50 Year Old Man

Lyrics

Computer doesn't work for me
I had a Sinclair back in 1983 
OL2QU, free warranty (1)
And don't forget he's still up to it
That Steve Albini (2)
He's in collusion with Virgin trains (3)
Against me

I'm a fifty year old man
I'm a fifty year old man

But it won't get me

Go down Manchester town
Can't navigate it     (4)
The club scene, man
You can't compare with it
One third of securities count (5)
I can't understand that
Again

You're not real boy
I say you're not real boy
You're a gym teacher
You're a Cancer and I expect
A little shit                (6)

I'm a fifty year old man
And I like it

I got a three foot rock hard on
But I'm too busy to use it

I'm a fifty year old man

I'm a fifty year old man
What you gonna do about it?

I go round a hotel
I see "Throw the towel on the floor"
On The Green Man (7)
I throw it on the floor and
I piss in it

I'm a fifty year old man
And I like it

I'm trying to...

And don't forget
You try to destroy me
You're in collusion with the trains
Don't try and kid me

I'm a fifty year old man

Go down to the town
Can't navigate it
The club scene, man
You can't get in there

[Banjo interlude]

[Backing vocals repeat: 50 year old man]

I'm a fifty year old man
And I like it
I'm a fifty year old man
What're you gonna do about it?

And don't forget, you tried to destroy me
Steve Albini
You're in collusion with the trains
Don't try and kid me

I'm a fifty year old man
And I like it
I'm a fifty year old man
What're you gonna do about it?

I've got a three foot rock hard on
But I'm too busy to use it

I'm a fifty year old man
And I like it
I'm a fifty year old man
What're you gonna do about it?

Go down Manchester town
Can't navigate it
The club scene, man
You can't compare with it

I'm a fifty year old man
And I like it
I'm a fifty year old man
What're you gonna do about it?

And don't forget he's still up to it

[Interlude]

An inferior product mess
An inferior product man
Just over two thirds the price
I'm proud of it
I'm proud of it

I'm a type of guy who knows what is on CD
And then they lecture me on turning rubbish out
While shouting themselves out of existence

If they care so much, why don't they try eating
some of those cardboard cut-outs themselves
And they stuff the complimentary catering down their neck
Do the fifth re-take of their attempt to be scruffy
On a train
And go back to counselling and communicating

I'm an inferior product man
I'm an inferior product mix
They call me "Bad Head"
Don't you ever forget it
And here is the fade out
Fade out
Fade out

 

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Notes

1. Timex Sinclair, a joint venture of Sinclair Research and the Timex corporation, produced computers in the early 1980s, including a "QL" series (although I haven't been able to find anything matching "QL2QU"; SInclair's "QL" stands for "Quantum Leap"). The QL did not in fact hit the market until January, 1984; it is easy to imagine a 50 year old man getting the year slightly wrong, 25 years after the fact, so if MES is aware of the anachronism, this is actually quite clever. On the other hand, MES is a 50 year old man remembering 1983 25 years later, so the confusion may be genuine. 

1983 was the year the Fall released "Eat Y'self Fitter," which mysteriously associates a computer with the digits "GOHOHO90."

^

2. Steve Albini is a record producer who has famouslty worked with NIrvana, the Pixies, Manic Street Preachers, Cheap Trick, PJ Harvey, and many others. MES mentioned Albini in an interview with SLUG Magazine in 2005: 

SLUG: I had to laugh back in the late 80s and early 90s when you were doing more electronic stuff; there was a backlash among the supposedly cool people here, like, 'The Fall sells out.'

MES: Yeah, [Steve] Albini and all that bull ... you know he wanted to do the new LP?

SLUG: That might be interesting from a production standpoint.

MES: Oh, fuck off.

SLUG: Who produces you now?

MES: Me.

^

3. A British railway which apparently had problems with punctuality for a while, which may be what provoked MES's ire. To date, Steve Albini's role in this remains mere speculation.  

