Beware The Sinister Ducks! A look back at some Alan Moore silliness

It has now become law that “The March of the Sinister Ducks” be added to every karaoke machine*, a tune released in 1983 by, erm, The Sinister Ducks, comprising saxophonist Alex Green, using the pseudonym Max Akropolis, guitarist Capt. José Da Silva (former Bauhaus bassist David Jay) and Translucia Baboon (Alan Moore).

The March of the Sinister Ducks - Back Cover, art by Kevin O’Neill
The March of the Sinister Ducks – Back Cover, art by Kevin O’Neill

Especially in places such as Bowness-on-Windermere, now home to the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, where duckkind has amassed to beg for your hasty snack purchased from one of several unique food establishments, such as Brysons or Vinegar Jones, or the open air market on The Glebe on a Sunday morning.

Sinister Ducks in Bowness
Sinister. Be warned!

Yes, indeed! All need to be warned about their nefarious namesakes, just as The Sinister Ducks did with the release of their memorable 7″ single.

Well, memorable – nay unforgettable – to anyone who has heard it any way, or indeed, seen the single cover, another gem created by Kevin O’Neill, who who also provided a comic strip to emphasise the dangers of malcontented mallards to British society.

Over on Wyrd Britain, we learn from musician, producer and collagist PK Chown that The Sinister Ducks formed spontaneously at an event he used to organise in Northampton, called the Deadly Fun Hippodrome.

Former Bauhaus bassist David Jay and Alan Moore, members of The Sinister Ducks
Former Bauhaus bassist David Jay and Alan Moore, members of The Sinister Ducks

“I’d booked some god-awful band called The Bishops to play, and when they arrived they turned their noses up at our old wooden stage and refused to play,” he says. “So Alan, Dave and Alex stepped up and did a completely improvised set, which of course most of the punters hated because they weren’t famous then and it was pretty off the wall… But thus were born the Sinster Ducks.”

The release of the single through Situation Two (a.k.a. Situation 2) a British independent record label founded in 1981 by Peter Kent as an offshoot of the Beggars Banquet label, made it to the music press at the time of release, but the dangers of ducks are still ignored by many.

Plucked from the NME in 1983
Plucked from the NME in 1983

The song was also included on a playable vinyl disc given away with anthropomorphic comic CRITTERS #23, where Alan Moore himself related the origin of the band. Copies turn up occasionally on eBay.

CRITTERS #23
Critters #23 - article by Alan Moore
Sinister Ducks in Supreme by Alan Moore

Nowhere is safe from furious fowl, folks! Not even residents of Northampton, Alan’s home town, where, in 2021, Cedric, a cheeky swan, was filmed hammering on doors with his beak. (Presumably, he’s after royalties, but even after five years of searching, has yet to track Alan down).

Alan himself has, of course, regularly cautioned us to beware birdkind, including within the pages of his superhero series, Supreme. The menace still lurks to this day!

Without further ado, you can listen to the song itself on YouTube, and here are the lyrics, too, for all dedicated karaoke singers, good and bad. Especially those of you planning to entertain us next year at the Festival’s “Comics Central” for guests and exhibitors… yes, we’re looks at you, Helen Quigley… and others!

Lyrics, presumably, by Alan Moore…

Everyone thinks they’re such sweet little things
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Soft downy feathers and nice little wings
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
But there’s a poison I’d like to administer,
You think they’re cuddly but I think they’re sinister.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

What are they doing at night in the park?
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Think of them waddling about in the dark.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Sneering and whispering and stealing your cars,
Reading pornography, smoking cigars.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Nasty and small undeserving of life.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
They smirk at your hairstyle and sleep with your wife.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Dressed in black jackets and horrible shoes,
Getting divorces and turning to booze.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

Forcing old ladies to throw them some bread.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Who could deny they’d be better off dead?
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Look closer and you may recoil in surprise,
At web-footed fascists with mad little eyes.
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!
Ducks, Ducks! Quack, Quack! Quack, Quack!

The Sinister Ducks | Track A: March Of The Sinister Ducks | Track B: Old Gangsters Never Die | Format: 7″. Situation Two, UK. August 1983

See Also: A wonderful list of Alan Moore obscuria, compiled by Elizabeth Sandifer on, of course, Twitter

* A lie, sorry. But, should you have enjoyed this item, please consider making a donation to the RSPB or your local wildlife rescue centre. Thanks

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.



Categories: Audio, British Comics, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

Tags: , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: