4 1/2 Inch (with Inch)

Lyrics

(1)

The house is falling in (clou-)
Shove over
Nine to ten
(Cloud coverage)
(Cloud coverage)
The house is falling in
Ecstatic midges (2)
(Cloud coverage) (For-)
Cloud coverage (Forwards) (Force ten)
Depressive gale (Cloud)
Uh-Force ten
Depressive gale (3)

Times two

Uh-Force ten (quick) The house is falling in

(Force ten) The house is falling in-

Ecstatic midges

Cloud coverage (house is) (cloud coverage) (House is falling in)

Force ten

Ecstatic Midges (House is falling in) (cloud coverage) (is falling in)
The house is falling in (nation of)
Ecstatic midges (house is falling)
(Cloud coverage)
The house is falling in (The house is falling in) (Force ten)

Force ten

(You're on--) Ecstatic midges (Force ten)
Ecstatic midges (force ten)
Shove over!
Nation of (Shove over!)
Nosy
Idle (Shove over!)
Gossips (4)

Nine to ten

Inch

Nine to ten

Inch

(Cloud coverage)

The house is falling in (cloud cov-) (Force)

(Two) (-ch) (force)

(Cloud coverage) (force)

Times two

Ecstatic (house) [Feel so low]

Ecstatic midges (force ten)

[Feel so low]

Ecstati-

Ecstatic midges (Times two)

(you're) Force ten

(????War in quotes????)

(Ecstatic)

Nine to Ten

Nine to Ten

(cloud coverage) (Feel so low) (Inch)

(it seems too low)
(cloud coverage)
(Looks like) [I feel so low]
Times two
Ecstatic (cloud coverage)

Nine to ten
Nine to ten [Feel so low]
Inch [I feel so low]

Force ten
Depressive gale  

[clou-] Sh-Shove over
[clou-] Shove over

Nine to ten (Nine to ten)

Nine to ten
Nine to ten (Shove over)
Nine to te- (Idle gossips) (shove over) (garbled)

Ecstatic midges

Nine to ten

Inch (Force ten)

[falsetto -- garbled] Force ten

(Walk to the middle)
Force ten [cloud coverage]
(Walks) (Force)
(Walks straight) {** All garbled and panned at same time}

Port-stead

Port-stead

Southwards

And it's trouble

Force two

[falsetto -- garbled]
[falsetto -- garbled]

Nine to ten

(Shove over) [I feel so] Walks right-
Nosy Idle gossips    
[I feel so low]

Walks right

Nine to ten (garbled)

Nine to ten [I feel so low]

Nine to ten (garbled)
(garbled) (garbled) {** All garbled and panned at same time}

Ecstatic midges

Cloud coverage

Ecstatic midges

Nation of nosy idle gossips

[???And it's blocked like of Krautrock???] **In megaphone-like voice**
Shove over [Cloud coverage] (force ten)
Cloud coverage (House falling in)
Force ten (Ecstatic) (garbled)

Nine to ten (Ecstatic Midges) (House)
Inch (House is)

Southwards

Force ten [Quick hou-]

A nation [I feel so]

A nation

Idle gossips
Force ten
Ecstatic midges (house is falling in)
Force ten
A nation (Shove over)

A nation

Idle gossips

INCH (5)

MES: But, yeah, it's gotta go down, y'know... y'know the music's gotta go fuckin' down-uh
Keir Stewart: Yeah
MES: What you best... what best getting him to do, Kier...
KS: Yeah
MES: ...is getting him to fuckin' sit at a table and fuckin' play the fuckin' drumbeat
KS: Yeah
MES: Y'know... y'know, just like (drum noises)
KS: Yeah
MES: Y'know what I mean? Deh deh deh deh... deh deh deh deh...  (6)

Force 10
Southwards
Depressive gale

Looks like a criminal
Clothes sketchy
Cloud coverage

Force 10
The house is falling in
Forces of business
(...)
Southwards

Science, sex and sexism
Shame house blasted
Force 10
The house is falling apart
Southwards and blasted
Force 10 gale
Below soft mental measures
Now equals one
Where do you get an answer
Four and a half to nine to ten inch

(...) freshism
Sickness is a right
A nation of nosy idle gossips
Inch
Times two
Looks like a criminal
Inch
Inch
Inch

Landing complete
Observation
Ecstatic midges
Somebody about
Cloud coverage
Separate
(...)
Nine to ten inch

Force ten is landing (6)
And everything is standing
They won't be coming back again
And now it's made an exit
I know it was a misprint
But look what's happening now

