Laurie Anderson
at the Barbican
London, England
May 23, 2000
BBC-3 broadcast, unknown taper
transfer and 2005 seed by berndkretzschmar

March 2016 reseed by zootype:
audio files retracked with volume adjustments
and repairs.

Program: "Songs and Stories from Moby Dick"

118:38 minutes


Part 1 52:32 minutes
01 23:13
02 15:39
03 4:20
04 9:17

Part 2 66:05 minutes
06 21:18
07 2:17
08 24:03

09 Laurie Anderson - interview 18:26

Laurie Anderson: violin, vocals and electronics;
band not identified
but includes a bassist and four singers/actors

original tracklist [titles are not confirmed]

Part 1
1. Violin Intro /Instrumental 3:49
2. Why We Go To Sea /Story 3:54
3. Audite -Oola /Instrumental 3:52
4. Stick Solo /Instrumental 1:08
5. Story 4:30
6. Call Me The Captain /Song 3:19
7. Chapel /Instrumental 1:33
8. Sermon /Story 1:03
9. Story 4:49
10. Hanging Johnny /Song 3:22
11. Man In The Moon /Story 1:37
12. Pip's Song /Song 2:26
13. Boy Overboard /Song 3:23
14. Last Man /Song 4:20
15. One White Whale /Story and song 1:21
16. Properties /Story and song 3:39
17. Story 3:22
18. Story - continued 0:52
19. Song 2:59 [fades out]
Part 2
1. Lecture /Story 0:40 [fades in]
2. Bones /Story 1:45
3. Pieces & Parts /Song 1:27
4. Noah's Song /Story and song 3:50
5. Instrumental 1:43
6. Story 0:58
7. Mechanical Man /Song 2:06
8. Story 3:20
9. Instrumental 2:40
10. Song ('shanty') 2:17
11. Instrumental 2:30
12. Sermon To The Sharks /Story 1:05
13. Instrumental 3:41
14. The Chase /Story 0:31
15. Instrumental 2:40
16. Fast Fish /Story 1:30
17. Backwards /Instrumental 3:00
18. Where The Water Shines /Story 1:44
19. Instrumental 2:33
20. Story (Call me Ishmael) 0:39
21. - 3:51
22. Introduction 0:14
23. Interview 2:05
24 - 0:18
25. - 2:02
26. - 0:52
27. - 1:59
28. - 3:29
29. - 1:29
30. - 0:07
31. - 0:48
32. - 1:11
33. - 1:34
34. - 0:19
35. - 1:51
36. - 0:17
tracklisting from a different version of this show:
1 Introduction 2:41
2 When I Go to Sea 5:01
3 Peaquod 1:55
4 Sacred Sea Chanties 3:09
5 Heads 4:32
6 Ahab's Introduction 3:25
7 The Founding of My Heart 2:40
8 Natural History 4:57
9 Hangin' Johnny 3:21
10 Of Man 1:40
11 Stick to the Boat 2:28
12 Pip 3:28
13 Falling Man 4:23
14 One White Whale 1:23
15 Spanish Coin 3:43
16 Noisy Seas 4:18
17 Bones of Leviathan 2:45
18 Description of a Whale 2:29
19 Consider Leviathan 1:24
20 If You See a Whale (Pieces and Parts) 3:55
21 Noah 1:46
22 Night Watch 1:03
23 Melville 2:07
24 Make Me a Mechanical Man 3:20
25 Compass 2:26
26 Violin Solo (Here With You) 2:37
disc 2
1 Green Sea 2:31
2 Sacred Oceans 1:05
3 Angels are Sharks Well Governed 4:17
4 Sea Hawk 2:42
5 Last Watch 1:30
6 Fast Fish and Loose Fish 3:04
7 Why Are Your Libraries Full of Tears 1:44
8 Sinking of the Peaquod 2:36
9 Adrift 0:38
10 Call Me Ishmael 4:19


Life on a String (album)
The first three songs, "One White Whale,"
"The Island Where I Come From," and "Pieces and Parts,"
were taken from her show "Songs and Stories from Moby Dick".

original seeder's notes:
CD cover included
This is a really awesome show.
A few songs were later released on 'Life on a string'.
recording from radio broadcast:
Laurie Anderson's Songs and Stories From Moby Dick
Set For Live Radio Broadcast
[22 May 2000] Laurie Anderson's Songs and Stories From Moby Dick
which runs at the Barbican Theatre from 24 to 28 May 2000,
will be broadcast live on National UK radio on BBC Radio 3
Wednesday 24 May 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
The radio broadcast will also include an interview
with the multimedia pioneer Laurie Anderson.
Enjoy and help seeding after the download.
And your thanks / feedback will motivate me
to dig up and seed much more.
Feel free to email me (Eno wants or trades):
berndkretzschmar -at-
FM> unknown>>.wav >.flac> 2005 seed

audio files retracked with volume adjustments
and clicks and gaps repaired;
new FLAC-8 files and checksum files created
and this info file revised;
original info file and artwork included.

