Tang Were Before Wikipedia

My favorite band growing up was Tang, not to be confused with the fruit-flavored drink of the same name, or Powderfinger.

Tang released their penultimate album in 1877, ten years before the introduction of the gramophone. I wouldn’t google this. It was before Wikipedia.

I learned of the band when K, the feisty lead singer, became embroiled in controversy, throwing a tantrum at a loyal fan on the corner of Royal and Crown, outside the Tavern Pavilion, near the streets where I lived unless moved along. She was incensed that Karl Marx had failed to get the third volume of Capital to his publishers on schedule. Tang were a protest band, and running out of material.

Rumor had it that the insufferable Eugen Böhm von Bawerk planned a baseless attack on Marx’s theory, and fans were beginning to ask questions at the frequent gigs Tang performed around town.

Musically, Tang were a forerunner to disco and synthpop – a cross between Lipps Inc. (for example, Funky Town) and The Buggles (especially Video Killed the Radio Star), only acoustic.

Critics dismissed them as dancy, poppy, or “pseudo synthy”, others for being melodic, but their music, much like the principle of effective demand, lived on furtively, under the surface, in the underworlds of Karl Marx, Silvio Gesell or Major Douglas, and there was no denying the band’s commercial appeal to a thriving urban underclass of marginalized and impoverished free thinkers.

Fortunately, while Marx’s critique of capitalism remained in limbo, the women’s suffrage movement gained momentum, and Tang – an all-girl band – were inspired to pen several new songs on the theme. They signed petitions and participated in demonstrations, although M, the band’s notoriously temperamental acoustic guitarist, insisted on including a proviso that preferential voting be strictly optional. She could see the direction in which the political class was heading and resolved never to allocate her preference to either of the two main parties, even though the two main parties did not exist in their present form (so perhaps I am projecting).

I’m not sure what any of this has to do with anything. Blogging is proving more arduous than even I imagined. Staying on topic is not my forte. Sometimes even the topic itself seems beside the point. But I suppose there could be a lesson in this?

Maybe – just maybe – if bands today were as poppy as Tang, we could make a difference.


30 thoughts on “Tang Were Before Wikipedia

  1. I did it. I had to:

    “Tang Protest Band 1877 Album”

    Followed immediately by the search:

    “Just because you get to watch the 2024 Oympics before the rest of the world, doesn’t mean you get to be Captain Project-Backwards about everything else. Meanwhile, back in 2012, we still can’t figure out WHERE YOU ARE: http://rantsports.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/clubhouse/files/2012/07/Austria-Australia1.png . We just knocked the ‘al’out of you, in an accent you can hopefully understand. Keep it up since you think you are so clever, but I get to drink all my water OUT OF A BOTTLE. For all else, something about a Brita thingy.”

    It should be noted that neither internet search is related. So stop being so defensive all the time.


  2. There is an easy way to tell the two corporate brands apart. First there is a world famous school of economists – yes, of apologists, but famous nonetheless. These are the Austrians. Then there are some others that nobody has ever heard of. They are mostly apologists, too, but mainly neoclassical, so largely unrecognized as such.

    Or maybe you are not merely referring to economists? If we cast our societal net so wide as even to consider the views of non-economists, mainstream citizens here, judging from voting patterns, opinion polls and TV-ratings figures, appear to be bigoted morons fearful of boat people, in denial over climate change, vengeful towards the homeless, poor, unemployed, or otherwise disenfranchised, hungering for lowest-common-denominator entertainment, and driven by greed but too clueless even to serve their own provincial, narrow self-interests at the polling booths.

    The Austrians, at a guess, would be ahead on environmental issues. Not sure about the rest.


  3. After 200,000 years on the road, homo sapiens still haven’t figured out how to live peaceably with each other. Pass or Fail?

    On ‘Spicks & Specks’ the other night, there was a pop musician who said he was trying to write the lyrics to a song with one line ending in Australia: the only words he could think of that rhymed were ‘genitalia’ and ‘failure’. Had to laugh ….

