First One Today

Lyrics

(1) 

He saunters into town
There stands the door 
Within, a man
He shoots it all down
It's his first one today
It's his first one today

Enters bar café,
Orders New Coke, latté  (2)
Behold the man,
Shoots the waitress and pays (3)
It's his first girl today
It's his first girl today

If only he'd brought his film camera today
'Cause today is the day of a great centenary (4)

His social media psyche
well those were the days
His wank fills dawn over (5)
We were armed every day
They were armed every day

There lies the door
There lies the floor  (6)

Notes

1. Thanks to the BEF for the initial transcription.
 
The mighty Reformation!, like me, is back in business now that there's a new album:

"This was originally entitled Bam, or Bam (Student Village) on setlists. BAM are a construction company currently building a Student Village on the corner of South Langworthy Road and Broadway close to Salford Media City - whether this is what Mr Smith is referring to is of course a matter of conjecture."

Like many of the new songs, this debuted in August 2014. 

The lyrics seem to be partly inspired by "There Stands The Glass" by Webb Pierce:

There stands the glass that will ease all my pain
That will settle my brain, it's my first one today
There stands the glass that will hide all my tears
That will drown all my fear, brother I'm on my way 

I'm wondering where you are tonight
I'm wondering if you are all right
I wonder if you think of me in my misery 

There stands the glass, fill it up to the brim
Till my troubles grow dim, it's my first one today 

I'm wondering where you are tonight
I'm wondering if you are all right
I wonder if you think of me in my misery 

There stands the glass, fill it up to the brim
Till my troubles grow dim, it's my first one today

Wrayx8 speculates: "I'm now almost certain this is about a bloke going around taking photos of everything with his smartphone." I'm not sure if this is what it's all about but it's definitely one thing suggested by the song. I'm not sure why the protagonist regrets not bringing his "film camera," since he can just upload directly with the smartphone, can't he? The lyrics may in fact be inspired by the film Man Bites Dog. Check out comment 5 below, where Maldoror makes a convincing case to that effect.

^

2. A funny twist on "There Stands The Glass." Webb Pierce never says exactly what he has in that glass, but it's a safe bet it isn't a New Coke latté. 

It sounds like "New Coke latté," without the comma, and this for some reason seems more like something MES would say. In lieu of a definite clue it somehow seems more conservative to separate them with a comma ("orders New Coke, latté"), so take my transcription with a grain of salt if you wish. And, as is so often the case, there is a non-trivial chance that he's saying something else entirely...

^

3. Ecce Homo is the title of Nietzsche's last book, and also a science fiction novel by Michael Moorcock. MES is known to admire Nietzsche's work. The title comes from a Bible verse which MES is probably also well aware of, and is a phrase said, of Jesus, to the crowd at the latter's trial and crucifixion.

 

Here we see that the protagonist isn't all bad.

^

4. On the album this sounds like it could be "satanery," as in, I guess, Satan.

^

5. This line is tough to make out. This is Titfordshire's take on what MES is saying and, since he also provides an explanation, it has the inside track currently. He writes, "I took it to mean that he fills his social media with crap everyday."

^

 

6. The song ends dramatically and, I find myself thinking, somewhat comically on this last word. MES introduces the song on its BBC preview as "a bit of social commentary from the new Fall LP  Sublingual Tablet." I think if we take it as entirely serious, it becomes ridiculous--a cursory, ominous reference to "social media," a sensational story line with a heavy-handed bit about someone wishing they had their camera, presumably so they can post the incident on Youtube. Fortunately for your Fall fan, MES isn't Bruce Springsteen, and the songs are not generally without humor. This seems no exception. It's not entirely clear to me what MES finds funny here, but like many really funny people one gets a kick out of him getting a kick out of it...

^

Comments (15)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 22/05/2015

"Behold the Man"

A novel by Michael Moorcock and the title of a book by Nietzsche ("Ecce Homo"). Biblical origins.

bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 26/06/2015

Wow, I can't believe I didn't think to note "Behold the Man." It was actually so obvious to me that I didn't notice it needed a note (it isn't that obvious, but that's how it slipped by me). However, didn't know about the Moorcock version...

dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 28/06/2015

Definitely "centenary" at Glastonbury...

