Cyber Insekt

Lyrics

Film of film on book-rack
Book of film
Book on station track (1)
Cyber Insekt 

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly (2)
Cyber Insekt

On rack

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly
Cyber Insekt

Come on back

Film of book
Film book-rack
Book of film
Book on station rack

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly
Cyber Insekt

On rack

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly
Cyber Insekt

Come on back

Purple in its glowingness
Golden roasting in its duly knowing

Book of film
Book on station track
Film of book with soundtrack

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly
Cyber Insekt

On rack

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly
Cyber Insekt

Come on back

Cyber Insekt
In its enscarpment
Burning over all planes and trains

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly
Cyber Insekt

Station clack

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly
Cyber Insekt

Bring on station track

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly
Cyber Insekt

Station clack

Cyber Insekt Cyber Insekt
Yellow moth fly
Cyber Insekt

Break on station track

Notes

1. According to Julia Nagle, the song was written in the aftermath of the notorious onstage incident in New York City when MES brawled with Karl Burns and the whole band (Nagle excepted) wound up quitting:  "'The song Cyber Insekt, is about that time in New York in 1998. We (our lawyer. Mark and myself) said the whole incident had been incredulous [sic], and we should write a book about it. And being in America, we then laughed about making the "film of the book, of the film" etc, which in turn became the lyrics, if that makes any sense.' And on the preview of the album, Nagle says it's  'about the virtual world of communication. There was a plan behind this: to work it live, rather than program it. It's bubbly.'" (Fallnet)

The song is often assumed to refer to a paperback on sale at a train station, which seems plausible.

On the version from the DVD The Fall--A Touch Sensitive: Live MES sings "Book of train, train of book."

From MO: "I wonder if the ‘book on station rack’ that catches MES’s attention here could be Silence of the Lambs? A book made into a film that then had multiple film-related reprints widely available in all good station bookshops... The movie tie in editions featured the iconic image of the yellow deaths head moth in Clarice’s mouth. And of course, given The Fall’s presence on the soundtrack of the film, might make sense that his eye would be drawn toward it."

Leosfi points out that the drum pattern is copied from Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz."

^

2. Backing vocals on the chorus are by Julia Nagle and guest Kazuko Hohki from the Frank Chickens. On the rough mix, Nagle sings alone and the lyric is clearly "yellow moth fly," as given above. On the album, however, there seems to be an extra syllable on the chorus--perhaps "yellow metal fly," in any case that gives the cadence, but its hard to make out. Nagle told me via email that "yellow moth fly" is correct, but it's possible that Hohki said something different, or added a nonsense syllable such as "yellow moth-a fly."

^

Comments (65)

harleyr
  • 1. harleyr | 06/02/2013
Perhaps this is too obvious to bother saying but I reckon Smith was also thinking about those racks of cheap sci-fi paperbacks you used to get at major railway stations in the UK. Lines like 'Purple in its glowingness' bring to mind the colourful painted covers of those books, for me at least.
bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt (link) | 23/02/2013
Yes, that seems likely; thanks for the comment.
Karl B.
  • 3. Karl B. | 31/10/2014
My first impression on hearing this was to be reminded of Milan Kunderas testaments betrayed book,an analysis of kafka and his legacy.im probably quoting wrong, but Kundera suggests kafkaology exists to kafkaologise kafka.that is to render kafka more kafka.kafkas slim body of work compared to the mountains of analysis published yearly about his work.books on books on film on books.
Leosfi
  • 4. Leosfi | 06/02/2016
The drum pattern is a sample from "The Ballroom biz" by Sweet.
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
What do you mean the drum "pattern" is a sample? You mean the drums are a sample, or the pattern is copied from BB?
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
OK, I listened and I don't think it's a sample, it's just copied.
Martin
  • 7. Martin | 07/04/2017
Is there a reason why we assume that the word "duly" is the one actually sung? I can't make any sense out of it if it is, and maybe "jewelry" could be the word actually used. However, "jewelry knowing" doesn't make that much sense either, so maybe I'm going down a cul-de-sac here.
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 06/05/2017
Martin, "Duly knowing" makes perfect sense to me: "knowing, as might be expected of a cyber surveillance insect" for instance, vs. "jewelry knowing" which makes no sense to me at all.
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 21/01/2018
Too late to be a source, but amusing nonetheless:

Pentagon plans cyber-insect army
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4808342.stm
MO
  • 10. MO | 01/10/2018
I wonder if the ‘book on station rack’ that catches MES’s attention here could be Silence of the Lambs? A book made into a film that then had multiple film-related reprints widely available in all good station bookshops... The movie tie in editions featured the iconic image of the yellow deaths head moth in Clarice’s mouth. And of course, given The Fall’s presence on the soundtrack of the film, might make sense that his eye would be drawn toward it.

https://goo.gl/images/xVhbam
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 02/10/2018
Comment #10: yes, I think that's very plausible. The "cyber" bit doesn't really fit the book, but that doesn't matter if it's just the inspiration for some of the lyrical imagery.
Paul Go
  • 12. Paul Go | 25/11/2018
good grief...just how many times do you people need to hear the word 'rack'?
Paul
  • 13. Paul | 25/11/2018
"yellow on (the) inside"
...politics of internet use is liberal; yellow as in scared on the inside

"Purple in its glowingness
Golden, roasting in its jewelly knowing"

...pure regal poetry.

