Vitruvian Woman

The first single from the forthcoming concept album ‘Heraclitus Flow’, Vitruvian Woman presents an ironic and irreverent romp through three millennia of western cultural and philosophical history. Starting with the Hebrew myth of creation and original sin, it cheekily guides the listener’s imagination through Greek Homeric prehistory and the Athenian golden age, pausing to note the importance of the presocratic philosophers Heraclitus (“no man steps in the same river twice”) and Protagoras (“man is the measure of all things”), through the Roman empire and Christian nativity, via the Renaissance and so-called “Enlightenment” to the modern era. Taking into account such culturally-significant figures as Napoleon, Einstein and Julian Assange, it nevertheless places each in a context fundamentally conditioned by feminine subjectivity. In the last two verses, the author appears (“it’s getting rather hard to be a global village bard”) to give his own personal account of the postmodern condition.

Cover design by Michele Winfield
Woman is the measure of all things!
In the beginning, the world started spinning – a disk that accreted from void.
Creator’s intentions produced more dimensions, each lest the last be destroyed.
And out of affinity strode masculinity, clutching his logos referral,
But deep in his core lurked a maiden, a whore, a temptress, a mother, a girl.
Then Adam knew Eve… well, he thought that he did… and that was original sin.
But when Cain and Abel were sat at the table, his judgements seemed petty and thin.
Playing the martyr’s a total non-starter when round such routines she runs rings!
What is this insanity? Everything’s vanity! Woman is the measure of all things!

The gods liked to toy with Helen of Troy, whose visage launched thirty contingents.
The judgement of Paris was heard on Solaris, albeit with many infringements.
And Hera sat on Ida with Athena there beside her; when Aphrodite was vindicated she rose.
But the Oath of Tyndareus exonerated Menelaus, thus launching the epoch of heroes.
Well, then Hector fought Achilles and Odysseus in series, but in the end they dragged his corpse around the walls;
With old Agamemnon leading them again on and on till at last his fate befalls
Each, who merits his portion of outrageous fortune, indignities, arrows and slings:
It’s all part of the plan, but he’s only a man – and woman is the measure of all things!

The bee's knees, Alcibiades, in Plato’s book Protagoras
Was shown to please old Socrates, whose elenctic can still stagger us. 
But all those Archimedes greedies looking to lever the Earth
Still need a fulcrum to rest it upon – when all they have is its dearth.
Nobody can know the Heraclitus flow, who never steps into it twice:
Everything slides and nothing abides – and knowledge is never precise.
Man only knows the ebbs and the flows to which his identity clings:
For he’s not the same man and it’s not the same river – and woman is the measure of all things!

Then Aristotle went full-throttle into full-blown academia.
At a nearby clinic, Diogenes the Cynic diagnosed him with schizophrenia.
But Alexander wouldn’t pander to a fear of his own dark shadow;
After breaking his steed, he stood in great need of self-knowledge – a failure, a saddo?
Then, proceeding as taught, he did as he ought, according to Delphian principle: 
Dragged the old sybil out by the nipple till she screamed “My son, you’re invincible!
With your banner unfurled, you may conquer the world – it ain’t over till Pythia sings
That life is the school, love is the teacher – and woman is the measure of all things!”

That diamond geezer, Julius Caesar, had a scene with Cleopatra.
In the palace, he unsheathed his phallus, while the eunuch Ganymedes tried to capture
His fleet, but was forced to retreat, while Alexandria, still besieged, burned.
After the Battle of the Nile, he tarried a while, then returned
To Rome, the place he called home, to await his doom in the Senate
At the Ides of March. Thus, we recall the indispensable tenet:
When back to Egypt his mother Caesarion brings,
It all becomes clear, I fear, that woman is the measure of all things.

Jesus Christ had a tryst with Mary Magdalene.
Those who knew this wandering Jew could never quite explain
Just how he was able to turn the table on all hypocritical sinners,
But then, at a loss, he was nailed to a cross: this game of life sure has no winners.
As thunderclouds loomed, he adopted a spread-eagle pose
And, pondering death, exhaled his last breath and arose…
Who’ll square the circle in this murk’ll be the king of kings –
But in the land of the blind, the deaf don’t mind if woman is the measure of all things.

