Cary Grant's Wedding

Lyrics

(1)

(I said shut up!)
Everybody go Cary Grant's wedding
Everybody go Cary Grant's wedding

Champagne hip hip hooray
Thank you folks for coming today
How much was the price on the door?
Sure it's worth a whole lot more

I said go to Cary Grant's wedding
All you folks and fools  (2)
Cary Grant's Wedding

All you folks and fools
Have been invited to 
A new-wave personality 
Stumbles out of the ruins  
Cos he's been invited to 
Cary Grant's wedding  (3)

Buster Keaton he turned up
He wasn't an old woman 
He didn't take hallucigens (4)

A poor mate for Cary Grant
Slaughterer of innocents  (5)
Add on 30 years 
And you've got Jake Burns  (6)
Joe Strummer

All you're going to
Cary Grant's wedding
A new-wave Hollywood
Where everybody's good
But not great

Cary Grant's wedding

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Notes

1. According to Reformation, "Cary Grant was married five times, in 1935, 1942, 1949. 1965 and, most interesting for pre-cog specialists, on April 11 1981, about 18 months after the song was first played in concert." According to Raging Ostler, "The last lines are the key to this song. It's having a go at the post punk British music scene devolving into a sub-Hollywood star system, that kind of thing. Musicians falling back into the old thing of behaving like stars. Not sure of the relevance of Cary Grant, except as a chance to refer to LSD."

^

2. Dan: "There's an old blues song by Funny Papa Smith called "Fool's Blues", which has the lines: 'Some people tell me that god takes care of old folks and fools But since I been born they must 'ta have changed his rules.'"

This may not have anything to do with the lyrics here, but it's a darn good line anyway, isn't it?

^

3. Martin identifies the following lines in the 1980/11/5 reading of the song (somewhere in London):

"Yoko Ono stumbles out of the ruins; save your anger for the publishing wolverines; keep it for the K- Tel marines...A new wave personality stumbles out of the ruins...a tenth rate Pole man and here he is, the man and his cronies... OK, maybe a [?] bit more bars [?]. And if I have a preference for Cary Grant, slaughterer of innocents. Add on thirty years and you've got Mark E Smith."

Here we have the earliest, so far, identified instance of a Wolverine reference. Adapted from my notes to "Arid Al's Dream":

Wolverines also figure in "Bury 1+3," "Service," "Clasp Hands," and "Session Musician," in each case somewhat opaquely. The wolverine is sort of a mini-theme, then, one that has persisted at a low level of intensity for 30 or more years. It isn't clear to me what is going on with wolverines. Wolverine is one of the X-Men in the Marvel series of the same name, a mutant with superpowers who fights evil criminals. At times this Wolverine, or anyway someone called "Wolverine," could possibly be intended, as in "Bury 1+3," when MES proclaims "I'm Wolverine." The reference in "Arid Al's Dream" is less clear. On the one hand, while it would be unusual to drop an indefinite article, it must be observed that MES drops the definite article as much as any native Russian speaker who is starting to learn English ("Behind tormentor was wolverine," so the usage would be parallel, as the definite article preceding "tormentor" has also been ditched). And in some instances, for instance "Service" ("Time of the wolverines"), it seems relatively clear that the word is not being used as a name. It is simplest to assume that MES uses it to mean roughly the same thing each time he sings it, either the animal or someone named after the animal, which makes Marvel's Wolverine somewhat unlikely to be the answer to our question, but the possibility cannot be completely dismissed based on the current evidence.

^

4.  The second line of the stanza is possibly "He was an old woman." Dr. X O'Skeleton suggests this could be a taunt that is directed at Keaton due to his avoidance of LSD. However, existing versions seem to corroborate "wasn't an old woman," according to our correspondent (Martin). 

Cary Grant and Barbara Hutton lived on Buster Keaton's former estate in Beverly Hills (Dan). Grant was really into LSD, which he said brought him inner peace.

^

5. The phrase "Slaughter (or 'Massacre') of the Innocents" usually refers to the story in the Bible that relates that Herod had all the male children in the Jerusalam area killed to avoid losing his kingdom to a prophesied King of the Jews who was about to be born.

^

6. Burns was the guitarist and singer of Stiff Little Fingers, and Strummer performed the same functions in the Clash.

^

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Comments (39)

Raging zoster
  • 1. Raging zoster | 23/01/2015

Is it not "How much was the price on the door / Sure it's worth a whole lot more"?

The last lines are the key to this song. It's having a go at the post punk British music scene devolving into a sub-Hollywood star system, that kind of thing. Musicians falling back into the old thing of behaving like stars. Not sure of the relevance of Cary Grant, except as a chance to refer to LSD.

Raging Ostler
  • 2. Raging Ostler | 23/01/2015

PS thank you autocorrect, for making me spell my own name wrong there.