'yearning over all plains and seas'
...extends the escarpment metaphor and regal language from the previous refrain.
Paul Go
  • 14. Paul Go | 28/11/2018
I had no idea the significance of 'he is not appreciated' being sung at Fall gigs until I came looking on the internet for some solace a few days ago. When I think of the textual layered depth, the structural density, driven by the socially sensitive concerns MES so often puts into a track like this, against the ~haven't even scratched the fucking surface~ combined level of comprehension across his core fan base... I despair, why did he bother? Did he die thinking no one understood a bleeding word he said?
dannyno
  • 15. dannyno | 29/11/2018
I'm not sure being understood was always top of his list, no.

The lyric is plainly not "yellow on the inside".
Paul Go
  • 16. Paul Go | 29/11/2018
It doesn't sound like anything human at all, more like a sort of studio produced granulation, where you comb out time and push it together again, sounds like a smear or timeshift. I may be wrong about that one, but 'on the inside' fits and 'moth fly' is random, distractingly bad, and means nothing in the context of the metaphors or the subject.

It's all land based metaphors, people crawling on the internet, it's about a de-individualised swarm of blind insects following their baser instincts, yellow moth fly is just a gay sounding line.

And who the hell doesn't want to be understood? And since when has 'accessible' art ever been good art?
Paul Go
  • 17. Paul Go | 29/11/2018
Does anyone here ever take a step back, ever, and wonder why he is might be using trains in a song about the internet? Then appreciated the frequency of the chorus, how fast it comes around, how hurried it is compared to the more convention and fairly jolly train rhythm beneath, And then realised what a fuck me sideways clever device that is, like a super highway traveling over an a old infrastructure? Anyone from the UK here?

Or is it really the 'raging' debates over words you can never hear, but refuse to work out, that interests everyone?
Paul Go
  • 18. Paul Go | 29/11/2018
Just listened in the car, trying to hear planes and trains, So I hear the 't', but still hear the 'ee'. Luckily I only ever sing along in the car on my own.

'yearning over all plains of trees'

which is definitely better.. keeps it land based, trains can still yearn for what's beyond escarpments,while the internet can now covet all paper knowledge. Thanks for the 'T' on this one.

still 'jewelly'

'film of book with soundtrack' surely, rather than 'book of book...' ?
Paul Go
  • 19. Paul Go | 29/11/2018
Does anyone have thoughts on the main repeating words in the song? Those three punchy red blooded Germanic ones, Book Film Rack and then Track. He says them a lot, and in different combinations, almost like he's saying don't take them at face value, or reconstruct their meanings in some way.
Paul Go
  • 20. Paul Go | 29/11/2018
There's some kind of McLuhan thing going on, has a sense of being trapped in a prism, or an inner reflection, so a sort of syntactical entanglement or stuttering or digital reiteration.

book of film
film of book
book on rack
film of book with soundtrack

soundtrack seems like its actual content, 'with', as oppose to ' on ' ' of '
but film is supposedly content, although he uses as if it was another container.
dannyno
  • 21. dannyno | 30/11/2018
Paul Go:

'moth fly' is random, distractingly bad, and means nothing in the context of the metaphors or the subject.


Except that Julia Nagle has said it's "yellow moth fly", and it could be a reference to the cover of the book The Silence of the Lambs, as covered in the notes.

it's about a de-individualised swarm of blind insects following their baser instincts


That's an interesting interpretation, but bear in mind Julia's account of the genesis of the song.

And who the hell doesn't want to be understood?


If MES always wanted to be understood, why did he almost never explain his lyrics or print them on his records?

And since when has 'accessible' art ever been good art?


I'm not sure what this means, to be honest.

Does anyone here ever take a step back, ever, and wonder why he is might be using trains in a song about the internet? Then appreciated the frequency of the chorus, how fast it comes around, how hurried it is compared to the more convention and fairly jolly train rhythm beneath, And then realised what a fuck me sideways clever device that is, like a super highway traveling over an a old infrastructure? Anyone from the UK here?


I'm from the UK, but I don't think about trains much. If the song is partially about "the virtual world of communications" (or the internet) as Julia said, then "cyber insekt" might represent "bugs", perhaps.

Or is it really the 'raging' debates over words you can never hear, but refuse to work out, that interests everyone?