^

4. Nairng:

 In Dissolute Singer from the Post Nearly Man spoken word album, MES frets that he is no longer able to find his way in Manchester city centre: "And down west to East Broadway Same route as last week when couldn't find where he was due to play... ...Canal Street's near Victoria, Bridge St connects Dalton Damn, can't remember..."

According to Dan:

MES must have been very confused. Victoria Station, Canal Street, Bridge Street and Dalton Street are not close to each other at all, and certainly do not connect. Dalton Street is north east of the city centre, Bridge Street is half an hour away by foot to the south west of the city centre. Victoria Station is between the two. Canal Street is not near Victoria, but a 20 minute walk away kind of to the south east of the city centre.

^

5. Or maybe MES invested in Virgin Trains (see note 3 above) and his stock lost value? Hard to say.

A lyric sheet that Dan turned up has "One third of security is cows."

^

6. Dan links to a lyric page in MES's hand which reads:

You're a gym-teacher
Or an ex-con
Explain it

And, from Renegade:

"And the bouncers are either reconstructed criminals who are only bothered about what you’ve got in your wallet, or they’re gym teachers. You go backstage and there’s about twenty-five of them sat in front of their computers not giving a fuck. Anything can happen up there."

And:

"Like Fay McGlochin said watching lovely food – belies description.
As do the Security Staff at the former Fab Caff – one hired from Cheshire – one hired PE teacher training – the rest obligatory black and tan ex-convicts from the council who pretend they like Morrissey."

Dan: There is a Fab Cafe bar with premises in Manchester and Leeds. Opened in 1998. There was a change of ownership at one point around 2008, but I don't otherwise know what "former" represents or if this is the right cafe.

^

7.  A "Green Man" is a common figure on signs in England, particularly at pubs, which depict a face made out of foliage. The image probably represents a pagan British vegetation or fertility deity.  Thus, it is plausible that the line refers to a sign at the hotel, although at first blush it struck me as very odd that such a sign might say "Throw the Towel on the Floor." A plausible explanation, however, has been advanced by The Yet-Unborn Son on the Fall online Forum: "Quite often in hotels now you see signs in the bathrooms saying if you want the staff to replace your towels then leave them in the bath. They claim this is so they don't have to wash them needlessly and is more enviromentally-friendly. I would imagine throwing it on the floor and pissing on it would be the MES answer to such nonsense..." "Throw the Towel on the Floor" is probably a paraphrase, but otherwise, this all seems to make sense. Incidentally, there is also a 1956 British film called The Green Man which involves a hotel called "The Green Man."  

Werner Blokbuster suggests "Throw the towel on the floor/if you're green, man." I have no idea. 

^

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Comments (24)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 12/10/2013

That last verse, it's "Don't you ever forget it", not "Don't ever forget it"

Zack
  • 2. Zack | 20/12/2013

The Fall performed at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival curated by Albini's band Shellac in 2002, so the relationship can't be entirely antagonistic. (Can it?)

npru
  • 3. npru | 20/01/2014

Sinclair QL computer? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_QL

bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 22/01/2014

Zack: judging from precedent, I'd say "yes."

npru: Thanks you, and excellent work! I don't know why I didn't turn that up Googling MES's numbers, or why it's not mentioned in the main Sinclair article (anyway I assume it isn't, since I didn't find it).

Zack
  • 5. Zack (link) | 11/06/2015

In several different interviews over the years, MES has dismissed the ubiquity of email, the internet and computers in general on the basis of having owned a Sinclair in the early 1980s.

Werner Blokbuster
  • 6. Werner Blokbuster | 04/11/2016

Following on from note 5, isn't it: "I see 'throw the towel on the floor', if you're green, man"?

dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 18/02/2017

"QL2QU, pre-warranty"

I'm hearing "OL2QU", rather than "QL2QU"

nairng
  • 8. nairng | 05/04/2017

"Go down Manchester town...can't navigate it"
In Dissolute Singer from the Post Nearly Man spoken word album, MES frets that he is no longer able to find his way in Manchester city centre:
"And down west to East Broadway
Same route as last week when couldn't find where he was due to play...
...Canal Street's near Victoria, Bridge St connects Dalton
Damn, can't remember..."
Dunno if it's worth a note. Morrissey expresses similar misgivings on b-side Heir Apparent, interestingly.

dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 17/04/2017

"QL2QU"

Isn't it "OL2QU"?

dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 17/04/2017

"pre-warranty". I'm now hearing "free warranty"...

