Jack the Ripper's back in the news, with a new book claiming to have definitively established Aaron Kosminski as the true killer already lambasted as a comedy of errors by members of the scientific community. How the identity of a terrifying London murderer can hinge on a misplaced decimal point is a mystery best left to people with books to sell, we say.
Nonetheless it's a fine time for a band named after what's believed to be the Ripper's own wall scrawl to come to town. The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing are the steampunk-inflected musical vehicle of comedians Andrew O'Neill and Marc Burrow, plus general men of good humour Andy Heintz and Jez Miller, and they're named after the chalked graffiti supposedly discovered on the wall at the scene of Catherine Eddowes's murder.
The Men That... are playing the Garage on Friday 14 November, supported by fellow Londoners The Cesarians. The band don't do songs exclusively about the 19th century slayings, but there's a lot of Victorian London going on in their set and it seemed the perfect moment to introduce you to some of the more capital-themed tunes you may hear in their Garage set.
Certainly their most London-heavy song is Bedlam, the tale of a fun day out in London you'll never forget. Not to spoil the surprise or anything, but the lyrics do contain such gems as these: 'Take a Hansom cab to the East End slums, and see the whores in old Whitechapel / Yes they do smell a bit, but they're really very cheap, and I hear you can get your end away for the price of an apple'.
That track was from the band's seminal LP The Steampunk Album That Cannot Be Named For Legal Reasons, which was formerly called something else until it had to have its name changed after a certain company moaned about trademark infringement. It took EMI two years to notice mind you, by which point the band's second album was already out, entitled, wait for it, This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons. And from that here's Brunel, its astonishing video, and the best chorus ever.
And one final London-linked number, from the band's most recent EP. The Gin Song begins with the words 'It's cleaner than water, it's cheaper than porter: gin'. At one time, of the many thousands of drinking establishments in London, not including coffee shops and the like, over half were gin shops, and the stuff had a hand in slowing population growth, influencing the design of still-standing Victorian pubs, and Lord knows what else. And we're pretty sure they sell it at the Garage.
There's also The Great Stink, about the stench that struck London in the summer of 1858, but that video's really nasty. If you really want to see plasticine people swimming in effluent, be our guest.
The gig at the Garage will be the band's first return to a four-piece since singer vocalist Andy got shot of throat cancer earlier this year, and the show (alongside three other UK gigs) are the band's invite to fans to join them in celebrating 'kicking cancer’s arse'. And now back to full strength, work is underway on the third LP which we assume will include tales of pea soupers, typhoid and all those other things we'd forget about without Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing.
The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing play the Garage in Islington on 14 November, and tickets are available for £13.30 from Songkick, and elsewhere. You can also find the band at Facebook and Twitter.