Those debates are very interesting, but I've generally been more into lyrics archaeology.

Just listened in the car, trying to hear planes and trains, So I hear the 't', but still hear the 'ee'. Luckily I only ever sing along in the car on my own.

'yearning over all plains of trees'

which is definitely better.. keeps it land based, trains can still yearn for what's beyond escarpments,while the internet can now covet all paper knowledge. Thanks for the 'T' on this one.


I don't think we should substitute our "better" readings for what we can hear, as a rule. In this case, I think you can make a case for "plains of trees". I'm not sure, need to listen more. But it's not implausible.

still 'jewelly'


I think this is very plausible. It sounds more like that than "duly".

'film of book with soundtrack' surely, rather than 'book of book...' ?


I support this.

Does anyone have thoughts on the main repeating words in the song? Those three punchy red blooded Germanic ones, Book Film Rack and then Track. He says them a lot, and in different combinations, almost like he's saying don't take them at face value, or reconstruct their meanings in some way.


Hm, well you could argue with just as much justification that their repetition is almost like he's saying we should take them at face value.
Paul Go
  • 22. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
Never listen to band members for precisely the same reason the boss doesn't publish lyrics or ever directly explain or detail anything about his intentions.

Artists make their art. An offering that is their effort to 'say' what they want to 'say'. They don't make a second 'accessible' version to spell it out for slow learners. With Mark E, you'll only ever get what you expect to get. How people characterise him is shameful, but they are appropriately rewarded.

My general point is listening is different to hearing. In this particular thread, so called 'inaccessible' art requires the listener to engage, and that means improving your understanding, perhaps over years, looking for a better understanding. The only motivation for this is the anticipation of enlightenment, not just over 'depuzzling' it.

So... forced close repetition is a transcendental or transformative technique, known of, and used, everywhere, to this day, since the dawn of man.
Paul Go
  • 23. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
It has trains in it. Thinking about trains is required. HS2 has been in the news for years. Part of the justification for it, which is always the point in the news, is that it's cheaper to build new than upgrade our aging network. A detail you might not know is, by getting there first in the world, we built a narrower gauge rail than was later used, together with all the tiny picturesque bridges everywhere, it has meant the UK being stuck with a slower more expensive rail infrastructure than the rest of europe. This is a mirror of the UK information network, in the hands of a lucky company called BT, the first most profitable part of the Post Office to be privatised. They monopolised and stalled upgrading the old copper star-network of our aging telephone network for years.
Paul Go
  • 24. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
Just to underline the relevance of this, the year of this album, 2000, saw the first home broadband service, ADSL, half the UK had some form of broadband by 2007. but in 2000 other countries were already getting optical connections. As with so many technologies, DAB, HD broadcast, Wide gauge railways, Internet services, to name but a few, the UK is a generation behind. Trains, in the inescapably retrospective cursed and gloomy way we do on this weather beaten island, should make you think of a time we were proud and top of the world in games like these, especially when aligned, as they are in this unutterably genius track, with the latest infrastructural advancements.
Paul Go
  • 25. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
Perhaps if you thought about literal trains and the concept of progress, you might at least *hear* one of the qualities in 'come on back'.
Paul Go
  • 26. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
Sorry if it seems I'm picking on you, balls will always get you into trouble.
Paul Go
  • 27. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
No one has a single thoughtful defense for yellow moth fly, even when they are apparently as sure as sure can be, Despite this rare free gift, it still wasn't enough to intrigue a 'why moth', or 'why train', 'why InseKt', 'on a train', 'why Cyber', 'why moth', 'why fly', 'from a train',
Paul Go
  • 28. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
18 years on, more relevant than ever, the work of the Fall unfolds into our future, 18 years and not a scratch on it.The fruits of 18 years of group-net-think, not a scratch into it. The sublimity is monumentally dark.
dannyno
  • 29. dannyno | 01/12/2018
Paul Das:

Never listen to band members for precisely the same reason the boss doesn't publish lyrics or ever directly explain or detail anything about his intentions.


"The boss"? Oh dear, oh dear, one of those.

Artists make their art.


"Discuss"

With Mark E, you'll only ever get what you expect to get. How people characterise him is shameful, but they are appropriately rewarded.


Anyone?!

My general point is listening is different to hearing.


Mmm. Golly. I wonder what other different things we can think of?

In this particular thread, so called 'inaccessible' art requires the listener to engage, and that means improving your understanding, perhaps over years, looking for a better understanding. The only motivation for this is the anticipation of enlightenment, not just over 'depuzzling' it.


Or you could just make stuff up and insist it's right anyway.

It has trains in it. Thinking about trains is required.


No, I don't want to think about trains. It's also got the colour "purple" in it. I'd rather think about that.

HS2 has been in the news for years.


