Monday, 19 April 2010



Life is all about small victories.  While the big wins remains out of reach of mere mortals, time can be well spent stopping to smell the flowers and realising those times/moments when things go right, when effort pays off and when fortune smiles on our efforts and actions.  Music holds many small victories.  The play of your favourite song on the radio, coming across a lost record in the racks or basically sharing something wonderful with an acquaintance.  Everything has a soundtrack, even pinfalls in professional wrestling.

My fondest memory attached to “A Small Victory” is actually pinned to the wartime artwork and the fact that seeing a large fly poster of it plastered to a wall in Bloomsbury presented London to me as being a different world.  It suggested the band as being more a majority concern than the handful of use that rocked the record in coastal Essex.  I was so happy that day.  It was a few weeks before my birthday and after my parents had gone on holiday leaving me behind to baby-sit the dog for a week, seemingly out of guilt dad took me to London to attend a copy fair in Bloomsbury one summer Sunday.  Things felt that they were trending upwards.  I was wrong.

“A Small Victory” is a great accompaniment and antidote to “Midlife Crisis”.  On the surface it is an upbeat, optimistic song as it opens with oriental strains by Roddy Bottum which serve to conjure wonder.  However there is quite the darkness attached to it as a military/war motif remains.  Mike Patton has said that it is about his father who was a coach and wanted to win all the time.  Its about competition and the reality that you cannot always win and small victories should be appreciated and valued.  By the time the song reaches the chorus he is unleashing a mantra about not letting it bother him but conceding that it does.  In essence this is a man having a conversation with himself, waging an internal battle.  It’s a sexy scene.

Originally I bought this on cassette single but later purchased it again on CD single at a record fair because I needed the b-side “Let’s Lynch The Landlord”.  At the time I didn’t even realise that this was a Dead Kennedys cover version and certainly did not appreciate how they mutated a west coast punk song into an accordion driven skiffle blast sung in the style of Elvis, I just found myself blown away by the track on its own merits.  To the day this remains probably the best Faith No More b-side they ever made (which itself originally appeared on an Alternative Tentacles compilation of Dead Kennedys cover versions called Virus 100).

Other than that the disc is just an edit and full length version of “A Small Victory” along with album track “Malpractice” (with its Kronos Quartet sample).  I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

A big victory.

Thesaurus moment: conquest.

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