Yesterday evening, I put on Marc Riley’s 6Music show whilst cooking tea for Mrs. 17 Seconds, son 17 Seconds and yours truly whilst cooking tea. The first track to come on, sounded familiar in that ‘I have this on vinyl, somewhere, I just haven’t played it in a while sort of way.
My first thought was that it was something off one of Wire’s first three albums (Pink Flag, Chairs Missing or 154) then of course, when Siouxsie Sioux’s vocals kicked in of course I realised! Metal Postcard, from their 1978 debut LP The Scream (and yup, I do have it on vinyl). The version above comes from a 1978 appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test.
Wikipedia states: “Mittageisen” is a single by the English band Siouxsie and the Banshees. Originally appearing on the band’s 1978 debut album The Scream as “Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)”, the track was re-recorded in 1979, this time with the lyrics sung in German.
The title “Mittageisen” is a word play based on the German words “Mittagessen” (literally: “noon meal”, i.e. lunch) and Eisen (“iron”). The title was inspired by John Heartfield’s photocollage Hurrah, die Butter ist Alle! (“Hurray, the Butter is Finished!”), which was also used as the single’s cover art.
John Heartfield’s photocollage was initially used on the frontpage of the “Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung / Workers Illustrated Journal”, published on December 19th, 1935. Heartfield (1891–1968) was an early member of Club Dada, which started in 1916 as Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich. The picture with the title ‘Hurrah, die Butter ist Alle! / Hurray, the butter is finished!’ shows a family who eats various pieces of metal. The trigger for it was the following quote from Hermann Göring: “Iron always made a nation strong, butter and lard only made the people fat.”
“Mittageisen” was composed by Banshees members Siouxsie Sioux, John McKay, Kenny Morris and Steven Severin, the lyrics were translated by Dave Woods. The single is dedicated to John Heartfield.”
You can read more about John Heartfield here.
This is the German version of ‘Mittageisen’ with Heartfield’s images used. Very effective…