The tune changes with a discordant clash of sound.

Have you ever heard early Kraftwerk? Way before Autobahn, which was fantastically melodic compared to their earlier creations, were three albums I know about. I have the first two (Kraftwerk and Kraftwerk 2, both available as full albums on YouTube) in a double-album set (they were originally released individually). Then came Ralf und Florian and then, just after Autobahn, a return to proper Kraftwerk with  Radioactivity. That last one contains the wonderful track ‘Ohm Sweet Ohm’. There is music (I use the term in a loose sense) on those albums that would make Captain Beefheart wince.

On that first double-album is a track called ‘Klingklang’ which, as titles go, aptly describes the sounds therein contained. I only have it on vinyl so far but I do have a device that can transfer vinyl to CD. It’s a pain to use becasue, like transferring VHS to DVD, there is no quick way. The only way is to play the analogue version in real time. Or, nick it from YouTube and convert to MP3. I would, of course, never do such a terrible thing.

Incidentally, BBC Six radio keep referring to Wolfgang Flur as ‘a founder member of Kraftwerk’. Bollocks. Kraftwerk were Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider until the other two joined and then it went all pop with red shirts and makeup and tunes that ordinary people like. I lost interest after The Man-Machine although just before that was Trans-Europe Express which is better than drugs. Don’t nod off if listening through headphones – there is a point where the train sounds like it’s coming right at you.

This must be a record digression, even for me. There is a point to this delight in discordancy, I just have to remember what it is.

Ah yes. Tory attitudes to climate change. Boris the Spider (no wait, that was a song by the Who) Boris Johnson, he of the spider-woven hair and, as many women will attest, more arms than the average spider, has come out of the closet as A Climate Heretic.

For more than 20 years now, we have been told that this country was going to get hotter and hotter and hotter, and that global warming was going to change our climate in a fundamental way. Do you remember that?

(sigh) Yes indeed, Man Without a Comb, we do remember it. We remember being villified and compared to flat-earthers by none other than Prime Monster the Brown Gorgon. And by all the high priests of the Green God and by all their mindless little drones.

Where were you then, Tory boy? Where were you when David Bellamy became an unperson for daring to deny the Green Gospel? Where were you when we pointed to the washout summers and three feet of snow in winter and were told ‘weather is not climate’ unless it gets a little bit warm somewhere and then weather is climate. Where were you then?

Boris, you are facing a jaded electorate. We have been lied to and spun so fast most of us have vomited and had to go and have a little lie down. We no longer take any politician’s words at face value and despite the best efforts of the uneducation system, most of us still have the capacity to remember the past. This switch from ‘We will all fry’ to ‘Actually it’s all been a load of hokum from the start’ is a discordancy that would make Ralf und Florian cry in envy.

He who pays the piper calls the tune, the saying goes, but for decades now we have been paying the piper to play whatever tune he likes, under threat of violence. Now the piper sees his end is nigh, he wants to play the tune we wanted him to play in the first place.

Too late to change tunes, piper. We’re not listening any more.

Put the pipes down and back away. You never played them properly anyway.

28 thoughts on “The tune changes with a discordant clash of sound.

  1. Oi! Hands off Captain Beefheart!

    I downloaded the ‘Safe as Milk’ album the other week in another one of those senior moments when the name of an album I used to own in the 60s popped – for no apparent reason – into my head. Amazingly, I still like it unlike some of the other total crap I’ve revisited lately. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” was a track with lyrics well ahead of its time.

    Anyway, back to my own crap now. I’m in a country music mood, with a bit of rock and politics thrown in of course.


    • ‘Yellow Brick Road’ is practically country music anyway. As near as the Captain ever managed to get, I’d say. Yes, the later stuff, such as ‘Trout Mask Replica’ was getting madder and madder – sort of like Kraftwerk’s story in reverse.

