Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Genius Of… Tim Smith #3

#3: Ditzy Scene

In 2007, Cardiacs unleashed their first new material in 8 years, a single that was intended to precede their ninth studio album. Only 1000 copies of Ditzy Scene were pressed and it was only available by mail order (I have one of 'em – yaay!) so it’s safe to say there was no belated attempt at pop superstardom.

It’s a somewhat understated track to begin with, the first two minutes consisting solely of some psychedelic guitar sounds accompanied only by some light percussion. But suddenly it all kicks off – and Cardiacs sound bigger than ever. This is perhaps because it boasted an eight-member line-up featuring four female singers and percussionists.

Like most Cardiacs songs, it’s practically impossible to decipher Tim’s cryptic (some would argue random) lyrics, but I think the message is, shall we say, on the dark side:

  Now multiply a ten-strong baying million
  All charred, all hearts full of hurting
  Testifying in me
  Please calming time and disarm to cease this lynching army
  Bad hour, condemned and revolting
  Lasting out not shortly
  All ranting, merciless chanting, smash my legs beneath me

Answers on a postcard if you know what that’s all about! It’s clear Tim’s use of the ‘cut-up technique’[1] is taken to extremes at times, yet despite this barrage of discomforting, almost horrific imagery in his words, the song is typically upbeat, anthemic and joyous in its delivery. In fact it’s not dissimilar to Dirty Boy in that respect. The prospect of a new album on the horizon was increasingly tantalising.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. Ditzy Scene remains the last thing Cardiacs, or any of Tim’s projects, have released to date. The album, supposedly titled ‘LSD’, remains unfinished and unreleased owing to Tim’s ongoing debilitating illness which inflicted him within a year of the single’s release. Ditzy Scene’s triumphant tones contrasting with those dark lyrics serve as a somewhat ironic reminder of what we have – wonderful uplifting music in the face of unpleasantness and tragedy. It’s almost as if it was foreseen…

[1] The cut-up technique.


  1. Thank-you thank-you thank-you for posting this so I can hear it again. I have been trying to get hold of this single for years but have always baulked at the prices it commands on ebay.

    1. Iain - want the full thing, b-sides and all?

    2. Oh yes please. Now you are truly spoiling us!

    3. For a limited period:


  2. You are a gentleman and worthy of laudation. Thank-you again.

    (I have no idea why my avatar is appearing in such a huge size!)

    1. You're very welcome. And your awesome avatar looks fine on my screen. YNWA!