Idle Tigers

Idle Tigers

BandJazzCabaret

Antique English music-hall / post-gender cabaret ghosts chanelled through primitive electronics and a mandolin. Medieval folk ballads played over drum machines. Digital-theatrical-tragi-comical pop songs performed in full costume and make-up.

Biography

Idle Tigers began as the work of a gentleman-amateur playing with machines in the grim north of England. The gentleman in question moved to Canada where he has since been under the impression that he is the womanly ghost of a neglected star of the Victorian music hall stage; an American record label, seeing some potential in his story-telling and all-round light entertainment, offered an outlet for his recorded works.

Lyrics

Lord Byron's Marriage

Written By: Ross Hawkins

The Lord is in an awful mood today.
The Lord is in an awful mood today.
Whoever thought they'd ever say
they had seen Lord Byron's wedding day?
The Lord is in an awful mood today.

The Lord is in an awful mood today.

My oldest friend, I loved how you told me
When you slept with all those women, and left them, and told me.
You collected so many lockets of hair,
And you showed them to me. Will you show them to her?
There was Caroline Lamb, who you dressed as a man,
And Augusta, your understanding half-sister.
You're dangerous to know, and bloody good-looking.
Farewell, crippled beau, farewell to fair fucking.

And Lord, you seem so nervous today.

Brittle and settled, and tied in a knot.
Does anyone know any reason why not?
Ask the antelope women and the young Turkish boys,
But the antelope women have changed their address,
And the young Turkish boys have become Turkish men,
And they're not at your wedding. I am. I'm your friend.

But Lord, you seem so uncomfortable today.
And I'm holding your hand as the carriage drives away.
The one time when I'll most need you,
You'll be on your honeymoon.
I've holding your hand as the carriage drives away.

And you say "I do... but give me privacy.
I do... but soon I won't."
I don't mean to be a misery, but
The wedding is full of guests and ghosts.
In sickness and sickness, till death you two part
Or an elephant treading on your heart.

An elephant has trodden on my heart.
An elephant has trodden on my heart.
The one time when I'll most need you,
You'll be on your honeymoon.
An elephant has trodden on my heart.

Goodnight!

Light Entertainer In Prison

Written By: Ross Hawkins

I am a monster on display, a monster on display, a monster on display
They saw my credit card receipt, it's hard to be discreet, it's hard to be discreet
The right wing press can be so cruel, the press can be so cruel, the press can be so cruel
My mother has to read those things, and won't know what to think, she won't know what to think

They were cruel about my last performances, they said unpleasant things about my private life
They're rush-releasing my biography, with a message of support from my ex-wife

You won't see me on television
I'm a light entertainer in prison

Oh god, you're thicker than I thought, your'e thicker than I thought, you're thicker than I thought
It wasn't difficult to see I had a shady history, a shady history
And I can pull a funny face, but do you think it's in good taste, do you think it's in good taste?
I am a danger to your kids, a danger to your kids, a danger to your kids

I've written rude words upon the wall, oh mother, what'll I do now?

(repeat chorus)

Well I think I've gone to hell and there aren't many jokes to tell, not many jokes to tell down here
Thank you! Goodnight! I hate you all! etc

Jonah

Written By: Ross Hawkins

Jonah had no manners, Jonah had no patience
God said "Go preach in Nineveh, they've got a grand appreciation
for heathen bloody-mindedness, violent sex and pain."
Jonah couldn't be arsed with that, so he took a ship to Spain.

He was on the ship when a storm let rip, and a member of the crew
found Jonah hiding in the bogs and said "who the fuck are you?"
Jonah said "I'm fleeing God's authoritative stare."
The sailor threw him overboard and said "like fuck you are."

And Jonah felt significantly out of sight from God,
And Jonah felt significantly like he had been had.

The sea rose like a mountain range around the stupid prophet,
and he was bobbing up and down as if he were a puppet,
when a wild and wandering whale woke up from the dim abyss,
saw Jonah bobbing up and down and said "I fancy a bit of this."

So Jonah sat inside the whale saying "what's this all about?
I've got to get out of these guts but I'm fucked if I know how."
The gut contracted tight and rank around Jonah the prophet.
"Can God still see me now?" he said. He was very idiotic.

And he was right resentful, yes, he was retching up resentment,
but Jonah's overwhelming mood was one of quiet disappointment.

The whale saw something surprising that he'd never seen before.
I don't know what it was, but it made him cough, and he spat out Jonah whole.
He swam to shore, and God said "I'm sure you'll go to Nineveh now, won't ya?"
He built a bed upon the beach... "Like fuck I will", said Jonah.

