Assume

Lyrics

Intro.
Female voices:
...well I think at the end of the bridges there might be a few little shops...
Yes
Yeah
Shall we have a little go at one...

MES:
It's a weird new language init?
It's it's the hunes
It's the hune
The hoons that took over from the hunes (1)

Seven productions, they assumed 
Seventh of them were Hume's (2)
Three places
Or I di-ge-gest

If you are a Hume
You assume (3)

They move through the night
At the sky
No destination
They are Humes (4)

If you half assume
You are a Hume (5)
The third term
Is mystical rabbiter (6)
If you half assume
You are a Hume
If you fully assume
You are a Hume

When Cliff Barnes read out in the June
The lyrics of Hey Jude (7)
He was victuous trembling (8)

If you are Hume
You assume
If you don't assume
You are Kapitän
Kapitän! (9)

His verbals, victuals and interest
Trembling is its tech antic [?]
Be he [?]
The watch was blackish in the morn (10)

If you assume
You are a Hume
If you half assume
You are a Hume

Seven productions, they assumed
The seventh of them was a Hume's
It took places I di-ge-gest
I think you guess
And if you are a Hume
You assume
If you don't assume
You are Kapitän!
You are Kapitän!
You are Kapitän!

Tch tch tch tch tch
Tch tch tch tch tch

Notes

1. This is how I got the transcription from the Lyrics Parade, and the fact that I don't know what to replace it with doesn't mean I think it is correct. Anyway, a "hoon" is slang in Australia and New Zealand for a lout, or someone who drives a car or a boat too fast. And Dr. X O'Skeleton wonders if there is a reference to Geoff Hoon, who was a Defence Secratary under Blair (see note 9 below). Racing, or doing doughnuts and the like, is sometimes called "hooning." Several people and things bear the name "Hune," but none of them seem to shed much light on the lyrics (Google it if you don't believe me). The closest is perhaps former British M.P. and European Parliament member Chris Huhne (currently serving time, but this post-dates the song).  Also, Hulme is an area in Manchester (thanks dannyno). I can't do a whole lot with this one, but I may be schooled in the comment section (I hope so, anyway).

"I think we got some hoon trouble" is a line uttered by Mel Gibson in "Mad Max" (Dan).

From a radio interview:

Let's talk about Assume, what's the...tell us about that song, how you wrote it.

That was a random one, definitely...it's about humans, and air flight, and um, rabbits, and um, things like that.

Bert suggests that "Hume" could be short for human, as in "It's human to assume..." So, is "Kapitän"... God?

Martin says:

 

2 October 2003 Bierkeller Manchester:  


- "If you assume, you are a hume; if you half assume, you a hume" (extra lyrics in Telephone Thing, fully 2 years before the release of Fall Heads Roll) 

^

2. Joseph Mullaney reports that Seven Productions is an Australian television production company, a branch of the Seven Network.

"Hume" maybe refers to David Hume (1711-1776), the great Scottish philosopher. Hume is generally considered an Empiricist, and he critiqued rationalism and sought to give a psychological account of knowledge, to the extent that he is sometimes considered a Skeptic.

On the other hand, on "I've Been Duped" there's a reference to a Dr. Richard Hume, who is seen retiring to the South of France after World War I. I have not found a corresponding historical figure; there is a character named Dr. Richard Hume in the extemely obscure 2002 Global Effect, the plot of which has nothing to do with the first World War.  

^

3. David Hume is mostly known for challenging assumptions, for instance the notion that causality is found in nature rather than in our habitual modes of cognition, or the idea that there is a unified soul or self behind our perceptions and impressions. Assumption is in fact, for Hume, a central part of our epistemology, as the only grounding he can find for causality is a "habit of mind" (i.e. assumption) we develop as a result of seeing events constantly conjoined in a certain order--if you see a brick hit a window and the window then break enough times, you begin to think there is a necessary connection, i.e. that the brick causes the window to break. But we can never actually perceive causal connections directly so, as an empiricist, Hume concludes that we do not have good grounds to say they actually are a part of nature.