It has. But what's the oldest reference to HS2 you can find?

Part of the justification for it...


You probably need "annotatednetworkrail" for this kind of stuff.

Just to underline the relevance of this


But what has it got to do with the song?!

Perhaps if you thought about literal trains and the concept of progress, you might at least *hear* one of the qualities in 'come on back'.


I just had a think about literal trains and the concept of progress for a couple of minutes, but I still couldn't hear any of that.

Sorry if it seems I'm picking on you, balls will always get you into trouble.


Trouble? Bless.

No one has a single thoughtful defense for yellow moth fly, even when they are apparently as sure as sure can be,


All there is, is a suggestion it could be something to do with the picture on the cover of The Silence of the Lambs. The more you go on about the concept of progress and literal trains, the more I like the book cover suggestion.

The sublimity is monumentally dark


And the darkness is monumentally sublime, probably.
Paul Go
  • 30. Paul Go | 01/12/2018
HS2 was to make the point he should know something about trains. I put dated references in where appropriate. This is called context. It's a kind of container that helps in the reading of content.

Trains are in the song, cyber-ness is in the song, facts you refuse to connect and even reject outright because you prefer to think about purple and psychopaths. Are you claiming the rational high ground? 'Mmm. Golly. I wonder what other different things we can think of.'. Ok, so you like thinking about purple, but not next to gold, or jewels? Or building an image from them. Don't strain yourself eh.

I took time and care to show thought process and progress, and my main points are articulate, well founded, and thought through. If you mean 'one of them' as in a Fall fan, someone who respects and appreciates the efforts and work of MES,then please, tell me, where are they all are?
dannyno
  • 31. dannyno | 03/12/2018
I mean "one of them" as in the type of person who calls MES "the boss". <shudder>
dannyno
  • 32. dannyno | 03/12/2018
Paul Go, comment #30:


Trains are in the song, cyber-ness is in the song, facts you refuse to connect


But who says they are connected? This is the crux of things. So far as I can see, trains are mentioned only in so far as a train station is the location of the book rack. Context is contextual.

I'd be no less justified in saying to you:

Trains are in the song, cyber-ness is in the song, facts you refuse to disconnect...
Paul Go
  • 33. Paul Go | 03/12/2018
I have given an *abundance* of reasons why I think they are connected.

You realise your logic, taken to its logical conclusion, would mean nothing can ever be connected to anything?
dannyno
  • 34. dannyno | 03/12/2018
Listening to the live version from the Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, 20th November 2001.

There are some variant lyrics there, which suggest to me that a more coherent narrative (maybe not just one narrative) got somewhat chopped up for the album.

Note this variant lyric:


It is purple escarpment
Over the north (something) of the English Lake District
Something something over fields and seas


A purple escarpment likely refers to either a purplish stone formation, or the colour of heather on hillsides, something like that.

Other live lyrics refer to the "plains of Norfolk" (Concorde2, Brighton, 17 April 2001).

Over fields
dannyno
  • 35. dannyno | 03/12/2018
Comment #33:


I have given an *abundance* of reasons why I think they are connected.


You've developed that interpretation and those connections. I don't have a problem with that, I think it's good to do. But you haven't shown that those connections are in the text


You realise your logic, taken to its logical conclusion, would mean nothing can ever be connected to anything?


Yes, but why would I take it to its logical conclusion in that case?
Paul Go
  • 36. Paul Go | 03/12/2018
Nice, new to me, thanks.

Now you mention it, escarpments can be step like or sticking out.

I guess he preferred the head spinning plains/plane paper/wood interconnections.
Paul Go
  • 37. Paul Go | 03/12/2018
I backed up a connection, you didn't back up a disconnection. If, as a rule, you don't have to back up disconnecting things that you know are there, it can always be used as an easy fool-proof argument.

Despite this, someone merely mentioned Silence of the Lambs and you are trying to connect it, but it's not even explicit like trains and cyber. Not sure how long I can keep this up to be honest.
Paul Go
  • 38. Paul Go | 03/12/2018
This one is a particularly long journey, and I only wanted to get some momentum going.
dannyno
  • 39. dannyno | 04/12/2018
Note 37:


I backed up a connection, you didn't back up a disconnection.


I backed up the disconnection merely by challenging the connection.

But let's be clear what is and what is not being said.

We have in front of us a text. It is not clear whether that text completely accurately reflects what is sung on record, but it's mainly pretty close.

There are a couple of things to do with this text, other than trying to make it accurate in relation to the record. First of all, what is it saying? And secondly, how is it saying it?

On the first question, there are two aspects - what was it intended to say, and what does it mean to us the listeners?

On the first aspect, we have information from Julia about where the song's origins lie, which would seem to help a bit. The rest is speculation and interpretation, which may be well or ill-informed, and firmly grounded in the text or freely elaborated. The second aspect arises because meaning is not constrained by intention, even when intention is clear and known.

