15 Ways


No need to be down-hearted,
There must be 10 ways to leave your man.
Don't be broken-hearted,
There are many ways to leave your man,
Leave your man.

You gotta be cheerful-hearted,
There's at least 15 ways to leave your man.
Get a flat and a magazine,
Get your body ahead and out of that scene.

Don't be disconcerted,
There must be 15 ways to leave your man.
Soon you will discover you are no longer undercover.

Break! Now! Fly direct! Post Office box!

You'll get a dallying notion,
But you will soon recover.
No longer undercover,
Branch out into complete disorder.
You gotta be cheerful-hearted,
There's at least 15 ways to leave your man.
Get a flat and a magazine,
Get your body ahead and out of that scene.

But don't be disconcerted, 
There are 8 ways to keep your man.
Don't be down-hearted,
There are 15 ways to leave your man.
Don't be too disconcerted,
Use all 15 ways to leave your man,
Leave your man.
16 ways to leave your man,
Leave your man,
Leave your man.


1. The lyrics to this are pretty straightforward, and must be at least in part a knock-off or a ribbing of Paul Simon's 1975 hit "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." That song relates a conversation between a man and a woman whose helpful advice is not disinterested or altruistic, since she winds up kissing him and suggesting, apparently, a night of sex. MES's lyrics, on the other hand, seem to be more about their own banality and pop crudeness; the singer can't be bothered to be consistent about how many ways there are to leave one's man, or whether the goal is to leave or keep him.

This song may be partly inspired by MES's relationship at the time with Lori Kramer of The Pendulum Floors and Paper Squares, although the reference to Dallas suggests that the song she has in mind may be "Reckoning". Kramer gave an interview which IAMTHEPUCK from the Fall online forum found on a blog which is dedicated, apparently, entirely to the interview, and doesn't give the source (although the interview seems to be genuine, as it is a JPEG). Using Optical Character Recognition (PCR) software, I am able to reproduce the text here--we use all the latest scientific techniques here at The Annotated Fall, which is what sets us apart from the competition:

Your old band was the Paper Squares, right?


How long ago did that get started?

We were together three years. 90 to 93. We were playing out, and it was like a rock band, with a farfisa, but it was very lyric-oriented. A lot of people described it like the Fall, kind of. It had like a surfy sound. too. Our guitarist played a Mustang. It was fun to do. I had a good time. But we broke up, so.

And how did that happen?

I left the band because I had met Mark E. Smith [singer of the Fall] at his show, and I ended up going out with him. Going on tour with him, and going back to England with him. So I ended up leaving my band.

Did you cause any turmoil in his life?

Yeah, I'm sure I did! He had another girlfriend, and he had marital problems or whatever . But, no, I didn't cause any real problems in his life. We had like a fling, you know? It went on for a little while, but we had a real good time together.

What kind of life did be have out in England?

He lived a pretty average, it looked like a very middle-class little home. I didn't spend much time there. Manchester isn't a very attractive place or anything. It's an industrial town. He works hard, they're a very professional kind of band. But they drink hard, they party hard. They're good. They're very good

Did you guys do any stuff together music-wise?

Na, we didn't

Did you ever do any writing with him at all?

No, Just on one of his records he wrote a song for me, he talked about our thing. And I wrote a song back, on our record, called "Dallas-. We were in Dallas together.

And how did you break up?

Well, he decided he wanted to go back to his girlfriend who he was with prior to meeting me. But he had brought me back to England because he thought that he wanted to continue our relationship. And he realized that it wasn't going to work out. But it was nice, you know, he was very generous, and he spent a lot of money to have me travel around with him and stuff. It was nice.

It didn't make you feel bitter and abandoned at all?

Yeah, I was kind of upset at the time, because I gave up my band and my boyfriend for him. But that's life, you know. At the time it was hard, but that was almost four years ago, so I don't really think about it anymore.

[end interview]


Martin makes a helpful connection:

"The Mark Goodier session version of the track (recorded 1 May 1993, broadcast 17 May 1993) has the following interesting lyrical variation: 'You'll get an older lover,' which, of course, is a more or less direct quote from the Fall song 'An Older Lover, Etc.'"


Comments (16)

  • 1. John | 01/08/2013
It's also about those lists in Cosmo mag about how to leave or keep your man, hence "magazine"
  • 2. dannyno | 12/10/2013
The last verse you've got here seems to be for the alternative version included certain reissues. The last verse of the original goes like this:

"But don't be disconcerted
There are eight ways to keep your man
Don't be down-hearted
There are fifteen ways to leave your man
Sixteen ways to leave your man
Leave your man
Leave your man"
  • 3. dannyno | 12/10/2013
Ah, I think the version you've got here is the single version, and I'm citing the album version. The single came first, so that's not completely unreasonable. But for concordance purposes I'm doing the opposite.
  • 4. Supermercado | 31/10/2014
I've always taken "Dr Annabel Lies" to be a play on "Doctor, analyze"
  • 5. Supermercado | 31/10/2014
And I've posted this on the wrong page, what a plonker.
  • 6. Martin | 27/04/2016
The Mark Goodier session version of the track (recorded 1 May 1993, broadcast 17 May 1993) has the following interesting lyrical variation:

"You'll get an older lover"

...which, of course, is a more or less direct quote from the Fall song "An Older Lover, Etc."
  • 7. harleyr | 09/03/2017
>>Get your body ahead and out of that scene.

Don't spose this could be...

Get your body a head and out of that scene.

...as in stop exercising your body etc, start thinking, reading, having something to talk about that might attract a new lover.
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017
Entirely possible. What I have is two advantages--it's more straightforward, and it's already there. But it could be.
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017
Typo for "what I have has two advantages"--I'm not saying I'm competing with you!
ex worker man
  • 10. ex worker man | 08/04/2018
I've always heard it as "get a flat-hunter magazine" with a soft t in hunter, e.g. Loot or such-like

and "you'll get a dead-end notion"
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 22/04/2018
Flat hunter mag makes more sense, so I want it to be right. Checking...

crap it's not clear enough

OK I'm convinced because it's the "uh" sound for sure
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 22/04/2018
I need more ears here, I want to make the change since it's a better lyric
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 22/04/2018
OK for now I'm leaving it one each
  • 14. dannyno | 05/05/2018
I'm not hearing "flat-hunter", but I have sympathy with the view it would make sense. It's just not what I hear. Elsewhere in the song, MES pronounces his "h"s - i.e. "cheerful-hearted".
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 09/07/2018
Yeah I have doubts now. I think it is a shame to let whatever it happened to be be the default on the other hand the change now seems too activist. I am paralyzed with indecision.
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 09/07/2018
I don't think it is now. Crap. Changing it back for now but the book is still open.

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