Dan

Wrayx8
  • 4. Wrayx8 | 30/07/2015

I'm now almost certain this is about a bloke going around taking photos of everything with his smartphone.

Maldoror
  • 5. Maldoror | 12/08/2015

Hey so I had a bit of a late-night rant about this track on the FOF a few months back, I'm posting it again here because it might be of interest.

"So I've just finished writing this all down. Please forgive me if it makes no sense. My interpretation of the lyrics became clearer to me as I wrote, and I'm going to bed now!

Probably not related at all, but the lyrics remind me of "Man Bites Dog" (C'est arrivé près de chez vous, It Happened in Your Neighborhood).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcPhaieTg4o

[PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SPOILERS WHICH DON'T REALLY SPOIL THE FILM IT'S THAT GOOD]
Dark comedy "mockumentary" about a sociopathic murderer who is followed around in his daily life by a film-crew. Spends a lot of time in bars drinking and philosophizing, as well as going on matter-of-fact killing sprees. His violence escalates as his ego inflates, he shows-off more an more - even the camera crew become complicit - but soon the consequences of his actions begin to catch-up on him. He ends-up being shot by a very similar mass-murderer, being followed by an almost identical, if slightly more up-to-date (using digital equipment), camera-crew.

If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's fucking brilliant.

Anyway, the song:

"There lies the door
There lies the floor"

I understand this as a first-person perspective from the eyes of someone who has just been shot in the back of the head, moments before they die (like in Man Bites Dog. It also happens in Leon and several other films, I think...).

The logic of spatial perception fades, and the once vertical doorway (where a man was standing) is now lying horizontal.
The final sensation the victim registers is of feeling the floor beneath their body.
"There lies the body" is implicit.

Perspective is interesting in this story. Sometimes we're with the killer, almost hearing his interior monologue ("if only he'd brought..."), and sometimes we're viewing him from outside eyes ("Behold...").

If anything, I would say that there is an inversion of perspective at the end, transforming the killer into the victim. We begin with one man standing (or framed) in a doorway, who is gunned-down. We end with another man (the original killer) shot-down beside the same doorway. There is an awful symmetry here, which is further emphasised by the ambiguity of certain lines and pronouns ("He shoots him down").

The killer's hubris is evident from the first line ("he saunters into town"), the nonchalance with which he disposes of human lives ("it's his first one today"), and his choice of drink (new Coke, latte). He's uber-casual, almost a James-Bond type villanous prick ("shoots the waitress and pays").

Like an archetypal tragic protagonist he pays for this hubris. His own crime is turned against him (and MES, godlike, laughs on the final line).

His cup was full to the brim with wine. He wasn't careful; it overflowed.

This tragi-comedy may be rooted in ancient Greece, but its setting is very much a liquid-modern media-city kind of non-place. Is it a bar or a cafe? Or a barista cafe-cum-cocktail bar setup? Does he order a Coke, or a latte? Or a New-Coke-Latte? The newest "hip" consumption. Better than just saying "Flat White".

Possibly without noticing it, the protagonist's drink then transforms into a wine, which seems far more "ancient". Is some older vengance/justice seeping through from a past / simultaneous / latent dimension...?

The wine overflows, and so do the people bearing arms ("They were armed every day"). But are these "arms" necessarily guns...? Considering the title of the album, and the fact that this song is intended as a "social comment", could the people bearing arms not equally be people carrying cameras/iphones/recording devices etc on their person?

Is the "Great Satanary" an inverted Bacchanalia? A hellish, fascistic festival with the outward appearance of carnival (emphasised by the "La Bamba" riff)?

Note also: the double meaning of the verb "to shoot" (a gun / a film)
and "pays" (he pays money / he goes on to be punished)

Around "great satanary / centenary" the timeframe distorts. The present tense becomes infected by the past. "Today" transforms into "Those were the days".

