C.R.E.E.P.

Lyrics

(1)

He reads books; of the list book club
And after two months--his stance a familiar hunch
It's that same slouch - you had the last time he came around

 

His oppression abounds, his type is doing the rounds
He is a scum-egg; a horrid trendy wretch

 

C.R.E.E.P. C.R E.E.P. (2)

Black saucers at the back of your neck
Interruptions, from the side when you talk
in the presence, of this ugly gawk,
is offending, make sure you're not absorbed
(With hideous luck - he'll absorb all your talk)

 

CR E.E.P. C.R.E.E.P. 
 

From the bright sun, he came one fine morn
"Populist" - as well in his class at least
But then came real age, and for that we all must pay
(and for that we all do pay)

 

C.R.E.E.P. C.R.E.E.P.

And he wants world peace! (and for that we all must pay)

He likes ABC! (C.R.E.E.P.) (3)

C.R.E.E.P. C.R.E.E.P. 

Notes

1. It has often been assumed that this song is about Marc Riley, who apparently was nicknamed "creep" as a youth. RIley himself has stated that the song is about him. Both Mark and Brix Smith, however, deny this:

"As Mark points out, the song seemed to have an unsettling effect on people.

'I'm so proud of that song. I didn't see it as pure pop because it hasn't been accepted like that. It's got good words in it and that throws people off - their brains are so degenerate now, that if they hear something they don't understand ... they just drop it. I always thought it would appeal to children and it does. A lot of very young kids (seven or eight) seem to like it. I never thought, though, that the creep was the guy who smelt bad at school; it was always the most popular guy in the class, 'cos you knew damn well he wouldn't do well in life, the sort who'd cry when the exam results came out.'

Brix:- "Everyone always thinks that Fall songs are about themselves and that was especially so with "Creep." Some people thought it was about Morrisey which it wasn't. Marc Riley, our old guitarist, thought it was about him, which it wasn't. It's about every creep in the world.'"

By the time of her memoir, however, the song is about someone specific all right:

Dan: "According to Brix in her autobiography, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise, 'Everyone assumed it was about Marc Riley, but Mark's lyrics were a takedown of the previous tour manager, Scumech ("He is a scum-egg, a horrid trendy wretch").'"

Elsewhere, she says "The European tour manager's name was Scumech. He was a trendy and Mark referred to him as a 'dickhead'. For some reason, Mark took great offence at Scumech. Perhaps it was because he would keep the tour money in his briefcase and handcuff it to radiators. He was robotic, which also annoyed Mark, He had the facade of being hip, but was actually quite bureaucratic, in a German way."

Dan has determined that the man in question is probably one Scumeck Sabottka, who is still active as a concert promoter.

From the sleeve of the single:

"This pool of disgusting smarm/The pool of luke warm/This mod effete of capricious green ham/Who is everybody, yet everybody is him/The mard blow of suck-poet's biro./The mud of everybody's mate/The pap he complains of is just the grease-reflection/On his empty pariah plate."

The title is spelled as though it is an acronym, although it is not known what, if anything, it would stand for. The only use of C.R.E.E.P. I am familiar with is the 1972 Richard Nixon campaign's "Committee to Re-Elect the President," which was officially known by the initialism "CRP" but was universally mocked with the acronym "CREEP."

Thanks to Zack:

The single version includes the following spoken word introduction by Brix: "Propositions are integrated within/Gen up to electric dog status/We pat you on the back/Your ears prick up/We call you Hitler/And then kick you around like homogenized milk."

^

2. The periods here indicate that the letters are sounded out; the title is apparently not an acronym.

^

3. ABC was one of the New Romantic bands popular in the 1980s. New Romantics are mentioned in "Hard Life in Country."  

^

 

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Comments (28)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 24/03/2013
"He likes ABC! "

A reference to the band, obviously.
bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 02/04/2013
Definitely, good eye. I put it in above.
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 10/04/2013
"Black saucers at the back of your neck"

Eyes like black saucers? Like being watched from behind?
danny
  • 4. danny | 02/08/2013
at the time R Reagan was president of the US and got re elected by a support commitee which abreviated wa aslso C R E E P, commitee for the reelection of the President, i liked to think back then (1984?) the song was referring to that
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 02/08/2013
CREEP was Nixon, I'm pretty sure the acronym was retired after that.
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 07/03/2016
My feeling is that the C.R.E.E.P. acronym works exactly like the D.I.V.O.R.C.E. acronym in the Tammy Wynette song, or D.I.S.C.O. in the Ottowan song, rather than like the Y.M.C.A. in the Village People song or S.O.S. in the Abba song.

Dan
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
Right, if I understand you that's what my note says (the former aren't really acronyms).
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 04/05/2016
According to Brix in her autobiography, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise


Everyone assumed it was about Marc Riley, but Mark's lyrics were a takedown of the previous tour manager, Scumech ('He is a scum-egg, a horrid trendy wretch').
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 07/05/2016
Bit more about Scumech from Brix's book:


The European tour manager's name was Scumech. He was a trendy and Mark referred to him as a 'dickhead'. For some reason, Mark took great offence at Scumech. Perhaps it was because he would keep the tour money in his briefcase and handcuff it to radiators. He was robotic, which also annoyed Mark, He had the facade of being hip, but was actually quite bureaucratic, in a German way.
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 24/06/2016
Do we know of a Scumech, or, what's just as likely, something close, independently-like?
bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 24/06/2016
Sorry, that's what I get reading the comments via email vs. looking at them all here, I see we at least have more from Brix about Scumech. Of course it's quite possible that MES more than one person in mind, and that he kept his own counsel about it. But anyway the other quote for some reason makes me more confident that someone with a name at least close to "Scumech" existed at the time.
dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 17/09/2016
I think "Scumech" is actually Scumeck Sabottka, still active as a concert promoter:

http://www.freundevonfreunden.com/workplaces/scumeck-sabottka/


For three decades the work of Scumeck Sabottka has revolved around the “concert experience,” as he says, to create the “perfect evening.”

