Cemental Health Records EEG35
THE INEXPRESSIBLE MISERIES are
John Catherwood: guitar on Agnoiology and Orthoepy.
Alan Holmes: vocals on The SIlkworm Song.
Stephen Lamont: guitar on Agnoiology; taped voice source on The
Ian Shuttleworth: guitar on Agnoiology.
Iain Walker: bass programming on The Silkworm Song.
Roy Watson: all other guitar, piano, synthesizer, samples, rhythm programming
Recorded and mixed at the Winter Headquarters, August–December 1987.
Produced by Roy Watson; engineered by Iain Walker, except where noted.
Digitally remastered December 2004.
Cover: poster of Richard Nixon, 1971, from the book Prop Art by
This title (P) 1988, 2004 Cemental Health Records.
This album is respectfully dedicated to Mr Disch.
Early in 1986 I was given a copy of Thomas M. Disch’s Camp Concentration.
It’s a novel about genius and disease, in the same way that Thomas Mann’s
Doktor Faustus (to which it acknowledges its debt) is about genius
and disease. It’s also about much more, of course, Mr Disch being
one of those people who write social commentaries disguised as works of
science fiction – more properly, “speculative fiction”.
Both Val Widdowson (who gave me the book) and I were struck by how
theatrical Camp Conc. was; we were sure that it could be staged
without the butchery involved in most adaptations for the theatre – and
we were in no doubt that, with governments and corporations alike tending
not merely towards the authoritarian but the totalitarian, this story would
make a valuable parable to sting all decent people into taking steps to
reverse the trend... or at least to be mumbled about cogently by the last
of the dying breed of old-fashioned liberals. (A liberal, in 1988,
is someone enlightened enough to favour segregation as an alternative to
At the time there happened to be a vacancy with a touring theatre company
for a new play for their 1986 summer tour of the Cambridge, Oxford and
Edinburgh Fringes. I applied with an as-then-unwritten adaptation
of Camp Conc. I came second. There were two entries.
The other was an as-then-half-written adaptation of L’Étranger.
I take comfort in the fact that it bombed. Well, I thought, maybe
next year. Next year came but that company’s tour didn’t; it had
By then, though, with the assistance of a newly-acquired word-processor,
I had crunched the 150 or so pages of the novel into 130 or so pages of
play. This is a tad on the long side. Since then it’s been
regularly pruned, diligently tended and is now a leaner, fitter, hungrier
100 or so pages; it’s been rejected by another theatre company (this time
in favour of No, No, Nanette) and may be about to metamorphose into
a radio serial, or maybe into an even shorter (say 3½-hour) stage
play. None of this remorseless rejection has in any way dampened
my determination to see this thing produced somewhere, somehow.
The pieces on this tape began life as incidental music for the Mark
2 stage production. They’ve all warped to a greater or lesser extent
from that ideal, but I think not only that they still convey a sense (necessarily
of the most nebulous sort) of the moods of the play, but that most of them
are still usable... and, if I have anything to do with a future production,
some of this stuff will be piped across the footlights to an unsuspecting
audience. Hell, some of it’s even quite pleasant.
—Ian Shuttleworth, 1988
The Silkworm Song (3:35) (words Thomas M. Disch,
1968; music Roy Watson, © control Anal Memoranda) mixed by Roy Watson:
“The muse descends – characteristically assuming the mortal guise of an
attack of diarrhoea, abetted by headache. Auden observes somewhere
how often a poet’s finer flights are due/rumpty-tumpty-tumpty to the ’flu.
In honour of the occasion, I will transcribe my little poem (the slightest
of lyrics, but Lord! how long it has been since the last one)...”
Agnoiology (8:19) (Catherwood/Lamont/Shuttleworth/Watson;
© control Shart III/PRO-Canada/Anal Memoranda) mixed by John Catherwood/Iain
Walker/Roy Watson: “‘All values melt imperceptibly into their opposites.
Any good Hegelian knows that. War is peace, ignorance is strength
and freedom is slavery. Add to that, that love is hate, as Freud
has so exhaustively demonstrated. As for knowledge, it’s the scandal
of our age that philosophy has been whittled away to a barebones epistemology,
and thence to an even barer agnoiology. Have I found a word you don’t
know, Louis? Agnoiology is the philosophy of ignorance, a philosophy
A Rat Seeps Cream (Spacial Fugue) (8:32) (Walker/Watson;
© control Mad Arab Music/Anal Memoranda) mixed by John Catherwood/Iain
Walker/Roy Watson: “Adrienne Leverkühn, the East German composer of
‘hard’ music, returned to Aspen, Colorado, to appear in court to answer
charges brought against her by an association of claimants who maintain
that the première performance of her Spacial Fugues on August
30 this year was the direct and culpable cause of injuries, both physical
and mental, done to the claimants. One claimant, Richard Sard, Festival
director, has testified that the performance ruptured his eardrums, causing
him permanent deafness.” [This track is excerpted from a re-recording
with hindsight of Repeat Massacre from the then-deleted
first Cemental Health Records release. The original edition of
this album was a bit on the short side, but bear in mind that the alternative
was a longer excerpt of this.]
The Hierodule) (6:30) (Watson; © control
Anal Memoranda) mixed by Iain Walker/Roy Watson: “Up all night – scribble,
scribble, scribble... I haven’t the least notion what it’s all about...
A hierodule, as I discovered last week going through the O.E.D., is a temple
slave... it degenerates (or ascends?) into something that wholly
defies my powers of synopsis, much less analysis. Pagan it is, most
certainly, and perhaps heretical as well... But I have the feeling,
which comes after a good poem, that everything else I’ve ever done is dross
The Silkworm Song (reprise) (6:36)
(Watson; © control Anal Memoranda) mixed by Roy Watson: [It hasn’t
escaped our attention that this reprise is virtually twice as long as the
original track. Well, it seemed too good to waste.]
Orthoepy (8:28) (Watson; © control Anal
Memoranda) mixed by Roy Watson: “‘It bugs you, doesn’t it, that I’m smarter
than you are?... Test me, if you like. Any time. Just
name your weapon, baby. Pick a science, any science. Maybe
a formal debate would suit you better?... A scramble up the slopes
of Finnegans Wake perhaps? Haikus?’ – “‘Stop! I believe you.
But goddamn it, there’s still one field that I’d win in yet, superman...
orthoepy.’ – “‘Okay, I’ll bite. What’s orthoepy?’ – “‘The study of
—all quotations from Camp Concentration by Thomas
© 1968 by the author.
The Silkworm Dub (10:00)
Orthoepy [1987 improvised demo]