If sweary, angry, nihilistic (yet oddly well-informed) Australian rock ticks your boxes, The Drones would surely be for you. Their plinky take on the Somerton Man mystery (which they call “Taman Shud”, the genuinely incorrect Aussie spelling) starts on familiar territory…

who ditched that fox-gloved snitch?
loaded him with poison like a puffer fish
why don’t anybody feel like crying
for the Somerton somebody with the hazel eyes?
[…]
he’s gone and no one even cares at all
the earth won’t answer and the sea don’t mourn
for all of the probing into whether he exists
the question’s still as open like a radar dish
late 1948
is sending a transmission but its inchoate
[…]
why did anybody feel the need to lie
‘less that’s Warsaw on the seashore
on the day he died?
don’t nobody wonder where he’s been?
no tags no wallet
and his brains dry-cleaned

…but then quickly sprawls sideways into contemporary commentary, la-di-da-di-da.

To all of which I’d say: maybe the Somerton Man was a snitch, maybe he was poisoned, maybe he was a Soviet spy, sure, feel free to subscribe to all the long-running fantasies all you like… but maybe he was instead just a working class bloke bumping along the bottom at a time of poverty and uncertainty.

At this point, many traditional rock critics would spin away to assert (something along the lines of) that the song is ‘clearly’ using the Somerton Man’s apparent exclusion from society to amp up the band’s ongoing critique of racism and of blow-hard know-nothing Aussies (including the entire political class, left and right).

But that would, of course, be utter tosh: any song with the word ‘inchoate’ is just knobbery, albeit entertaining knobbery. I like it, though: and I guess that’s all that really counts. Here’s the video (which is even more fun than the song):

Taman Shud [lyrics]

(From Feelin’ Kinda Free (Side A))

thud thud my heart pumps blood
when ever someone talks about my taman shud
who ditched that fox-gloved snitch?
loaded him with poison like a puffer fish
why don’t anybody feel like crying
for the Somerton somebody with the hazel eyes?
why don’t anybody feel like crying
for the Somerton nobody with the hazel eyes?

thud thud my heart pumping blood
when ever someone talks about my taman shud
he’s gone and no one even cares at all
the earth won’t answer and the sea don’t mourn
i don’t give a fuck about no Anzacery
i don’t care you got it interest free
i ain’t gonna fret about Lest We Forget
fuck the Murdoch press
i don’t get hung up on any carbon tax
or Ned getting strung up for being a psychopath
i ain’t really there with any class warfare
the only thing i care about’s the

thud thud my heart pumping blood
when ever someone talks about my taman shud
he’s gone and no one even cares at all
the earth won’t answer and the sea don’t mourn
for all of the probing into whether he exists
the question’s still as open like a radar dish
late 1948
is sending a transmission but its inchoate
don’t hate me for not caring ‘bout you losing your job
i think you’re gonna suit being a welfare slob
i don’t give a toss about no southern cross
or the gulag union jack
i don’t give a fuck if you can’t stop the boats
i ain’t at a loss if Simpson’s donkey votes
i don’t care about no Andrew Bolt
or even Harold Holt
it’s clear as
mud mud my taman shud
everybody mouths off
while they’re chewin’ cud

thud thud my heart pumps blood
when ever someone talks about my taman shud
why did anybody feel the need to lie
‘less that’s Warsaw on the seashore
on the day he died?
don’t nobody wonder where he’s been?
no tags no wallet
and his brains dry-cleaned
i don’t give a fuck about fuck off we’re full
i ain’t gonna send my kids to private school
i ain’t gonna grieve about no BHP
no silver spoons or mining booms
i don’t give a fuck about your brick and tile
i don’t really care if you’re a paedophile
i don’t care about no Master Chef
it’s as appetising as a whistle blower’s doom
or any French cartoon
nothing like a prune to make the death cults bloom
why you think the whole world’s gotta be like you?
fuck western supremacy
i ain’t sitting around being gallipolized
one man’s BBQ’s another’s hunger strike
why’d i give a rat’s about your tribal tatts?
you came here in a boat you fucking [—-]
my taman shud
everybody mouths off
while they’re chewin’ cud

thud thud my heart pumps blood
when ever someone talks about my taman shud.

24 thoughts on “The Drones’ “Taman Shud” lyrics and the Somerton Man…

  1. Marco Pozini Inizop ocram on April 7, 2016 at 11:32 am said:

    can’t say that it does….. 🙂

  2. Diane on April 7, 2016 at 11:40 am said:

    I’m impressed. As a comment on the nature, depth, range and complexity of indifference, between the ‘straight’ society and the drug-taking society – in which people die ‘taman shud’ all the time – it’s a very fine piece. Thanks for letting us know.

