Music for 

Camp Concentration 

Cemental Health Records EEG35

John Catherwood: guitar on Agnoiology and Orthoepy.
Alan Holmes: vocals on The SIlkworm Song.
Stephen Lamont: guitar on Agnoiology; taped voice source on The Hierodule.
Ian Shuttleworth: guitar on Agnoiology.
Iain Walker: bass programming on The Silkworm Song.
Roy Watson: all other guitar, piano, synthesizer, samples, rhythm programming and tapes.

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 Gary Yanker. 

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 genocide.)
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 spontaneously folded.
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 for philosophers.’”
  • 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 in comparison.”
  • 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 correct pronunciation.’”
—all quotations from Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch, 
© 1968 by the author.
  • The Silkworm Dub (10:00)
  • Orthoepy [1987 improvised demo] (11:08)