affirmation of life – not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we're living." ~ John Cage (in a 1957 lecture, Experimental Music)

Deejay Sanuk (Daniel Schwörer) has been playing with sound since 1993

Born and raised in Zurich, Switzerland; now residing on Koh Samui, Thailand, where he DJs at parties and produces music on the side, using state-of-the-art hardware and software.

That's a one-line description of Daniel Schwörer, my techno-wizard friend who kindly agreed to digitally enhance and remaster my 1986 solo album, 2nd Coming. On Facebook he is known as Deejay Sanuk. In Thai, sanuk is a multi-purpose expression meaning pleasure, joy, delight, euphoria, contentment, bliss...

How I found Sanuk is a story unto itself. And why he would offer to me his expert services as an audio sculptor and sound cosmetician is another mystery I would prefer to remain unsolved.

Especially when the sort of music Sanuk manufactures in his tropical paradise lab is mainly for beach parties under the full moon - while the music I generated back in the 1980s can be described as mostly anarchic, expressionist, idiosyncratic journeys through inner space - not exactly danceable unless you happen to be a post-modern choreographer who has evolved beyond the Cagey silences and random industrial sound effects favored by Merce Cunningham.

Anyway, it all started with a visit to the SPCA a few years ago. Two of my cats urgently required spaying and I was pleased to meet a vivacious animal-loving young lady named Farida who was a volunteer or part-time staff.

I discovered that Farida was also a blogger. Apart from that she enjoyed beach parties in Thailand and that's how it came to pass that the first time Farida visited Magick River, she had this Swiss DJ on a visa run in tow.

When Daniel (who hadn't morphed into Sanuk at that time) heard I was also a musician he was curious to check out some of my early output. Played him a few tracks of recently digitized material and he found it intriguing. He asked if he could have a copy of the CD so he could fool around with the sound.

Months passed. One day I found a package waiting for me at the post office. It was a CD from Daniel Schwörer, posted from KL by Farida, who had been carrying it for weeks in her backpack.

I put on the CD and sat for a whole hour mesmerized.

What Deejay Sanuk had done was literally massage the music back to life. The material had originally been recorded on 2-inch, 16-track acetate, mixed down to 2-track stereo masters on ¼-inch magnetic tape, and dubbed directly to compact cassette (so that it could be played at home).

Another Daniel - a Tang - had laboriously digitized hours of material and saved it all on DVDs as wav files. However, without equalization and processing, the sound was dull and flat. Converting analog to digital isn't a straightforward task. The vitality of analog waveforms tends to get lost when translated into raw binary code.

Without altering the music in any way, Deejay Sanuk had succeeded in restoring the brilliance and clarity of individual instruments while consolidating the dynamic balance between the highs and the lows. In other words, whatever he did and however he managed it, my audio wizard friend from Switzerland had injected new life into music recorded more than 20 years ago, making it sound as fresh as when I first created it.

Sanuk's cultural imprinting as a Swiss native stands him in good stead as a techno-wizard. He is meticulous to a fault and ended up working obsessively on my Lazarus Project, tweaking hours of digitized music files.

Finally, many weeks of sweat later, he delivered two versions of the 2nd Coming master - one upfront, the other laidback - plus a completely unretouched version, tape hiss and all, as a reference to how the original mix sounded. I listened to both versions carefully, decided on the one to release, and wrote Sanuk a thank-you note via Facebook, incorporating some feedback. This is part of his response:

i have done the best i could not to deliver you something that sounds nice but shows its shortcomings when played at high volume, even though most people will not listen to it too loud i guess. i have used very drastic equalization which you will not hear in the final mix, i added bass frequencies in the low end which i then would cut back again. then after having cut low frequencies back i compressed the piano line as the leading element of dynamic in the mix. some other instruments had very extreme peaks in the problematic frequency range (e.g 1 khz, 3-4 khz ) so after any frequency manipulation and compression i had increased noise occurrence which i had to get rid of again without taking out the brilliance. so imagine that as an iterative process trying to achieve an acceptable result. i did the final step with a special emulation of the famous SSL (Solid State Mixing Consoles) equalizer and buss compressor.....

all in all i used quite a lot of different tools and dunno how many steps of rendering different versions from which i worked further where needed. that's only possible since we have powerful computers and can stay in the digital domain where there is no loss of data. another trick is to first transform the original file into a floating 32 bit data file since the good plugs all work in the 32 bit or 64 bit domain, then in the end you dither the whole thing back down to 16 bit 44.1 cd quality.... However, thank you very much that my work finds appreciation, it's the most difficult thing i have ever done and was a real challenge since it really is a remarkable recording with all possible sound elements and dynamics in it.

All the best and thank you again for the opportunity to work on something like that.
best regards from cloudy Samui

I am none the wiser as to how Sanuk does it, since I know zip about the technical aspects of sound mixing. He did explain to me that he has special software that allows him to analyze the sound spectrum layer by layer and sculpt soundwaves with far greater precision than was possible in the analog era.

Of course, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to have met this wonderful wizard who happens to be a perfect blend of artist, scientist, aesthete, philosopher - and cultural philantrophist too, for I can't imagine getting this sort of magical results even if I could afford to fork out thousands. If you're interested in sampling some of Deejay Sanuk's head-banging dance tracks, go here. He has also produced soundtrack music for various European filmmakers.

Sanuk's amazing achievement is that he succeeded in restoring vitality, depth and presence to my 1986 recordings. I'm particularly pleased with the way he tweaked the piano so it sounds as if you're listening to a live performance. In short, I feel totally assured that the 2010 edition of 2nd Coming can hold its own anywhere in the world as a recording, in purely technical terms.

However, whether or not listeners will be receptive to the utterly unclassifiable music is something I cannot and dare not predict. Be warned: this album was recorded in the mid-1980s before music videos contributed to shortening people's attention spans.

But if you're curious enough, or kind enough, to order a copy:

2nd Coming is now downloadable online! 

[First posted 2 September 2010]