Contraflow

Lyrics

I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much (1)
I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much

I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much
I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much

Go out little tyke (2)
And meet at crossroads
Early morning
The sick hill near Buxton (3)
Stock reload
I gotta do it
Prefixed about it 
Goin' to meet Jim (4)
With a roll

I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much
I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much

I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much

As a retard I had to do it
I hate the dole 
Them keys won't fit
Keys won't fit (the keys won't fit)
The keys won't fit in the socket
Or the controls
Stuck like grids on Pennine mud (5)

I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much
I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much
(Backing vocals: walk snake back pass) (6)

Walk snake back
Walk snake back
walk snake pass
walk snake bank

Go out little tyke
Early morning
Sick hills near Buxton
Suffering
I gotta do it

I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much
I hate the countryside so much
I hate the contraflow so much

Notes

1. "Contraflow" is when opposing traffic, due to construction, occupies one of the lanes on the same side of a highway or road that is normally dedicated to traffic going in a single direction. Many fans are adamant that the words as sung are actually "I hate the country folk so much," at least part of the time. It seems clear that "contraflow" is sung at least some of the time, but some of the iterations do sound like they could be "country folk."  

The bass line resembles Pink Floyd's "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun." The original demo recording of this song was titled "Controls." According to Jim Watts, the resemblance was unintentional, but "when i realised it i thought it was funny and left it."

Our roving reporter has the following to say:

From The Fallen, Dave Simpson interviews ex-drummer Dave Milner at his home in the Peak District (p.270 of the 2009 paperback):

"Those lyrics about hating the countryside were directly inspired by this place", proclaims Milner, grinning. It seems the Fall van used to have to negotiate Snake Pass to pick the drummer up, at which point Smith would grumble, "Where the fook are we going now?"

 

^

2. "Tyke" is most commonly used to mean a child nowadays, but it originally referred to a dog. It is also a term for someone from Yorkshire, which may be how it is used here. The song is set in Derbyshire, which borders Yorkshire.

^

3. Buxton is in Derbyshire, and is very close to what is considered Greater Manchester.  

^

4. Probably a reference to Jim Watts, the bass player at the time (Watts also sometimes played guitar in the Fall).  

^

5. The Pennines are a range of hills in England; Buxton is in the Pennines.  

^

6. Snake Pass is in the Pennines, not far from Buxton.  According to Russell:

The snake pass is a well-worn route from Manchester to Sheffield, it must have been well-known to The Fall in early gigging days, as well as being popular with cyclists (and Buxton, apart from being a 19th century health spa is also god forsaken) but the song seems to refer to a car or van getting stuck (in the mud) in bad weather (a frequent occurrence on the Snake) and, having to walk back, it's pretty remote by English standards and 'a walk' could be up to 15 miles (it could be very exhausting/annoying or potentially fatal). It would certainly make you (temporarily) hate the countryside, but there aren't many country folk to hate, to be honest. A frequently closed road like the Snake would also have loads of 'contraflow' which means even more delays and hassle, so... you can hate that, too. Otherwise, it's a breathtakingly beautiful part of the world. Honest!

^

Comments (9)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 08/04/2013

There are two main road routes through the Pennines from Sheffield to Manchester. These are the A628 and the A57. The Woodhead Pass is the section of the A628 which goes through the Pennines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A628_road). And the Snake Pass is the section of the A57 which goes over the Pennines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_Pass).

Buxton is to the south of the Snake Pass https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=buxton&hl=en&ll=53.307083,-1.816864&spn=0.327819,0.617294&sll=53.395717,-1.499456&sspn=0.327139,0.617294&hnear=Buxton,+Derbyshire,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=11.

What of "sick hill(s)"? Buxton is a spa town, so maybe there's some irony there. Or maybe they just make him sick. Or maybe there's a link to Eyam, to the east of Buxton, and famous as the "plague village" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyam)?

dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 10/04/2013

See also the poem entitled "Sufficiently strenuous 2 deter flirts", in Renegade, p.192 ("sufficiently strenuous" sounds like the kind of thing a walking guidebook would say).

dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 16/04/2013

From "The Fallen", Dave Simpson interviews ex-drummer Dave Milner at his home in the Peak District (p.270 of the 2009 paperback):

"Those lyrics about hating the countryside were directly inspired by this place", proclaims Milner, grinning. It seems the Fall van used to have to negotiate Snake Pass to pick the drummer up, at which point Smith would grumble, "Where the fook are we going now?"


Dan

dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 08/11/2014

I was in Buxton today, and in a second-hand bookshop in that town was a copy of "Renegade". Ooo!

dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 08/11/2014

p.s. the reference to "sufficiently strenuous", above.

I found this in a book called, "The sociology of an English village: Gosforth": (the section is about courting)

p.63: "This new rendezvous is a lane leading to three farms which is normally little used at night. Since it stands at the top of the steepest hill in the parish it is open to conjecture whether its popularity is due to the fact that it is immune to interference by all but the most athletic of 'Peeping Toms', or whether, as it is locally maintained, the journey up the hill is sufficiently strenuous to discourage the 'flirts'."

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KcH7AQAAQBAJ&lpg=PA63&dq=%22sufficiently%20strenuous%22%20flirts&pg=PA63#v=onepage&q=%22sufficiently%20strenuous%22%20flirts&f=false

russell richardson
  • 6. russell richardson | 04/05/2015

to add:
the snake pass is a well-worn route from Manchester to Sheffield, must have been well-known to The Fall in early gigging days, as well as being popular with cyclists (and Buxton, apart from being a 19th century health spa is also god forsaken....) but the song seems to refer to a car or van getting stuck (in the mud) in bad weather ( a frequent occurrence on the Snake) and having to walk back it's pretty remote by English standards and 'a walk' could be up to 15 miles... (could be very exhausting/annoying or potentially fatal) . would certainly make you (temporarily) have the countryside, but there aren't many country folk to hate, to be honest. A frequently closed road like the Snake would also have loads of 'contraflow' which means even more delays and hassle, so... you can hate that, too.
Otherwise, it's a breathtakingly beautiful part of the world. Honest!

dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 12/07/2015

The Snake Pass:

Image

Image

Image

dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 12/07/2015

The Snake Pass in 240 seconds:
https://youtu.be/EeiERO3i04E

Back the other way, in half an hour:
https://youtu.be/Q7145Zw1Oho

dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 12/07/2015

I hate the countryside so much:

Image

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