Bug Day

Lyrics

 (1)

First off we got seance
Misery in all its skin (2)

Bug day
Bug day

Midges - midges hovered over the heather (3)
3 moths shivered
Green moths shivered
Cockroaches moldered in the ground
Tonguehorns belched fire

So, fleed at sea (4)
Terrors hit water
Minoa said 'eek' 
Minoa said 'eek' (5)

Sea reaffirms some things
We learned some things
People behave very wrong
Create company
Green is starboard, back
Left is port, there  (6)
Old continental women 
Coffee cups poised on front

Facing up to the sea is a very hard thing
Facing up to sea is a v. hard thing
Anything is better than bug day

Bug day
Bug day
Bug day
But day

[mumbles]

Bug day

Anything is better than bug day

Bug day
Bug day

Notes

1. Dan has turned up a greeting card designed by Andy Warhol with pictures of various insects and the inscription "Happy Bug Day." I nominate this for most underrated song in the Fall canon.

^

2. I dislike bracketed lyrics for aesthetic reasons, but their relative absence on this site shouldn't always be taken to imply that I am any more certain about the lyrics than the other sources are.  In any case, Marc Balance has sent me a slowed down version of the intro and this seems close.

Nick Kent suggests "Misery and all its kin" would make more sense ("for clearly the distraught Supplicant is summoning, often, dead kin"). This doesn't seem to  be what MES is saying here, but we could perhaps read the line as punningly suggesting Nick's version. 

^

3. "Ecstatic midges" make an appearance on Levitate's "4 1/2 Inch."  

^

4. There is no insect called a "tonguehorn," as far as I can make it. Dannyno points out that there is a Norwegian reed instrument called a Tungehorn (which means "tongue horn" in Norwegian); I'm not sure how that would fit in to the Aegean setting of the song (Wikipedia maintains that the instrument was unknown outside of Scandinavia).

The Lyrics Parade and Reformation are in agreement about "fleed," so for the moment at least I am resigned to it. If we take it as the past tense of "flee" (and also a pun for "flea/flea-ed") it would seem that the narrator has taken to the water to escape the bugs. And the lyrics seem to indicate that this is indeed the likely situation, so "fleed" it is.   ^

5. "Minoa" is the title for a region of bronze-age settlements (possibly named after the legendary king Minos of Crete, of labyrinth/Minotaur fame) in the greater Greek cultural area of influence, centered on the Aegean islands of Corfu and Sicily (today Corfu is part of Greece and Sicily is in Italy). If it were something like "Minoa is screaming" we would imagine some sort of widespread insect-induced panic, but it is unusual to say of an entire region that it says "eek." Nonetheless, if we keep in mind the unbiquitous sense of humor and delight in strange formulations in Fall lyrics, this could be what is intended; otherwise, "Minoa" could be meant as a proper name here. I have not been able to find a single notable individual named "Minoa," although it does seemingly persist in some cases as both a first name and a surname. Dan has also discovered that there is a genus of moth called a "Minoa."

If forced to choose among these options, I think it is both a slightly more likely and a much more amusing option that the populace of Minoa is saying "eek." On the other hand, marc balance in the comments below has made the suggestion that MES is singing a German-English hybrid ("Minoa said 'Ich'!). And both balance and Mike Lynch think "Minoa" may be "My Noah." Dan, meanwhile, suggests the narrator may be referring to a fisherman, to wit "Minnower said 'eek'!" Unfortunately for this last, the "i' sound is long...  As for myself, I prefer "Minoa said 'eek'!" Eek is, after all, an exclamation that is most commonly associated with vermin, and "My Noah" just doesn't sound right to me. On the other hand, since there is a bug (or actually a genus of bugs) called Minoa, that would be consonant with the title and refrain, and although moths are not known for volubility, we can allow a little poetic license. 

^

6. When facing, while onboard, the bow of a ship, port is the left side and starboard the right. The port side, at night, is identified with a red light and the starboard side with a green one, so everything is in order here.  

^

SaveSave

SaveSave

Comments (35)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 26/04/2013

Is "tonguehorn" the Norwegian musical instrument? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tungehorn

Mike Lynch
  • 2. Mike Lynch (link) | 08/07/2013

I've always heard 'Minoa' as 'My Noah' - the captain of the ship upon which the protagonist 'fleed to sea'.

marc balance
  • 3. marc balance | 14/09/2013

the 'minoa said eek' mystery: bought this record in 85, never looked at any written down lyrics until a few years ago. living in germany since I turned 5, me always understood the line as one of mes incorporations of german language, (old continental women?) like 'my noah!, said ich' (ich = I (me)) or 'minoa! said ich', translated 'minoa!' I said.. the emphasis is on the 'minoa' or 'my noah' not on the 'eek' (which it would be, cause 'eek!' is an exclamation), so this could be the order of the captain to set out for minoa?

dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 02/05/2016

I wonder if I can push our speculation in a different direction?

"Minoa". Are we sure about that? Could it be "minnower" - someone who uses minnows as fishing bait? If terrors hit the water, then fishermen would certainly be among those would be scared and likely to say "eek", wouldn't they?

bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 24/06/2016

I take it you didn't listen to it whilst speculating? He pronounces it "mye-no'-ah."

dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 25/06/2016

That's true, he does. But does he always pronounce everything correctly?

