Athlete Cured

Lyrics

(1)

Ahh-ha-haaa...Look under (2)
Look under

 

From the hotbed of creation
in dreamstate.
The cure, bulletin, zeitung (3)
Was in no pill.
Look under.
The cure was in no pill.

 

The German athletic star was continually ill.
For months doctors were puzzled.
The star would complain of the smell in his room.
On visiting him this was found to be true.
An odor resembling hot-dogs permeated the whole bedroom.

 

A solution was only discovered by my closely
watching his brother Gert.
Gert was handsome, well-meaning,  but slightly a careless type.
Not malicious, I hope you understand and grasp.
No chance.

 

But on returning from his clerical job, Gert 
would park his Volkswagen at the end of the day
willy-nilly in the driveway, usually the wrong way round,
so that the exhaust fumes would flow upwards right through
the open windows of the athletic star's upstairs bedroom.
(carburetor)

I also discovered that Gert would turn his engine
over for up to an hour. I don't know why.
Citizens in my street are also
partial to this.

 

Look under.
The cure was in no pill.

 

Obtaining a new parking space for Gert's motor-car, athletic star soon
recovered.
Unfortunately, this being East Germany,
Gert patriotically volunteered to be sent on a labor
beautification course of the countryside north-west of Dresden.
And never seen again.
And never seen again.

 

Look under.
The cure was in no pill.
Had to look under the window sill.
The window sill.

 

Look under.
The cure was in no pill.
Had to look under the window sill.
The window sill.

 

From certain facts you have to go on and further
and often it is better to go around or look under.
the windowsill

etc..
etc..

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Notes

1. This song notoriously cops the riff from Spinal Tap's "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight." The lyrics have the feel of a late 19th or early 20th century detective narrative.

Dan makes a few observations which germinated in the thread on "Athlete Cured" on the Fall Online Forum (check it out!):

"We never learn what sport the "athletic star" is involved with. Nor do we learn his name, though we are told his brother's name. 'Volkswagens' would not have been common in East Germany. And it seems this all happens in a dream: 'From the hotbed of creation in dreamstate.'"

^

2. This is sung in the style of the opening (i.e. the only) lyric in "Wipe Out."

^

3. Zeitung means "newspaper" in German.

^

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Comments (15)

plastickman
  • 1. plastickman | 26/02/2013
So once again I've been singing my own version......
1) Not 'look under' but La La Lagonda (the athletic star's car of choice)
2) '....would flow upwards right through the upper windows.....'
3) '....to be sent on a labour mutification course.....'

This happens all the bloody time !!
Portsmouth Bubblejet
  • 2. Portsmouth Bubblejet | 11/03/2013
If anyone's wondering how the East German athlete in the song could have got hold of a West German car, Volkswagen exported 10,000 VW Golf cars to the East from 1977 onwards.

The Volkswagens were hugely popular in the land of the unreliable Trabant and Wartburg, but, with an asking price of up to 31,500 GDR marks, you needed to be fairly well off to be able to afford one.

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/gesellschaft/ddr-generation-ost-golf-1745382.html
sess. muscn
  • 3. sess. muscn | 23/07/2014
you've got this on BEND SINISTER instead of AUTO TECH PILOT
pinkie
  • 4. pinkie | 03/02/2016
For me it's always been 'Kurt' rather than 'Gert' but I can see you're right. I love both versions of this, probably the Peel Session more, but both are great. Also, for me it's 'The cure was in the pill', rather than "in *no* pill"...jury's still out there for me !
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
Interesting, that changes the whole meaning so I'll have to focus in on that in case you're right.

The Peel version is the one, you're right about that.
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
I am fairly certain I heard "no" just now (this time I listened to Peel)....it stays at least for now.
Mark
  • 7. Mark | 19/07/2016
Tiny one: did the fumes "flow" or "float" upwards?
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 23/11/2016
Pinkie, comment #4: it's definitely "the cure was in no pill", because of course the cure lay in not inhaling the fumes. Would make no sense in context to say that the cure was in a pill! Also that's what it sounds like.
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 24/11/2016
Right, "in a pill" doesn't make sense, but sometimes he writes a lyric and it migrates to something that makes less sense, it seems to me...
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 06/02/2017
He does, but not in this case. Sometimes logic, plot, English grammar and the evidence of the ears pleasingly coincide.
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 06/02/2017
Thread on this song on the FOF. Some interesting comments.

http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=42001
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt | 11/02/2017
Interesting, yes. Usable, it's debatable but I don't feel like it needs to be reproduced, to me it's mostly along the lines of stuff I'd let people think about themselves, rather than going on about it myself. But it's a good link to put under "more information."
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 11/02/2017
It occurs to me I haven't been that diligent with "more information," there's probably often stuff beyond Reformation! and Daily Reckless that I don't think of...
dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 22/02/2017
Some observations worth recording are, I think: that we never learn what sport the "athletic star" is involved with. Nor do we learn his name, though we are told his brother's name. "Volkswagons" would not have been common in East Germany.

And it seems this all happens in a dream:

"From the hotbed of creation
in dreamstate."
James Evans
  • 15. James Evans (link) | 29/09/2017
"the cure was in no pill" can be taken on many levels, but I've always read it as a comment on totalitarian methods: you couldn't just reprimand Gert for his careless behaviour; he has to be carted off to a labour camp and worked to death.
I also think it's a sort of 'can't see the wood for the trees' thing. Rather than treat the symptom, look for the cause; the fumes aren't the problem, the car producing them is, and by extension the person who's turning over the engine.

Across the road from my parents' house there used to be a guy who'd let the engine run on his motorbike ad nauseum, before finally riding off, or sometimes not - it would really wind my dad up. Athlete Cured was the track that turned me from an avid Fall fan to borderline fanatical one.

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