So if a listener can find meaning in the song, regardless of whether that was the intended meaning (assuming there was one), they are free to do so. The connections you have made cannot be said not to exist if you perceive them to exist. Quite often such interpretation casts new light on songs.

But I say two things. First of all, what is sauce for the goose, etc. Your interpretation exists alongside other interpretations (remember interpretation is free even when intended meaning is known), and it is not on for you to insist that all other interpretations are wrong, and only yours right. That cannot be so. Secondly, you cannot expect to offer an interpretation without it being interrogated. Although interpretation is free, so is critique. If I think an interpretation is not grounded sufficiently in the text, then I will say so.

To make an obvious and non-controversial point as an example, someone might find that the song contains elements they can recognise in their own life. And so that may give them a particular personal interpretation of the song. Those elements would evidently not be intentionally there, and they may not be shared with others, but it would not be appropriate to deny that interpretation is possible.

Unless that person is just wrong about what the song says. So if someone says, this song makes me think of my grandma, who had a yellow mop, it wouldn't be out of order to observe that the lyric actually is "yellow moth", not mop. That probably won't stop that association for that individual, but it's an important caveat.

As for Silence of the Lambs, I've only gone as far as saying I think it's a plausible suggestion. Which it is, because The Fall have a song on the soundtrack, and the cover of the novel features a moth answering the description in the lyric, which also talks about "book of film".

We do not know that MES intended that connection. But it's there. And those are the reasons it's there.

Your thing - it's just an interpretation. That's fine. But it's only an interpretation. Better than some, perhaps. Worse than others. Either way you can expect to be challenged on its grounding in the text if you're going to claim it represents intended meaning as opposed to something more subjective.
Paul Go
  • 40. Paul Go | 04/12/2018
There are NO interpretations here, nothing. And I haven't told you my interpretation. I was just establishing the patently obvious. Trains, internet, infrastructure, progress, anonymity monikers and insekts. What you call an interpretation is about as close to facts as you'll ever have in a Fall song.
Paul Go
  • 41. Paul Go | 04/12/2018
A moth is a symbol used all over the place for lots of things for millennia. I've already said what yellow means in its context, you can use your imagination (google) to work out how it relates to moths.
Paul Go
  • 42. Paul Go | 05/12/2018
He may well have seen Jodie Foster's face with a moth on it, it may well have become part of his train of thought. You have pointed out that it correlates to a few words in the song, but the words stand on their own, with or without it. Has it shed any more light beyond what is literally already present in the song? Books, film, racks, moth. It's certainly the way to go if you want to describe an utterly banal song.

With a little imagination you could even say the blurred way the female vocal sounds reflects the moth on mouth picture, So what? Another sideways connection. The moth mouth female pattern is fully contained within the song without the reference. We could go even further into the ideas within the film, and, at a stretch, point them vaguely at the song... but none of this will inform the song. It's a perfectly happy and healthy song in its own right.

As far as process goes, I'd recommend moving into the song, not sideways around it.
Paul Go
  • 43. Paul Go | 05/12/2018
As a final point, derailing meaning from intention is only required with shit or confused art. Unless you are saying The Fall's music is about nothing, then being wistfully subjective is the fastest route to getting nowhere.
Paul Go
  • 44. Paul Go | 05/12/2018
If you want to know what an interpretation looks like, I gave you Contraflow and Birmingham School for free. I had hoped it would give a sense that Mark E Smith is about as far from a random collection of two-dimensional sideways references as can be.
Paul No Go
  • 45. Paul No Go | 05/12/2018
Everyone remembers Jodie getting spunk flicked in her eye (or is that just me?) but there are other striking literal/conceptual correlations between the film and song, aside from the fact it was a film made from a book and the fall supposedly contributed to the soundtrack, of the film, not the book, obviously. I presume the film that was made from a book was again turned into a book, for the moth to appear on a book rack.

Lecter is behind a screen. You are looking through one now. You are like lecter...not really
Lecter changes his identity by wearing another man's face. Internet users often 'mask' their identity with names like 'bzfgt'. You are like lecter...not really...more like Buffalo Bill....
Buffalo Bill is trying out being a transvestite. A good rule is never trust an overtly female identity online, you may end up with spunk in your eye.
You'll like this one, Buffalo Bill's house is by a railway track...'oooo'... not 'ahhh', because it means nothing.

There are more, but knowing what might have stirred Mark's imagination and knowing when to stop looking requires some understanding of the song itself, on its own terms. The depth of the song is in the song, not in any references that can be made.
Paul Go
  • 46. Paul Go | 06/12/2018
What you have now is a base spread of facts, all I have done is line up trains and cyber hardware for you, and interrelate software identity with insekts... I wasn't expecting such an uphill struggle to be honest, what with my charm and social grace... and I'm not taking ownership of an 'interpretation', as far as I'm concerned, this is all simply what's there already. There's so much more to it.

You could go back to ~not having a clue~ in peace if you'd just make those two fairly important lyric corrections, after all, does anyone here really care whether it's 'duly' or 'jewelly'? 'plains of trees' or 'planes and trains and automobiles'? Is it not enough that I'm saving you future embarrassment without you having to like me too? Must I help you 'profit' out of this doomed enterprise and like it? Well I don't like it, but this replicates all over the net, and tone-deaf mistakes like these reflect badly on Mark.
bzfgt
  • 47. bzfgt (link) | 08/12/2018
Paul, it does not sound like "Yellow Moth Fly" to me, too many syllables. However, Julia Nagel (Adamson) told me that is definitely what she sang. I think the other backup singer is Japanese and maybe pronounced it strangely to Anglophone ears, or else maybe even sang something else, although that would be a whole other can of worms. In any case, "Yellow Moth Fly" is direct from (one of) the horse's mouth(s).
bzfgt
  • 48. bzfgt (link) | 08/12/2018
"Jewelly knowing" maybe. But that would sound just like "duly knowing," which is a recognizable phrase, so I feel like there would have to be some confirmation from somewhere were I to feel comfortable changing it to that.
bzfgt
  • 49. bzfgt (link) | 08/12/2018
"And who the hell doesn't want to be understood? And since when has 'accessible' art ever been good art? "

This juxtaposition is funny...Paul, please try to read some of the notes before commenting sometimes.
bzfgt
  • 50. bzfgt (link) | 08/12/2018
I don't know how much of this has been worked over and how much just comes from Lyrics Parade. I'll take you guys' word for "Film of book" for now (I'm going to listen and check though) but it's a shame since I like "Book of book," it conveys redundancy de re with redundancy de dicto. Anyway I meant to say about "jewelly," which I like, that I'm not sure that's not how MES would pronounce "duly" as many people from England do. That would be a conundrum. But since you're both English maybe I'm missing something and that's not how many people there pronounce "duly"?
bzfgt
  • 51. bzfgt (link) | 08/12/2018
Paul, Julia is telling the truth that she says "Yellow Moth Fly" because, as I mentioned in the notes, on the Testa Rossa version where she's the only backing vocalist you can clearly hear her saying "Yellow Moth Fly." If there's anything in there that's not YMF (as there does seem to be), it's coming from the other vocalist.

Ok, the first line is clearly and distinctly "film of film"
bzfgt
  • 52. bzfgt (link) | 08/12/2018
But the second one was "book of film," changed. I do hear "planes and trains," I can't get anything else out of that right now.
bzfgt
  • 53. bzfgt (link) | 08/12/2018
Paul, the only "internet" connection is the single word cyber. Yes there is talk of trains and stations, which imply rails, movement, communication, but to say the song "references" the internet is to give an interpretation. I do put my interpretations sometimes, but if I stick to puzzling out the trivial stuff sometimes that stops no one from coming up with interpretations and frankly, such trivial puzzling is a more important function of this site since everyone is competent to interpret and my interpretations do not hold any special weight or legitimacy over yours.

Lots of things could be adduced to your interpretation, the song is about communication and replication, thus as much and as little Gutenberg as the internet, not to mention the film industry, all of which related by the banality of replication and repetition without creativity or understanding, hence MES's favorite hobby horse "plagiarism," which means to recycle ideas rather than to appropriate them, as the latter is genuinely creative even if you are repeating a Spinal Tap riff and singing over it. Books are made into films and turned back into books and sold again. We could say the internet accelerates and democratizes this process, so everywhere is a book of a film of a book of a film in the form of the same lifeless content sent around the world at lightning speed through wires that are an extenuation of the rails that brought the traveler to the book and the book to the traveler. There is nothing wrong with riffing on ideas in the songs, in fact for the listener this may be the most treasured part of the experience. But in general my job is not to insist on an interpretation but to get the lyrics straight and tease out allusions and connections that put the song before us and allow us to come up with out own interpretations. I am on the one hand informing people--we actually, as Dan does as much as anyone in this regard--but on the other, when it comes to interpretation, the ones we devise here are no more important than the ones anyone else comes up with--you don't need a web site to tell you how to understand the songs, which all--all--are multivalent when it comes to their meaning.
bzfgt
  • 54. bzfgt (link) | 08/12/2018
"we actually, as Dan does as much as anyone in this regard-"

Sorry, it's not just Dan either, I don't mean to slight anyone, there are a lot of contributors here.
bzfgt
  • 55. bzfgt (link) | 08/12/2018
Anyway, I don't think "cyber" means its about the internet. But, "insekt"=bug; "cyber" bug=computer virus; a virus is meaningless empty content, or better content whose purpose is indifferent to its own meaning or lack thereof, replicating and crowding everything else out, like a film of a book of a film of a book, banal entertainment fodder crafted for the sake of sales, replicating endlessly. Here we might think of something like Heidegger's Das Man, one says what "one says," human beings are in a sense programs that exist as a means for the world of the everyday to replicate itself. One possible interpretation.
Paul Go
  • 56. Paul Go | 10/12/2018
Purple gold and jewels are so strongly associated I regard this as common sense. If 'jewelly' and 'duly' sound the same, then listening harder won't help. It simply requires someone to make a qualitative decision based on 'what Mark would have wrote'. This highlights the problem with thinking in terms of 'objective' listening and 'subjective' interpretation, never realised MES was such a dualist's nightmare.
Paul Go
  • 57. Paul Go | 10/12/2018
cybernetics: "theory or study of communication and control," coined 1948 by U.S. mathematician Norbert Wiener
cyber-: word-forming element, ultimately from cybernetics; enjoyed explosive use with the rise of the internet early 1990s.

I am with you on the flattening of meaning, of empty boxes within boxes. You are rather sneakily understating the significance of 'cyber' by suggesting it appears only once. It is in the title, in the robotic chorus, and said, clearly, out loud, dozens of times. It is not an ambiguous hint. We don't have to be unsure about it. Hard to imagine how he could have made it more explicit. Would another 32 appearances do it? Perhaps 128 times? Any band worth their salt has done a train song. Mark's done a number. Even without the mention of stations or tracks it's obviously a train song. It's built into the structure, rhythm, feel, and sound of the whole song.

Perhaps he should have called it 'The Cybering Cyber Insekts of Cyberland, insets like you-hoo, like on a choo choo, clickety clack go the keys on the track, keys on the track, keys on the track'?

The 32 Cybers in their figurative choral carriages are literally riding over the whole length of the track. You call it interpretation, I call it my finger... pointing... and I'm like, 'look! no, not at my finger'.

You probably say 'ta-mate-ah' too, (wrongly I might add), but we at least see smell and taste the same juicy fruit.
dannyno
  • 58. dannyno | 10/12/2018
Paul Go:


There are NO interpretations here, nothing. And I haven't told you my interpretation. I was just establishing the patently obvious.


No, you're interpreting like billy-o.

Trains, internet, infrastructure, progress, anonymity monikers and insekts.


Most of which is contained in what Julia said about the song, which you wanted us to disregard. The themes of the song can be said to be severalfold: mass transport and communication in the modern world, the absurdity of the New York court case, Silence of the Lambs. All of that is there, and possibly more.

But is there a single coherent narrative? That's interpretation.


A moth is a symbol used all over the place for lots of things for millennia.


But to urge that we understand the moth symbolically rather than literally is interpretation.

I've already said what yellow means in its context


No, you've interpreted its context. You said it was a reference to what you take (interpret) to be the liberal politics of the internet (which I would challenge), and you interpret liberalism as in some sense cowardly (yellow).

the words stand on their own, with or without it


I don't know how to begin with the idea that words - any words, let alone Fall lyrics - "stand on their own". I just think that's nonsense. I don't even think you believe it, which is why you're interpreting.


As far as process goes, I'd recommend moving into the song, not sideways around it.


"Moving into the song", however, is mere metaphor (which itself requires interpretation - we need an annotatedpaulgo.doomby.com). It's not actually a process.


As a final point, derailing meaning from intention is only required with shit or confused art.


Incorrect. Not even wrong, really.


Unless you are saying The Fall's music is about nothing


According to MES, some of The Fall's songs are about nothing. That does not mean they don't mean anything, even if he was telling the truth (and here on annotatedfall we are notorious for our skepticism even of MES).

But in this case we have one of the song's composers making statements about what the song was written about. But that does not exhaust what we can find in it, and nor does it mean that the song is narratively coherent (maybe it intentionally muddies the water) - in fact you could argue that some of the live versions add text which casts light on what may be "missing" from the album version. For example, when we're contemplating what "purple" means, I've already drawn attention to meanings of purple to be found in a live version. So that needs noting, even if it doesn't allow us to complete the song, were we to regard it as a lyric boiled down from a longer text.


I wasn't expecting such an uphill struggle to be honest


You just don't know us very well. But that's OK, you weren't to realise.


I'm not taking ownership of an 'interpretation', as far as I'm concerned, this is all simply what's there already. There's so much more to it.


Whether there is "more to it" is interpretation.


does anyone here really care whether it's 'duly' or 'jewelly'? 'plains of trees' or 'planes and trains and automobiles'?


Yeah, I do. But we may never know what was intended.


Purple gold and jewels are so strongly associated I regard this as common sense.


Which is a big mistake.


It simply requires someone to make a qualitative decision based on 'what Mark would have wrote'.