Thanks again to the taper and to berndkretzschmar for this recording.

a zootype reseed March 2016
Moby Dick Lyrics

trascribed by Ruth ( rs @ )

The Island Where I Come From

(probably out of order, transcribed by koba_no_gomi)
(21 minutes into CD 2)

There are man who see the world
Darkest Africa, Siberia or France.
When you ask them,
"Hey, how was it?"
They say
"I dunno, it was.... uh.... nice"

There are a lot of writers
Who use a lot of big long words
[something] the beauty of print, they write it down
But, ooh, words are nothing
Without their windy sounds

Ooo, we see x2

Jewels and Satin, and rising water
Visions I've seen and cries I've heard
I can't put these things into words,
Might as well put some beads in a hollow gourd and
Shake it, Shake it.

There are lots of people who talk
Just to hear the sounds of their own voice
But take an empty shell, and put it up to your ear.
You can hear the ocean rolling around in there

Ooo, the green sea...


You know, when Melville finished Moby Dick he sent it to a friend
along with a note that said: "Concerning my forthcoming book, don't
you open it, don't you read it. It's made of rough ropes and chains. A
polar wind blows through it. And birds of prey hover over it." Pretty
amazing thing to say about your new book. But I guess there are a lot
of artists who finish a big work and they step back and they look at
it. And they're kind of revolted or at least sort of disappointed. And
there's Melville begging his friends not to read his new book. This
book that he thought was going to be his masterpiece. I have the
Bantam paperback edition and it's pretty ripped up at this point I
read it so many times. And it's strange, each time I read it, it seems
like there're all these new themes and subplots and
undercurrents. Now, Melville calls his book a draft of a draft of a
draft. And he keeps jump cutting around and there are all these long
chapters about fishing rights and the crusades and alchemy. And then
he creates all these characters and he puts them on a boat and he
ships them out. And they only gradually realize that it's not at all
clear where they're going. But no one ever says: "Exactly what is it
that we're looking for, Sir?" Anyway, I've finally decided that what
Moby Dick is really about is enormous heads. And not just Melville's
head, so full of secrets and stories and theories. But there's the
whale. And what the whale looks like to them is this huge monstrous
sort of disembodied head floating out in the middle of nowhere. Sort
of bobbing up and then disappearing below the surface. Just this huge
head with a tail. My favorite story is right in the middle of the
book and it's about the time they cut the whale's head off. And they
suspend it from the side of the ship with cables. And then they drill
a hole in the head and they lower buckets inside to get up the
oil. And then to get the last bit of oil they lower this guy
inside. And then Melville creates this really weird
accident. Suddenly, the cables snap and the head no longer buoyant
with the oil starts to sink rapidly to the bottom of the ocean with
this guy inside. And then he sort of jump cuts to this medieval German
theory about the spine which is that each vertebrae is actually a tiny
miniature skull and they're all stacked up and they terminate in this
big one that's balanced up on top. But when you think about it,
humans are the closest mammals to whales in terms of sheer
proportional head size. We're born with these enormous and so
monstrously huge heads and these tiny, tiny bodies. And our heads are
so huge and heavy that we can just barely lift them off our pillows.
You know, I always wondered what the name was for this little groove
right above our mouth, this little trench. And it's just odd that all
the other things on our faces have such familiar names: eyes, nose,
mouth. And then there's this thing. Now, recently I found out that it
is called "the phyltrum " and that according to Jewish mythology we're
born knowing everything. Where we come from and where we're going. But
just as we come to life an angel flies down and puts a finger right
here. And it leaves this mark. And this mark is called "The secret of
all beginnings".

