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Death Wish Beetle

from Run V​.​T. by Ian Evans

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I find it satisfying is to use ideas from my childhood. I never thought I’d record an album at that time, so using them seems like tying up loose ends - I thought Deathwish Beetle should be the name of something when I was about 7 and it's a very silly pun. But...

This tune was written just before Toby was born, when we’d moved home and discovered a cockroach problem. It was more scary than it might normally be, when we were trying to create a safe environment. Very unusually for me, I was unhappy with my first recording of this tune and did it all again from scratch. As often happens in those cases, the second attempt took me about a tenth of the time and sounded twice as good. I was inspired to do it by the song W12 7RJ, which I also had to record from scratch (without wanting to :-)


Two weeks before the labour, we met a cockroach neighbour
I’ve only once before murdered - with a rolled Shortlist paper

I regret you cockroaches can come to your deaths
In my old bedsit when I lived with Lex
Our sensors met and we went at it, like ancestral foes

Now it is two years later
I’m about to be a father…
No longer angry from love but
Protective and displaced here

It’s so sad when you move into a house
And feel that your life’s been tossed up - however it might be nicer
You don’t know where to buy milk or work the lights
I regret that you’ve met my defensive side

Related to mantids and with similar heads, if you look
Their cerce detect pressure from passing boots
Only at times are they radiation proof
It’s during certain moults and when hatching in groups

Addicted to bug powder and foaming for vengeance
Came the dude to Barking, to lay down some traps and glue

I’ve never hurt a fly or a deathwish beetle
I regret, you Blatodea, we now sing in praise of total war


* “I’ve only once before murdered” – I’m referring to the only previous time in my life where I killed a cockroach - A sad business!

* The Shortlist – This is a free men’s magazine in London, which deals with films, clothes, comedy and music reviews etc. A copy was in my hand when I last saw a cockroach and so it became the murder weapon!

* “My old bedsit, when I lived with Lex..” – This was the scene of the crime and quite a rough flat with a cockroach problem. I lived opposite my best friend Lex, during the writing of the Gallows Man CD - Her kindess and company really helped me through a terrible time

* “Come to your deaths” – This is a quote from the Doctor Who episode The Sontaran Experiment, and is said by the Sontaran scout

* Our sensors met – I’m implying that my killing of the cockroach was like a cowboy showdown. It was a bit! I came home, opened the door and he was the first thing that I saw… There were a few moments of silence as we stared at each other and then I went for him with my newspaper

* Ancestral foes – I’m implying that humans and cockroaches are ancestral enemies… They evolved alongside us, so this is partly true. According to an episode of QI, cockroaches are as repulsed by humans as we are by them and wash themselves if touched

* “Angry from love” – During the time I lived with Lex I was deeply in love with one of my close friends, which largely inspired the Gallows Man album. I’d never have normally hurt an insect

* Protective and displaced – When people are scared or have something to lose, they’re at their most defensive/offensive

* Related to mantids – Cockroaches are closely related to praying mantids and have the same triangular heads

* Cerce – These are the two prongs on cockroaches’ bodies, which detect changes in air pressure

* “Only at times are they radiation proof” – It’s commonly thought that cockroaches are immune to radiation, but that isn’t completely true. They just breed in large numbers and are only vulnerable at certain times - therefore, they can still be killed by it, but would likely have already laid eggs which would survive the fallout

* “Addicted to bug powder” – In the book Naked Lunch, by William Burroughs, a pest controller becomes addicted to his bug powder. (The chap who came to tackle our cockroach problem was quite eccentric himself and made a lot of comments about his bitter divorce)

* Traps and glue – He put down some cardboard traps, which contained an attractant and glue to catch them

* “I’ve never hurt a fly” – This is true. I hate to kill any animal and have only ever once hurt an insect before. (It was the one that met its end under the rolled Shortlist magazine). I don’t think I’ve ever killed a fly, so I’m pretty sure that it’s literally true in my case

* Deathwish beetle – This is a bad pun that I thought of as a kid :-) It’s a mix between Deathwish and Deathwatch (ie. Deathwatch beetle)

* Blatodea – One of the groups of cockroach species

* “We sing in praise of total war” – Another Doctor Who quote, from The Kings Demons


from Run V​.​T., released August 4, 2015


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Ian Evans UK

Pop/experimental/rock musician and songwriter from London

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