^

4. harleyr drops the kind of science that comes along from time to time and almost suffices to justify our little enterprise:

I've pointed this out previously on the forum, but it appears that the music for Assume was partly inspired by the theme tune to SupercarThe lyrics to Supercar appear to have left a residual trace in Smith's lines about moving through the sky at night: Supercar... Supercar... With beauty and grace, as swift as can be, watch it flying through the air. It travels in space, or under the sea, and it can journey anywhere. Supercar... Supercar... It travels on land, or roams the skies, through a heavens stormy rage, It's Mercury-manned, and everyone cries, "it's the marvel of the age!"

^

5. Somewhere in all of this, there may be a play on the old saw "When you assume, you make an ass of you and me" (i.e. U and ME, ASS/U/ME). And note that "Hume" is a portmanteau of "half assume. " Dan says "half assume" might be "Hume" in a cryptic crossword puzzle. I've never done one so I'm not sure exactly how that works...

^

6. The Lyrics Parade had "Was Mr. A Court, ready tell." There was an English footballer named Alan A' Court (1934-2009) who played for Liverpool, but I don't think this is what it says.  

^

7. Cliff Barnes, played by Ken Kercheval, was a character on Dallas, the American "prime time soap opera" that aired from 1978 to 1991. He is not known to have ever read out the lyrics to "Hey Jude." Dan points out that Dallas, which never aired in June in the USA, it being in the off-season, did air during that month in Britain (and it would be unconscionable not to admit that certain events on the program, for all I know, may have been portrayed as taking place in June).  

^

8. Possibly a variant of "vicious," formulated this way to bring out the polarity with "virtuous," or else a portmanteau of the two...


^

9. Kapitän is German for Captain. Maybe this means that one shouldn't assume, and if one doesn't, one is "boss," i.e. cool. How the hell should I know?  

^

10. Dan speculates this may have something to do with the Black Watch, a Scottish infantry battalion. Dr. X O'Skeleton asks, "Could there be a reference to Geoff Hoon MP who was a member of the Blair government at around that time as Defence Secretary?" Why yes, why not? On the other hand, who knows? Dan adds, "There is a satisfying Geoff Hoon/Black Watch link, in that Hoon was defence secretary when proposals were published to merge the Black Watch into a larger regiment. MES mentioned the Black Watch a few times over the years, so we might expect he would have noticed the news."

^

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Comments (53)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 07/04/2013
Hulme is an area of Manchester. Dunno if that helps whatsoever.
Bert
  • 2. Bert | 17/07/2014
Quoted from above:

"...That was a random one, definitely...it's about humans, and air flight, and um, rabbits, and um, things like that."

Could "hume" be short for human? So the lyrics might be a roundabout way of saying "everyone makes assumptions sometimes".

Except if you're a German captain, obviously.
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 13/06/2015
Just want to record this:

Wallace Stevens, "Tea at the Palaz of Hoon" (1921)


Not less because in purple I descended
The western day through what you called
The loneliest air, not less was I myself.

What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?

Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 13/06/2015
Rabbits: there are captains among the rabbits in Watership Down.
harleyr
  • 5. harleyr | 21/08/2015
I've pointed this out previously on the forum, but it appears that the music for Assume was partly inspired by the theme tune to Supercar. (Compare https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8m9Z010pM4)

The lyrics to Supercar appear to have left a residual trace in Smith's lines about moving through the sky at night:

Supercar... Supercar...
With beauty and grace,
as swift as can be,
watch it flying through the air.
It travels in space,
or under the sea,
and it can journey anywhere.

Supercar... Supercar...
It travels on land,
or roams the skies,
through a heavens stormy rage,
It's Mercury-manned,
and everyone cries,
"it's the marvel of the age!"
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 09/10/2016
"I think we got some hoon trouble" is a line uttered by Mel Gibson in "Mad Max" (referring to the biker gang). Just been watching it, see.
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 15/10/2016
I just watched it again not 2 years ago now but don't remember anything. What does it mean in context?
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 22/02/2017
in Australian slang it means "thug" or "lout".
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 25/02/2017
Fuck, that's the first thing I say in my first note, it is.
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 25/02/2017
If I actually knew everything I've written on this site, I'd be one smart motherfucker.
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 25/02/2017
note #7 "in any case, Dallas never aired in June"

It did in the UK. For example, on 19 June 1985:


JR is intrigued by a series of mysterious telephone calls, and Jamie receives an unusual after-dinner dessert.
Martin
  • 12. Martin | 03/03/2017
2 October 2003 Bierkeller Manchester:


- "If you assume, you are a hume; if you half assume, you a hume" (extra lyrics in Telephone Thing, fully 2 years before the release of Fall Heads Roll)

Just an observation.
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 19/03/2017
And an ass-kicking one at that, Martin.

