Before the Moon Falls

Lyrics

Shhhh

We are private detectives onward back from a musical pilgrimage
We work under the name of the Fall.
Who would suspect this?
It is too obvious.
Our office is secluded.
Those there to suspect
Would not see the wood for the trees
We were six like dice but we're back to five (1)
Up here in the North there are no wage packet jobs for us (2)
Thank Christ
While young married couples discuss the poverties
Of their self-built traps
And the junior clergy demand more cash
We spit in their plate and wait for the ice to melt

I must create a new regime
Or live by another man's (3)
Before the moon falls (4)
I must create a new scheme
And get out of others' hands
Before the moon falls

I could use some pure criminals
And get my hands on some royalties (5)
Before the moon falls

A problem of this new scheme
Is answering obscene phone calls
Before the moon falls

Gotta stop drifting around
Kill this ugly duckling  (6)
We've got the power
And must not misuse it
Cos life is short and full of thought
I use the power

And will forever end this reign of terror (7)
Before the moon falls
Before the tide subsides
Before the moon falls for the fifth time
Before The Fall swoons

Notes

1. This refers to the departure of keyboardist Yvonne Pawlett. The Fall who recorded this song were MES, Marc Riley, Craig Scanlon, Steve Hanley, and Mike Leigh.

^

2. The phrase "wage packet," literally a pay envelope, is sometimes used in Britain to mean wages in general. Thus, the lyric indicates the difficulty, in the North, of finding what is sometimes called a "straight job."

^

3. This paraphrases William Blake's lines in Jerusalem, spoken by Los: "I must Create a System or be enslav'd by another Man's. I will not Reason & Compare; my business is to Create." MES later adapted the famous "Jerusalem" section of Milton a Poem as "Dog is Life/Jerusalem," and the poet is the subject of the song, "W.B."  

^

4. In the Peanuts strip from 6/24/1979, Sally is sleeping in the back yard with a friend named Eudora. The latter is anxious that something is going to fall on her head when she's sleeping, and at one point she asks "What if the moon falls out of the sky, and hits me right on the head?" The word balloon from this panel is reproduced on the sleeve of Dragnet.  

^

5. Mark weighs in:

I seem to recall that the "pure criminals" line was a dig at Step Forward Records for their lack of royalty payments. MES makes another dig at them (specifically Miles Copeland) in "What You Need ."

^

6. I assume most readers will be familiar with the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen of this name. Spoiler alert: the duckling was a swan.

^

7. nairng: "I have just watched the Hammer version of Dracula (Christopher Lee in title role); Harker writes in his diary, 'With God's help, I will forever end this man's reign of terror.'"

^

Comments (12)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 07/04/2013

"And the junior clergy demand more cash"

Pay rises for the Church of England clergy were in the news 1977-1978, not least because they were in the context of a wider incomes policy. I found articles from 1978 where the increases were said to be fundable by voluntary donations to the Church.

dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 19/06/2013

From "The Morning of the Magicians" (1960), Destiny Books 2009 edition, p.207:

"It is certain, then, that the moon will end by falling on to the earth."

See also Hotel Bloedel for more "The Morning of the Magicians" references.

dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 19/06/2013

Before the moon falls for the fifth time


Again, "The Morning of the Magicians" (p.210):

"And so, according to Horbiger, the Moon, the one that we can see, is only the last, and fourth, of the satellites captured by the Earth"

Gurdjieff is cited too.

Martin
  • 4. Martin | 21/02/2014

It may be slightly interesting to know - at least so we can see how MES was constantly rewriting lyrics between live and studio versions - that the line "We were six like dice but we're back to five" was absent in the first known live performance of the song (25 March 1979) as Yvonne Pawlett was still a member of the group.

Mark
  • 5. Mark | 22/06/2014

I seem to recall that the "pure criminals" line was a dig at Step Forward Records for their lack of royalty payments. MES makes another dig at them (specifically Miles Copeland) in "What You Need".

Mark
  • 6. Mark | 22/06/2014

I seem to recall that the "pure criminals" line was a dig at Step Forward Records for their lack of royalty payments. MES makes another dig at them (specifically Miles Copeland) in "What You Need".

bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 24/06/2014

That's great, but what do you mean you "seem to recall"? Do you think MES said this in an interview or something?

nairng
  • 8. nairng | 27/10/2014

I have just watched the Hammer version of Dracula (Christpher Lee in title role); Harker writes in his diary, "With God's help, I will forever end this man's reign of terror".
Wrt the "pure criminals", MES is surely suggesting that he feels the unpaid royalties can only be his if he can arrange for them to be stolen?

nairng
  • 9. nairng | 28/10/2014

Ok i realise now im not disagreeing with mark about the pure criminals...think i read that with undue haste last night! The whole issue of step forward royalty non-payment is discussed with an mes quote on p33 of the "paintwork" book by brian edge...i think he got all his quotes from old nme/melody maker/sounds interviews, but didnt give dates or owt.

dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 20/12/2015

On the FOF, I wonder if the "pure criminals" line comes from a comic book:

http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=39570&view=findpost&p=22533529

dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 30/04/2017

"Kill this ugly duckling"

Hans Christian Andersen, of course.

bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017

Thanks, that's something I never would have noticed should have a note but, of course, it should.

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