Notes

1. According to Simon Ford's Hip Priest, the song got its name "because it half-reminded Smith of industrial rockers, Nine-Inch Nails" (252).  An earlier version is simply called "Inch," however. This is a tough one as far as the lyrics go, because the vocals are layered (it is my understanding that the version from the Lyrics Parade--which I reproduce above--is a transcription by fans rather than something that the band published). As far as interpretation goes, it's even tougher, and probably isn't meant to be explained. Rather, these lyrics are a good example of MES letting the language take over, which is often the goal of Fall lyrics, but this one just jumps right into the deep end and never looks back. The effect at times acheives what passes for poetry in the Fall universe--a pile of verbal imagery that somehow acheives sublimity without being mediated through the discipline of poetry. It's not altogether uncommon for rock lyricists to write like that (in a very general way, of course nobody else could be mistaken for MES) but I think it is not very common for this method to result in such exalted creations as we get in the very best Fall lyrics (I wouldn't put this song in that category, since you asked, but these are formal considerations and I am speaking in generalities). It's hard to imagine a phrase as ridiculous as "ecstatic midges" fitting so comfortably into the canon of a truly great lyricist other than MES, but here we have it, and that's where it fits.  

 

^

2. I suppose the midges might just be (or look) happy that the house fell over, but there's something about the kinetic and elliptical geometry of a scrum of midges when it accelerates that suggests to me "ecstatic" in the more literal sense of being thrown into a passion, or standing outside of, or besides, oneself. Midges also feature prominently in "Bug Day," trivia fans.  

^

3. On the Beaufort Wind Force Scale, Force Ten is the strongest gale force, "whole gale" (exceeded only by "violent storm" and "hurricane"). But whereas a whole gale has winds ranging between 55 and 63 MPH, a tropical depression ("depressive gale")  is much weaker, with winds of 39 MPH or less. So a Force Ten storm is stronger than a depression, which seems to be suggested by "depressice gale." Of course, a storm will pass through the depression category on its way to becoming a Force Ten storm.

Note the song "Hurricane Edward," also on Levitate.

^

4. Is this raging storm metaphorical? Is he really talking about gossip and idle chatter and nonsense? The "nation of nosy idle gossips" thing kind of comes out of nowhere, but as usual with the Fall it's best not to try to mine any one semantic seam exclusively; it's best to realize that everything is allowed, and if a lyric sets a chain of significance in motion, let it roll, but don't fall in love with it too deeply before the rug is swept out from under it.  

"Nosy idle gossips" also appears in the Peel version of "Chilinist" (aka "Chilinism," "Chiselers"--sort of--, etc.). 

^

 

5. Transcribed by Mark. This is a single version of "4 1/2 Inch" that came out two years later, in 1999, and was billed as "Inch featuring Mark E Smith." Inch is a name which Keir Stewart and Simon Spencer used for their productions. According to Country Folk on the Fall Online Forum:

"The story behind it goes something along the lines of Keir Stewart & Simon Spencer (who'd originally been drafted to produce the Levitate album) having a falling out with MES and leaving the sessions.

I believe they took this mix of the song with them and sent a cdr to John Peel who played it and it featured in his Festive 50 that year." 
 
 
Loaded: Cheers. Why don't you tell me about this 'Inch' single? 
( The 'Inch' single was recorded in the first week of the sessions for

The Fall's new 'Levitate' LP. At this point, Mark inexplicably 'fell out'
with the producers and fired them. Allegedly the producers sent tapes of
'Inch ' to record companies with a covering letter purporting to be from
Mark E Smith, asking them to put it out.)
MES: (After long silence) We came to a compromise.
Loaded: What was that?
MES: I'm not sayin'.


^

6.This final section is sung to the tune of "Walk Like A Man" (aka "Breaking the Rules").

^

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More Information

Comments (23)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 26/04/2013
It's possible to hear "ecstatic midgets" rather than midges.
dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 26/04/2013
Worth noting that an apparently earlier version, "Inch", was released as a collaboration between D.O.S.E and MES after a falling-out. The lyrics are a lot less layered on that version.
mark
  • 3. mark | 29/06/2014
1) "Force ten depressive gale" is also used in the Peel session version of "Spencer".
2) Do you want a transposition of the "Inch" lyrics?
Mark
  • 4. Mark | 30/06/2014
Here's "Inch":

