Venice With The Girls



Mocking mad seniors
Fed up and tedious
Long nights in Britland 

His skin was in default
too beautiful to talk

he's been waiting

Spazz hands! (2)

Lonesome, lonely

She's off to Venice with the girls, he's been waiting so long (3)
She's off to Venice with the girls, he's been waiting so long

In Britland, oldernessness
His skin, whose is it?
Too beautiful
The best thing for you to do is hide

He's been waiting so long
Yeah he's been waiting so long
For the right month to go
He's been waiting all night long

Spazz hands!
Spazz hands!

Long nights in Britland
Underness, his skin, whose is it
Too beautiful, best thing, best thing for to do is hide (4)

She's off to Venice with the girls
Se's off to Venice with the girls

He's been waiting so long
Lonesome lonely, lonesome lonely
Lonesome lonely, lonesome lonely

He's been waiting so long, he's been waiting so long
He's been waiting so long, he's been waiting so long
He's been waiting so long, he's been waiting so long
Lonesome lonely, lonesome lonely

She's off to Venice with the girls, he's been waiting so long
She's off to Venice with the girls, he's been waiting so long 
She's off to Venice with the girls, lonesome lonely
She's off to Venice with the girls, lonesome lonely

Spazz hands! 
Spazz hands!


1. This was originally titled "Gone to Venice." The Fall played in the general vicinity of Venice a couple of months before this debuted in late 2014, which may have had something to do with the genesis of the song. 

The song is also apparently inspired by a television advertisement for Staysure travel insurance. A woman (an "over-fifty") is packing for a trip, and talking to the camera about travel insurance.  Suddenly, a horn honks, and she leans out the window and bids her husband goodbye, saying "I hope you get a hole in one!" Turning back to the camera, she explains: "Me?! [a bit conspiratorially:] I'm off to Venice with the girls! Why should be a 'golf widow'? Not when Staysure have covered!"

From a recent feature in magazine:

There are some song titles on Sub-Ligual Tablet of reassuring excellence [some praise for "Stout Man"]...Venice with the Girls, inspired by Smith seeing a TV advert for travel insurance--he acts it out, swirling [sic] his bottle over his shoulder: "He's away on his golf holiday. Me? I'm off to Venice with the girls!" 

Stranger and Dan on the Fall online forum point out that according to Simon Wolstencroft in You Can Drum But You Can't Hide, in 1996 MES went to Venice with Lucy Rimmer, Wolstencroft, and Sue Williams. In around 2011, MES ran into Wolstencroft and asked him to go for drinks, but Wolstencroft demurred, being too busy, which MES pretended not to hear. It was suggested that these events might possibly have something to do with the theme, or at least the title, of this song...

According to Hexen Blumenthal:

For Daphne du Maurier, "Venetian" was her private word for lesbian, and "going to Venice" was her private code for having a lesbian sexual adventure. It is thought that the movie "Don't Look Back" is set in Venice as a nod to this. Perhaps one as widely read as MES knew this or perhaps the people who made the ad did. Or both.


2. Bazhdaddy suggests this lyric is in mockery of middle aged women on vacation, dancing and doing "jazz hands." 


3. Two points of reference have been suggested for this line: Cream's 1967 song "Sunshine of Your Love," and David Bowie's "Look Back in Anger," from 1979. The delivery is a little more like the refrain of the Bowie song, but Cream's song is probably burned on everyone's psyche (at least everyone in a certain, fairly wide, age range) so may have been somewhere in the back of MES's head even if it isn't consciously intended. So despite the greater similarity with Bowie, I would wager that it's either 1. an allusion to Cream, or 2. an allusion to Bowie and, secondarily, to Cream (indeed the Bowie song may be alluding to Cream to begin with, so there's just too many ways for Cream to weasel into it to ignore). 


