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Is the 'Mystery Men' writer a BJ Wilson fan?

Joan May


The satirical 1999 film Mystery Men, [see here] features a group of totally ordinary people who fancy themselves as Superheroes. In one scene they meet up with a Superhero Guru of sorts named Sphinx (played by Wes Studi), who they hope will make them more effective, but instead his advice consists of useless symmetrical statements such as:

"To learn my teachings I must first teach you how to learn"

"Learn to hide your strikes from your opponent and you more easily strike his hide"

"When you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you will head off your foes with a balanced attack"

"Ask not what your country can do for you ..." whoops, that was someone else ... anyway you get the idea.

After uttering several sentences of this type he asks one of the "heroes" how many weapons he wields, and is told "Just one, Sphinx" to which he replies:

"No! The fist! The knee! The elbow! The head! You must lash out with every limb, LIKE THE OCTOPUS WHO PLAYS THE DRUMS!"

The fact that Sphinx broke his pattern of speech for no apparent reason leads me to suspect that the screenwriter (Neil Cuthbert) could have used this opportunity to insert a BJW reference into the proceedings.

It's nice to think so, anyway..


'... at times Wilson thrashed about like an octopus in a hot bath, distracting your attention totally from anything else that was going on': Steve Peacock in Sounds, September 1971 [see here]

'And finally on the drums - there he goes now - is the inimitable, the octopus in the bathtub, Mr BJ Wilson. Take it away!': Gary
Brooker introducing Power Failure, Rockpalast German TV, 17 January 1976

'With all tentacles in play, the octopus unleashes a ubiquitous, flailing attack during a mid-70s concert ' : Larry "Cerdes" Pennisi , photo caption here


BJ's page at BtP

About those original 'Octopus in the Bathtub' articles


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