      I like to introduce people to Captain Beefheart with ‘Bluejeans and Moonbeams’ and similar style songs, then move on to ‘Electricity’ then ‘Ice Cream for Crow’ and by this stage there aren’t many people who believe it’s still the same band.


      • Now I did like Electricity and have been known to sing along, but Trout Mask Replica was a frequent cause of marital strife. Still, there’s no accounting for taste, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin infuriate my husband from the first note.


        • Safe as Milk is what it says on the tin… basically Blues bounced off a distorting mirror. He and Zappa used to sit up all night listening to Howlin Wolf etc, when they were in High School together.

          I met him once. I was supposed to interview him after his opening gig at Bristol Colston Hall. I was scared shitless! I didn’t even know if he did linear conversations in Human. He was charm itself, but declined the interview as he was so pissed off at the sound system Virgin had provided for him.


  2. Personally I preferred Faust over Kraftwerk and was especially amused by that second album that was all printed in black on a black background. But then again certain weeds make for easy amusement. Nowadays I quite like Ozric Tentacles who are to my ears, and despite the trippy edge, somewhere between those german bands and Pink Floyd with maybe a tinge of Hawkwind (I never expected to find Hawkwind behind a Ford car TV advert, is this selling out?)
    Yes – early Beefheart rules! – before it became so broken up and odd that it was hard to listen to – it was excellent stuff, and seemed so outrageously different back then, now it sounds almost mainstream with an interesting edge, but it hasn’t aged much has it? I still play it quite often.


    • Ozric Tentacles are a new one on me. I must call in on YouTube.

      The funniest moment lately, when I was being quizzed by someone who had an iPad and access to the online nicked music shop, was delivered courtesy of Tenacious D.

      They wanted to know my music tastes. They refused to play Rossini or Mozart or Beethoven but they did play a few Blue Oyster Cult songs and one Captain Beefheart – unfortunately the one they found was a live bootleg recording and absolutely terrible. So I said, ‘Try Tenacious D’.

      Blank looks. ‘Who?’

      ‘Tenacious D. A song called ‘Kielbasa’. –

      Well, it was all jolly and enjoyable until the lyrics kicked in. I have never seen a jaw drop so far so fast, not even on a blonde.

      Next time it’ll be Leonard Cohen and Tangerine Dream. One day they’ll stop inviting me, I think they just want to see how far the weirdness can go.

      I have a vinyl LP called ‘This is York’ and yes, it really is purely train sounds recorded at York station. It’ll take some time yet before we get to that one.

      But we will get there.


  3. The Warmists had me going in the early days, but they kept talking about carbon, so I naturally assumed that they meant elemental carbon from lorries and diesels and such, so planted trees to offset my carbon emissions from taking the kids to school, after all I reasoned that black matter in the upper air might trap the sun’s heat . At the same time, knowing a bit of history, I planted grapes outdoors just to see if they were right and prepared for gardening in the New Medieval Warm Period.

    Imagine my annoyance when I discovered that they had erased the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age just to fit their hockey stick chart and it wasn’t carbon they were talking about but carbon dioxide like in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, so my plants might have grown huge.
    My hopes of growing grapes like the Romans were dashed.

    It is one thing for a honest hypothesis to eventually be proved wrong, it’s an entirely different thing to deliberately erase our recorded history to defend one against all comers and try to silence and defame anyone who tries to point out the error.

    The similarities between tobacco and global warming are endless, like the Master Settlement Agreement was supposed to pay for the treatment, past and present, of alleged smoking related diseases in perpetuity, the developed countries were going to have to pay poorer countries for their “historic climate debt” due to the apparent consequences of the Industrial Revolution in causing warmer weather.
    http: //


  4. Talking of Boris – brace yourself for a torrent of links.

    Today’s news

    North Circular air pollution worst in London, emissions figures show

    “Four of the capital’s five worst roads for air pollution pass through some of the poorest areas of east London

    The North Circular, which carries more than 60,000 vehicles a day, has the worst traffic fumes of any road in London, according to official emissions figures released under freedom of information legislation.