4. MES appeared on the British comedy/variety show The Adam and Joe Show in a recurring segment called "Vinyl Justice." The premise is that Adam and Joe are policemen who raid celebrities' "homes" (often actually a set, as appears to be the case with MES) and check the subject's record collection for anything embarrassing or amusing. In MES's segment, he plays a song called "Little Diesel Driving Devil,"  by Don Bowman:

He's the fastest thing alive
When he puts that truck in overdrive
The safest thing for you to do is hide

MES seems to have a love for truck driving songs (which are usually Country & Western kitsch, although many classic songs belong to the genre--some of which are classics but also kitsch). These appear on countless compilations, often sold at truck stops (and sometimes nowhere else) and sometimes featuring exclusive material. He seems to have gotten "White Line Fever" from a rendition by Bud Brewer which was featured on a trucking compilation (the song was of course written, and definitively performed, by Merle Haggard).





Comments (65)

  • 1. dannyno | 11/05/2015
Note that there was an infamously awful UK TV advert which included the line, "I'm off to Venice with the girls". Could, or could also, be a reference to that.

  • 2. vegetables | 16/05/2015
somewhat obscure but the line "the best thing for you to do is hide" with that same phrasing is featured in a trucking song called little diesel driving devil that mark likes or something, as featured here:
  • 3. dannyno | 26/05/2015
Interview with MES in Q Magazine, July 2015, contains confirmation of my theory about the lyrical inspiration for this song (p.55):

"inspired by Smith seeing a TV advert for travel insurance - he acts it out, swirling his bottle over his shoulder: "He's away on his golf holiday. Me? I'm off to Venice with the girls!"
Bovy Thomas Velda
  • 4. Bovy Thomas Velda | 27/05/2015
It's actually about wives who go on holiday, or vacation as we say here. US
Tom, me, is the lonely one.
On the phone he mentioned he was watching it, and made hilarious related comments. And apparently he had found the groove already, to this fantastic example of his...
Bovy Thomas Velda
  • 5. Bovy Thomas Velda | 28/05/2015
Oh... it's not, bad thing, it's "bat man".
Inside joke...get it
  • 6. dannyno | 29/05/2015
I put the wrong link in my first post there, linked back to here!

Here's my transcription of the advert:

.Book the flights, and the hotel. Nearly finished packing. All thanks to Staysure Travel Insurance.

See, Staysure specialise in insurance for over 50s. Just as well, with my knee replacement, John's high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and bunions. We thought we'd never afford to go away again.

Staysure include 220 pre-existing medical conditions in their cover for free. 12 months cover for two of us cost just £79.

<parp parp>

Bye! Hope you get a hole in one!

Me? I'm off to Venice with the girls.

Well, why should I be a golf widow? Not when Staysure have it covered.
  • 7. psychicpowerless | 31/05/2015
The refrain "Waiting so long, he's been waiting so long..." sounds like it's been copped from 'Look Back in Anger' by David Bowie.
  • 8. dannyno | 03/06/2015
"Bread land"

Does this mean "land of the rich" i.e. bread = money?

Or does it refer to a particular place, like Tlaxcala (, which is sometimes translated as "land of bread"? Or other regions that get similarly labelled?
  • 9. Martin | 04/06/2015
Perhaps "Bread land" is "Hovis Land", as in The Fall's That Man?
  • 10. dannyno | 06/06/2015
Yes, I wondered about that.
  • 11. dannyno | 06/06/2015
"... been waiting so long"

Is there an echo here of "Sunshine of your love"?
police truck
  • 12. police truck | 09/06/2015
Loneless inbred land.

Makes more sense to me.

Inbred land
russell richardson
  • 13. russell richardson | 15/07/2015
but what is the chant in the chorus???

Smash Hits?
Smash hands?

I also prefer inbred land
but only if we can have in breadland too
  • 14. bzfgt | 17/07/2015
I agree the chorus chant definitely isn't "best thing," I'm actually going to delete that until we figure it out. But what is the inside joke of "bat man?"