Or, maybe, "31LT"

See I don't know what "pre-warranty" is except in relation to checks happening pre-warranty expiry. Whereas "free warranty" makes sense and a continuation of letters and numbers is Fallesque lyrical practice. On the other hand, so is not making sense.

Any thoughts?

dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 22/04/2017

So on the strength of this:

Image

I think "One third of securities count" is actually "one third of security is cows".

However, where annotatedfall currently has


You're a gym [teacher]
You're a Cancer and I expect
A little shit


The lyric sheet picture has:


You're a gym-teacher
Or an ex-con
Explain it


...which doesn't seem to be what he's singing on "Imperial Wax Solvent".

dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 22/04/2017

On the FOF, "You're a council estate little shit" was suggested instead of "You're a cancer and I expect etc". http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=19915&view=findpost&p=11225709. While plausible, I can't really hear it as that, though.

dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 22/04/2017

And as noted on the FOF, there's this from "Renegade":


And the bouncers are either reconstructed criminals who are only bothered about what you’ve got in your wallet, or they’re gym teachers. You go backstage and there’s about twenty-five of them sat in front of their computers not giving a fuck. Anything can happen up there.

bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 06/05/2017

I like it, nairng; noted.

bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 06/05/2017

Dan, where is that lyric sheet from?

bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 06/05/2017

I hear 'O" but still "pre-warranty," I think. "Free warranty" makes more sense though, doesn't it? I'll listen a couple more times.

bzfgt
  • 17. bzfgt (link) | 06/05/2017

OK I hear "pre-" slightly more than "free," maybe because I used to think there was no other option. On the other hand does "pre-warranty" mean anything in this context? I am hesitantly changing it on the basis of sense and on the basis that my ears say it could be either, but am very open to any counter-proposals or auditory claims.

dannyno
  • 18. dannyno | 06/05/2017

Comment #15: i don't know which gig it came from. The direct link to HPaFP's post is
http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=19915&view=findpost&p=11221814

dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 06/05/2017

Comment #8


"Canal Street's near Victoria, Bridge St connects Dalton"


MES must have been very confused. Victoria Station, Canal Street, Bridge Street and Dalton Street are not close to each other at all, and certainly do not connect. Dalton Street is north east of the city centre, Bridge Street is half an hour away by foot to the south west of the city centre. Victoria Station is between the two. Canal Street is not near Victoria, but a 20 minute walk away kind of to the south east of the city centre.

dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 25/05/2017

Another snipped from Renegade, this time from a text that is included called "Guide to Manchester", chapter 15:


Like Fay McGlochin said watching lovely food – belies description.
As do the Security Staff at the former Fab Caff – one hired from Cheshire – one hired PE teacher training – the rest obligatory black and tan ex-convicts from the council who pretend they like Morrissey.


There is a Fab Cafe bar with premises in Manchester and Leeds. Opened in 1998. There was a change of ownership at one point around 2008, but I don't otherwise know what "former" represents or if this is the right cafe.

bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 27/05/2017

That is his enjambment?

dannyno
  • 22. dannyno | 27/05/2017

It looks like this in the original hardback (p189)


Like Fay McGlochin said watching lovely food - belies
description.
As do the Security Staff at the former Fab Caff - one hired
from Cheshire - one hired PE teacher training - the rest
obligatory black and tan ex-convicts from the counicl who
pretend they like Morrissey.

dannyno
  • 23. dannyno | 27/05/2017

Oh, that didn't work.

Basically all the lines starting "description", "from", "obligatory" and "pretend" are indented.

dannyno
  • 24. dannyno | 31/05/2017

Note 2:

"Steve Albini is a record producer"

Well, Albini describes himself as an recording engineer, and is very articulate on the question of what a producer is and why he isn't one.

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