    Exhaust emissions data held by Transport for London show that a stretch of the road near Walthamstow ranked highest for four of the five most dangerous air pollutants, including benzene, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and fine particles of unburned carbon called PM10s and PM2.5s.

    Four of the capital’s five worst roads for air pollution pass through some of the poorest areas of east London, including the A13 in Tower Hamlets and the Dartford crossing (A282) near Thurrock.

    Oxford Street and Piccadilly in central London ranked in the worst 15 roads, due to the large number of buses and taxis.

    Air pollution from traffic is linked to strokes, heart and respiratory diseases as well as some cancers and asthma. About 4,300 premature deaths a year are attributable to air pollution, according to studies for the London mayor, Boris Johnson.”

    Oh surely not, those are all supposed to be “smoking related” diseases and we have a Smoking Ban all over the country!

    Fear of political embarrassment led to government cover up of link between air pollution and lung cancer.

    “Delegates attending an international conference in London today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Great London Smog of 1952, which caused an estimated 12,000 deaths, will hear how governments from the late 50s onwards deliberately downplayed the huge threat to public health caused by air pollution, and sought to shift the blame firmly onto cigarette smoking instead.”
    http: //

    Mortality in the London Boroughs, 1950—52, with Special Reference to Respiratory Disease
    http: //

    Still,Doll does seem to have done a brilliant job in pointing everyone in the wrong direction.
    Mind you, even that wasn’t entirely unrelated to Big Oil, his then funders, according to Denial and Delay –

    “I shall have a Rockefeller Scholar in my department who might be used on it at little cost. A much better alternative would be Richard Doll who has been employed by the Council in the survey of peptic ulcer (sic) in industry and which is coming to an end I believe. I do know he is interested in cancer of the lung and I regard him as a very good worker to whom it is well worth while giving a wider experience in medical statistical work with an eye to the future. As you know, the number of medical persons who take at all kindly to careful statistical work is still small”

    “Less guardedly the same month he wrote to Dr Green at the MRC: ‘Incidentally the investigation has gone much better than I expected and it looks as if smoking will be incriminated to a major extent!”
    http: //

    – had apparently been supplying the tobacco farmers curing barns with fuel oil since 1945.

    “Boyette said that before World War II wood was the preferred fuel for curing barns. A wood fire burned just outside the barn. The heat and combustion gases flowed through a flue, usually made of brick, that snaked across the floor of the barn, then rose up through the barn. Because the gases moved through the flue, the tobacco was never exposed to them. The barns were heated, and the tobacco cured, but the heat was indirect. Presumably, the tobacco from those barns contained low levels of nitrosamines.”
    http: //

    But that changed

    Fuel Oil is Secured For Tobacco Curing in New Machine.
    The News and Courier – 1945

    Special It has been announced that some 1,000 fuel oil machines for use in curing tobacco this season have been purchased and it has been arranged for growers to be supplied with sufficient fuel oil to cure their tobacco.”

    “The needs of the tobacco grower for curing purposes in the oil machines, replacing the wood-burning fireplace, have been included in the 1945 program for OPA distribution of fuel oil.”,5497835

    This mistake was only realised and rectified 12 years ago.

    Retrofitting Tobacco Barns

    What About Existing Diesel Burners??
    “Orginal fuel oil heat exchanger models were not solid welded and have the potential for leaking combustion gases in the curing chamber. Current models are solid welded”
    http: //

    Las Vegas Review-Journal 1997:
    “Nonsmokers who work in a smoking environment have shown physical evidence of a cancer-causing substance in their urine, according to a new study released Tuesday. According to the author, the study, presented at the American Chemical Society convention in Las Vegas, marks the first time research has been conducted in the workplace rather than in a laboratory environment

    “The substance, called NNK, was detected in the urine of nine nonsmoking hospital workers caring for patients in a smoking area of a Canadian veterans hospital, said Dr. Stephen Hecht of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center.”
    “This is the first time that a metabolite of a tobacco-specific lung carcinogen has been found in the urine of nonsmokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke under field conditions,” Hecht said.”
    http: //

    See, sometimes anti-tobacco science can inadvertently be useful.

