This was an actual account of the operational experience
When he thought at first he was going out
In fact, he was going in for it

When do I quit?
Where do I quit?
I need to know
I can't leave this bench alone
To be with my darling
When do I quit?

C.O. can you digress - self (2)
When it came like the wind
One note, a slide
When do I quit this hell?
When do I quit this hospital?
My darling
Darling is waiting


The warmth that is inside
Cannot be made
By your own scene's ink
She has lips like Fedde Le Grand (3)

The warmth that is sliding
Cannot be made
When do I quit?
Can I leave this trench alone? (4)

You alright there kid?

When can I leave this bed alone?
Where can I leave this theatre alone?
Chino in a suit


1. The original working title was "Chino Splashback," which suggests the title could have referred to Chino pants (a "splashback" being a urination-related mishap). The infelicities of the body, in any case, is certainly a theme here as elsewhere on Your Future Our Clutter, as these lyrics, and others on the album, seem to be at least partially rooted in a then-recent hospital stay undergone by MES. He may also be comparing the hospital to a prison, as there is a large correctional facility in Chino, California, which saw a major (possibly racially motivated) riot the year before the album's release. There is also a 1973 Charles Bronson vehicle named Chino, a Western filmed in Italy. The plot and theme music have little to do with the Fall song, but "Chino" does sound a bit like some of the Spaghetti Western music made famous by Ennio Morricone, as well as classic surf music. But the song starts as though it's going to be a weird-out tune--a fuzzy sliding bass and odd keyboard squonks lead in to Greenway's Western tremolo. By the middle of the song the bass starts picking rather than sliding, and the song coheres into a more conventional sound.  


From Dan: "Trenches, COs, etc? It's another first world war song, isn't it? Although at first I thought it was about MES's experiences in hospital. Maybe it's about both." And Dan and Harley both point out that chino is a twill fabric out of which military uniforms are made, so the song may be, on one level, about a military hospital (as Harley notes, words like "trench" and "theatre," as in "theatre of war," also feed into this impression).


2. C.O. usually stands for "correctional officer," further suggesting a hospital-prison parallel.  It can sometimes mean "chief officer." Dan points out that it also can stand for "conscientious objector,"


3. Fedde le Grande is a Dutch DJ and producer with, as far as I can tell, unremarkable lips.  


4. The song has been interpreted as MES speculating on the end of the Fall, although he has subsequently denied that he is seriously considering such a thing.  


Comments (11)

  • 1. dannyno | 07/04/2013

actually "commissioned officer" or "commanding officer" is more common than "correctional officer".
  • 2. dannyno | 26/05/2013
Trenches, COs, etc? It's another first world war song, isn't it? Although at first I thought it was about MES's experiences in hospital. Maybe it's about both.

Anyway, "chino", the material, was used in military uniforms. So another clue falls into place.
  • 3. dannyno | 14/07/2015
C.O. could be "conscientious objector" too.
  • 4. stevoid (link) | 28/07/2015
Just watching 'sons of anarchy' and one of the characters says you been in rehab? and the other one replies "we call it chino".
  • 5. petey | 25/12/2016
i too took this as a WW1 song, the C.O., the chino material, the trench. a soldier in delerium perhaps, but how fedde le grande fits in i have no idea.
  • 6. Thop | 08/06/2017
"She has lips like Feddy Le Grande"

Always gives me a laugh in the middle of Chino!
Baffling results to looking up Feddy Le Grande. The name has a phonetic similarity to that of the actress Hedy Lamarr though and I wonder if it may be one of MES' comic (intentional or otherwise) name mix-ups. Others being Kurt Cobain's girlfriend Courtney Pine and Scott Thurston being the guitarist in Sonic Youth.
  • 7. dannyno | 18/06/2017
Thop, comment #6. Yes, I think that's plausible.
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 09/07/2017
I live that Courtney Pine/Scott Thurston quote! No wonder he shot himself...

Yeah, he may have initially thought Hedy Lamarr and then made a leap, I think he does that sometimes just to muddle thjngs up...
  • 9. harleyr | 25/08/2017
Just struck me that this might be about someone stewing in a military hospital, chino trousers having originally been military wear. Might make more sense of the 'trench' line. And 'theatre' (of war).
  • 10. dannyno | 26/08/2017
See my comment #2!
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 07/10/2017
OK, Dan, sorry I neglected that comment which seems sensible, both your and Harley's ideas have been incorporated into note 1.

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