After a few wild years in West Berlin’s punk scene, he founded the concert firm, MCT – “Music Consulting Team,” who in their early years organized tours for punk bands like the Ramones or King Kurt, but also for avant-garde musicians like John Cale, and later for international alternative rock giants like R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nick Cave, as well as pop singers such as Lenny Kravitz and Robbie Williams.
dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 17/09/2016
Quote from the same place:

"I started out working as a driver, then increasingly as a tour manager for German concerts, at the time for London indie label Rough Trade: mainly with post-punk bands like The Smiths or Cabaret Voltaire."

It has to be him!
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt | 15/10/2016
Yep, case closed (at least for now).
Zack
  • 15. Zack | 07/12/2016
The single version ("c.r.e.e.p.") includes the following spoken-word introduction by Brix:

Propositions are integrated within
Gen up to electric dog status
We pat you on the back
Your ears prick up
We call you Hitler
And then kick you around like homogenized milk
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt | 27/12/2016
Thanks, Zack. Is that compiled anywhere? I am listening to 458489 A sides and it is not on that one.
Zack
  • 17. Zack (link) | 28/12/2016
Bzfgt, it was included in the old Beggars Banquet CD release of Wonderful and Frightening and can be found on YouTube (link above).
dannyno
  • 18. dannyno | 11/02/2017
I'd forgotten about that, good call from Zack.

So then of course I went looking....

and, has MES been reading linguistics?

I ask because in Roger Van De Velde's "Prolegomena to Inferential Discourse Processing" (1984), the following line appears (p.38):


Semantic-logical inferences can also make transparent how individual ideas entrenched in propositions are integrated within the complex propositional structure of discourse.


Or maybe he read it quoted elsewhere, like in a Private Eye pseud's corner column or some-such (not that it seems a particularly bad example), or else read some other linguistics text with a similar line?

I'm not being entirely serious. But I bet there's a source along these lines.
bzfgt
  • 19. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
Well, that would possibly explain "Gut of the Quantifier," if he was into logic...
Martsville
  • 20. Martsville | 25/01/2018
Hi, I'm adding a correction to Zack's post. This poetry (below) spoken before C.R.E.E.P. isn't Brix Smith speaking, it's the american poet Sylvia Plath's voice, reading one of her own poems. I used to have this exact recording of her work on cassette years ago, recognised it immediately when the Fall released C.R.E.E.P. It was recorded a few months before she committed suicide, which is kind of creepy in itself. If you're interest in Plath you can probably pick this recording up at a library. I forgot the title of it now, but it is definitely Sylvia Plath.
Thanks

"Propositions are integrated within
Gen up to electric dog status
We pat you on the back
Your ears prick up
We call you Hitler
And then kick you around like homogenized milk"
dannyno
  • 21. dannyno | 26/01/2018
Comment #20. Excellent tip, I'll track it down.
dannyno
  • 22. dannyno | 26/01/2018
The recording is probably this, originally from 1977:
https://www.discogs.com/Sylvia-Plath-Sylvia-Plath-Reading-Her-Poetry/release/5748359
dannyno
  • 23. dannyno | 26/01/2018
... if we can nail the Plath reference, the "propositions are integrated within" line doesn't see so incongruous in MES' world!
dannyno
  • 24. dannyno | 26/01/2018
dannyno
  • 25. dannyno | 29/01/2018
Right so I did a bit of research, and I re-read comment #20 by Martsville.

Martsville says:

This poetry (below) spoken before C.R.E.E.P. isn't Brix Smith speaking, it's the american poet Sylvia Plath's voice, reading one of her own poems.


This is definitely not correct. The voice has an American accent and is certainly Brix's voice.

You can hear Brix's voice at the time in various places, but here's an example: https://youtu.be/YYmDKWd2S2s

Sylvia Plath didn't sound anything like that. Here's an example of Plath reciting some of her poetry: https://youtu.be/6hHjctqSBwM

So the voice is not Plath. Is the poem one of hers?

I've been through Sylvia Plath's Collected Poems, and can't find the lines anywhere in there. I've yet to listen to the various recordings that are available on YouTube, but I will.

Dan
dannyno
  • 26. dannyno | 29/01/2018
Sorry, I didn't phrase that right, "The voice has an American accent and is certainly Brix's voice", since Plath was American. I meant to indicate that - as you can here in the example I linked to - Plath spoke with a distinct - affected? - British English-ish accent. I think if you know American accents well, you'd identify her origins, but it's quite disguised to my ear.
bzfgt
  • 27. bzfgt (link) | 04/02/2018
Yes, this is troublesome, I can't find those lines attributed to Plath anywhere. We need you to find the tape, or one like it! In any case where does one find the single version? I have 458489 A-Sides and it doesn't have the intro...nor 458489 B sides...I am trying to find one on Youtube but to no avail thus far.
bzfgt
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 04/02/2018
OK I found it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moGKAW0_0vM

That is DEFINITELY Brix!

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