Natural History

You know, when I first started working on this project about Moby Dick
I did a lot of research on whales. So I went to the Museum of Natural
History in London to talk to the people in the whale department. Now,
this place like a lot of institutions is kind of running low on funds
and they've been economizing and doubling up on personnel. So I talked
to the new head of the whale department and as it turned out he really
didn't know that much about whales at all. His speciality was
worms. And he had his new book on worms on sale at the gift shop,
completely illustrated with his own hand drawings. Anyway, we got to
talking about various groups that'd been trying to make contact with
whales and checking out some of their websites. And one of these
groups has a plan to build a large tin barge and they sort of tap
dance the whale's clicking language patterns on the barge in an effort
to raise him up. And the other part of the group plans to dress in
giant squid costumes and then sort of dangle their tentacles over the
side as bait. Now, the idea of dressing up as the whales favorite food
and then trying to make contact with him without knowing the
code. Well, you have to say that seems sort of suicidal. Anyway, just
one more point before going on and that's concerning the characters
and let's say plot in Moby Dick. And I'm thinking of the 1926 Warner
Brothers movie starring John Barrymore. Now, briefly, here's the
plot. Ahab has fallen in love with Esther who actually isn't a
character in the book. But she doesn't really love him back so as a
consequence he ships out to hunt Moby Dick. Now, in the movie version
you actually see the whale rip his leg off. So he is down in the hold
and he's trying to recover and he's sweating and hallucinating. And
his half brother happens to be there. And the half brother says: "You
know, listen, a lot of girls would really be put off by a guy with
only one leg. But, you know, Esther just isn't that kind of a girl."
By the way, the half brother is also in love with Esther. Anyway,
pretty soon there's a big ball. And Ahab sees Esther at the ball and
she seems on the surface pretty repelled by the stump. So he ships off
again to hunt Moby Dick. Anyway, a few years go by and he's hunting
somewhere near Japan and there's a big typhoon. And Esther and the
half brother just happen to be at the area at the time and the typhoon
sinks their ship. And the half brother sort of floats by the Peaquod
and Ahab fishes him out. And the half brother confesses that actually
Esther was in love with Ahab all along. And it was all a big
mistake. Now this makes Ahab so angry that he rips his peg leg off and
he beats his half brother to death and he throws him over board. Kind
of a Cain and Ahab sort of subplot. Anyway, few more years go by and
Ahab is back in Nantucket. And he decides just, you know, for old
time's sake to stop by Esther's place. So he walks down the road an he
opens her gate, knocks on her door and suddenly there is Esther. Just
standing there. She hadn't drowned at all. Anyway, there're several
other characters in the movie that are never mentioned in the book and
one of them is a hangman named Johnny. And he sings this really long
sea chanty over the opening credits about his plan to hang various
members of the crew. So I thought it would only be fair to do
something from the movie tonight as well as the book. So, this is it.

Hanging Johnny

They call me Hanging Johnny, cause I hanged so many men.
I keep the men in line, I give their orders to them.
So pull lads, pull all the way
Stick your hand in fire, walk on the polar ice.
Or we'll hang you from the yardarm, we won't think about it twice.

I give the orders, I am the captain's will.
So pull boys, pull.

We call him Hanging Johnny 'cause he hanged so many men.
I'd hang my dear old mother, I'd hang my best friend.
So when you see a whale boys, lower for the kill
I give the orders, I am the captain's will.

Oh, the beauty of a night on the summer sea.
Written up there in the dying stars the way the world should be.

Then we'll cut you down and put you in a box
Drop you in the water without a second thought
We'll reduce you to a teardrop, a teardrop

My name will be written in the starry nights
I look around in the wild heights
Written up there in the polar lights.
Remember me.

My name will be written in the starry nights
I look around in the wild heights
Written up there in the polar lights.
Remember me.

Stick to the Boat

Now, on this ship there was a little cabin boy named Pip. And he had a
little tambourine and he loved to hit it. Oh, rigadig ding dong
dig. He was the bell boy. How many bells? Eight bells. But then one
day they lowered the boat and they threw a line and it wrapped around
his throat. And it choked him out into the water. Boy over board. And
then the boatswain said, "Cut the line, cut it back." and they wheeled
him in like an old drowned rat. And then the boatswain said: "Listen
now Pip. The modelling way here is: Stick to the ship. But if you
choose to jump again we gonna leave you there. Out in the deep end".
Well, you know what happened. Pip jumped again and they left him out
there for a night and a day, bobbing around like a piece of old
hay. Boy over board.


Pip the cabin boy. He slipped and fell.
Landing in the water.
He fell into another world.
Boy overboard. Boy overboard.

He slipped slow motion down
A ringing in his ears
Ding dong bell.
He fell. He fell. He fell.

Shafts of light, everything is striped
Underwater light.

The sweet things of the world
The thundering hills, the cheeks of young girls
They become just thoughts.

Pip the cabin boy. He dropped down to the bottom
He fell without a sound
And down on the ocean floor he walked around.
Boy overboard. Boy overboard.

Pip saw God the weaver working on his loom.
And God said, listen Pip, even if you drown, down here in the gloom
Even if you call, I can't see you.
I can't hear you. I'm busy.
All creation mechanical. All creation mechanical.

Falling Man

Up in the masthead high above the deep black sea
Sparkling rain is wrapping all around me
Comets fly by, planets turning in their spin
I whirl, I whirl around with them.

I fly through the silent night
I'm a part of it, a tiny speck, a molecule
Just a drop in the heart of it.

On bright days the great white clouds go sailing by
They look like giant whales and boats in pursuit of them.
On dark nights great panoramas in the sky
Down below me the ocean's rolling.

But then I think, what if I slip?
Or move my foot or hand a bit?
I'd find myself falling
Through a hole in the world
Down into the summer sea.

