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Young Southpaw
The Lost Archimedes Nick Roseblade , August 13th, 2020 08:57

Young Southpaw gets tangled up in tangents on The Lost Archimedes, but it's that sheer excess that makes this spoken words record so funny, finds Nick Roseblade

Throughout my life I’ve been thinking about music. What I’m going to listen to next. Trying to analyse the album I’ve just listened to. Trying to remember the lyrics to Winnie the Pooh songs for my daughter. It’s generally always on my mind. But someone who thinks about music more than I do is Aug Stone, AKA Young Southpaw.

This latest album The Lost Archimedes, the second in a trilogy, is an hour of spoken word diatribes loosely based around Stone being lost and trying to find his way back to the bar at the crossroads where he saw a pretty lady. As Stone walks around trying to find the bar – and this mystery lady – he ponders Taylor Swift, Billy Ocean, Paul Bunyan, hanging out with Jean-Paul Sartre, Black Sabbath writing an album about footwear, how the Spice Girls’ hit ‘2 Become 1’ is actually the definitive breakup song and all the other things that enter your head when you are wandering alone in the dark.

The album works best when Stone over explains his point. One of the best is when he is describing hanging out with Sartre listening to records. They are winding a gramophone to work out their arms, rather than working out down by the Seine. They are sharing sweatbands, one on each wrist, but they can’t wear a sweatband each as there are four arms, not forearms, but four arms. He over-elaborates the joke, which initially detracts from it, but by over explaining the joke he ends up with something funnier than if he hadn’t mentioned it at all. Then Stone goes into a tangent about the Ramones and selling Atlanta Braves merch on eBay before continuing on with this tale. And this is what The Lost Archimedes does so well. Stone peppers each track with so many seemingly random cultural references, word associations, and tangents, that it’s hard to get a grip of what is plot and what is just a throwaway joke.

After listening The Lost Archimedes the first time I was lost. I knew I’d enjoyed it, but I had no idea what I had listened to, and what the plot was, if any. Then I listened to it again. A bit more made sense. What was evident after each listen was how funny the album was and how intricate each track was. Stone mentions something in one part of the album. Number connections are made on ‘Accidental Music’ and get brought up again on ‘Smashing How Many Pumpkins?’. This isn’t your usual spoken word/comedy album where the set ups and punchlines follow each other. It’s far more interesting. The Lost Archimedes is more akin to Christopher Brett Bailey, with a slower verbal pace, or Monty Python’s Matching Tie and Handkerchief album, where dense routines like ‘Word Association’ take countless listen to decipher what is being said and then who, and why. That is where the pleasure – and comedy – lies.

If you wrote down everything that Stone says you could easily spend a year making an intricate spider web on your wall that connects them all together. It would put Charlie’s paranoid post-room delusions in Always Sunny in Philadelphia to shame. The Lost Archimedes is an album to get lost in and just let Stone’s surreal routines wash over you. After listening to the first two parts of the trilogy let’s hope that the third concludes the story. But given Stone’s penchant for tangents this might not be the case. Either way it doesn’t really matter as The Lost Archimedes is about what ifs rather than what is.