Thought For The Day
Thought For The Day
9 From The 90s
Momus selects the most important records of the 90s.
2. Bjerk: A Fucking Big Badger
Although only three inches tall and belonging to the racial category more patronising ages used to designate pixie, Bjerk sure has one hell of a big voice.
Already well-known in the 80s as a girlfriend of Mark E. Smith, Bjerk became a full-time member of The Fall and gave them some of their biggest hits with songs like 'The Man Whose Girlfriend Expanded', 'The Arctic Circle Will Rise Again' and 'A Gigantic Crow Stole My Knickers'. Bjerk-period Fall songs showcased the Icelandic sprite's anarchistic yet charmingly childlike lyrics and beautiful, primal, guttural shrieks, but it quickly became clear that she wasn't good for the band. Whenever Mark E. Smith tried to butt in with his shouty rants, the whole world seemed to yell 'Shut up you truculent lout, let the cute little pixie sing!'
And sing she did on her 1993 solo debut, A Fucking Big Badger. Gone were the truckerbilly jams of yore, replaced by a smorgasbord of PoMo instrumentation: jaw's harps, Tibetan nose flutes, grains of pollen, in fact anything Bjerk could carry home from her flights from one buttercup to the next. She was the original Borrower.
'Giant Behaviour' was the first single, a typical Bjerk take on the quirks and vagaries of those several times her size. Because she risked getting crushed by every whimsical and unthinking movement on the part of the 'giants' surrounding her, Bjerk had to become an expert in predicting their behaviour. It becomes clear in the song that Bjerk loves our spontaneity, but would like us to be a tad more considerate to the little (and invisible!) folk who surround us. The video, by Pedro Romanygypsy, reverses the situation and shows gigantic leprechauns trampling tiny humans to death.
Bjerk wasn't just a pretty little fairy. She had teeth too, and could lay some bad voodoo on people who crossed her. Her subsequent attack on an intrusive journalist's shoelaces at a Bangkok airport and her jibes against fickle rapper lovers Tacky and Pinkie were foreshadowed on her debut album in the song 'Momus Is A Goy', whose scathing lyrics ('He believes in Jewry / But Momus is a goy') effectively stopped the effete Scottish singer's career dead in its tracks for several years.
But perhaps the most positive and uplifting song on 'A Fucking Big Badger' was 'Big Body Sensuality', in which Bjerk describes the body of her lover as a landscape she can spend the whole day walking around, up hill and down dale. What better reminder could there be that even little people can have large hearts, large souls, and even larger pleasures?
Next: Tacky and his ominous, glowering trip hop epic Mummysboy
Click here for our review of Nerderama's seminal, bilious Clevermind