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 (18)

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
Paul Go
  • 10. Paul Go | 29/11/2018
Contraflow was written at the cusp of a massive and significant change in migration patterns in the UK, in a word, it takes us back to the industrial growth of cities, the movement of people from the bucolic hell of peasantry into the cities, to now, where we see an exodus of the white middle-classes flowing back out from the urban hell who's fate they will seal behind them... chasing whatever they think will fix them... green wellies, posh idiot dogs chasing farm-stock, open plan country kitchens with underfloor heating and all the mod-cons, well fed cats chewing the heads off cute and fluffy vermin, a place where it takes only 2 minutes to chauffeur the kids in the wife's chelsea tractor, to a 'delightfully charming' and well performing (all-white) school for the socially anemic.

It was a panoramic framing of this whole social dynamic, and served brutally. The idea that they followed some backwardly ill-conceived dream only to discover they hate the mud, hate the water, milking and heorse,.. is a comedy bonus. A completely classic Fall track, huuuge razor sharp ideas, biting lyrics, savage delivery, like he's ripping your kecks off with his teeth, chasing you over grinding metallic riffs, through a pulsating, convulsive, undulating landscape.... slight overkill there as I can't do it justice, but you get the picture.
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 10/12/2018
I just think he doesn't like annoying drives around Derbyshire.
Paul Go
  • 12. Paul Go | 11/12/2018
Harsh, and to say that, right after I exposed myself and everything.

You'd be mad to have an opinion here.
Paul Go
  • 13. Paul Go | 11/12/2018
Anyone hating driving that much... would be sectioned. He'd be a risk to other road users.... now I've got him raging murderously behind the wheel trying to mow down derbyshire's little tykes on their way to school.
dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 13/12/2018
Except it seems it's other people's driving, since MES didn't drive.
Paul
  • 15. Paul | 14/12/2018
Yeah, that makes sense
he could go mental in the passenger seat
but who'd ever give him a lift twice
shame really, 2 tonnes of steel during the school run can be a great way to vent
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
Yeah I dig your thoughts there Paul, that is certainly evocative and may be an undercurrent here.
Paul Go
  • 17. Paul Go | 15/12/2018
From a strictly empirical point of view 'grids' sounds like 'fridge'. That's about as far as empirical listening will get you with this one.

If you will allow me one assumption, out of my usual 500, then perhaps the holy stink over 'keys' suggests 'door' rather than 'dole'. there is a narrative believe it or not, and other nice themes I didn't mention.

Without doubt the biggest bastard track I've attempted to nail down lyrically, not least because, as Danny pointed out, he plays it so bleedin' close to 'country folks' you can no longer trust your ears.

That skill, or annoyance, runs throughout. With the 'RO~?' sounds, and repeating similar sounding wa-wa-wa syllables, unnatural word order to sentences that are stabbed barked or growled. Also, this woman... I'm assuming it's a woman...(I'm also now assuming no female has ever read anything on a fall forum in its history) .is an emotional car crash, All seems deliberately designed to play between words and sounds, everything a bit double edged. The names of snake head 1 and 4 are in fact, fake,
Paul Go
  • 18. Paul Go | 15/12/2018
I'd have to double check, these look fine
Go out little tyke, And meet at crossroads, Early morning, The sick hill near Buxton, I gotta do it, With a roll, keys won't fit, in the socket, on Pennine mud, Walk snake back, walk snake pass

I do remember I definitely had 'gonna make gym'.
Had most trouble with the line before mud, I think someone else has..

door - key - control - fridge ... then mud? I think the mud is in part a decoy to make you hear 'stuck', a mean mark the day he wrote this, so sticking with 'stuck' will always turn that line into clanger. Changing 'stuck' was one of the happiest moments of my life, and turned into a very happy 'unstuck' line.

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