Which is interpretation. It's you substituting what you think MES should have written.


Even without the mention of stations or tracks it's obviously a train song.


I don't know what "train song" represents to you, but I don't see any particular reason why a song that mentions trainy things must be a "train song".

I think you've gone a bit weird about all the "cyber" stuff. Nobody is questioning the "cyber" stuff, just your rather over-elaborate and all-encompassing interpretation.


You probably say 'ta-mate-ah' too, (wrongly I might add), but we at least see smell and taste the same juicy fruit.


This was directed at bzfgt, but if I may... Actually you have to ask yourself how you know whether you are seeing and smelling the same fruit. It also ought to be pointed out that tomatoes are a particular kind of fruit - a berry, in fact - but that it is treated as a vegetable in cooking/culinary contexts. In other words, even tomatoes are interpreted.
Paul
  • 59. Paul | 14/12/2018
I thought the tomato line was amusing. Even Hume would have agreed with the sentiment. I don't know you, but enough to know you rationalise the socks off everything and, again I don't know why, but you are weirdly allergic to anything right brain. That's fine in your job or whatever, but I fail to see what use over-rationalising music and art is.

I said about not listening to band members as a general rule, Whether I agree with them or not is irrelevant. The fact that mark and band members mess with people who ask them stupid questions like 'what's it about?' means you'll never know what is true. I accepted 'moth' was interesting. I had already worked out the song without any of that.

"...we may never know what was intended"

No you, you and any one who comes here for help, will never know.

Quite frankly Danny, if you can't work out what "Purple in its glowingness
golden, roasting in its jewelly knowing" is referring to... no, not cooking up an interpretation, actually referring to, as in, intended by the writer, to conjure in the listener's imagination... you are simply not qualified to participate in discussions about 'meaning' of poetry.

...and you don't know what 'a train song' is? ...as in, the general feel and sound of a song, used countless times and ways throughout the 20thC... this track has some brilliant plays on old 'train song' idioms as well clever new ones. You're really missing out.
bzfgt
  • 60. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
I never said "cyber" appears once, I said it's a single word. It could be said 30,000 more times without making the song more obviously about the internet.
bzfgt
  • 61. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
I don't think the song has anything at all to do with the liberal politics of the internet and whether liberals are cowards.
bzfgt
  • 62. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
"I don't know you, but enough to know you rationalise the socks off everything and, again I don't know why, but you are weirdly allergic to anything right brain. That's fine in your job or whatever, but I fail to see what use over-rationalising music and art is."

How does this jibe with your comments about not interpreting? Isn't just stating what's already obviously there a fairly left-brain approach? I'm not sure what you mean by over-rationalizing either, what specifically has he over-rationalized, and what does the word mean with regard to the example you provide? Insistiing there's only one way to read the song seems more over-rationalizing than anything Dan has said...
bzfgt
  • 63. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
""Purple in its glowingness
golden, roasting in its jewelly knowing" is referring to... no, not cooking up an interpretation, actually referring to, as in, intended by the writer, to conjure in the listener's imagination... you are simply not qualified to participate in discussions about 'meaning' of poetry."

I'm not sure you are qualified to participate in discussions about the meaning of "referring"...
Paul Go
  • 64. Paul Go | 15/12/2018
won't work, not telling, you'll kick yourself.

All I wanted to do was correct some lyrics, Something is suggested, forum says 'um ah dunno, maybe, can't hear it, who knows'. Someone offers reasons, forum says 'um ah dunno, maybe, who knows what it means'. Considering how slap dash some of these lyrics where originally put together, you've developed a pretty water tight method of keeping them that way.

I'll have to accept it eventually, no one wants to imagine there is anything to get, but how mind-blowing that would be, all these songs with discernible meanings.

Mark quotes.

“This song means something,” he says. “Every song means something.”

“I have always wanted my work to be taken seriously, because it deserves to be"

'Some of our stuff is art and some of it isn't,' Smith shrugs. 'We get it and we lose it. I like that as it happens. I think a lot of my writing is art but I'm a bit shy about it and that's why it's not printed. I couldn't be so precious to force it on the public."

'I'd like to be considered as an artist.'

Then some hastily compiled tributes:

Leading the tributes, the Trainspotting creator said: “Mark E Smith was a complex, driven man. I greatly admired him as an artist”

Comedian Vic Reeves wrote: “My good friend and my hero. You’ll be so terribly missed by me and millions others. Your words meant more to me than anyone.”

Artists Bob and Roberta Smith wrote: “Mark E Smith was an artist. Probably more important than any Turner Prize-winner in the time he was around.”

What exactly are Mark and these people talking about? Are they really saying it's 'art' yet completely unintelligible?
bzfgt
  • 65. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
Who said it was completely unintelligible? And now we're not taking the Fall seriously enough? What exactly do you want to happen?

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