Just one more drink and then I should be on my way home
I'm not entirely sure what you're talking about
I've had a really nice time, but my dogs need to be fed
I must say that in the right light you look like Shackleton

Comment allez-vous ce soir?
Je suis comme ci comme ça
Yes, a penguin taught me French
Back in Antarctica

I could show you the way shadows colonize snow
Ice breaking up on the bay off the Lassiter coast
Light failing over the pole as every longitude leads
Up to your frostbitten feet, oh, you're very sweet

Thank you for the flowers
And the book by Derrida
But I must be getting back
To dear Antarctica

Say, do you have a ship and a dozen able men
That maybe you could lend me?

Oh, Antarctica

Lyrics submitted by lakeoffire23

Our Retired Explorer (Dines with Michel Foucault in Paris, 1961) song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentMichel Foucault was the father of deconstructionist philsophy. I'm guessing the explorer in the song is Ernest Shackelton... he explored anarctica in a day long before polartec, GPS, and other technologies that would have made the voyage less arduous. Not sure why the two are having dinner though... I find it humorous that the explorer, are regular joe, doesn't understand the philosophy. I know that's how I felt when I first read excerpts of Foucault's philsophy.
    openczunon January 23, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI assume that "Our Retired Explorer," the narrator, is somebody who once knew explorer Ernest Shackleton, not Shackleton himself. Shackleton died before Foucault was born. 1961 is when Foucault earned his Doctorate by publishing Madness and Civilization. I assume "Thank you for the flowers and the book by Derrida" to be an allusion to Foucault's homosexuality. In whole I interpret this song to be about two men, professionals in totally different fields, having lengthy discussions of their careers that the other doesn't quite understand. I'm probably missing something. But I like it.
    Babypupon March 21, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Michel Foucault was the father of deconstructionist philsophy."

    That's Derrida, not Foucault. Foucault is often labelled structuralist, but isn't, really.

    I read an interview with john k. somewhere in which he explained that the song was about his encountering Foucault and "postmodernism" generally. Specifically the difficulty he had with Foucault's work, which he saw as challenging the 'concept of grand narratives'. Shackelton is featured because, it was explained, his Anarctic expedition was the last real modernist frivolity and he was therefore the perfect canditate for a fantasy dinner date with Michel Foucault. One of their best songs.
    skunkbythebrookon September 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentalright, I know it's very postmodernist, but how can the narrator BE shackleton, given the line "I must say that in the right light you look like shackleton"?

    that aside, this is definitely one of my favorite songs, and I love the conclusion: Antarctica is more pressing than postmodernism.
    windmills221bon April 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI had a friend living in Winnipeg when this album was put out and he said there was a cartoon featuring a penguin that spoke basic French meant to educate youngsters. With lyrics so particular, you can't help but speculate on the connection.
    AKJMDon April 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentvery good song, even their new album rocks...different but very good :D
    fish eat steelon April 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes damn right, excellent song. WHat is it about though? Im guessing its about a trip to France? or is it a trip to Antarctica?
    DuTcHoVeNon November 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song always brings a smile to my face. crazy lyrics, its about a trip to antartica. if you have this cd (not ripped from the internet or burned from one of your friends) it should have this songs music video on it, one of my favorite, doesn't even show them playing the music. always makes me smile.
    eyesuckinkon December 08, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeh the video is brilliant, its well funny.
    madcaddie0on January 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh, and my favorite piecec of the song are the words "As every longitude leads up to your frostbitten feet". Just a great way to decribe the geography. Fantastic.
    openczunon January 23, 2005   Link

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