Arid Al's Dream

Lyric

(1)

From the interstellar combination
The colours were brown and cream
And he gets pre-psicognition
Everywhere he goes
It screams psi-cog from doorways (2)
And upper shut off windows

Had a brain with a weight of four ounces (3)
His psi-cog was very advancéd
And quit just is not his stick (4)
He wasn't taking any crap from you, dick
But he got a dose of a psi-cog
He got a dose of a psi-cog dream

I feel it shouting at him from the flotarium (5)
And the cauldron or lectern of its love, baby (6)

It was hectoring him
It was shouting at him
It was telling him things
It was hectoring him
It was lecturing him
It was hectoring him
 

Psi-cog dream 

It was shouting at him
It was hectoring him
It was lecturing him
Behind tormentor was wolverine (7)

Dream

From the cauldron of its love, baby 

He was locked in sauna
Steam bath and massage
Flotarium, it was the figure hectoring him
From the sunbed of its love, baby
It had a horn with three minds
It was looking at glasses through him
It was floating on the flotarium of its love, baby

It was shouting at him
It was hectoring him
It was lecturing him
It was lying to him
It was lecturing him
It was hectoring him
It was shouting at him
It was lecturing him

Sweat envelops him

Psi-cog dream

His boss shouting at him
It was lecturing him
It was hectoring him
It was shouting at him
It was singing to him
It was hexes at him
It was pouting at him
It was lecturing him

Psi-cog dream

From the lectern of its love, baby

Psi-cog dream

Bombast...(mumble)
No boast
Dream

Notes

1. This is a sci-fi tale, seemingly about a dream encounter with an alien intelligence. The influence of Philip K. Dick, a known touchstone for MES, seems particularly evident here.   ^

2. As every Fall fan doubtless knows already, precognition, an extra-sensory perception of the future, is a common concept in the Fall world. Philip K. Dick abbreviated it as "precog" and featured it in many of his tales, and MES took over the locution "precog" from Dick. "Psicog" is a variation of "precog," and probably indicates a more general capacity for extra-sensory perception. At times Smith has claimed to be precognitive, although it isn't clear how seriously he takes it (he has also called it a worthless ability, but at the same time he seems to genuinely believe in the mind's ability to perceive the future). 

^

3. The brain of the average male adult weighs about three pounds, so Al is packing a little extra--well above the average, but probably not exaggerated beyond the realm of possibility. On the other hand, weight doesn't necessarily mean greater intelligence, as the same web page I checked for brain weight puts Einstein under the average at 2.71. It's liklely that the implication is meant to be that whatever section of the brain would be involved in psychic phenomena is highly developed in Al's case. 

^

4.  The Lyrics Parade has "stick," and that's what it sounds like, but I would expect "schtick."

^

5. A flotarium or floatarium is a sealed tank where floatation therapy is conducted; such therapy seems to consist of floating in water and listening to New Age music or, doubtless, something involving whale noises. This is also reminiscent of the 1980 movie Altered States, in which such a tank is used as a sensory deprivation chamber by a scientist who takes mushrooms and, when he goes in the tank, devolves bot mentally and physically into a caveman who doesn't take shit.  

^

6. Dan comments that "Cauldron of Love" is a 1984 song by Icicle Works.

During the early 1990s, MES sometimes performed from behind a lectern, believe it or not. A lectern appears in the promo videos for "The Book of Lies" and "White Lightning," which are roughly contemporaneous with "Arid Al's Dream" ("White Lightning" appeared in August 1990, "The Book of Lies" in April of 1991, and "Arid Al's Dream," which was never played live, was recorded on August 25, 1992). Although the exact dates of the earliest and latest appearances of a lectern in the Fall's show have not been determined, there is much discussion here.

^

7. Wolverines also figure in "Cary Grant's Wedding," "Bury 1+3," "Service," "Clasp Hands," and "Session Musician," in each case somewhat opaquely. The wolverine is sort of a mini-theme, then, one that has persisted at a low level of intensity for 30 years. It isn't clear to me what is going on with wolverines. Wolverine is one of the X-Men in the Marvel series of the same name, a mutant with superpowers who fights evil criminals. At times this Wolverine, or anyway someone called "Wolverine," could possibly be intended, as in "Bury 1+3," when MES proclaims "I'm Wolverine." The reference in "Arid Al's Dream" is less clear. On the one hand, while it would be unusual to drop an indefinite article, it must be observed that MES drops the definite article as much as any native Russian speaker who is starting to learn English ("Behind tormentor was wolverine," so the usage would be parallel, as the definite article preceding "tormentor" has also been ditched). And in some instances, for instance "Service" ("Time of the wolverines"), it seems relatively clear that the word is not being used as a name. It is simplest to assume that MES uses it to mean roughly the same thing each time he sings it, either the animal or someone named after the animal, which makes Marvel's Wolverine somewhat unlikely to be the answer to our question, but the possibility cannot be completely dismissed based on the current evidence.

^

Comments (8)

Martin
  • 1. Martin | 22/01/2014
"Brain" or "brains" feature in at least 31 of The Fall's songs (thanks to Dannyo for his concordance). I'd say that's a pretty high proportion, though I'll leave it for someone else to work it out exactly.
Martin
  • 2. Martin | 22/01/2014
"Brain" or "brains" feature in at least 31 of The Fall's songs (thanks to Dannyo for his concordance). I'd say that's a pretty high proportion, though I'll leave it for someone else to work it out exactly.
Mark
  • 3. Mark | 15/05/2014
The demo version of this is called "Simon's Dream" and the lyrics would seem to imply that Mr Wolstencroft, drummer at the time, was the subject of MES's tirade: "His boss shouting at him, etc".
Mike
  • 4. Mike | 04/01/2015
Wolverines are frequently described as the only predator who will instinctively kill without needing to, ie. even with no intention of eating its prey.
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 31/01/2015
What about cats?
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 05/02/2016
"From the cauldron of its love, baby"

Sticks out like a sore thumb, that line.

"In the Cauldron of Love" is a song on the Icicle Works' eponymous debut album, 1984. It was also a single. I don't see any link.
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
Dan, do you have any info on when, how many times, etc., MES performed from behind a lectern? I am 99.9999% sure he actually did this and I didn't dream it, but Google is being recalcitrant.
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 19/03/2016
There's a thread on the FOF about the lectern and other stage props:

http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=35925

Add a comment

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