Abbe May: Sex You All In Your End-o

Abbe May has a big thing for puns.

The sand-groping doom popster of current 'Karmageddon' fame has always been one for adnomination. In fact, if there was an ad for adnomination, she would nominate herself to be in it…

It’s funnier when she does the punning. No, wait. Make that punnier…

“I recently had a debate with my sister about puns,” May says, speaking from a Melbourne studio where she is mixing a new robot reggae tune. “She was saying that puns were a signifier of low intelligence, second only to sarcasm.

“I disagreed wholeheartedly. I see punning as the sign of a quick mind, a mind that needs exercise.”

In Shakespeare’s day, punning was regarded highly and the bald bard went to town on the pun pony. In the centuries since William became “a grave man”, puns have devolved into dad joke fodder.

And that is May’s point exactly.

“Dad jokes are often filled with puns precisely because dads’ minds are often in need of exercise,” she exclaims. “I have been accused of having an appetite for dad humour, but I think what people are really saying is that I am punning.

May’s parents are intellectuals, her sister is doing a doctorate and her two brothers were also blessed with big brains. She considers herself to be comparatively slow-witted.

“I was always a bit slower than them,” she shrugs. “Punning came to be about the ability to communicate, using humour as a subversive device.

“I think we’ve lost a lot of that ability in music these days, with sexuality being so open and explicit we’ve lost the ability to use words and puns and metaphors to subvert, to say one thing and really mean another.”

Ever heard Dinah Washington’s Long Sliding Thing? It’s about a trombonist. Or Long John Blues? It’s about a drill-toting dentist who likes to fill holes.

“Punning with friends always ends up in a sexual place, it’s the nature of the beast,” she says. “And that’s the line the dad jokes don’t cross, thank God.”
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