The Colony of Slippermen (Arrival - A Visit to the Doktor - Raven)

The Colony of Slippermen (Arrival - A Visit to the Doktor - Raven)

The Colony of Slippermen is a song by the progressive rock band Genesis. It appears on the album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", and is composed of three parts: "Arrival", "A Visit to the Doktor", and "Raven". The lyrics are of Peter Gabriel's creation. The opening lines of the song are a reference to William Wordsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud".

Structure and Plot

The song begins with an African inspired instrumental, using a mellow and simple sequence of short musical ideas, introducing the eccentricty of the characters communicated within the song. At roughly 1:49, the longer part of the song begins. In this part Peter Gabriel sings, describing how Rael encounters a group of strange "slubberdegullions" called the slippermen. The tale is one of the climaxes of the 'Lamb' album and particularly of the 4th side of the LP. After eating the 'Lamia', Rael falls into the same trap as many others before him and turns into a Slipperman and comes across a colony of others like himself. He is told the Lamia regenerate every time and more and more people are turned into creatures that have an ongoing desire to 'satisfy' themselves and others. He sees his Brother John for the second time in the album after being deserted by him 'In the Cage'. They are together told that the only way to return to normal is to be castrated by 'Doktor Dyper' and there is no hesitation between them to be surgically tampered with, noted in the line "don't delay, dock the dick, watch his countdown timer tick".

Their "numbers" are placed in a "Shoobedoobe" (a yellow plastic tube for holding the resulting product of castrastion). The final section of the song, "Raven", describes how a large black bird swoops down and steals Rael's 'Shoobedoobe'. Rael chases the bird, which it drops the tube into a ravine, leading to the hardest decision Rael has to make in the album (arguably in his life) and, as a result, to the climax of the work. 'Raven' contains a keyboard solo often performed at Genesis' live concerts, creating an entrancing effect heard through a range of different musical motifs throughout the song.


Though mostly sung by Gabriel, this song features a very brief lead vocal by Phil Collins ("where the raven flies there's jeopardy?").

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