  3. DARE- SAY NO! on April 7, 2016 at 12:51 pm said:

    Drugs stink!!

  4. Dare: you’re probably not storing them properly. 😉

  5. Dare: …but all the same, please be reassured that I’m touched and humbled that Nancy Reagan was able to send me such an important message from beyond the grave. Drugs are Very Bad Indeed, yes.

  6. Curiously, the IP address that “DARE – SAY NO!”‘s comment came from was registered to the Department Of Homeland Security.

    I don’t know if that makes the poster a white hat troll, a black hat troll, a spambot, or what. You’ll perhaps have your own opinion.

  7. Blackhattroll on April 7, 2016 at 5:11 pm said:

    T6h:eDb8lsa;c^kDT:rTOl$LD|sgelesDywojux.

  8. bdid1dr on April 8, 2016 at 2:38 pm said:

    Sorry ’bout that, Nick — if my recent rant set off a whole chorus of lament or anger. Actually the band seems to have come up with their own language — and still be understood!
    bd

  9. bdid1dr on April 9, 2016 at 3:03 pm said:

    Sorry if I’ve stirred up radical raving aka poetry/song. I was wondering if the Somerton Man may have received the same treatment as Alan Turing. Somewhere there may be a record of persons arrested for the crime of homosexuality. I wonder if the same punishment was administered to lesbians.

    On another thread: The 73,000 acre fire was dealt with by CalFire, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) , Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Not long after FEMA finished their part of the team work, we were surprised to find that Homeland Security had been become the oversight agency for all of the above efforts.

  10. Just saw them play it live..

  11. Matt: nice.

    They’ll know it’s a success if a mysterious fan leaves them flowers once a year. 😉

  12. bdid1dr on April 17, 2016 at 4:26 pm said:

    So, does anyone know where Alan Turing was buried?
    Or where Somerton Man was buried?
    Or whether any family members took responsibility for their burials. Paupers graves?
    bd

  13. bdid1dr on April 17, 2016 at 4:29 pm said:

    Mark Oliphant’s burial ?

    @Misca : Have you already investigated ?

  14. Milongal on April 17, 2016 at 10:41 pm said:

    Wikipedia answers all 3 (if we believe it):
    1) Turing was cremated (in 1954)
    2) SM is buried West Tce, Adelaide – paid for by South Australian Grandstand Bookmakers Association
    3) Oliphant was cremated (in 2000, I think in Canberra where he lived in his later years)

  15. bdid1dr on April 22, 2016 at 1:27 am said:

    Thanx, Milongal ! Between you and Misca, a lot of questions get immediate attention and response. Wikipedia is good, as far as providing (sometimes) references to other possible responses and answers. It was quite a while AFTER his death ( and cremation) that the British (?) government constructed a memorial honoring his achievement which we now call the ‘computer’.
    I’m still 1-dring if there was any relation to Turing’s imprisonment and chemical castration and the death of the man found dead on Somerton Beach. Since I have not been able to compare the timelines for those gentlemen’s deaths, I may not be able to corroborate my ‘hunch’.
    If my latest query is offensive to anyone, please let me know (Nick, Milongal, Misca).

    I’m fairly sure Mr. Oliphant died a happy man (he got to visit Lawrence Livermore Cyclotron).

    ps: Do any of you know if the Somerton Beach area and waters were/are semi-tropical? I ask this because I was a lifeguard (at community swimming pool) in Key West Florida. One day there was a warning posted on the beaches : Portuguese Man-O-War jellyfish had been spotted less than two miles from our beaches. So, I told my assistant lifeguard to watch the pool and send one of the boys downstairs to the community center/daycare facility to alert them and our boss of the danger.
    I then ran to the ‘volleyball beach’ next door.
    Within 3-5 minutes of my arriving at the next door beach, a young boy came screaming and writhing to my feet. I kicked sand over his entire bodyframe/legs, while telling the onlookers to get some meat tenderizer from the hotel nearby. One of the onlookers volunteered his jug of orange juice to mix with the tenderizer powder. We were still scraping the OJ/tenderizer mix from the boy’s chest and torso when the first-aid/lifeguard crews took over. They were somewhat amazed at my solution — and proceeded to finish what we had been doing. As soon as they took over, I went back to our swimming pool. The news of our “tenderizer’ remedy had already preceded my return to the community center/pool.
    bd

  16. bdid1dr on April 23, 2016 at 2:54 pm said:

    Yesterday evening I did a little more research in re “Man-o-War “jellyfish” : Apparently they are not considered jellyfish any more. Marine biologists, today, jeer at the use of meat tenderizer. Ennyway, the lifeguards who showed up to take over the seriously injured boy’s care, ‘gave me the nod” and held up the emptied orange juice container.