It was easy for Leonardo to bring his masterpiece to fruition;
Harder for Galileo to go square up against the Roman Inquisition.
Truth falls like two cannonballs straight from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
And Michelangelo’s David was wholly created in the shadow of the Mona Lisa.
Logical proof is offensive to truth – who can say how the heliocentre moves?
And the anthropic principle is clearly evincible for he whom the calculus proves
That the puppeteer need never fear when jerking on his strings –
Vitruvian man does what he can… but woman is the measure of all things!

Immanuel Kant had a rant, producing a moral monstrosity.
With his golden rule, he started to drool, forgetting about reciprocity.
In a season of reason, he promised perpetual peace,
Where pleasure in measure to ethics can only increase.
He continued like that, from his conjuror’s hat, a sequence of white rabbits
To produce, and from them to deduce, based on his own clocklike habits,
A constructed reality, lame like an amputee, where eternal springs
Of hope elope with cash for rope, but woman’s not the measure of all things!

Napoleon Bonaparte practised the art of loving his wife, Josephine.
His “ne te laves pas, en trois jours je reviens” ‘s still thought to be somewhat obscene.
He wrote: “I have been endowed with a nature that is proud, but I still place you above me;
In your alluring case, out of gossamer and lace – have you really ceased to love me...?”
Then, in despair, in search of an heir, he wed Marie Louise for her womb,
Who cried: “He’s a bit of a tyrant, but not when alone in his room.
He’s only a temporary emperor, but [sigh] love gives him wings...
Let him conquer the globe, but take off his robe… and woman is the measure of such things!”

Karl Marx made some remarks about dialectical materialism.
For Lenin, well, that was capital, but the ultimate stage is imperialism.
And, despite such brains, some doubt remains concerning what to do about that:
Что делать? Как быть? Куда бежать? Кто виноват?
And while the Mao effect demands respect for a single blooming flower,
Only the totally corrupt could ever dare to interrupt the prerogative of absolute power,
Cutting closer to the bone to get blood out of a stone – the last drop that he wrings…
But it’s all in vain and demonstrably insane – because woman is the measure of all things!

Albert Einstein began to shine, making e equal to m c squared.
Putting theory into practice, his conjugals seem tactless, but I doubt he really cared
That their mothers were sisters and grandfathers brothers – relativity should be kept in the family!
Elsa, like Monroe, was a sapiosexual ho. Giving him brain, albeit somewhat clammily,
Was objectively sexier than a troupe of virgin nuns with anorexia, but I don’t mean to make light
Of his depravity; to equate specific gravity with absolute momentum is quite right.
And now Higgs has chosen the boson, along with quarks and superstrings…
But why is there something rather than nothing? Because woman is the measure of all things!

It’s getting rather hard to be a global village bard amidst all of these overlapping framings,
Trying from the start to perform a minor part within linguistic Wittgensteinian gamings.
And the nebulous assumption that per capita consumption has any kind of bearing on autonomy
Has impuberal misconduct as the gross domestic product of an ailing low attention span economy.
And I don’t like to mention the blank incomprehension that greets attempts to re-enchant the world –
Just put it into storage while you try to pay the mortgage and never pause to think how we’ve been hurled
Into these bum trades, while unicorns and mermaids cleave to deep affairs and shallow flings.
It’s all been said before, just another kind of war… and woman’s still the measure of all things.

Now Assange rots in Belmarsh prison pending extradition with nobody to come and go his bail;
And many a sordid sex scene’s relived by Jeffrey Epstein, who may or may not have killed himself in jail;
And whether Greta Thunberg’s financed by Michael Bloomberg or Soros himself appears beside the point,
While the orgulous accusers of Satanic sex abusers for prurient viewers rarely disappoint.
And the wombs of Muslim wives are being weaponised in an ongoing war against absurdity, 
Bequeathing to posterity an heirloom of austerity downloaded from the web of postmodernity.
Now the dog and bone are long since overgrown, just like the one for whom the iPhone rings –
It rings for me to the approximate degree that woman is the measure of all things!

©Lyrics written and performed by Thomas Riffmatch to a backing track composed by Nikita Nikitin with backing vocals by Tri Muzy and guest spots feat. Primavera and Katya Ashravzyanova, recorded and produced in Ekaterinburg by Andrey Bokovikov.

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