    Luckily, I’m a human being first.

    All that is around me is subject to change. I change with it.

    One day, even the universe will go back to dust.

    Knowing an Energy within me, that brings both ‘I’ and the universe into being, even if only temporarily – that’s a worthy challenge after 200,000 years; or even for one brief lifetime.

    It has something to do with fulfillment and Nature.

    There will always be problems on the outside. Idiots (id-iota)! There will always be that pure and perfect energy on the inside; within each and every human heart.

    How to reach it – that is the issue? How to recognise the nature of your thirst. How understand? That’s what 200,000 years means to me; and a lifetime!

    You ain’t felt Tang until you’ve felt what is inside of you ….!! Honey, that guy with the T-shirt off will end up old and wrinkly, probably snores and breaks wind in bed … Make sure he’s a good friend too, genuinely loves you (not your image) and can talk about interesting things ….

  4. Hey Pete!

    I’m feeling guilty for being so bloody pessimistic.

    After all, (1) not all Aussies are like this, and (2) not only Aussies are like this.

    So, cheer up, man.

  5. Don’t worry, Magpie. I have my moments of pessimism. (And hyperbole.) It’s certainly not your doing, although your bad influence is undeniable!

    (This reminds me of conversations I have with one of my friends – have I mentioned this before? – who tends to be pessimistic, whereas I tend to be the optimist (wishful thinker, more to the point). When I turn pessimistic, which happens from time to time, he instinctively takes the optimistic position.)

    jrbarch, you are in great form as always!

    Honey, that guy with the T-shirt off will end up old and wrinkly, probably snores and breaks wind in bed …

    Well, she’s probably thinking he can put his T-shirt back on at that point.

  6. Haha, Magpie. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to Peter’s responses to me. He intuitively understands he needs to cater to my depraved tendencies, otherwise I will make internet life “difficult” for him. And generally, he does a fantastic job.

  7. Guys and gals,

    A reason to smile, if only due to schadenfreude:

    (1) Peter Reith (The Drum) scolding Barney Joyce (and ever so subtly, Tony Abbott) for his opposition to Chinese direct investment in Australia.

    (2) A few days ago, Clive Palmer, too, was criticizing Tony!

    (3) Gerard Henderson (writing at SMH Online) on those who oppose Abbott’s “no Chinese government investment in Oz” policy: “Abbott’s realistic approach to China only offends the fawners”.

    Now you can figure whose hands are behind what puppets.

  8. In a roundabout sort of way, this comment is not off topic, kinda…

    It has to do with music: yesterday, Wayne Swan (treasurer and acting Labor PM) declared himself a devout fan of Bruce Springsteen, who just so happens will be arriving here soon. (Sorry about that, Boss)

    And it has to do with old things: after hearing what Swan said, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey (although liberal, he’s actually a conservative: don’t ask) went all indignant and said that he gets his kick from reading (yes, reading!) Adam Smith and… uh… mmmm… who’s that other old bloke who wrote incomprehensible stuff… ah! yes, John Stuart Mill!!!

    And if that were not enough, former Liberal (you know, really conservative) PM John Howard, Dubya’s “man of steel” and Medal of Freedom recipient, went all socialist saying that the US should have some sort of gun control enacted.

    If you guys don’t find it funny, in a kind of twisted way, I’ll have to give up my comedy days… 🙂

  9. I am not trying to be difficult here, but as long as we are on the subject, what exactly does “Australian rules football” mean? Is “rules” here being used as a noun or a verb? Why isn’t it capitalized and acronymized, as in ARF? Like NFL? Or is it that “Australia” “rules” (as in PWNS) football?

    I really don’t get it. Because why not just say soccer? And what’s wrong with you “people”?

  10. Peter, I’d stick to economics

    Good advice. I will try. (It can get so boring, though. Really, we produce and distribute. Most the rest of “economics” is just superstitious twaddle.)

