Chumbawumba, a groundbreaking anarchist punk band famous for their popular/hated 1997 hit Tubthumbing (best known by the familiar refrain “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down”), announced their breakup Thursday after over 30 years.
But Tubthumping was just the tip of the funny-named iceberg (or bergy bit, for sub-zero nautical enthusiasts) for this band, whose existence will be forever admired in funny names blog lore, best illustrated by the following excerpt:
“Dear Midge, Tomi, and Danbert Nobacon,
I don’t think Chimp Eats Banana is funny enough for a band name. Why don’t we start a new band named Chumbawumba? While we’re hashing out these details, I might as well mention that I’m planning for us to gain worldwide fame in fifteen years for a song named Tubthumping.”
– Letter from Allan “Boff” Whalley, circa 1982
Everything in that quotation is true, except that such a document never existed. But it should have. I hope to someday compile that fictional letter – alongside several made-up Olympia Dukakis quotes – in a book entitled The Awesome Funny Names Anthology of Our Imaginations.
Honestly, I’ve been sitting on the name Danbert Nobacon (which I hope is pronounced “no-bacon”) for a while, and I’ll be featuring him on Monday as part of my ongoing Chumbawumba coverage. Wow, that’s a sentence that nobody has ever uttered before.
Most people know the band as nothing but a historical footnote (because few could ever get past Tubthumping or that bizarre album cover), but they were “actually a really good anarchist punk band, quite revolutionary” according to a bright anarchist from my college philosophy class, which makes their brush with stardom all the more fascinating to me.
It’s always strange when a band breaks up after so long together, and even the band themselves gave a cryptic reason why, stating “We felt we’d got to a point where what we did as a band – and specifically the writing, recording, touring cycle – wasn’t doing justice to what Chumbawamba set out to do in the first place,” which apparently involved “pointing at the naked Emperors … [and] telling our version of the truth.”
To the keen funny-names enthusiast (a nickname I just gave myself), that obfuscatory statement clearly points to the true reason for their breakup: they realized that “what Chumbawumba set out to do in the first place” was bring funny name awareness to the world, and decided the best way to do that was to be featured in our Funny Names in the News series. Well-played Chumbawumba.Well-played.
- Nutley, New Jersey mayor Alphonse Petracco won a recent election by 14 votes. His campaign slogan: Putting Nutley First. It’s hard to argue with that, so we put “Nutley” first in our Other FNITN section.
In a move that is certain to double incoming traffic to the Imperial Valley Press website, we’re pleased to announce that Wally Leimgruber is running for a seat on the Imperial Irrigation District for Division 5. The seat was recently vacated, and that’s all I’ll ever know about this prestigious position. What I really want to know is how the heck Arto finds stuff like this – please speculate in the comments, preferably with funny suggestions.
- In international science news, Yao Yuyu has scientifically confirmed a peculiar way to reduce blood pressure.
- In sports, we’re pleased to announce that Saturday’s world championship boxing match between Nonito Donaire and Jeffrey “The Marvelous Mongoose” Mathebula, has proven that ring announcer Lupe Contreras is still unable to properly pronounce Donaire (doe-nair), instead referring to him as Nonito “doe-nye-ray.”
- Supporting Arto’s assertion that “it’s good to be known for something,” we bring you good news that Coboconk (a community in the city of Kawatha Lakes, Ontario) is proudly declaring itself home of Canada’s smallest jail. Who says Canadians aren’t boastful?