Can someone tell me how to sign in as a commenter? Googling "sign into doomby (+ or - "as a commenter") only gets me a sign-in page for the site manager. What the fuck.
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017
I found it by searching my emails. They don't make it easy.
Joseph Mullaney
  • 15. Joseph Mullaney | 13/10/2017
Seven Productions is an Australian television production company associated with the Seven Network.
dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 13/10/2017
Comment #15, Yep, but there are others. However, given the Australian/NZ slang term "hoon"...

"Seven productions" could also signify the number of productions, rather than the company name.
bzfgt
  • 17. bzfgt (link) | 04/11/2017
___A "hoon" is slang in Australia and New Zealand for a lout, or someone who drives a car or a boat too fast. Racing, or doing doughnuts and the like, is sometimes called "hooning." Several people and things bear the name "Hune," but none of them seem to shed much light on the lyrics ___

OK, but where did I get those spellings? Why do I think it's "hoon" then "hune"? This isn't in the lyrics books, was this a transcriber's whim that I never noticed is based on nothing?
Rob
  • 18. Rob | 25/03/2018
Mystical rabbiter

My brother pointed this one out - the enunciation of "mystical" here is a great example of the way that MES redefines the rhythm of words, rendering the familiar mysterious (like "cacophony" in Slang King, which took me years of listening to hear).
dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 15/11/2018
"If you half assume
You are a Hume"

Note 5 notes that this brings to mind a bit of wordplay.

But something else occurs to me. Which is that this seems a bit like a cryptic crossword puzzle clue.

... because after all "half assume" might indeed be "hume" in cryptic crossword world.
dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 15/11/2018
"The watch was blackish in the morn"

I'm wondering if this is something to do with the Black Watch?
dannyno
  • 21. dannyno | 15/11/2018
Note 7, Dallas never aired in June:

See my comment #11 - it did in the UK.
dannyno
  • 22. dannyno | 15/11/2018
I've been doing some hunting about, and I suspect the apparently off-air-recorded intro to the track on the album is from a Jim Henson TV show called "The Hoobs".

I will now attempt to prove this. I may be gone some time.
bzfgt
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 21/11/2018
Dan I never did a cryptic crossword, how does it work? Which is the clue and which the answer?

I added that "hume" is a portmanteau of "half" and "assume," I uh assume that this has to do with whatever the deal is with the cryptic crossword?
Rob
  • 24. Rob | 24/11/2018
Man, you gotta get rid of "Mr A Court ready, tell". It's embarrassing.

As Ocelot* posted on the forum megathread (I'm moving it here where it belongs):

"Tried to post on the site but failed. So, I'll post here regarding assume off FHR:

Re (5) I always hear: "The third term is mystical rabbiter". I have always thought that this is a Tony Blair reference.

Also the political Hoon in question would be Geoff Hoon, Secretary of State for Defence when the case for the Iraq War was made."

[*Ocelot and the brother of mine who pointed out "mystical" to me. mentioned in comment 18, are the same person, so this is not independent evidence. But, really, how good a line do you need to displace Mr. A Court?]
Paul Go
  • 25. Paul Go | 27/11/2018
David Hume is an insufferable self-centred hypocrite. Your bog-standard dull empiricist; sensory data is reality, therefore memory and mental constructs like god, culture, and causality are fake. Hume made his biggest arse shaped dent in he world by turning the analytical methods developed within the physical sciences *in* on the mind; an ugly and mechanical construct that has no observable, thus, empirical basis, the so called 'science of mind', now general known as psychology.