This is an essential part of the "social media psyche": the present exists to be "shot". That is to say, the present is denied space to exist if its only function is to be catalogued as a nostalgia-gallery for future narcissistic contemplation. Life is denied.

And life is not just denied for a single protagonist, but for a whole culture.
From the overflow ("Gone over". Stated simply. Gone too far?), we lose the individual pronoun. "He" is lost into "they".
"They" are armed every day, and "they" shoot every day.
"They" have shot "him", and they will continue to shoot themselves.
The tale begins with a casual saunter, a "first" shooting, then another, then a multitude, armed every day...
The dynamic of the scene multiplies exponentially

until.....

the end of the story

.....

The final lines contain only a bare descriptions of physical environment. Even the "they" has disappeared. All that is left is a single perspective.

"There lies the door
There lies the floor"

As I'd said at the beginning, this could well be seen through the eyes of the original tragic / hubristic protagonist, but it is simultaneously the shared viewpoint, or mindset, of the modern community he has come to embody / who have chosen to emulate him.
This scene can also be recounted from the perspective of an omniscient outsider (in this case, MES as ultimate outsider: both writer of the song's narrative, and observer of modern society's collective madness). In all cases, the end-point is bleak. Laughably so.

The first "shot" of the day sets-off a process which gains in momentum, size, and violence. It becomes ubiquitous.

The vertical doorway once framed an upright (ie. dignified) human. A figure who resembled us. Soon we may find ourselves, all of us, horizontal before this same frame. Prostrate and bewildered

before the music stops, abruptly.

Interestingly; the killing of a waitress, La Bamba vibes, (television) screens, and an infamously sampled casio backbeat all feature in the music video for Trio's "Da Da Da".
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x21clm_trio-dadada_music"

Cheers,
Maldoror

b z f g t
  • 6. b z f g t | 25/08/2015

That's great, Maldoror, reading that I am convinced that this has to be whence the lyrics spring, although we may never know if it's true. Instead of transferring all that upstairs I'm just going to post a note recommending the reader scroll down and read your comment.

harleyr
  • 7. harleyr | 12/11/2015

There's also a BAM festival (Being a Man): the first one was in Feb 2014 a few months before this song was first performed.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/02/being-a-man-festival-masculinity

Some say (not me) that being a man involves a proclivity for violence such as that described in the song.

Wrayx8
  • 8. Wrayx8 | 22/12/2015

I swear to God that "wine filled" is "wank fist"!

Anyone else?

Wrayx8
  • 9. Wrayx8 | 22/12/2015

It also goes:

"We were armed every day
they were armed every day."

bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 23/12/2015

OK, Wray, I'm going to listen to it. I'm not attached to "wine filled" which is really a nothing line. But it does seem to fit a little better.

[tick tick tick]

I got "his wank feels...." Still not all that confident but I can't quite get "fist."

Wrayx8
  • 11. Wrayx8 | 23/12/2015

There's definitely a "st" sound in that line, but it may be his dentures whistling.

Damn, we need some more ears.

bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt | 27/12/2015

Crap, really? Back to the drawing board...I don't think I'll get to this tonight but in any case I'd almost rather hear from a 3rd party now...

Titfordshire
  • 13. Titfordshire | 16/01/2016

4th line is definitely- He shoots it all down (not 'shoots him down') which eludes to the photography angle.

For the last verse I can offer a 3rd but different opinion!
I hear:
His wank fills
Dawn over.

Which I took to mean that he fills his social media with crap everyday. That verse has been making me laugh for a good few months now so I'm a bit embarrassed if I'm wrong!

Wrayx8
  • 14. Wrayx8 | 19/01/2016

Hm. I really don't hear "shoots it all down" at all. Are there any different versions going around?

bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt | 12/03/2016

Yeah, but I don't have one to hand, although I could see if there's one on youtube. Phonetically, I hear "He shoots-ee-all dow-wn."

Add a comment

You're using an AdBlock like software. Disable it to allow submit.