"Inbred land" will be noted as an alternative.
  • 15. bzfgt | 17/07/2015
Huh, it looks like I deleted the "best things" last time I was here. So we are in default here, much like "his skin." It doesn't sound to me like he says the exact same thing every time, but "smash hands" is the closest suggestion yet to what it sounds like to me...
  • 16. dannyno | 21/02/2016
Just for the record, MES' trucking compilation is this one:
  • 17. harleyr | 11/03/2016
On the Wise Ol' Man EP, the break vocal sounds like 'Bad fit!' to me. Could be referring to the relationship between the protagonist and his soon to be absent wife.
  • 18. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
Awesome, harley, you crack that and Fall-dom will Fall at your feet! I will check it and see how plausible it is throughout.
  • 19. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
OK, I put one in, which could imply it runs throughout and could not so imply. I'm convinced that at least some of them could be "bad fit!" but like every other suggestion for this, some of them sound more like this than others.

Note other refrains have been slippery in this way..."Fall advice" sometimes rings clear and sometimes sounds like it's "Fall advance," as many have noted...I think there are other examples but maybe not, I can't recall them right now if they exist...
  • 20. Gizmoman | 21/03/2016
I think it's "past it!" as in too old, he's been waiting so long (for his freedom - his wife's away) he's now past it.
  • 21. bzfgt | 24/03/2016
OK, I got excited again. I now hear "Past it!" and used that, but I'm still not confident enough to say that's what he says every time...yet that is the sole suggestion to date that I can talk myself into hearing on just about every repetition, so you might actually have it...have to let it stew for a while.
Kevin Lock III
  • 22. Kevin Lock III | 30/03/2016
The location of the MES Vinyl Justice episode was in Adam Buxton's flat in Camberwell. AB told me that himself.
  • 23. Wrayx8 | 26/04/2016
No chance it's "inbred land" in the 3rd line?
  • 24. bzfgt | 14/05/2016
Kevin: cool, who is Adam Buxton, is that one of those people only English people have heard of? Are you being straight with us (not meaning to be a insulting question, just making sure this isn't some brit joke that I don't get or something)?

Wray Wray Wray: yes it's certainly possible but to me the inflection suggests "bread land" and also the alternative is ungrammatical.
  • 25. dannyno | 05/06/2016
Adam Buxton is a minor TV comedy performer, with Joe Cornish he presented Channel 4's "The Adam and Joe Show", which ran from 1996-2001. "Vinyl Justice" was a feature of that show.

  • 26. dannyno | 05/06/2016
According to

In 2009, Adam revealed on their BBC 6 Music show that some of the stars' 'homes' were not actually their own.
  • 27. bzfgt | 29/06/2016
That's all already in there, Dan, isn't it? Or am I missing something? Or your comments were my source and I'm doubling back on myself again.
  • 28. dannyno | 21/08/2016
The september 2015 issue of Mojo has an interview with MES. There's a section on lyrics, which includes this reading of the lyrics of this song:

Mocking mad seniors
Fed up and tedious
Long nights in Britland

"It's every young feller I know", says MES

Now, whether that lyric is actually MES confirmed or a guess by the writer, I don't know. But it's better than what we have, I think.
  • 29. bzfgt | 25/08/2016
I am running with that shit! At least we had "Fed up and tedious" right...
  • 30. bzfgt | 25/08/2016
I wish they'd quoted the whole $%# song...that is, album...that is, oeuvre...
  • 31. bzfgt | 25/08/2016
I didn't have the heart to delete the "bread land" note but next time I'm here I most likely's kind of shoddy leaving it in, I guess.
  • 32. dannyno | 13/02/2017
Google is broken so I have nothing to add.
  • 33. dannyno | 01/04/2017
This track has a syllable density which is precisely 2 standard deviations from the Fall's arithmetic mean for songs in the length range.
  • 34. bzfgt (link) | 01/04/2017
Shit, I must incorporate this knowledge immediately!
  • 35. dannyno | 05/08/2017
Note #4: MES chose Bud Brewer's White Line Fever as one of his tracks for a notional mixtape which was the basis for an article in Mojo Collections #3, Summer 2001;


