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Tubular Bells (M. Oldfield)

With thanks to Lucian Randall for reminding me about The Sailor's Hornpipe.

Vivian Stanshall on Tubular Bells

Vivian Stanshall was the Master of Ceremonies at the end of the first half of the album, introducing the various instruments.

The originally recorded version of the album ends with a further contribution, as described in the blurb with Mike Oldfield Boxed, which includes the version.

Extract from the blurb by Al Clark

When not engaged in wrestling contests on the Manor lawn, Oldfield and [Tom] Newman [acoustic guitar and assistant engineer] would deflate the tension of hours in the studio on their own by drinking themselves daft at a nearby pub. In the course of such an evening, they decided to enlist a `master of ceremonies', Vivian Stanshall, to announce the entrance of each instrument at the end of Side One. When this had been accomplished the helplessly intoxicated trio, hatching schemes of ever-increasing surrealism, decided to combine the recording of The Sailor's Hornpipe with an early-morning stagger around the Manor House. Microphones were placed in various rooms and corridors, the tape machine set in motion and off they went. Stanshall wandered around inspecting the various items of interest within his focusing capacity, like Lord Clark after a night on the tiles, while Oldfield and Newman - by then convinced that the whole world loved a sailor - trudged after him strumming with scotch-sodden conviction. At the time, the result was considered a little too bizarre to place on an album by a complete unknown, so it was replaced by an instrumental version.

And here's what Vivian said

[Sounds of Mike & Tom tramping]
[Guitar and triangle start]

The hall... and from the outside an ordinary house: a great house, true. 483 rooms, each one with its own marble washbasin and douche, bidet as [it meant?]. But inside and the positions are reversed. A human failing, some say, a disease, but a disease that Sir Francis Dashwood knew and knew well.

Upstairs, inside and... a revelation! It's a discotheque! No, no, er, there are paintings, real... And look here: a rare 17th century masterpiece, and if I can scrape a little of it off, beneath I can find hidden...[scraping] a 14th century underpiece, made entirely of tiny pieces of eggshell. This lewid work has caused controversy in the world of embroidery and anthropologic'lly... no, I'll say that again, anthro..pol..logi... um, no, quite possibly anthropol... no, I mean, um, apolog...

It has enthralled distinguished professors and in layman's language, it's blinking well baffling but to be more obtusely, buggered if I know. Yes, buggered if I know; and that's all we've been so far from experts in 14th century painting, renaissance greengrocers and recently revived members of the public: buggered if I know.

Vivian Stanshall, about 3 o'clock in the morning, Oxfordshire, 1973, goodnight.

[Studio version of The Sailor's Hornpipe takes over]


The Manor Studio

Virgin's studio at Shipton-on-Cherwell, near Oxford. Closed by Virgin Records's owner EMI in April 1995.
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