“SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)” – Scott Walker

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Merry Christmas! 

Gather the family around and listen to the late, great Scott Walker regale us with a tale as old as time. Yes, it’s the story of Zercon, the Moorish dwarf who served as jester to Attila the Hun, and who became so desperate to transcend his brutal, soul-crushing circumstances that he literally elevated himself into the cosmos and became a brown dwarf star (cruel ironies abound in the Walkerverse), freezing and “drop[ping] into the darkness.”

That is really what this song is about. It’s over 20 minutes long.

Scott Walker actually did include a Christmas song at the end of 2012’s Bish Bosch, his final solo LP. That would be “The Day The ‘Conducator’ Died (An Xmas Song),” which is about the Christmas Day execution of Nicolae Ceaușescu (the refrain is “nobody waited for ‘fire’,” repeated over funereal sleigh bells). I considered writing about that one instead of “Zercon,” but decided it would be too much of a downer.

Anyway, if this gets even one person to listen to “SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)” on Christmas Day, this has all been worth it. Scott Walker was a true genius, and we’ll never see his like again.