  • 36. bzfgt (link) | 31/10/2018
I listened to this today and some of the times it sounded like "Backhand!"
  • 37. bzfgt (link) | 22/12/2018
Got to be "barking mad," doesn't it? Sounds more like "Mocking" though. And is it "Priceless"? That was suggested.
  • 38. bzfgt (link) | 22/12/2018
I don't hear "priceless" except maybe the first time.
  • 39. dannyno | 22/12/2018
"Mocking mad seniors"

Could it be "Mocking my seniors"?
  • 40. Bazhdaddy | 23/12/2018
This video has a clear vocal on the chorus, and a close up shot for any lip readers but it's still tricky

The word sounds to me like "Space-mad" or "spazz-hands". At one point in the LP version I heard our old favourite "Bazhdads" so it might not be safe to continue.
  • 41. Bazhdaddy | 23/12/2018
In the above video he shouts "Mark is fucking lonely" which I'm using to substantiate my hearing of the first verse as;

Mark E. MES seedy is
Fed up and tedious
Loneness in breadland
His scheme was in default

at 1:42 "He's been waiting on and off"
  • 42. bzfgt (link) | 19/01/2019
It sounds more like "spazz hands!" then "past it!" to me. I don't think there's "past it!," that reeks of a fake insert. As I said in 36, I sometimes hear "backhand!" but maybe that is "spazz hands!"

One thing is for sure, I I guess not "for sure" but close to it...he does not say the same thing every time.

I HATE that we have "past it!" because I don't believe in it. But I can't make a move yet.
  • 43. bzfgt (link) | 19/01/2019
I'm glad there's only one right now, though. If we ever get some lyrics I believe in there will be more..
  • 44. Bazhdaddy | 20/01/2019
Spazzhands not mocking the aff!icted, but people who do that over exuberant jazzhands thing, middle aged girls on holiday
  • 45. dannyno | 18/05/2019
Some of the annotation numbers seem to be pointing to the wrong place - dead links.
  • 46. bzfgt (link) | 07/06/2019
Thanks for letting me know. before the overhauled the place, I just had to link to an anchor; for a couple years now, I have had to put in a full link to the page then the anchor. But the old ones are somehow grandfathered fear is that all the old links without the url will stop working at some point....
  • 47. bzfgt (link) | 07/06/2019
Yeah, I think it is "spazz hands"!
  • 48. bzfgt (link) | 07/06/2019
Do you guys spell it "spazz"? I always spelled it "spaz."

I think he actually says that every time. I think that's what it is.

Here's Note 2, in case "Bread Land" ever makes a comeback:

We originally had "bread land," which led to speculation that may be entirely beside the point. "Brit l

Dan asks, "Does this mean "land of the rich" i.e. bread = money?

Or does it refer to a particular place, like Tlaxcala, which is sometimes translated as "land of bread"? Or other regions that get similarly labelled?" "Tlaxcala" is thought to perhaps mean "tortilla" in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. 

Martin suggests "Perhaps 'Bread land' is 'Hovis Land,' as in The Fall's 'That Man.'" My note there for "Hovis" reads:

Hovis is an English brand of bread. A 1973 television advertisement (directed by Ridley Scott) depicting a boy delivering Hovis on a bicycle accompanied by Dvorak's New World Symphony is one of the most famous spots of all time in Britain. The ad played on nostalgia for rural and village life, and "Hovis land" may be another reference to a supposedly "heathen" Britain. Also, Hovis is associated with nostalgia in the lyrics to "Just Step S'Ways." It is also mentioned more obliquely in "H.O.W."

So "bread land" may refer to a certain kitschy, pastoral England, which would be appropriate in context as way of emphasizing the banality of the narrator's married, middle class English life which his wife is escaping by traveling to Venice (and which, by implication, the narrator may also be escaping with the departure of his wife). 

It has also been suggested in the comments below that the lyric is in fact "inbred land." This is possible, and may even be complementary in meaning to "bread land" in which case both may be intended. 