    Incidentally, if you are interested, in –

    Toxicologic and epidemiologic clues from the characterization of the 1952 London smog fine particulate matter in archival autopsy lung tissues.
    http: //

    You will find references amongst other things, to the increased level of diesel particulates in the London aerosol from the final conversion of public transport from trams to diesel buses in 1952 and the large amount of lead from various sources including tetra-ethyl lead from fuel additives.

    Firms ‘knew of leaded petrol dangers in 20s’

    “General Motors, duPont and Standard Oil were making billions of dollars worldwide from selling the lead formula which they had patented while paying for and controlling the research into the health effects for more than 40 years. The research always favoured the industry’s pro-lead views or was suppressed, Mr Kitman found.”

    The issue of lead in petrol arose in the 1920s because petrol on its own did not allow high performance and engines “knocked”, or vibrated. Alcohol, easily made and used but frowned on in prohibition America, did the trick and so did the lead compound. The advantage of tera-ethyl lead was that it could be patented and royalties charged. ”
    http: //

    Science: Tetraethyl Lead
    Monday, Nov. 10, 1924

    “The Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey has a plant at Bayway, N. J. There last week a man suddenly became raving mad. He was taken to a hospital in Manhattan where he soon died. Others became affected. Within a few days, five men, all raving mad and confined in straight-jackets, died. In all there were 45 men—three shifts of 15 each—working together on the same job. All were placed under medical observation and care. Only ten of them were unaffected. The others all showed symptoms of the disease: headaches, nervousness, insomnia, lowered blood pressure. Such was the toll of the first major onslaught of the newest “occupational disease.” For some time experiments have been going forward in an effort to improve gasoline as an automobile fuel.”

    “The Standard Oil Co. temporarily closed its plant at Bayway. Meanwhile, thoroughly frightened, health authorities in parts of New Jersey and New York forbade the sale of Ethyl Gasoline, and in some other places sale was voluntarily stopped until it could be publicly demonstrated that Ethyl Gasoline is itself harmless”
    http: //,9171,728055,00.html

    So, Doll’s study not only cleared the oil companies and the government of reponsibility for ill health, but it also kept lead poisoning from fuel additives off the agenda until the 80’s.


  5. Here’s more damage caused by the warmists and their obsession with CO2, I wondered why people thought diesel cars were “green”.

    Diesel fumes more damaging to health than petrol engines – 2013

    “Diesel fumes are significantly more damaging to health than those from petrol engines, according to research which shows that related air pollution contributes to lung disease, heart attacks, asthma and other respiratory problems.

    The findings, published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, are an embarrassment for successive governments, which have encouraged a switch to diesel since 2001 by linking road and company car tax to CO2 emissions.

    Diesel engines have been billed as “green” by car makers, governments and environmental groups because they are more fuel-efficient and emit less CO2 than petrol.”

    Devil in the diesel – 1997

    “A COMPOUND discovered in the exhaust fumes of diesel engines may be the most strongly carcinogenic ever analysed, say Japanese researchers. They warn that a major source of the chemical is heavily loaded diesel engines, and that it could be partly responsible for the large number of lung cancer cases in cities.

    The compound, 3-nitrobenzanthrone, produced the highest score ever reported in an Ames test, a standard measure of the cancer-causing potential of toxic chemicals. “I personally believe that the recent increase in the number of lung cancer patients in vehicle-congested areas is closely linked with respirable carcinogens such as 3-nitrobenzanthrone,” says Hitomi Suzuki, a chemist at Kyoto University who led the study. Test emissions from truck engines and the air above central Tokyo both contained the compound”
    http: //


    • The late Dr Kitty Little was of the opinion that the main cause of LC was from diesel particulates rather than tobacco:

      In which case I shudder to think of my contribution when I drove a truck with a 14 litre V8, supercharged, turbocharged two-stroke diesel that did 4 mpg. I was burning about 900 gallons a week. They were probably dropping like flies in my wake…


      • Nothing to worry about. As they keeled over, they’d have pointed at the guy with the little paper tube of burning leaves and blamed him. You may slaughter the masses with impunity.