Looking into this 'assume' business, I stumbled on perhaps his greatest achievement in breath-taking hypocrisy. Despite a laughably high opinion of himself, he advocated that government institutions be formed on the assumption that all people in power be presumed dishonest 'knaves'. Philosophically, this is a little mind bending: Hume is a sceptic of people, but in the sense that he assumes other people do not possess his high moral virtues. An inhuman alloy of scepticism, presumption, founded in vainglorious passion.

Hume pops up a couple of times in MES lyrics explicitly, 'Assume' and 'Bo Demmick', for different reasons. It seems to me MES considered Hume to be, not just the accepted principle architect of modernity, but the archetypal *mind set*, faults and all, for all of modernity. So, when dealing with your next insufferable self-centred hypocrite you'll know who to thank.
Dr X O'Skeleton
  • 26. Dr X O'Skeleton | 29/11/2018
Could there be a reference to Geoff Hoon MP who was a member of the Blair government at around that time as Defence Secretary?
Dr X O'Skeleton
  • 27. Dr X O'Skeleton | 29/11/2018
Also, Mr A Court, could refer to the Acourt brothers, accused of the racist murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence, but not prosecuted due to police mishandling of the case
Paul Go
  • 28. Paul Go | 29/11/2018
...he does say 'the Hoons' like it's a show full of muppet type characters.
dannyno
  • 29. dannyno | 30/11/2018
Comment #26, Dr X O'Skeleton: Geoff Hoon is worth noting, I think, if we're noting Chris Huhne.

I speculated about a Black Watch link. There is a satisfying Geoff Hoon/Black Watch link, in that Hoon was defence secretary when proposals were published to merge the Black Watch into a larger regiment. MES mentioned the Black Watch a few times over the years, so we might expect he would have noticed the news. And perhaps, therefore, a reference found its way into the lyric here.
Paul Go
  • 30. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
I assume you're not denying the link between Hume, the infamous sceptic who is considered the corner stone of anti-God argument and the father of modern psychology? and that saying 'you assume' is effectively calling a sceptic an apostate?

Of course, I accept he's using Hume as a type of person, so it can be about any individual who is like a 'Hume'.
Paul Go
  • 31. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
'Hume' is mentioned, like 10 times, as a meaningful counter point to the title of the song. Hume is the only clear individual called out in the whole song, yet everyone is either ignoring this, side stepping with portmanteaus, attributing similar sounding names. You are convinced it's cryptic, when it's simply a man, his name is David Hume.
Paul Go
  • 32. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
Modernititty... What is it? Who can say it?
dannyno
  • 33. dannyno | 01/12/2018
Comment #30. "Denying the link"? No, I'd propose the link be ignored as just silly. Not even wrong, I think.

Even if someone called "Hume" is named in the song, and that's not clear, and even if that "Hume" is "David Hume", and that's completely unsupported, it's still not true that in that case the "only clear individual" mentioned is such a "Hume". Because, of course, "Cliff Barnes" is also mentioned.
Paul Go
  • 34. Paul Go | 02/12/2018
I don't know who Cliff Barnes is. I supported it by connecting assume to the cynic Hume as an insult, I outline two examples of why Hume is a hypocrite, worse still, a hypocrite who doesn't know he is, which means more than a mere insult, assume to Hume it is a statement of fact, I connected it to another mention of Hume in a song, and another reference in another song that suggests MES has issues with the enlightenment/modernititty, to which Hume was central. I guess if dusty stuff like Hume is not of interest, there's not a lot more I can say.
dannyno
  • 35. dannyno | 02/12/2018
You don't know who Cliff Barnes is. But the notes tell you who Cliff Barnes is.

The rest I'm dismissing as silliness. Don't confuse dismissal with lack of interest. But I do lack interest in silly assertions about David Hume.