Dan

bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 29/06/2016

OK, you got me there. I propose this song is actually called "Tomato Day."

marc balance
  • 8. marc balance | 15/07/2016

okay, this might be pure coincidence, but:

There’s this 1975 horror film ‚Bug’ written by William Castle and Thomas Page, after Page’s 1973 novel ‚The Hephaestus Plague’, in which an earthquake releases mutant, not really ‚fire belching’, but fire-producing cockroaches.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bug_(1975_film)

The main protagonist, a scientist, christened these bugs ‚Hephaestus Parmiteri’, after himself, and the ancient greek god of fire and blacksmiths ‚Hephaestus’ (his roman counterpart is Vulcan)...

Hephaestus is associated with ‚Labrys’, a double-bitted axe, that in turn is closely associated with the Minoan civilisation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrys

maybe the longhorn beetle have just been renamed/ or blended with tonguehorn to make it sound more dramatic ?

what do you think?

dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 19/07/2016

"Bug" - nice, but there's a definite marine theme in this song, but not in the movie... However, it's entirely possible that MES borrowed the firey bug image from the film.

marc balance
  • 10. marc balance | 20/07/2016

...yes, definitive marine theme here. but this 'bug' movie, or better the novel which the movie is based on, 'the hephaestus plague', delivers, not by content but by title, a possible link between 'fiery bugs' (I like this one ;-) ) and the minoa thingie in the lyrics....

dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 04/10/2016

"Minoa said 'eek' "

What I should I do is listen to this again, but I haven't.

But I'm thinking, so far we always have this as "Minoa said 'eek'"

Why isn't it the other way around.

Why isn't it, " ' Minoa', said Eek".

I mean, what if Eek is speaking, not "Minoa"?

bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt | 15/10/2016

Yeah, I mean you're determined to turn that line every which way. I don't blame you, since we don't have much to go on, but in the absence of evidence to the contrary what we have seems to me the most plausible construction of the line as sung. If we can come up with any evidence either way, changes will be considered or more definitively rejected, as appropriate.

dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 16/10/2016

Sadly you're right. I just don't like it!

dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 16/10/2016

Could it be "my knower", ie. "thing that knows", or brain, or understanding. It is used in that sense a bit, and is quite an old usage.

Add it to the pile of implausible alternatives, anyway :-)

bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt | 21/10/2016

I like "my knower" although I fear it may be a glimpse into your knower rather than MES's.

And, you would really prefer it to be "'Minoa,' said Eek"? That's weird!

bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt | 21/10/2016

My! No, uh...tzaddiq?

dannyno
  • 17. dannyno | 22/10/2016

There you go. The possibilities are endless. We just have to open our minds. Or 'knowers'.

bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt | 29/10/2016

Yeah, a knower is a terrible thing to waste...My knower's Eddie K...

dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 12/01/2017

"Minoa" is a genus of moth:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoa_(moth)

bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt | 04/02/2017

Oh, so it's "Minoa," now, is it?

dannyno
  • 21. dannyno | 04/02/2017

Hehe.

Might be. Might not be. I'm still just throwing rocks at the snowman.

dannyno
  • 22. dannyno | 02/03/2017

Warhol:

Image

dannyno
  • 23. dannyno | 03/03/2017

Note #1 typo! "mot underrated"

bzfgt
  • 24. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017

If you speed up just a little you'll be posting the corrections before I post the notes...

dannyno
  • 25. dannyno | 03/03/2017

Note #6, error: "Tales of Terror", not "Tales of Horror".

bzfgt
  • 26. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017

Are you thinking of a different song? Good thing though because I had two note '5's and no note '6'.

dannyno
  • 27. dannyno | 04/03/2017

It was humorous response to your comment #24, pre-cog corrections. Turns out it worked anyway

bzfgt
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017

Oh, good thing I'm slow on the uptake, it saved untold lives.

Nick Kent
  • 29. Nick Kent (link) | 21/03/2017

I think it makes more sense to have the second line read: "Misery and all its kin"...
for clearly the distraught Supplicant is summoning, often, dead kin.

bzfgt
  • 30. bzfgt (link) | 23/03/2017

Nick, unfortunately he pauses a long time between "it's" and "skin" to put paid to that transcription. However, it is entirely possible that it's a pun on your construction.

So I hope you are not displeased with the way I worked it in above.

bzfgt
  • 31. bzfgt (link) | 23/03/2017

Sorry, "its"

marc balance
  • 32. marc balance | 23/06/2017

....misery...almost skint.... 99% sure...

dannyno
  • 33. dannyno | 23/06/2017

comment #32.

Just had a few listens.

I agree, it probably is "misery... almost skint". Good call, I reckon.

Not sure about "seance" etc in the previous line now.

marc balance
  • 34. marc balance | 24/06/2017

agree. maybe 'c & c' (cash&carry)... drinks (drugs?) .. first off, we got (got to?) c & c .... misery.... almost skint....

dannyno
  • 35. dannyno | 25/06/2017

From the sleevenotes to "The Wonderful and Frightening World Of..."


BUG DAY

- These things wanted rights and tenancy, Govt. sponsored bands - of course it all stemmed from the Nip Insect Glorification craze - the tinned bean diet for Spiders just about sealed it ...

Add a comment

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