[Note that we now have "Britland," which is the lyric as quoted in an interview with MES in which the journalist may or may not have checked the lyric with the author. I like to think he did. In any case, it sounds right. So why is this still here? "That Man" and it's reference to "Hovis Land" still nags at me.]
  • 49. bzfgt (link) | 07/06/2019
I don't know what happened but now "spaz(z) hands" seems definite to me...the reason is, it's the only suggestion that doesn't make me think he's saying something different every time.

Also, at this time I can no longer believe in "Oh, they're nice nice nice," it sounds like "olderness" every time.

I actually think this is closer than it's ever been, it used to seem impenetrable but now I think we have it pretty close.
  • 50. bzfgt (link) | 07/06/2019
I got rid of my comments about the merits of Merle Haggard's WLF vs Bud Brewer...I have been erasing a lot of digressions over the past year or so, I hope I don't go overboard in that direction...I like it more streamlined these days, but who's to say that's actually better? It didn't seem so when I wrote the digressions...
  • 51. rik | 10/06/2019
The opening line does not sound like " seniors"....I'm hearing a partial " insidious" instead of seniors
  • 52. bzfgt (link) | 29/06/2019
Yeah, it's tough to make out...
Albion Inmate
  • 53. Albion Inmate | 19/07/2019
Always thought 'spazz hands' was 'hashtag', but the former makes more sense.
Also SO wanted the cover of White Line Fever to be of Motorhead's song of the same name (which given Mark's amphetamine consumption, and the band's affection for Motorhead doesn't sound that far fetched)
Hexen Blumenthal
  • 54. Hexen Blumenthal | 25/12/2019
For Daphne du Maurier, "Venetian" was her private word for lesbian, and "going to Venice" was her private code for having a lesbian sexual adventure. It is thought that the movie "Don't Look Back" is set in Venice as a nod to this. Perhaps one as widely read as MES knew this or perhaps the people who made the ad did. Or both.
  • 55. dannyno | 31/12/2019
There's a book about the "meanings" of Venice:

Venetian Views, Venetian Blinds: English Fantasies of Venice, edited by Manfred Pfister and Barbara Schaff. Rodopi: Amsterdam/Atlanta, GA, 1999.

Might repay study.
  • 56. dannyno | 31/12/2019
Comment #54. Hexen Blumenthal is right about Du Maurier, I checked.

From Daphne Du Maurier, By Margaret Forster. Arrow Books, 2007 (originally published by Chatto and Windus, 1993, 1994 paperback also by Arrow). p.28:

('Venetian' being du Maurier code for 'lesbian')

Whether it actually has anything to do with the lyric, I don't know. But the connotations are there to be played with anyway, even if not intended.
  • 57. dannyno | 31/12/2019
It seems that Forster's book, by the way, is where "Venetian" as code was first revealed. Other sources seem to refer back to that.

Bear in mind that just because "Venetian" was a code word, that doesn't mean that it was necessarily always used as a code word by du Maurier. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and Venice is just Venice.
  • 58. ekalexm | 29/01/2020
I'm hearing "Lowness in bread land", seems I'm the only one though so "long nights" it is.
  • 59. bzfgt (link) | 01/02/2020
Yeah I mean I'm not betting my life against you or anything. It could catch on.
  • 60. Wrayx8 | 12/03/2020
I'm almost certain the opening line is "Mark him as tedious."
  • 61. bzfgt (link) | 14/03/2020
Yeah we got it from an article/interview where the lyric was quoted, and it wasn't entirely whether the author checked with MES about it, so it's still in play I suppose...
  • 62. dannyno | 14/05/2020
The advert:

Venice with the Girls
  • 63. dannyno | 14/05/2020
  • 64. dannyno | 14/05/2020
  • 65. kawfmin (link) | 17/03/2023
Note 3: I thought of neither the Bowie nor the Cream song. Went straight to Eddie Money's Two Tickets to Paradise. OK, in that song it's "we've waited so long", but pretty close. Also, the phrasing there is closer than the other two. Also, unlike the other two, that song is actually about taking a trip, at least on the most literal level. It's also probably the worst of the three songs, but that wouldn't stop MES.

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