I think the notion that MES "has issues" with moderninity", however he pronounced it, goes beyond the texts. If he had issues at all, it was probably with the academic discussion of the subject.
Paul Go
  • 36. Paul Go | 03/12/2018
I'm not sure that's what he says anyway, but let's say it is, and in applying the same logic you are to 'Hume', what evidence is there it is that particular Cliff Barnes?
Paul Go
  • 37. Paul Go | 03/12/2018
So you're a fan of Hume? Or perhaps Scottish?
Paul Go
  • 38. Paul Go | 05/12/2018
If you are familiar with the philosophy and history of modern science, just keep in mind the components of the enlightenment and the systems it gave rise to. You'll start to see the references all over the place.
bzfgt
  • 39. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
I think the above transcription is pretty much Lyrics Parade, and Rob really wants me to off A Court....I'm going to listen to this and see if I can get anything out of it that isn't there, or get rid of things that are there, but I'm not making any promises. We'll see about the mystical rabbits.
bzfgt
  • 40. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
These lyrics are highly speculative--how the fuck did the transcriber decide it was "hoons took over from the hunes" or whatever?
bzfgt
  • 41. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
It sounds more like "mystical rabbiter" than "Mr A Court, ready tell", and the "third term" is more likely to be at least somewhat general....but I'm not fully convinced this is what he says
bzfgt
  • 42. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
But MES says it's about rabbits so "rabbiter" or maybe "rabbit-uh" is at least likely.

"Several people and things bear the name "Hune," but none of them seem to shed much light on the lyrics (Google it if you don't believe me). "

So why the fuck do we think he says "Hune"? Do we? I'm not sure I do....any idea who transcribed this?
bzfgt
  • 43. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
Paul--really? Hume is responsible for the hypocrites I encounter? This is something I can almost imagine Ayn Rand saying...
bzfgt
  • 44. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
Well, in a way "assuming" is a big part of Hume's epistemological account---we take for granted that events in nature are causally connected, but the only grounding Hume can find for this is a "habit of mind," i.e.., an assumption. I always thought that's what :"If you assume, you are a Hume" means, I don't know why I didn't mention it above but it is a little bit speculative...still, worth noting. Or maybe I did say that, I have to check...
bzfgt
  • 45. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
OK yeah I covered it in note 3, but I expanded it and made it more explicit.
bzfgt
  • 46. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
Who is this addressed to? I can find no denial between this and your first Hume comment...is it referring to something in the notes?
bzfgt
  • 47. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
Sorry, the above question is addressed to : "I assume you're not denying the link between Hume, the infamous sceptic who is considered the corner stone of anti-God argument and the father of modern psychology? and that saying 'you assume' is effectively calling a sceptic an apostate?"
bzfgt
  • 48. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
Paul, the notes discuss David Hume, he has not been ignored. I know you prefer to guess what the notes might say rather than read them, so I am putting this here for your convenience.
bzfgt
  • 49. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
"I assume you're not denying the link between Hume, the infamous sceptic who is considered the corner stone of anti-God argument and the father of modern psychology?"

Between Hume and what? You never finished the thought, I don't know how Dan can deny it. I certainly am not denying the song probably refers to David Hume. Among other things, perhaps.
Paul Go
  • 50. Paul Go | 15/12/2018
He stepped over my bit about Hume getting involved with politics like I was a drunk or crazy hobo.

I think what is crucial about Hume, and was not in the notes or well stated in Wikipedia, is that he alone turned the physical sciences onto human behavior. Like the ancient on your home page, consider his divining both the anti-god argument and psychology. Imagine that influence reduced to a click of his fingers, warts and all.

My example was apt because of the politics stuff being mentioned. 'He's not just a science guy'... I don't really understand this song, I get the feeling it's not as good as he'd hoped.

Hume's influence, hypocrisy, science and society, expecting the worst from others and the best from yourself. general themes that haven't landed yet.
Paul Go
  • 51. Paul Go | 15/12/2018
...so the reason I say 'I get the feeling it not as good as he'd hoped', is present in the song... so I was thinking the problem with the song was that distance and separation of theory and technology and time and generations, but then we have planes crossed with covens of witches swooping over everything, as well as people being 'possessed' by the spirit of 'Hume'. oooOOOooo .A curse upon the land perhaps. It's perking up.... Danny's going to love this.
Paul Go
  • 52. Paul Go | 15/12/2018
So it was *and* it wasn't Cliff Barnes after all..
MES' (peas be upon him) penchant for cosmic horror will see me through this one. inshallah!
Rob
  • 53. Rob | 15/12/2018
Nice to see Mr A Court relegated. Excellent work bzfgt.

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