        If you were driving a truck for the NHS, they’d have given you a bonus.


      • Nisakiman

        Dr Kitty Little

        “One would have expected the results of such definitive experiments to have been published by 1957 or 1958, or by 1960 at the very latest.

        Instead, publication of papers on the subject suddenly ceased; funds for research on the effects of diesel smoke were withdrawn; lawyers issued instructions on how to confuse a court should an action for damages be initiated; and articles on diesel fuel tended to have the unsupported statement “diesel smoke is harmless” as a frequent non sequitor.

        If it had not been for this cut off of information, together with the brainwashing techniques of the anti-smoking campaign, all lung cancer of the type under discussion could have been eliminated by now.

        The cut off of information about the carcinogenic action of diesel smoke seems to have coincided with the availability of final proof that smoking was not, and could not be, responsible for the rise in lung cancer; with an acceleration of the campaign to make industrial nations more dependant on oil as a source of energy; and with the EEC decision to rely primarily on road transport for the carriage of industrial products.”;jsessionid=1A622975CD35D2F66C01526368B52B33?tid=yth67a99&page=17

        She has a lot more to say on other causes as well.

        Are Diesels More Dangerous than Cigarettes as a Cause of Lung Cancer?

        “In Great Britain the increase started a few years after the introduction of diesel engines.
        In South Africa, in city after city, lung cancer followed a few years after diesel engines were introduced.
        There seemed to be a lag of about 7 or 8 years between the critical exposure and overt symptoms. Diesel was introduced in Great Britain a few years before South Africa or New Zealand. During the next 20 years British immigrants to South Africa’ and New Zealand showed a higher lung cancer incidence than the local population of British origin, whether they smoked or not.”
        http: //

        You will find that New Zealand observation verified in “Mortality in the London Boroughs, 1950—52, with Special Reference to Respiratory Disease”
        http: //

        Some of the bits and pieces I collected relating to Diesel


        • Thank you Rose. Thought provoking stuff indeed. I’ve been aware of the link I posted for some time, but didn’t realise there was so much more.

          I have to go to UK for a few days, as my father died last week, and his funeral is on Friday, but when I get back I shall give my attention to the links you’ve posted.

          As an aside, my father was 96 years old, and although in his youth he smoked the occasional pipe, he gave up smoking altogether in 1939.

          His death will be recorded as ‘smoking related’.


  6. Incidentally, LI

    I have a science question for you.

    I have heard this one before, non-smokers seem to think that you are drawing very hot smoke into your lungs, which of course with a moments thought they would realise can’t be true, you would burn your lips and fingers before it ever got near your lungs.

    Obviously this is nonsense.

    “The exact quote: “It [the vapor] can be several thousand degrees when it hits your lungs.”

    “While a tobacco cigarette burns at between 600 and 900 degrees Celsius, an electronic cigarette is able to produce vapor at a much lower temperature – around 40 to 65 degrees.”

    But, how would it be possible to measure the exact temperature of the smoke as it leaves the filter and enters your mouth? There must be some way to differentiate between the heat of your mouth and the temperature of the smoke, but I can’t think of it.


    • A hundred degrees would boil your lungs. Several thousand degrees would vapourise them at once. If you held something that hot at a cigarette’s length from your face, your eyes would burst and your flesh would melt. Only an utter idiot would make a statement like that, but then ‘utter idiot’ and ‘antismoker’ are the same thing these days.

