Junger Cloth

Lyrics

(1)

I can make out 'e'
A reversed 'y'
Acrylic, lower, urals, question mark
More demonic than italic (2)
A snake 's'
The numeral two at end
Then a letter so simple, yet disgusting in a stroke
And the it anti-matter
That writ, wrote, it
Inexplicable and disgusting
Limp, yet mocking 
Indestructable in a stroke
It encapsulates all that is foul in man and creature (3)
It is scoffing
In a spacious and wasteful 
Rochcliffe valley hall (4)
Revealed in dream, in cloth
The dry cleaning fluid erased the brain so far 
Brain we held most dear
Now we have to make sure
He's safe, sound, and clear (5)
He's staying with friends again
He will never join
The quest 
When they are a Alf Garnett friend (6) 
You see and believe
And Elizabeth and dear old Bill
Or the bit foolish Roderick
[Leffick?}

Notes

1. This was originally titled "Jungle" when it appeared on setlists in August 2014. In a way the lyrics are pretty straigtforward--the narrator expresses distaste for a piece of writing. Intriguingly, his ire seems to be directed at the typography ("a letter so simple, yet disgusting in a stroke"

This song shares certain lyrics with "Jam Song" from 2013's Re-Mit (see note 3 below). 

If we transcribe the mentioned characters in the sequence in which they are mentioned, we wind up with something like "EY?S2." Somewhere in there the word "eyes" is almost suggested. Divvey from the Fall online forum has suggested that the opening lines refer to an eye test, while Dan finds this on page 13 of Renegade:

"Worst thing was, when I was about six I went blind. I had an eye disease that nobody could understand. I just woke up one morning and everything looked like it was in Hebrew or Greek. It's like being thrown into a foreign country... For half a year everything looked upside down, like ancient letters, hieroglyphics... 

Chris Goodhead suggests that the song may be about a T-Shirt.

Steveoid from the Fall online Forum says of the title: "I assumed it was from J Cloth, the well known dish/cleaning wipe widely promoted in the 70s."

Commenters have suggested that the song sounds like West African pop or, indeed, Santana...

Thanks to Shrimper for transcribing the lyrics.

^

2. Xyloplax: If we think of Cyrillic/Acrylic and Urals being a reference to Russian, then "more demonic than italic" makes more sense if you consider that "demonic" is a word swap with "demotic", which is usually most associated with "demotic Greek", the linguistic term for Modern Greek, the alphabet of which Cyrllic closely resembles (St. Cyril, the inventor of the Cyrillic Alphabet, was Greek). Italic, of course, being a reference to the Roman alphabet. Linguistically, Modern Greek is part of the Hellenic Language Family, which many Linguists say is closer to the Slavic Language Family (which Russian is a member of) than the Italic Language Family (which Latin and the Romance Languages are a member of).

 

As alluded to above, it  has also been suggested that "Acrylic" may be a mispronunciation of, or perversion of, "Cyrillic," an Eastern European script which is used, among other places, in the Urals, which of course clears everything up about this song...

^

3. Some interesting remarks from Russell Richardson: 

"On that mysterious letter referred to, 'a letter so simple, yet disgusting in a stroke'... this is surely the capital "I"... it has been referred to as a 'downward stroke of arrogant identity,' which would fit into the general tenor of the piece. An unrelated thought is that MES is scrying the Greek alphabet, maybe a newspaper (now why would he be learning Greek...?) which is an interesting idea (note also the real Greek or mock/clumsy Greek grace notes in lyrics of the past decade.)"

That quote about "I" was so apt that it sounded familiar, but I have to put a Wikipedia-style "by whom" here...a Goodle search for the phrase turns up only Russell's comment toward the bottom of this page, alas. 

^

4. "Rochcliffe": maybe. See the comments for some suggestions.

^

5. From "Jam Song":

It started one afternoon
When the LP came on
It erased the brain of the man we held dear
Now we have to make sure
The estate and sound
And we have to make sure
The estate and sound

Here "Estate and sound" may be a substitution for the phonetically similar cliché "safe and sound," which appears in the next stanza: "Now we have to make sure
It is safe and sound today." 

Tetrachloroethylene is a dry cleaning fluid, exposure to the fumes of which can cause brain damage. 

"Clear," it should be noted--although it is somewhat unlikely in context--could refer to Scientology, which holds that human souls, or "thetans," accrue attachments called "engrams" as a result of traumatic events (and other thetans, of the unrestful deceased, have a tendency to latch on as well). One of the lower levels of initation, which occurs when the practitioner is prounounced free of these accretions, is called "Clear."

 

^

6. Alf Garnett is character from the British sitcom Till Death Do Us Part. The diction here isn't crystal clear but this seems a likely construal (thanks to Gizmoman, see comments below).

