Cézanne, NewsRevue Lyric, 26 February 1996

I didn’t often write lyrics for news items such as major art exhibitions, perhaps for good reason. I don’t think this one made the cut…

…which is a shame, as it has a lot going for it.

Coincidentally, I got to this lyric quite by chance on the day that Daisy and I are off to see the new Giacometti at the Tate (16 May 2017) – naturally to be reported on Ogblog very soon.

I could give Cézanne a go on the baritone ukulele; that would be fun.

(To the Tune of “Suzanne”)

Cezanne takes you down to the Tate near the river,
You can hear the crowds go by, you can spend the night there queuing;
And you know that he was crazy, but that’s why you want to be there,
Cos he painted Mont Sainte-Victoire, in the shape of a large phallus;
And just when you mean to savour, the large pictures of the bathers,
Then he gets you with his missus, sitting in a yellow armchair,
Cos he always was pretentious.


And you want to ease your bladder, and you’re dying for some space,
But you dare not leave the circuit, cos you queued all day and mustn’t lose your place.


And Degas was a painter, who was daft obsessed with water,
And he spent a long time watching, all the ladies in the bathroom;
And when he knew for certain, that those ladies couldn’t see him,
He said “artists should paint bathers that’s a good excuse for peeping”.
So Cezanne painted bathers, they’d not yet invented ravers;
In eighteen ninety something, they hadn’t learnt to party much at all.


And you want to ease your bladder, and your vitals are so sore,
And you’d die for a Pissaro, or an artist who had once learnt how to draw.


Now Cezanne takes the stand, at the Tate near the river,
He’s the nation’s new obsession in the hyped up exhibition;
And the show makes heaps of money, from an unsuspecting public,
Who wouldn’t know the difference, between garbage and grand masters;
So don’t you try to tell them, that the merchandise you sell them;
Is a massive con that’s bigger, than his painting of card players,
Cos Cezanne turned them silly.


And you want to say you’re cultured and you want to be refined,
But you don’t know arse from elbow, the impression that you give is that you’re blind.

I tried a variant of the lyric a few days later, merely changing the third verse opening couplet to refer to a newly launched fizzy drink named Shazam (see below). I can find no references to that particular fizzy pop on-line, which must make that substitution an even more obscure story. Now, of course, everyone thinks of Shazam as the app to help identify a tune/song.


Now Shazam tastes real bland, like a pee in the river,
It’s a fizz without a mission like the Cezanne exhibition;

Here’s Leonard Cohen singing Suzanne with the lyrics on the screen:

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