Raging Ostler
  • 3. Raging Ostler | 23/01/2015

PS thank you autocorrect, for making me spell my own name wrong there.

bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 31/01/2015

Now that you mention it yes, definitely..."door."

dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 28/03/2016

From the Daily Mail, 12 June 1979, "Nigel Dempster's Mail Diary" (p19):


Despite reports in America that Cary intends to make Barbara his fifth wife, there is no chance of it happening - he is happy to remain single, although he depends on her greatly for advice and companionship.


Oops.

bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 30/04/2016

According to Wikipedia, he indeed married Barbara Harris in 1981...

dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 12/06/2016

Exactly, ironic.

Dan

dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 12/06/2016

The song was only played 9 times, first in November 1979. Were the lyrics complete in November 1979?

Dan

Martin
  • 9. Martin | 04/12/2016

In answer to Dannyno's question, yes, the lyrics were pretty much complete, as far as a couple of listens to very murky recordings (12 November 1979: Preston Polytechnic;18 November 1979: Marquee, London) has allowed me to tell. Buster Keaton's there, as is Jake Burns. No Joe Strummer, though. And there's a reference to the (I assume it's the "new wave personality" though this isn't at all clear "stumbling out of the ruins {having] "just played the Marquee". At least, I think that's what MES says.

There are a couple of lyrical variation - or maybe we should call them ad-libs - in one later performance:

November 80 London (exact date unknown)


- "A new wave personality stumbles out of the ruins... ten great Pole men and here he is, the man and his cronies... OK, maybe (...). And if I have a preference for Cary Grant, slaughterer of innocents. Add on thirty years and you've got Mark E Smith."

dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 20/12/2016

A reference to Tenpole Tudor's frontman Ed Tudor-Pole, there?

bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 27/12/2016

Whoa, that's a cool ad lib. "Cary Grant, slaughterer of innocents" is what jumps out as cool. Is that a reference to a particular movie or is he just being vicious?

bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt | 27/12/2016

Also odd because I presume he means "take away 30 years and you've got..."?

dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 28/12/2016

Cary Grant never played a villain, did he? So either MES is being obtuse, or he got the actor wrong. "Slaughterer of innocents" (or is it "innocence"?) sounds like Herod, or someone...

Dan

dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 28/12/2016

... I see Herod is already in the notes.

dannyno
  • 15. dannyno | 22/02/2017

"All you folks and fools"

There's an old blues song by Funny Papa Smith called "Fool's Blues", which has the lines:


Some people tell me that god takes care of old folks and fools
But since I been born they must 'ta have changed his rules

dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 22/02/2017

Or is it "Funny Paper" Smith. Anyway, it's definitely J.T. Smith.

Dr X O'Skeleton
  • 17. Dr X O'Skeleton | 17/05/2017

My reading of the Buster Keaton line was "he was a old woman" because he didn't take hallucinogens, old women being colloquially disapproving and risk-averse in UK parlance

bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017

Damn, Dr. X, all your comments throw the transcription into question! If you're not findimg egg corns, we're going to have to go back to the drawing board...as usual, can anyone corroborate, or think they can do the opposite?

dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 19/05/2017

Comment #17: it could be "he was an old woman". Perfectly plausible. Works just as well, if not slightly better since Dr X O'Skeleton is right about the potential meaning of "old woman". But it's not completely certain to my ears.

Probably irrelevant, but there is a famous Buston Keaton scene from "Sherlock Junior" (1924), where he leaps from a window into an old woman disguise.

dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 01/06/2017

Do we have it recorded anywhere that Cary Grant and Barbara Hutton lived on Buster Keaton's former estate in Beverly Hills?

bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 06/07/2017

No, I had no idea.

bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 06/07/2017

I'd like to get some clarity on the "wasn't a/was an old" line, I'll have to listen to live versions, and I would encourage you all to do the same...we should be able to at least move the needle from 50/50, no?

Martin
  • 23. Martin | 10/07/2017

There's not that many live versions to go on, but I'll get onto it in due course..

Martin
  • 24. Martin | 10/07/2017

Actually, we have nothing but live versions to listen to, since a studio version was never released and possibly never recorded.

Martin
  • 25. Martin | 12/07/2017

I've listened to the versions of the song as played on 18 November 1979 and 29 February 1980 and it's pretty clear to me that the line is that "Buster Keaton wasn't an old woman".

By the way, I also listened to the November 1980 rendition of the track and have accordingly edited/extended the appropriate entry on the Pithy Smithisms section on the Reformation! website. The ad-libs now read:

- "Yoko Ono stumbles out of the ruins; save your anger for the publishing wolverines; keep it for the K- Tel marines...A new wave personality stumbles out of the ruins...a tenth rate Pole man and here he is, the man and his cronies... OK, maybe a (?) bit more bars (?). And if I have a preference for Cary Grant, slaughterer of innocents. Add on thirty years and you've got Mark E Smith."

(Note the earliest - as known up to now - reference to "wolverines" in MES-speak.)

