An appreciation of The Divine Comedy band

By John Ruberry

Listening to music is a serendipitous adventure. And it was on one of those journeys I uncovered another great band that you’ve probably never heard of, The Divine Comedy. Last year before the post was swallowed up by a memory hole at Da Tech Guy, I profiled another undeservedly unknown band, the Rainmakers. Only I first encountered the Rainmakers on a local radio station years ago.

I discovered The Divine Comedy when I downloaded the “Inspired by the Kinks” compilation on Apple iTunes. A great collection, yes, and easily the standout cut for me was “The National Express,” a satirical look at a ride on the eponymous company’s bus line.

Unknown? As this is an American blog with, I believe, a predominately American readership, that’s true. But The Divine Comedy has scored hits in Europe, particularly in Great Britain and Ireland, which is understandable as the band’s only constant member is Neil Hannon, who is from Northern Ireland.

As great as “The National Express” is, there’s just one small issue in my opinion. I’m a huge Kinks fan, but unless you count that British band’s last big hit, “Come Dancing,” it doesn’t sound like any other Kinks tune.

Listen for yourself!

The Divine Comedy’s first album, since cancelled by Hannon, was the R.E.M. inspired Fanfare for the Comic Muse, which was released in 1990. The only place it seems to be available is on YouTube. If you somehow find a copy of it at a rummage sale or used record store, grab it if it’s priced cheap, as it is probably a collector’s item.

The band then “regenerated” three years later into a chamber pop, or if you prefer Britpop band, for Liberation. Actually I prefer the moniker baroque pop. Regardless of the name, what kind of music am I talking about? Think along the lines of “Penny Lane” by the Beatles, “Senses Working Overtime” or “Easter Theatre” by XTC, or “Never My Love” by The Association, the glimmering song that was used with such beautiful yet chilling effect in the final episode of the most recent season of Outlander. Oh, throw in a bit of Cole Porter too. Back to Liberation: My favorite song from that collection is “The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count,” which is cleary inspired by the Beach Boys. Yes, I suffer from allergies too so I can commiserate.

Hannon, who writes nearly all of the band’s songs, is a clever lyricist who brings wit and even snarkiness to many of his songs. The Divine Comedy’s melodies are striking and the musicianship is superb.

Here’s a snippet from “Catherine the Great.”

With her military might
She could defeat anyone that she liked
And she looked so bloody good on a horse
They couldn’t wait
For her to invade
Catherine the Great.

Yes, there is a sly reference here to the historical gossip that the Empress of Russia died from a mishap during carnal relations with a stallion.

“The Frog Princess” incorporates strains of “La Marseillaise” into it.

One more Divine Comedy favorite of mine is “Gin Soaked Boy” from the 1999 compilation A Secret History…The Best of the Divine Comedy, which might be good place for you to see if The Divine Comedy is for you. Or you can begin as I did on Apple Music with their “Essentials” and “Next Steps” collections.

Of the band’s dozen studio albums Fin de Siècle, which contains “The National Express,” is my favorite. If you prefer to see what the Divine Comedy is up to now, its latest album is Office Politics. The track I enjoy the most on this collection is “Philip and Steve’s Furniture Removal Company.” It’s about a proposed sitcom and its theme song, both devised by Hannon, in which minimalist classical composers, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, operate a furniture removal business in the 1960s in New York.

Silly? Of course. Brilliant? Definitely.

Oh yes, I said “regenerated” earlier. Regeneration is the title of the Divine Comedy’s 2001 album. Perhaps not coincidentally Hannon contributed a couple of solo tracks, “Song for Ten” and “Love Don’t Roam” to Doctor Who: Original Television Soundtrack from 2006.

In addition to Apple Music works by The Divine Comedy are also available on Amazon.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Unfinished Business Under the Fedora: The Democrats Media Masters, J-Lo and Biology, Female Doctors Everywhere, Yockey in Iowa and Mookie over LA

Often events overtake thoughts on items so here are a few things I would have liked to have gotten out from Under My Fedora a bit earlier.

