Singers who made musical gold by spouting gibberish

NOT an expert in cryptography? Then you’ll have minimal chance of working out what these musical geniuses are on about.

David Bowie

Bowie is perhaps the best reason to experiment with hard drugs. Without massive amounts of cocaine, the world would never have been graced with his music, although we could probably have survived without Tin Machine. Cocaine also gave us Pablo Escobar, so it’s not all great.

Sample lyric: ‘He’s so simple-minded, he can’t drive his module. He bites on the neon and sleeps in a capsule.’ The Jean Genie

Cocteau Twins

The 1980s was the heyday of musical twins like the Proclaimers, the Thompson Twins and the Cocteaus, who specialised in sublime psychedelic pop. The rumour was their songs were in Esperanto. This has never been disproved, because the only people who learn Esperanto don’t have any friends and never leave the house.

Sample lyric: ‘Singed by it, pulled around of my blazening eyes on the usually science of cherry-coloured limelight not the music.’ Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires


Before Bjork came along with her unique brand of musical shouting, all the public knew about Iceland was that it was somewhere in the North Sea and we had a war over cod. The Icelandic government offered Bjork an island for her contribution to culture. If only the UK government would do the same with Coldplay. Ascension and Anthrax islands are going begging.

Sample lyric: ‘Every morning I walk towards the edge and throw little things off like car parts, bottles and cutlery.’ Hyperballad

Sigur Ros

Another entry from Iceland. Their songs feature an invented language called Hopelandic that sounds like Icelandic but is actually created by taking a bag of Scrabble tiles and singing everything that comes out.

Sample lyric (translated): ‘Tie my shoes so. Is she still in her pyjamas? In a dream she was born. I’m startled.’ Glosoli 

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Rule number one of the music industry is to never name your band after something you can buy in Tesco. The Peppers joined The Cranberries and Salt-N-Pepa by throwing out this rulebook and making it big, despite also breaking rule number two – don’t go on stage naked apart from a sock covering your todger.

Sample lyric: ‘First-born unicorn, hardcore soft porn.’ Californication


Norwegian singer Aurora has been building a following thanks to her soaring ethereal voice. Like Sigur Ros, she also invented her own language. Seems the options for filling the long winter nights near the Arctic Circle are pretty limited – it’s either chopping firewood, eating pickled herring or inventing languages.

Sample lyric: ‘Hun gar olessu hun gar ferilisseraena feressu.’ Forgotten Love

Christine and the Queens

The best thing to come out of France since croissants, Christine and the Queens is now known as Redcar, seemingly named after a North East UK coastal town overshadowed by massive chemical works at neighbouring Teesside. Luckily he didn’t name himself after the less romantic-sounding Seaton Sluice, just a short drive farther north.

Sample lyric: ‘I miss prosthesis and mended souls, trample over beauty while singing their thoughts.’ Tilted

The Beatles

Your nan’s favourite band started off by churning out catchy songs about love, holding hands, and not being able to buy love. But then they went off topic and produced several nautical-themed songs about octopuses, walruses and submarines – all written under the influence of a cocktail of drugs strong enough to fell a herd of elephants. It’s all Yoko’s fault.

Sample lyric: ‘Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye.’ I Am The Walrus

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Seven shite Christmas rail experiences you won't have thanks to strikes

IT’S hard to find a positive in yet more rail strikes, particularly at Christmas. But if you set your expectations very low you can at least be grateful these things won’t happen to you.

Impregnable train wi-fi

You’ve put your email address in, now you’ve got access to… f**k all. And you’re not putting your debit card details in for some old episodes of Dexter. None of this will happen if you’re not on a train. Think of it as a Christmas present from Mick Lynch.

Food waste wedged in the flip-down table

Again, unrelated to Christmas, it’s just nasty disposing of someone else’s banana skin or mayo-smeared sandwich packaging. They should be tied naked to the front of the train and driven at 125mph from London to Glasgow, hopefully during a hail storm. Seems fair.

Christmas travellers

They’re going to their parents’ for a week, so naturally they’re taking the entire contents of their house. There’s probably a lawnmower in one of their suitcases blocking your way to the toilet. Also expect mobile phone admin: ‘Shall i get some stuffing? YOU’RE BREAKING UP. SHALL I GET SOME STUFFING? I SAID…’ After half an hour you’ll be aching to do some stuffing of your own. 

Peak travel coronary 

Are you a member of the Awkward Squad who wants to travel at some weird, freakish time like 9.30am? That’ll be 300 quid please. Hopefully the shock and pain spreading from your chest to your left arm will pass soon. However this Christmas you’ll be spared booking a ticket at all, and frankly wish the RMT was more militant and would strike every day unless Rishi Sunak’s head is put on a spike and society becomes a socialist utopia.

Being stranded

There are few things more dispiriting than your train abruptly stopping at Leicester, with no idea if your journey will continue. Usually a train does finally arrive, but only after you’ve scared yourself shitless worrying about not getting a hotel room and having to sleep rough with sexual predators everywhere.

No teenage girl talking solidly for three hours

This remarkable child can keep up a literally constant stream of inane chatter from Bristol to Crewe about equally witless teenage boys, eye make-up and Corrie plot developments. Such a unique ability should be investigated by scientists, preferably with dissection.

Standing up 

Cancellations mean overcrowded trains and standing for an uncomfortably long time, much like the oubliette favoured by medieval torturers. So thank you, unions and intransigent rail companies, at least this year you’ll just be stuck miserably at home where at least you can sit down so your legs don’t hurt.