Summer’s Cauldron

Here is The Web Pen’s official entry into The Spicy Cauldron’s Spicy Awards. The rules stipulate that ‘cauldron’ be used somehow. After wracking my brain for ideas I figured that a write-up of an obscure song from an obscure album by an obscure British band would be just the ticket. I’m writing this introduction before created the piece itself so I have no idea where this is going to go. To make things even more confusing, I’m going to listen to ELO while writing it.

XTC is a band known for its trippy, catchy, psychedelic-era Beatles sound especially due to the excellent songwriting of Andy Partridge (no relation to the 70’s musical family — mostly due to the fact that they were fictional). Partridge’s lyrics are many times full of excellent metaphor and clear meaning although there are times when he dives into the obtuse lyrical content that is Tori Amos in its massive discombobulation. “Summer’s Cauldron” is the first song on the album most regard as their best, Skylarking. (Personally, I prefer English Settlement, but this isn’t about my ego-inflated opinion.)

Let us see if we can decipher Partridge’s meaning in this excellent song.

The song begins with noises of nature — frogs, crickets, flying insects, birds — which give you the feeling that you have been planted firmly where there are no shopping centers, gas stations or outlets to recharge your iPod! How horrible! And then Partridge starts to sing:

Drowning here in Summer’s Cauldron
Under mats of flower lava

So we are to assume that the season of summer is like a giant bowl made to mix potions and cast spells. Okay, I can see that, but flower lava? I can only assume he is talking about pollen, which is the reason summer is my least favorite season. Oh, yes, I said it. The flower lava being produced gets into my sinuses and makes me feel awful. Suddenly all the plants are having sex and I get their sexual by-products shot up my noses and in my eyes. Have you ever had pollen shot in your eye? It burrrrrns… and iiiiiitches!

Please don’t pull me out this is how I would want to go
Translation: Summer makes him want to commit suicide. I totally understand.

Breathing in the boiling butter
Fruit of sweating golden Inca

Um, ew. I just looked up how hot butter has to be to boil. 428°F / 220°C. Breathing it in would cause all sorts of damage to your mouth and bronchial system. We’re talking scalding, blisters, damaged tissue, infection and possibly death. The good news is that it would burn off your taste buds so you wouldn’t have to register the sensation of drinking the sweat of a gold-painted, long-dead member of a conquered society.

Please don’t heed my shout I’m relax in the undertow
Translation: “Even though I’m screaming in agony from the boiling butter and pollen in my lungs, I’m relaxed as I’ve accepted death.”

Trees are dancing drunk with nectar
Grass is waving underwater

So here is where the hallucinations so commonly associated with dying come to play. Or he’s watching Fantasia after eating a dozen poppy-seed bagels. Wait, don’t plants produce nectar? That means the trees are drunk on their own waste product. Ah, that means this entire passage is about his urine fetish — golden showers and such. In fact, there is a lot of yellow either invoked or mentioned in this song. I see now that the ‘grass’ is a metaphor for his own manhood and guess what it’s doing? That’s right, it’s waving water — spraying it all over. In fact, he’s probably writing his name in the ground. That’s just gross! (Pssst, Mr. Partridge. Caaaaall me.)

Please don’t pull me out this is how I would want to go
Okay, now I’m just confused. He obviously wants to “pull it out”. Oh, wait, I get it. He wants to “go” in his jeans. Got it. I think I saw that in a porn once.

Insect bomber Buddhist droning
Copper chord of August’s organ

Huh-huh, he said ‘organ’. Is his bladder full again already? What the hell is he drinking? And what the heck is a Buddhist bomber? Death by large belly, I would presume. Even more puzzling is why there is a copper-pipe organ in the middle of nature?

Please don’t heed my shout I’m relax in the undertow
Oh, he’s relaxed all right. …in his pants.

When Miss Moon lays down
His ass is tired…

And Sir Sun stands up
…but he’s horny.

Me I’m found floating round and round
Like a bug in brandy
In this big bronze cup

I have to pee so badly right now.

Drowning here in Summer’s Cauldron
I believe that cauldron is his metaphor for chamber pot and he wants to drown in it. Again. Ew.

Wow, I never realized how disgusting this song is. Here I was thinking that it was some drug-induced ode to one of the seasons. I mean it segues directly in to Colin Moulding’s “Grass” so I just automatically thought they were connected in theme. Remind me to never study music theory. I’m going back to English Settlement with realistic songs about Jason and the Argonauts, how woman are better than man, violent juvenile delinquents, and overstimulation of the senses.

There’s always trouble brewin’ at

Listening to: “Endless Lies” – Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra (Elo) - Secret Messages - Endless Lies

13 thoughts on “Summer’s Cauldron

  1. Wow. Good grief. That’s why I stick to songs with lyrics like “Shake your moneymaker” or “Do it to me one more time.” No thinking involved.

    And I’ve got to say, Howard, I already thought you were plenty spicy without entering an online contest.

  2. Hey, thanks for adding the song. It actually reminds me of a cross between Joe Jackson and Howard Jones. LOL The bitter snarky Steve is still around. I love that about myself. But I had the best sex last night (better than I’ve had in several years!). I know TMI :lol:

  3. I actually prefer C&T’s “Meerkat Love” or “Squares” or “Shop in Town.” I think that’s what they’re called.

    Of course I’m a smooth talker. Like buttah. How do you think I wound up with my horde of blog groupies?

  4. Peg

    Howard! You are hilarious! This was just what I needed after a long work week full of intensity and being patronized by someone whose mother I’m old enough to be! Of what is that picture? It looks familiar.

  5. Jerzy Shore

    Hysterical actually…but you know what…Howard…you are one of the select few…deep in XTC.

    I have everything (that I could find) that they recorded. English Settlement is still my favorite (see Melt the Guns, It’s nearly Africa, Snowman –
    BUT…they have amazing things, with lots of cool ambiguous lyrics to twist, from every stage of their existence.
    For me, Oranges and Lemons is an absolute CLASSIC!

    As are you, my man.

  6. Oranges & Lemons was the album that finally sold me on them and then I went through their back catalog after that. “Down In The Cockpit” and “No Thugs In Our House” are my favorites from English Settlement. Such a great album.

    It’s always great to run across that one person who gets it. I figure if the blog entertains at least one person then I’ve done my job.

  7. Pingback: The 2007 2nd Annual Spicy Cauldron Awards Ceremony | The Spicy Cauldron

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