<begin>
MES: But, yeah, it's gotta go down, y'know... y'know the music's gotta go fuckin' down-uh
Keir Stewart: Yeah
MES: What you best... what best getting him to do, Kier...
KS: Yeah
MES: ...is getting him to fuckin' sit at a table and fuckin' play the fuckin' drumbeat
KS: Yeah
MES: Y'know... y'know, just like (drum noises)
KS: Yeah
MES: Y'know what I mean? Deh deh deh deh... deh deh deh deh... then Steve and Simon come in like (drum noises)

Force 10
Southwards
Depressive gale

Looks like a criminal
Clothes sketchy
Cloud coverage

Force 10
The house is falling in
Forces of business
(...)
Southwards

Science, sex and sexism
Shame house blasted
Force 10
The house is falling apart
Southward (...) blasted
Force 10 gale
Below soft mental measures
Now equals (...)
Where do you get an answer
Four and a half to nine to ten inch

(...) freshism
Sickness is a right
A nation of nosy idle gossips
Inch
Times two
Looks like a criminal
Inch
Inch
Inch

Landing complete
Observation
Ecstatic midges
Somebody about
Cloud coverage
Separate
(...)
Nine to ten inch

(...) is landing
And everything is standing
They won't be coming back again
And now it's made an exit
I know it was a misprint
But look what's happening now
<end>
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 15/07/2014
Thanks, Mark! Awesome!!!
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 12/07/2015
Typo watch:

"Maybe it's not billed as the Fall since, with the expression of Julia Nagle the musicians were no longer in the Fall when it was released? "

Expression / exception
Martin
  • 7. Martin | 08/09/2015
"Nosy idle gossip" is also heard in the Peel version of Chilinist.
Zack
  • 8. Zack | 05/12/2016
In the final verse of "Inch" ("Force ten is landing / And everything is standing" etc.) MES borrows the verse melody from "Walk Like A Man".
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 27/12/2016
Wow, Zack, you are a bottomless well of Fall intel these days.
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 27/12/2016
Anyone able to fill in the (...)s on Inch? Zack just did one, if it's right...I am bad at discerning lyrics, but I think it's right.
Zack
  • 11. Zack | 15/02/2017
Simon Spencer and Keir Stewart are frequently described as "a production duo called D.O.S.E." but this is incorrect. Let's clear this up, because this is misreported almost everywhere including the books Hip Priest and even The Big Midweek:

OS: Who exactly are D.O.S.E.? Is it just yourself and Keir Stewart.. and who is Val Hooligan?

SS: D.O.S.E. is me, and Inch is me and Keir, and Val Hooligan is Keir.
( http://thefall.org/news/000912.html )

All of this can be verified by looking at the sleeves of the D.O.S.E. and Inch singles on Discogs: D.O.S.E. is Simon Spencer. Inch is Simon Spencer and Keir Stewart.

(Oddly enough, neither one received any production or performance credits in the CD liner notes for Levitate. The only mention of either is a co-writing credit on "4 1/2 Inch" for one "s spencer".)
Zack
  • 12. Zack | 15/02/2017
^ Correction to my previous comment: The only mention of either is a co-writing credit on "Spencer Must Die" for one "s spencer".
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
Fuck, I made a mess by not bolding the title "Inch" so it's not clear where the break is, I hope I bolded the correct one and that that "Inch" is not part of the lyrics to 4 1.2 Inch.
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
No actually it was already bolded, and I just bolded an "Inch" in 4.5 Inch thinking that was the title! Ok I changed it back.
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
OK, I just deleted "Of DOSE" and the rest can stay down here, if that suits you. VERY good work, I just don't think it all needs to be repeated in note 5.
Zack
  • 16. Zack | 18/02/2017
^ Works for me. Thanks B!
dannyno
  • 17. dannyno | 11/10/2017
We should probably point towards Hurricane Edward on the same album, as being apparently also wind-related.
bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt (link) | 04/11/2017
Yes, we also missed that a "tropical depression" is a type of storm ("depressive gale").
bzfgt
  • 19. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
Oops, sorry Zack I somehow left a confusing note about how no one knows who "Inch" are for another 9 months...it had a long gestation period, as these things go, although quite normal for a human....
dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 20/11/2017
http://thefall.org/news/000912.html, interview with Simon Spencer by Odran Smith:


OS: Who exactly are D.O.S.E.? Is it just yourself and Keir Stewart.. and who is Val Hooligan?

SS: D.O.S.E. is me, and Inch is me and Keir, and Val Hooligan is Keir.
bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 02/12/2017
Yes Dan, that's the information Zack posted. Everything above is consonant with that now I think.
dannyno
  • 22. dannyno | 02/12/2017
Oh, I missed Zack's quote.
dannyno
  • 23. dannyno | 02/12/2017
Oh, I missed Zack's quote.

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