    Magpie, thanks for uncovering this rare video footage. It not only captures Joe in natural habitat but proves that even big lugs can be dainty.

  11. Holy Wow! At the risk of having this conversation devolve into a “Who’s on First” skit, I watched the videos and studied the literature you provide. Turns out Australian rules football (AN ACTUAL SPORT) appears to be this bizarre inbreeding of basketball, contact football punting, and soccer sans a net. No wonder “Joe Hockey” is mentioned in the article you link to above.

    To further decipher “Joe Hockey” though, I had to take the understanding that a joey is a baby kangaroo to conclude that a “Joe” must be an Adult Kangaroo. Which now sheds new light on “Joe Hockey”. And OMFGWTF!

    Peter, I’d stick to economics because you continue to confirm — whether you know it or not — my initial observation:


    I shouldn’t get started on this topic.

    No. No you shouldn’t. Because it’s getting disturbing.

  12. @Trixie and Pete,

    I don’t what Pete has been telling you about our fauna, but a Joe Hockey is an altogether different kind of creature.

    Together with the Yowie, Bigfoot and Nessie, it’s the dream come true of cryptozoologists: a cross between a Shrek and a fairy.

    Don’t believe me, hey? Just watch:


    If you search, you could find him showing his Shrek antennas!

  13. “Magpie, thanks for uncovering this rare video footage. It not only captures Joe Hockey in natural habitat but proves that even big lugs down under can be dainty.”

    No worries. I enjoy exhibiting our fauna to prospective tourists.

    And I also like give them advice! When some friends came from overseas, they were worried about salt water crocodiles in Sydney.

    Assuming my best air of dismissive confidence, I told them: “Don’t worry about that. The sharks ate them all!”



    The photos with ears (not “antennas”, sorry) are harder to find. But here you can see their thumbnails:


  14. Too many games to play, too little time. The instinctive response is to play them all at once.

    I see that now, Peter. And honestly, I’m not sure how I missed it as my initial repulsion turns into immeasurable amounts of attraction. Including the delicious irony of having the word ‘rules’ anywhere near that sport much less in the middle of its name.

    Who says you can’t dribble a football? Why put a limit on the number of goal posts? And with a player attitude of I’ll-kick-this-ball-any-time-I-damn-well-please, why not throw in some javelins to enable more defensive play? Maybe even some rocket launchers.

    As always Peter, thanks to you, I will never look at the world in quite the same way ever again.



    That awkward moment when a host has to instruct the audience to applaud. And since I was bouncing up and down and clapping while watching this, I can only assume the audience was sitting there in utter terror.

  15. Trixie,

    That was a terrific finding!

    At the time, Joe Hockey wanted to be seen as a likeable and genuine, if not particularly bright, big guy. The kind of fellow one may disagree with, without doubting his sincerity.

    A few years down the road, he wants to erase that image, to sell himself as a Very Serious, Intellectual, Person…

    From where I am standing, the didn’t succeed in his new image-making exercise, but he did rubbish his previous image, big time.

  16. @myself: collecting up what I have learnt about this subject …

    “After 200,000 years on the road, homo sapiens still haven’t figured out how to live peaceably with each other. Pass or Fail?”

    What is intelligence? What is consciousness?

    It is in the nature of the sun to shine. It is in the nature of the earth to rotate, bring day and night: to tilt, revolve, usher in the seasons – all the while maintaining a life giving distance to the sun. It is in the nature of
    the universe that under the ‘great breath’ (ENERGY) it evolves from dust to form to dust again, a mere speck in infinite time and space. Recycling. It is in the nature of a human being that we endure for just 70 years (25,550 days) averaged on our solar systemic clock; a fleeting moment on the universal clock (there are no units for the infinite)!