Don Surber, one of the must reads on the net notes that the media have a lot to answer for in terms of the results of impeachment and he’s right in the sense that the media kept pushing all this forward in the belief that it would hurt the president That some in the Democrat leadership and others in the field knew this to be the case was not enough to stop them.

For years I’ve thought the media was at the Democrats beck and call, now I’m wondering if it’s the other way around.


There was a lot of fuss about J-Lo’s performance at the Superbowl and the whole Pole Dancing business, I think life might be a lot easier if we all acknowledged two basic things.

Men like women and are biologically designed to desire them, the more sexually provocative they are the more noticeable they become to men’s eyes. That the actual norm, and it is the cultural restraints that our friends off the left from religion to chivalry that teaches a man to be a gentlemanly and show restraint and to respect the “no” when a woman gives it

Women are also biologically designed to rival each other for said notice of men and said biology and rivalry does not end when a woman is in her 50’s. and when you spend a lifetime making a living off the “male gaze” you certainly aren’t going to let a younger woman outdo you in that measure.

Those same civilizing impulses that acted upon men also acted upon women to be very selective when using that biological power which gives power to a women to improve a man to the point where he is a suitable mate. When our culture abandoned those civilizing tools they abandoned those restraints which ironically is what has actually objectified women.

The sooner these things facts that have centuries of experience developing the better off we will be as a society.


If you missed Doctor Who this week as I have for the last several years you would have found that the 1st female Doctor (played by Jodie Whitaker) was joined by the 1st Black Female Doctor (played by Jo Martin).

There are many issues with this development, from the rewriting of the Doctor Who Canon of fifty plus years to the fact that they will need to take a further woke step to satisfy the Social Justice Warriors whose demands can never be fully me met shall we see the 1st trans woman doctor played by Jessica Yaniv later this season perhaps?

But the issue that is biggest for the current Doctor Who franchise is that according to my oldest son who is still occasionally watching the series not only was the 1st black female Doctor (played by Jo Martin) clearly recognizable as “the doctor” in terms of tone and character unlike the 1st female doctor (played by Jodie Whitaker) to my son, a lifelong Doctor who man fan but she apparently the 1st black female Doctor (played by Jo Martin) completely out acted the 1st female Doctor (played by Jodie Whitaker) to the point where it was according to my son the wrong person was the 1st female Doctor and it wasn’t close.

Oh and for the record the 1st female doctor was in fact Joanna Lumley

FYI My apologies to the good folks at Nerdrotic for stealing his “1st female / Black female Doctor” meme.


Completely missed this tidbit from Stacy McCain concerning old friend Cynthia Yockey. Ten years ago I met the Conservative Lesbian at CPAC and she told me of how she had been rejected and marginalized by gay friend while embraced by conservatives.

Cynthia ten years later:

Speaking of conservatives, my friend Cynthia Yockey caucused for Trump last night. Yes, there was a Republican caucus in Iowa, which Trump obviously won. Cynthia reports that (a) she was drafted to be a delegate to the county GOP convention in March, (b) elected to the platform committee, (c) her plank on transgender issues was unanimously adopted, and (d) “the passionate nominating speech for Trump that opened our caucus was given by an immigrant from India who became a citizen in 2008.”

I’m very happy for Cynthia who is a fine person but I’m even happier for the Iowa GOP & the President who are damn lucky to have her.


Finally in the Midst of all this political news the Boston Red Sox have Traded Away Mookie Betts arguably next to Mike Trout the best outfielder/player in the game along with Starter David Price for a pair of young players. For myself I would have waited till May to see if we had a chance to contend but given that Betts didn’t want to resign here getting something for a guy who hits for power & average, steals bases, has a rocket arm and incredible outfield range is a lot better than getting nothing for him, not to mention the huge savings from getting rid of David Price’s contract.

As for the Dodgers I don’t care if every team in the league has a complete list of every sign you have, if you can’t win the series with the addition of Price still a good pitcher and Betts to that already formidable team you’re just never going to do it and if you can sign Mookie to a long term deal than your team might truly become a Dynasty.

Either way enjoy it, he’s a pleasure to watch.