      How to measure it? Smoke feels warm but not hot, not unless your tobacco is over-dry and burning too fast. In which case it would be unpleasant to smoke anyway. There isn’t likely to be much of a temperature difference and the smoke isn’t there for very long. Most thermometers won’t react fast enough to detect the difference.

      I have infrared thermometers that can measure without touching, they could maybe be aimed into the mouth but the mouth would have to be open at least a little. Or, one of those little digital ones with the probe on a wire, have the probe in your mouth while inhaling. I have those too but I’ve used them in microbiology experiments. No way I’m putting one of those in my mouth! I’d better buy a fresh one.

      The infrared one measures while you hold the button and then locks the measurement when you let go. The inside of my mouth is 36.8 C when not smoking. The burning end of an Amber Leaf rollup comes out at 225 C (this thing isn’t really accurate when pointed at things smaller than its measuring ‘lens’).

      Taking a few puffs then aiming it into a mouthful of smoke, I get 32.5 C. Oh dear.

      The thing measures infrared and if the smoke isn’t emitting, or is masking infrared, it can’t get an accurate measure. Or, the smoke has a cooling effect but I bet that would give any antismoker a few burst blood vessels 😉

      I’d save the money on the infrared thermometer and go for a cheap aquarium-style one for this kind of experiment. They can be had for a couple of quid. I’ll see if I can get one later in the week.


      • I have a digital thermometer that was used in cheese making experiments last year, but it reacts so slowly that I don’t think I’d be able to inhale that long.
        Still, I’ll give it a try.

        It’s not impossible that smoke, drawn through the length of a cigarette does indeed have a cooling effect in the mouth, shredded tobacco many not be a good conductor.


  7. How to make tobacco tar for mouse painting. (or tomato tar, or potato tar, or aubergine tar. etc)

    “The still was filled with a.5 kg. of dry tobacco: the asbestos gasket, soaked in water-glass (liquid sodium silicate), put in place; and the lid fastened tightly so as to prevent the escape of fumes.
    The still was then slowly heated to 700° C. Six to 8 hours were required for a distillation.”

    Now unreadable.

    However, I did find out yesterday that it is 13 pounds of finished tobacco to one gallon of fuel oil.

    Click to access PDF_61-64CuringTobacco.pdf


  8. Well that’s me bolloxed then as I smoke and have driven diesel cars for 5 years. Or does the tobacco smoke protect me from the affects of the diesel!!??


    • It’s not the car you drive, it’s the car you are driving behind.

      But it seems that we may have some advantages in dealing with it.

      Glutathione: The Mother of All Antioxidants
      “It’s the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease — yet you’ve probably never heard of it.”
      http: //

      Normal alveolar epithelial lining fluid contains high levels of glutathione.

      “The epithelial cells on the alveolar surface of the human lower respiratory tract are vulnerable to toxic oxidants derived from inhaled pollutants or inflammatory cells. Although these lung cells have intracellular antioxidants, these defenses may be insufficient to protect the epithelial surface against oxidants present at the alveolar surface
      “The total glutathione (the reduced form GSH and the disulfide GSSG) concentration of normal ELF was 140-fold higher than that in plasma of the same individuals, and 96% of the glutathione in ELF was in the reduced form.

      Compared with nonsmokers, cigarette smokers had 80% higher levels of ELF total glutathione, 98% of which was in the reduced form.”

      Studies of cultured lung epithelial cells and fibroblasts demonstrated that these concentrations of reduced glutathione were sufficient to protect these cells against the burden of H2O2 in the range released by alveolar macrophages removed from the lower respiratory tract of nonsmokers and smokers, respectively, suggesting that the glutathione present in the alveolar ELF of normal individuals likely contributes to the protective screen against oxidants in the extracellular milieu of the lower respiratory tract.”

      Surprise benefit from carbon monoxide’

      “Researchers at the University Medical Centre in Groningen, the Netherlands, found that the gas appeared to ease the inflammation of lung tissues when given in low doses over a four-day period.”
      http: //


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