I was going to do a post on President Obama's visit to Elkhart, Indiana, the city of Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy. Or one about the influence of Zoroaster on the three "Abrahamic" faiths and why they should perhaps be known as the Zarathushtran faiths. Maybe later. Right now I'm going to write about the Bonzo Dog Dooh-Dah (or Dada) Band.
The Bonzo Dog Band was part of that great absurdist British comedy tradition that included The Goon Show, I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, and Monty Python's Flying Circus. And because of its absurdity, I assumed that "Bonzo Dog" was just made up. Not so. When Kathleen was rereading Dorothy Sayers' Murder Must Advertise, she came across a reference to the Bonzo Dog. In fact, the Bonzo Dog was a British cartoon character created in 1922 by George Studdy. It would have been known in Britain, but not here in the States.
One of the more bizarre songs, in a collection of bizarre songs, was "Ali Baba's Camel."
Recently my daughter Anne found an earlier version of the song, by Buddy Lewis and His Orchestra, from around 1931:
So why does this 1931 song included these lines?
"You've heard of Ali Baba, forty thieves had he
Out for what we all want, lots of L.S.D."
Lysergic acid diethylamide was not even synthesized until 1938. It turns out that LSD was also British slang for money--actually £sd, for pounds, shillings, and pence. The initials are from the Latin: librae, solidi, denarii. I'm sure the Bonzo Dog Band had fun with the double entendre.