D.I.Y. Meat

The minute I get out of my tent, 
My garden is covered with cement. 
The minute I went, 
And Radio One blasting outside. (1)
Twixt light and dark

He said I'm a handyman. (2)
He was a handyman. 
He was a handyman. 
He was handyman.

I said what you doing round that grave? 
Said I'm a handyman 
I saw you chatting to my wife 
Between the light and door. 
It was a handyman 
And the minute I got outta my tent....

Go out. 
Ha ha. 
Ha ha ha ha ha ha.... 
They have cheese. 
Not me. 
It was a handy a-handy a-handy man

Conditions not good job
You try and try to get under
Just bang around 
Just bang around . 
Ha ha ha ha.

And it does not cut me down. 
And Sunday nights don't get out anymore.


1. BBC Radio 1 is a national radio station in Britain which plays popular music.


2. JonN on the Fall online forum suggests that the lyrics refer to Fred West, a British serial killer who killed a minimum of 11 people between 1967 and 1987, some with the aid of his wife Rosemary. West was a handyman and, if this conjecture about the song's topic is correct, it would explain the title and some of the lyrics, particularly the repeated phrase "he was a handyman."


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Comments (6)

  • 1. deruntergeher | 23/08/2013
The song as I read it, is Smith encounters a workman who is chatting up his wife. The jibe of 'handyman' refers to his job but also the mans single status i.e no woman, so likely to be using his own hand instead for 'relief'. Also the handyman may have been vegetarian, explains the diy meat/they eat cheese references. The vegetarianism may have initiated the conversation between wife and handyman, raising the hackles more of MES, perhaps ?

Although it could all be a related story from someone else - retold by Smith.
  • 2. Martin | 22/02/2014
The Fred West theory certainly fits as far as the dates as concerned. West and his wife Rosemary were arrested in 1994; he committed suicide while on remand the following year. The song debuted live in 1996. Concrete - mentioned in the song - was used along with bricks to hide the horrible evidence of skeletons and rotting bodies. The tent could refer to the one errected by police when excavating his garden while investigating the crimes.
leon massey
  • 3. leon massey (link) | 02/03/2014
I have always interpreted this as a suspicious M.E.S suspecting a handy man of cheating with his wife. As in the minute he goes out the handyman is there, also the 'they eat cheese not me' line, could suggest finding cheese in the house despite not being a food he likes.
No matter I love this tune.
  • 4. dannyno | 05/04/2014
The other sense in which the Cromwell Street garden was covered with cement, is that the house was demolished and the site concreted over to create a path.
  • 5. Martin | 06/10/2015
Cheese as a subject hasn't appeared that much in The Fall's lyrics (this one, Happy Holiday and Reformation being the only ones according to Dannyno's excellent concordance) but it did feature heavily in fan club bulletins in 1995, a year before this track was recorded and released. In the missive dated 14 March 1995 we are informed:" the North has better cheese (Lancashire and Cheshire) whereas London has none" (to explain the lack of gigs in the south at the time). Two months later the fan club newsletter writer (who may or may not be ;Mark E Smith himself) tells us about member no. 217 from New Zealand who "believes he is cheese..." after which the newsletter deteriorates even further into cheese-related nonsense, too tedious to quote here.

I don't know where any of this is taking us (if anywhere) but I record it here in case if helps at all!
  • 6. bzfgt | 23/11/2015
Thanks Martin, that's good stuff indeed! We need to keep abreast of these things.

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