^

Comments (16)

russell richardson
  • 1. russell richardson | 29/05/2015
on the letters:

on that mysterious letter referred to, "a letter so simple, yet disgusting in a stroke"... this is surely the capital "I"... has been referred to as 'downward stroke of arrogant identity', which would fit into the general tenor of the piece.
an unrelated thought is that MES is scrying the Greek alphabet, maybe a newspaper (now why would he be learning Greek...?) which is an interesting idea (note also the real Greek or mock/clumsy Greek grace notes in lyrics of the past decade.)
Stephen J. Tinker
  • 2. Stephen J. Tinker | 03/06/2015
I think Junger cloth opening lyrics refers to a purchase from Amazon (the website rather than the rain forest). The weird charterers probably refer to the strange mixture of figures and numerals that are sometimes asked on websites for user to make sure the user is a human rather than a robot.
gizmoman
  • 3. gizmoman | 04/06/2015
It's not acrylic, it's "a cyrllic" see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillic_script
Shrimper
  • 4. Shrimper | 07/06/2015
^
Which then makes more sense of 'urals'?
xyloplax
  • 5. xyloplax | 08/06/2015
On the Fall forums are some very interesting ideas on this song. Whether Junger is a reference to Ernst Jünger and the song with the word "acrylic" is perhaps an art critique of a painting that Jünger might paint, as in an imaginary conjecture on what art by him couldlook like (he was a photographer and author, not an artist) would be MES-like, but I am probably overthinking it. Was that this was entitled Jungle mean that Jünger was a perversion of that word or the other way around? Is "Urals" just a perversion of "URLs"? Someone suggested this was perhaps about a t-shirt. There's a lot of good possibilities here. The great thing about MES is that his lyrics can be sometimes mundane, sometimes very deep, sometimes both, sometimes neither, and any given song can have 3 different meanings at the same time.
xyloplax
  • 6. xyloplax | 14/06/2015
So 2 things:
1) I hear "d" instead of "e" as the first letter mentioned.
2) If we think of Cyrillic/Acrylic and Urals being a reference to Russian, then "more demonic than italic" makes more sense if you consider that "demonic" is a word swap with "demotic", which is usually most associated with "demotic Greek", the linguistic term for Modern Greek, the alphabet of which Cyrllic closely resembles (St. Cyril, the inventor of the Cyrillic Alphabet, was Greek). Italic, of course, being a reference to the Roman alphabet. Linguistically, Modern Greek is part of the Hellenic Language Family, which many Linguists say is closer to the Slavic Language Family (which Russian is a member of) than the Italic Language Family (which Latin and the Romance Languages are a member of).
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 17/07/2015
Yes, with demotic!!!! That balances out "Acryclic/cyrillic," making the latter more plausible...who knows if that's what's happening but it's a great thought.
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 18/07/2015
http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=39417

The notion of an occult Snellen chart appeals to me.

But then I was looking through Renegade and found this (p13 of the hardback edition):


Worst thing was, when I was about six I went blind. I had an eye disease that nobody could understand. I just woke up one morning and everything looked like it was in Hebrew or Greek. It's like being thrown into a foreign country.... [snip]

For half a year everything looked upside down, like ancient letters, hieroglyphics...
russell richardson
  • 9. russell richardson | 16/10/2015
that quote....
it's from a poem I wrote in 1984. Sorry.
No-one ever read it anyway, but it sensitized me to the probable meaning of MES's phrase.
Sheepish emoticon...
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 23/11/2015
Yes, that's plausible, the "I" could be a disgusting stroke...if you want millions of Fall fans to read the rest of your poem, post it in the comments!
Gizmoman
  • 11. Gizmoman | 23/02/2016
After repeated listens I realised "garden friend" is in fact "when they are Alf Garnett friend" , Alf Garnett being the bigoted main character in the old sitcom "till Death us do part". Whether this gives any clue as to the others mentioned remains to be seen.
Gizmoman
  • 12. Gizmoman | 02/03/2016
This one's a real puzzler, after hearing "Alf Garnett" before I've come back to "Garden", but still hear "Alf" ,"Alf Garden" doesn't make any sense though. The line "Grudge cliff valley hole", starts with an "R "so isn't "Grudge", I hear Rochcliffe valley hall (or hole). There is a character called Lady Eleanore Rochcliffe here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Eleanore's_Mantle Hawthorne also has a Roderick, in here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egotism;_or,_The_Bosom-Serpent, may well be a red herring but he seems to be an author right up Smith's street with the Salem connection and occult themes. The final few lines seem to me to be;

"He's staying with friends again, who will never join, bequest. When they are Alf Garden friend, you see and revere, An(n) Elizabeth and dear old Bill, order (over)? the foolish Roderick, Leffick(?). "
Gizmoman
  • 13. Gizmoman | 02/03/2016
Forgot to add, an even more likely "Roderick" is "Roderick Usher" from Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, I'm certain Smith is more than familiar with this one, especially the Roger Corman film which he will have seen at a young age if he's anything like me.
Gizmoman
  • 14. Gizmoman | 04/03/2016
Now thinking it's "elf garden friend" which would maybe be a gnome? A reference to someone short?
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
Crap, this is a mess; you had me convinced of Alf Garnett until I read your next comment. Right now that seems closer than anything else so I'm running with it. Trying to check the rest.

Any info on Alf Garnett that seems relevant to anyone?
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
Yes, a mess. You've convinced me of the phonetic superiority of Rochcliffe (and I never liked "Grudge cliff") but I don't know if we're getting anywhere.

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