I've also upgraded the known number of performances of the song to 12, thus rendering comment no.8 obselete.

dannyno
  • 26. dannyno | 12/07/2017

Martin, comment #25. Interesting reference to Yoko Ono. How do we know it's definitely from November 1980? I ask because of course Lennon was killed at the beginning of December 1980.

dannyno
  • 27. dannyno | 12/07/2017

Cary Grant, "Slaughterer of Innocents".

So I've been looking again at Grant's film credits. "Arsenic and Old Lace"? That's got marriage in it, and murder, albeit Cary Grant's character doesn't actually kill anyone....

I

Martin
  • 28. Martin | 13/07/2017

Answer to comment no. 26: I suppose we don't know for sure. It was published as such on the first Official Fall Website gigographies, and has remained unquestioned ever since.

bzfgt
  • 29. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2017

Fuck! I thought I was almost done for the night, but a new "wolverine" reference means a lot of work!

bzfgt
  • 30. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2017

And of course the phrase "Slaughter of the Innocents" originally refers to Herod's killing male children to try to prevent the whole Jesus fiasco, I think... Wikipedia will be helpful.

bzfgt
  • 31. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2017

Oh, shit, that's already in my notes....there's one thing sorted.

bzfgt
  • 32. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2017

Reformation! narrows it down, rightly or wrongly, to November 5th, although the venue is still unknown.

bzfgt
  • 33. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2017

Shit! I forgot that, which I forgot, you are Reformation, I totally forgot (I also mentioned this it to you on whatever other song you posted about this on)--do you recall where this information originated?

dannyno
  • 34. dannyno | 15/07/2017

Is it not from the 2004 reissues of the Acklam Hall Live in London/Legendary Chaos Tape, where additional tracks described merely as "Live in London" were included?

Martin
  • 35. Martin | 16/07/2017

Re comment no. 34:

Yes, that's true. The track info for the reissue states: "Live in London, November 1980".

Now there are other songs played at the same gig:

https://sites.google.com/site/reformationposttpm/gig-reviews/the-fall-live/1980-gigs/19801105---unknown-venue-london

so presumably there was some information pre-2004 about this concert. Whether the information was accurate or not is another matter. When did the first Fall gigography appear on the net and was this gig included in it? Actually, there are not so many concerts for which "unknown venue" is recorded, so the fact that three songs from this one were included on an official release is odd to say the least (leaving aside the Receiver compilations/27 Points live (or live-ish) releases, which is a whole other kettle of Fall fish.

dannyno
  • 36. dannyno | 16/07/2017

Stefan's gigography dates back to the 1990s. It's only partially in the Internet Archive Wayback machine, so it won't be possible to trace it's appearance.

dannyno
  • 37. dannyno | 16/07/2017

On the FOF on 25 January 2015, GrumpyNorthernGit reported that he had a recording, labelled as The Venue, London, 23/11/1980, which purported to be the source of the additional tracks. The gig is unlisted anywhere, and he didn't himself know for sure that it was what it claimed to be.

http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=3410&view=findpost&p=22446811

Martin
  • 38. Martin | 18/07/2017

Conway Paton posting on Fallnet (August 11, 2004) referring to the bonus tracks on the reissued Live In London album:

"The last 4 words are crap - they are tracks from another live recording
in London, November 1980. I know because I sent them to Sanctuary."

Subsequent question from jacurtis:

"Just out of curiousity, where are these live tracks you're giving Sanctuary coming from? I mean, are these things from your own collection, or what? "

Conway: "Yeah, from my collection. I've been through Sanctuary's master tape library listing and there's not much unreleased stuff there at all. Sadly."

Completely irrelevant and erase completely if you want but the conversation continued:

JC on Slates:
> this looks *so* much better than the version
> stupidly-paired with APOAT, an album which I never much
> liked..

Yeah, I'm pleased that Sanctuary agreed to split them up - gives Slates the status that it really deserves. And actually, it was the most practical option given the amount of bonus material being added to both Slates & APOAT.

Another thing that bugged me was how Lie Dream/Fantastic Life had always been stuck on Room To Live CD reissues (for timing convenience), when chronologically and stylistically they really belonged with Slates. So that's now fixed. Means we now have to find something else to put with RTL, I suppose....

> Any idea what the bonus HEH material might end up being?

I have proposed a tracklisting to Sanctuary, but it's still not confirmed. HEH will be in the next batch of reissues, probably just before Christmas. My suggestion is a 2 disc set with the original album on CD1 and CD2 containing Peel session #5 (Deer Park / Look, Know / Winter / Who Makes The Nazis?); Look Know, I'm Into CB; and 6 live tracks that I have sent to Sanctuary. I can't say what the live tracks are until they've been cleared.

bzfgt
  • 39. bzfgt (link) | 22/07/2017

Have you contacted Conway about this? I'm happy to do it but I assume there's a 90% chance you've done it already, if not I'll email him.

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