Video: Video Finds: Music — Rhythm Stick |
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Video Finds: Music — Rhythm Stick

Crippled by palsy, Ian Dury’s physical presence is no longer with us, but his image lives on. Despite his affliction he was the incarnation of rhythm, and the rhythm was never more manifest than in his choice of words. He was a superb lyricist. All the evidence you could need is in a single song, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, which currently provides the most compulsive few minutes in the YouTube emporium. He doesn’t really sing the song, he speaks it, but unlike most of the rappers he is speaking words that really are inventive, and not just torrentially loquacious. “From the deserts of Sudan/To the gardens of Japan” and onward, the catalogue of exotic places moves with seeming ease and perfect neatness to provide the ideal evocation of a desire. But a desire for what? Physical freedom, masochistic sex, or unlimited air miles? It’s a mystery, like his life. I thought Ian Dury was a magic messenger straight out of Prospero’s island. Anyone to whom the same thought has not yet occurred might care to try a few minutes with the rhythm stick, but make sure there is room to dance. 

Click [unavailable]  for the song performed on the television special Juke-Box Dury.

[ HERE is an alternative live performance — Archive Ed. ]