    It is the nature of a human being to await at birth, the arrival of this same breath, ‘from out of nowhere’. If not, the vehicle can be kept mechanically alive – but sensibly, we let it be recycled. It is in the nature of a human being that when the breath finally leaves – never ever to return in this same form again (in infinite space and infinite time it has been Absolutely unique) – the ego is broken like a pencil, the mind deflates like a ballon, the body is recycled and returned to dust. Only the breath remains.

    What does this mean?

    For me, I sum it so: all I have learnt, all of my relationships, all of my theories about life, all of the sciences and disciplines I investigate, all I ‘own’, all of my days, all I have felt, all I have experienced and thought
    about, everything ‘I am’ – sum to zero. The only thing that persists is the breath.

    Calc that JKH …. (let all the experts calculate that)! In your heart, in the depths of your being – then hand it on to your mind ‘to process’. If your mind is like mine, it has no idea whatsoever what to do with it ….

    I need to understand my own nature; I have very very limited time ….. to get this right!

    If all of the affairs of homo sapiens sum to zero, and you and I are one (1) then the only way those zeros can have any meaning at all, any significance at all, is to add them after the one – not before. It’s called getting your priorities straight. It’s also called, not being a puppet, a conditioned robot of this earth. It’s also called being conscious. To me, that is what intelligence really is. Funnily enough, it’s also called (real) Love.

    Because my heart understand this, I follow it inside. The heart can blaze a trail – even better than the mind can because the commitment is real. The mind’s commitment is to the temporary. The heart’s only interest is that Energy that dwells within it. The mind doesn’t have a clue. The heart knows what it wants and will never rest, breath by breath. The mind is just at best a tool, (apparently a very blunt instrument) for the outside world; it knows ultimately (though it doesn’t remind you) it is vapour.

    After 200,000 years, maybe you think I am dreaming? I think it is the world that simply needs to wake up. Everything is fine, as long as you are awake, conscious. Yes homo sapiens have mind to get lost in. But they also have something we call ‘the heart’. In outer space there is just more dust, interesting as it may seem. In inner space there is the Energy that keeps the sun radiating, the planets spinning and revolving on their stations, the breath pulsing in every human being.

    I think there are many people on this earth that want to know both; understand both. Without a connection to the inner universe, the outer universe is just compost! Human affairs meaningless. Trauma, drama, miasma and fiasco everywhere you look! Happily, there is also kindness.

    My priority is to pick Certainty and speculate about the uncertainty as it forever changes and evolves from dust to dust.

    My insight is that the human predicament is to choose: which is to rule – the heart or the mind? At the very least, they should be a partnership. Without the heart, the mind becomes a monster. Illusionary causes
    eclipse the reality and miracle of human existence.

    Well, at least that is what it sums to for me??? Just thought I’d entertain you in the intermission!!

  17. Hint:

    This compact driver features a self-shielding neodymium magnet system, flat aluminum sandwich cone, integrated protective screen, and extremely low second and third order distortion.

  18. Peter, you need to weigh-in on the Romney/Ryan ticket. You know, because you live in “Australia”. Regardless, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  19. Magpie, Peter has never been any good at following directions. I can’t expect this time to be any different. Also, do you live in Spain?

  20. Magpie: Thanks for the interesting link. I check out Naked Keynesianism regularly and also Magpie’s Asymmetric Warfare. At some point, I still want to get to Marx and value in relation to MMT. Unfortunately it will be a while before I can do so.

    Trixie: Good suggestion except that I am not qualified to comment on US politics.

    Regarding US politics, I will note, gratuitously, that my good American friend, coincidentally also named Ryan, remarked on another message forum in relation to the Romney/Ryan ticket that “one moron selects another moron, so no surprise there”. By further coincidence, I believe my friend’s pet dog is named something similar to – but much nicer to the hearing than – “Romney”. Perhaps if he ever sees this beside-the-point comment (unlikely I suppose) he can correct me on the actual name.

  21. @peterc

    Romney, Remy – close enough! 🙂

    He good boy and smart; Remy, I mean.

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