Tongue Tied

A time-slide of a seventeen-year-old Lister with his band at the Aigburth Arms, c.2172 ("Timeslides", Series III)

Smeg and the Heads was a rock band fronted by Dave Lister during his teenage years in Liverpool, along with his friends Gazza and Dobbin. The name of the band was a pun on an obscene insult, "smeg-head".

Their signature song was entitled "Om", and featured a repetitious mess of noise with Lister repeatedly saying the song's only lyric, "Om." ("Timeslides")


The band consisted of Lister on lead vocals, Gazza on the bass guitar and Dobbin on drums. Lister was going through a "Sham Glam" phase and wore outrageous sparkly outfits. They despised money, loathed possessions and referred to almost everything as "crypto-fascist" (which the older Lister thought made him sound like a complete git when he met his younger self). Gazza was a neo-Marxist, nihilistic anarchist while Dobbin was a crazy, whacked out hippy.

They had a very limited repertoire of interminable songs written by Lister, typified by "Om", that somehow got the band some gigs at the Aigburth Arms. Upon hearing "Om", Arnold Rimmer sarcastically called it "catchy" and told teenage Lister to keep writing the hits. According to Rimmer at a later date, people who heard the "Om" song formed self help groups. It got some playtime on hospital radio, and a number of people came out of their comas, packed their bags and went home. ("Krytie TV") Despite this awful catalogue, Lister was convinced that the band would become enormously famous and wealthy, starting with selling memorabilia from the back of Dobbin's very unroadworthy car.

Eventually, the band split before they hit the big time. Gazza joined a large insurance firm and got his own parking space. Dobbin became a police officer and achieved a high rank in the Freemasons.

When Lister altered history to make himself obscenely rich through the use of timeslides and by being the first to invent the Tension Sheet, he purchased three million copies of "Om" and made himself go to number one in the charts. He then used the albums as ash trays. ("Timeslides")

Later Mentions

His opinion on his past work has been mixed, with him showing embarrassment of it to Cat in "Timeslides", and describing his past self as "crap", but he later showed a more positive opinion of "Om" in "Krytie TV", saying that "Om" was a classic (Lister was dealing with a bout of despair over the state of his life in "Timeslides", however). Lister also later reflected that what the band lacked technically, they made up for in "loudness", and noted that after their performances people were left with a ringing in their ears, which he confidently claimed never went away. ("Dear Dave")

One of Lister's ex-girlfriends, Hayley Summers, dated him during his time with the band, and left for a "dream job" on Callisto when the band didn't make it big time; Hayley was potentially a groupie of the band. ("Dear Dave")

When Lister recovered his guitar after losing it in space for some years, everybody else was horrified. As Red Dwarf filled with the "Om" song once more, Kryten sealed himself into a soundproof airlock. ("Siliconia")

During the Dwarfer's visit to SS Enconium, they were met with with a variety of eccentric individuals in the diner, one of which was plucking a guitar tunelessly. Cat sarcastically suggested to Lister that he could stick around, the "Om" song could go platinum there. ("Timewave")

See Also

Behind the Scenes