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"River of Orchids" is a song by Andy Partridge. It appeared on the 1999 album Apple Venus Volume 1.

The demo appeared on Apple Venus Volume 1's companion demo album, Homespun.

An instrumental version appeared on the Apple Venus Volume 1 instrumental album, Instruvenus.

QuotesEdit

Andy (on the demo): “I bought, while writing Nonsuch, a Proteus sound module and had it re-jigged to include a lot of orchestral samples. It sounds wetly hippy, but I was trying to get my head into this SPACE. More rosin-ville than plectrum place. When Nonsuch and all its doings were well and truly done, I sat down one day and drifted off, doodling aimlessly. Before long, I started to get hot under the trouser cuff. This cyclical phone pad sketch that had wormed out note by note, over two bars of cascading pizzicato strings and an offbeat rosary of trumpet clusters. Was really making me want to dance and yell.

“I made sure my garden shed studio door was locked, and removing my shirt, shoes and socks, I proceded to fling myself around like a grinning dervish for the next couple of hours. I was so happy. Scat singing myself into a coma, I decided to turn on my cassette machine to capture the best phrases. This was all happening too quickly and too beautifully, I needed words to sing, where's my notebook? I couldn't lose this transient moment.

“Frantically I flipped through my rough book looking for words or couplets jotted down for just such an occasion, and there it was. The phrase ‘I heard the dandelions roar in Piccadilly Circus’. A real dreamer's line, but one that had stuck in my head because of its rolling contradictions*. You can't hear a dandelion roar, it's a flower not an animal. Piccadilly Circus is not a circus, and doesn't have animals. But wouldn't it be wonderful if the grimey hub of London was full of flowers, etc. It seemed to chase its tail in the same way that this music did. It was perfect, so ‘just right’ - was it that this little key immediately opened up a glowing treasure chest of words and intentions enabling the optimistic floral cousin of ‘Roads Girdle The Globe’ to spring into fully formed maturity.

“I was shocked and delighted like a kid at Christmas to find something so new and modern laying in happy ambush for me. How did my clumsy spam fingers find this? One part Philip Glass, one part Gil Evans, two parts nursery rhyme with a slice of carol on the side. Although I would find nothing else so orchestrally pure, this was the biggest boldest signpost saying ‘Go down that road, don't wait any longer’. The electric guitar was getting put back in its case for a while.

“Technical note: this demo was recorded on a Tascam 238 8 track cassette Portastudio. It lacks the long drip/pluck intro of the finished version, which came to be as a better way of building this sound river, one ploop at a time, as I was convinced from its inception that it would make a great album opener. I had no way of altering or remixing this demo as I had sold the recorder to Blur's Damon Albarn. Sounds like he's used it well since then.

“I originally wanted it as a title for the Nonsuch album but it obviously wasn't to be.”

LyricsEdit

Hey!

I heard the dandelions roar in Piccadilly Circus

I heard the dandelions roar in Piccadilly Circus

Take a packet of seeds

Take yourself out to play

I want to see River of Orchids where we had a motorway


Push your car from the road

Push your car from the road


Just like a mad dog you're chasing your tail in a circle

Just like a mad dog you're chasing your tail in a circle

It's all in your back yard

You've the whole world at your feet

I said the grass is always greener when it bursts up through concrete


Push your car from the road

Push your car from the road


River of Orchids winding our way

Want to walk into London on my hands one day

River of Orchids the road overgrows

Want to walk into London smelling like a Peckham rose


Just like a mad dog you're chasing your tail in a circle

Just like a mad dog you're chasing your tail in a circle

It's all in your back yard

You've the whole world at your feet

I said the grass is always greener when it bursts up through concrete


I had a dream where the car is reduced to a fossil

I had a dream where the car is reduced to a fossil

Take a packet of seeds

Get yourself out to play

I want to see River of Orchids where we had a motorway


Push your car... | It's all in your back yard...

Push your car... | Take a packet of seeds...


River of Orchids winding my way

Want to walk into London on my hands one day

River of Orchids the road overgrows

Want to walk into London smelling like a Peckham rose

River of Orchids... | I heard the Dandelions...

River of Orchids... | Just like a mad dog...

River of Orchids... | I had a dream...

River of Orchids... | I heard the Dandelions...

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