Some believe that there's a bigger plan
And accidents are just another part of it.
But I am just a simple man
I'm flying, falling into the heart of it.

And if a man is what he knows
Then I would be a tiny speck, a molecule
Just a drop in the heart of it

There are divers who go down
They walk on the bottom of the ocean
Just to take a look around
But if I fall from way up here what would I be?
Just another drop in the heart of the green sea.

And the waves roll and the crests and the swirls
And if I slip I would fall, I'd be falling
Through a hole in the world.
Down into the summer sea

And the waves roll and the crests and the swirls
And if I slip I would fall, I'd be falling
Through a hole in the world.

And the waves roll and the crests and the swirls
And if I slip I would fall, I'd be falling
Through a hole in the world.


Noah was a righteous preacher.
He was the son of Abraham.
His righteousness was leaking all over the land.
God said to Noah, "Listen, I'm gonna flood out the world.
I'm gonna drown all the men and women.
I'm gonna drown all the boys and girls."
Hey! Hey! Hey! Line 'em up. Line 'em all up.

So get yourself an architect. Build yourself a boat.
Fill it full of animals and make sure that it floats.
Now the fish down in the ocean, they didn't need no Ark.
They were happy swimming down there in the dark.
The mighty squid, the dolphin, they never got rounded up.
The little shrimp, the great whales, old Noah couldn't count them up.

Yeah, promise me a rainbow, go ahead. Promise me this rain will end.

And tell me this: What is a man if he outlives the lifetime of his God?
What is a man? What is a man?

Mechanical Man

Carpenter, come over here. I need a new leg. This one here is splinters.
This time make it waterproof so I can stand in the rain.
Take my legs, get rid of them. Let the sharks finish them.
Make me, make me, make me a mechanical man.

Make me strong a hundred fold. A metal fist of solid gold.
Make my eyes cold. Make my eyes cold.
Make my arms into giant cranes. Give me thousands and thousands of
acres of brains.
Make my muscles into pulleys and chains.
Make my muscles into pulleys and chains.

Cut my heart out. Leave my spleen.
Make my hands magnets
That will pull me, pull me, pull me towards Moby Dick.

Fill me full of mercury. An iron hand sharpen me.
Say that I was lost at sea and this new man replaces me.
Make me, make me, make me a mechanical man.

Make my hands magnets, make my hands giant magnets
That will pull me, pull me, pull me towards Moby Dick.

Make my hands magnets, make my hands giant magnets
That will pull me, pull me, pull me towards Moby Dick.

Sharks well governed

Now, every slave ship that crosses the Atlantic has it's entourage of
sharks. Those diamond tooth accommodating dogs of the sea who travel
alongside ready just in case a parcel needs to be carried anywhere or
a dead slave is thrown overboard and needs a decent burial at
sea. Now, when the crew kills a whale they cut off the head and they
suspend it from the side of the ship where it bobs up and down for
days. And the sharks wallow and spin in the bloody black buoys
scooping out globular pieces of whale as big as a human head. And they
get so excited that they bend themselves around into these circular
bows and they begin to tear out their own entrails. Eating machines of
the highest most efficient order. But then again turn the picture
upside down and what do you see? The men on deck are hacking away at
the meat of shark and whale and wolfing it down. For who is now a
cannibal in this world? Anyway, one night the second mate Stubbs was
up on deck and this racket was going on down on the ocean, the sharks
ramming and tearing and he says to the cook: "Hey cook! Listen, go
tell those sharks to keep it down out there!", So the cook goes over
to the side of the ship and he leans over and says: "Okay. Listen you
sharks, second mate says to keep it down out here.". "No, no, no!"
says the second mate. "They never gonna hear that! You gotta preach to
those sharks. Try again." So the cook says: "Okay. Listen fellow
creatures. Fill your damn traps but stop that racket.". "Look, cook"
says the second mate. "When you're preaching you gotta coax 'em a
little bit, you know. Like, flatter them. Once more.". So the cook
says: "Okay. You're sharks, that's certain. Your voraciousness, well,
it can't be helped, that's nature. But to govern the wickedness in
you, that's the point. For if you govern the shark in you, why, then
you will be an angel. For an angel is nothing but a shark well
governed.". "That's it!" says the second mate. "Now give them the
benediction.". "Cussed fellow creatures. Kick up the __?__ as ever you
can. Fill your damned bellies till they bust. Sink to the bottom of
the ocean. Go to sleep on the coral. And then´┐Ż die!

Images for all shows as well as full size images for this show.

Images for this show:

LaurieAnderson2000-05-22MobyDickTheBarbicanLondonUK (1).jpg
LaurieAnderson2000-05-22MobyDickTheBarbicanLondonUK (2).jpg
LaurieAnderson2000-05-22MobyDickTheBarbicanLondonUK (3).jpg