    So, I still wonder if someone had tried to rescue SM from the toils of ‘man-o-war’ stingers — by throwing sand on his legs and then scraping his legs clean of the long tendrils. Just a guess, I know; but might explain his bare/shaved legs?
    bd

  17. Diane on April 23, 2016 at 4:52 pm said:

    Bdid1dr,
    It is said that the remedy is always near the harm. Dock leaves near nettles and so on. Two of the ingredients of meat tenderiser are gained from tropical fruits – the pineapple and the papaya, so there may be a tradition at work there which one of these days will be ‘discovered’ by men in white coats – who knows?

    The remedy for blue-bottle stings (I think they may be the same critter) in northern Australian beaches used to be the bags of blue dye (Reckitt’s blue) which were used to whiten laundry. wiki tells me the chief element is blue powdered iron. It was also used with sand – no idea why, but perhaps to stimulate the blood-flow to the surface where the blue could take effect.

    When ‘blue bags’ became less common, vinegar became the usual remedy, and urine if nothing else could be found. My experience has been that the shout of ‘blue bottles’ brought more people out of the water, faster, than a cry of ‘shark’ because until the past five years or so, when the seas have been almost empty of fish (thanks, guys), sharks hadn’t really bothered eating people.

  18. bdid1dr on April 24, 2016 at 1:57 am said:

    @ Diane: Papaya – Papain : when we lived in Key West (William Street), we had at our back door a papaya tree. Unfortunately, we were not able to pick the ripe fruit: three years in a row we had FROST ! But we compensated with Key Limes ( Key Lime Pie): so sweet and sour as to make your jaws ache.
    BTW: Cuban Eddie’s Restaurant used papain for tenderizing his picadillo steak before broiling it. Steak, saffron rice, black beans — and fried plantains (oversized banana ‘look-alikes’) — Yum!
    So, I just thought that maybe a possible reason why the dead man (found on Somerton Beach) may have been a victim of a ‘blue-bottle” attack. I wonder if there were any signs of ‘rescuers’ trying to clean his legs, and his dying of shock, anyway.
    bd

  19. bdid1dr on April 24, 2016 at 3:36 pm said:

    ps: The Drones: not bad at all ! Somewhat like our band, the “Grateful Dead”
    “Come hear Uncle John’s band — playing through the night — we’ve got a lot to think about…….

    bd

  20. bdid1dr on April 28, 2016 at 7:12 pm said:

    Another tune by the “Grateful Dead” : ‘Friend of the Devil’ ( ..is no friend of mine .. ) .
    So, y’all can now guesstimate how old I must be. (Must be — I don’t always act my age.)

    beady-eyed wonder aka: bdid1dr

  21. Diane on April 29, 2016 at 6:46 am said:

    Bdid1dr
    and on that general theme of the Grateful Dead, do you know a fine song called, Isn’t it grand?.

  22. bdid1dr on April 30, 2016 at 5:15 pm said:

    I’ve heard of the song, but unless I can see the song being sung by the singers, I’m ‘clueless’. Now that I’ve got a ‘sound system” on my computer, I’ll seek it out to see if I can also hear the singers — and maybe sing-along !
    bd

  23. Russell on December 26, 2016 at 3:54 am said:

    “…maybe the Somerton Man was a snitch, maybe he was poisoned…”

    The Wikipedia article makes it pretty clear that he was poisoned with digitalis, although there is no proof who administered it. I don’t know if too may “working class blokes” in 1948 were getting their tailor made US clothing dry cleaned.

  24. John sanders on December 26, 2016 at 7:48 am said:

    I’m a working class bloke and can’t remember getting anything dry cleaned, since 1948. All my threads are made by foxton at Loxton and have remained more or less impervious to the normal workday grime and scuffing. After a good dip in the big muddy and a friendly peck from the reaching swans, their dry, fresh and ready for what ever task that may lay ahead…Yes snitching glitching and feather stitching sound kind of like the word bewitching. I tend to agree with you more or less Russell.

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