Unlace Me Behind The Hedge

Written By: Ross Hawkins

"Where do you want me to touch you?" she said.
"Here, by the side of the road", I said.
"Sit on the stone wall and play with my hair,
Come here, unlace me behind the hedge."

I think that sex is just special effects,
A right performance from the fireworks department.
Someone powders our faces and sorts out the lights,
Makes sure that we're all having a really nice time.

My first ever scene was filmed on location,
Two-thirds of a mile from the nearest bus station.
I will lie down here and you can do it to me --
The lurid little lambs were in love with me.

The girl is polite and the weather is friendly --
These little things are the things that will end me.
Panting fresh air, breath to breath,
Behind the hedges comes my little death.

It's OK. I'm not scared.
Just keep doing what you're doing and we'll never stop shivering,
We'll go to the farm and jump in the river and drown.
Never pull me out.
We will sink in the mud -- it will do for a bed --
I couldn't be any wetter than I am wet now.

Hot breath, cold hands, I was pushing at a door.
A shiver is forever, I was scared to know --
Pearls before swine, what's on the other side?
Your guess is not as good as mine.
I was very touched -- it was too much and
She held me, she held me in one hand.
I was lying flat back, it was happening to me.
The lurid little lambs were laughing at me.

Put Your Trousers On

Written By: Ross Hawkins

My grandad was a simple man, he lived an honest life
He always did what he could to keep his kids and wife
There was only one department where my grandad got it wrong
He used to toddle through the park without his trousers on

And we said

Put your trousers on, you silly old fool!
The children get excited when you wander past the school
Put your trousers on, you dirty old rogue
Buy some proper clothes

Believe you me, it was quite a thing
To see the people stare.
If you'd stared too, you'd know it was untrue
To say his marbles weren't all there.

My grandad said to the greengrocer,
"It's lovely out today!"
The grocer said "yes, but someone's coming --
Put it away!"
You'll admit that it's unconventional,
displaying your unmentionables
To vicar's daughters and policemen's nieces.

But I don't blame him that he had the whim
To break a tiny law.
He even went around like that
When he went off to war.
He was struck by a shell -- he was surprised!
The only way they recognised
My grandfather was by his bits and pieces.

And they said

Put your trousers on, you silly old fool!
You've caused a fuss, you've made them blush
In the army hospital.
Put your trousers on, you mucky old thing
Tie them with a string

Put your trousers on, you silly old fool!
The children get excited when you wander past the school
Put your trousers on, you dirty old rogue
Buy some proper clothes.

My Girlfriend Was Insulted By A Futurist Artist

Written By: Ross Hawkins

He liked his modernism High and Hard
He was the cock of the avant-garde
He was friends with the very great FORD MADOX FORD
and he was born to be adored by women.

She was shy and nineteen,
she was studying to be
A portrait painter,
but everything changed when

My girlfriend was insulted by a futurist artist
Who turned up tight at the garden party
He was an animal,
He was a bloody disgrace

He wore his hair dressed High and Hard
The style was inspired by racing cars
He was a modernist, misogynist ART STAR
and he was born to be adored by women

She was shy and nineteen,
she was studying to be
a portrait painter,
but everything changed when

My girlfriend was insulted by a futurist artist
Who turned up tight at the garden party
He was an animal,
He was a bloody disgrace

My girlfriend was insulted by a futurist artist
Who supported the Italian Fascist party
He was an animal,
He was a bloody disgrace

He liked his modernism High and Hard,
He was the cock of the avant-garde
He was reciting sound poetry out in the back yard,
And this is the noise that we heard...

Discography

2008 -- The Spirit Salon LP COMING SOON (May 20th 2008)

Set List

Below is a sample 40-minute set-list from a recent show (with annotations)... I have many many songs -- enough to play for about 5 hours if necessary! All songs are mine, unless otherwise stated.

BIOGRAPHY (a mandolin-accompanied reflection on my career thus far)

THE SMALL ELECTRICAL LIEUTENANT (an English electronic ghost story)

(spoken word meditation on the hardships of a light entertainer)

MY GIRLFRIEND WAS INSULTED BY A FUTURIST ARTIST

I'VE GONE AND LOST MY LITTLE YO-YO (cover or song by old music hall performer Bill Cotton)

LORD BYRON'S MARRIAGE plus an electronic march...

PUT YOUR TROUSERS ON

WHY COME YE NOT TO COURT?

JONAH

(short spoken word piece on misbehaviour and imprisonment)
LIGHT ENTERTAINER IN PRISON -- closing song bringing my career to an end...

note on covers -- typically I would perform one cover per set, usually covering a theatre / music hall or cabaret song... repertoire includes works by English comedian-singers such as Bi