Dog is Life/Jerusalem

You don't see rabbits being walked down the street (1)
And you don't see many cats on leads
Dogs pet dogs dogs rapacious wet dogs
Owner of dogs slow-witted dog owner
Owner of rabid dog saving fare for tunnel  (2)
Euro-dream of civil, civil liberation for dogs
Society secret society inevitable nightmare
Of drift dog pet dogs street bullshit
Dog shit baby bit ass-lick dog mirror
Dead tiger shot and checked out by dog
Big tea-chest-fucker dog
Black collar sends East German refugee back switch and crap pathetic (3)
Of earth-like lousy dog role model for infidel doghouse continent
Mutt citadel dog-eye mirror hypnotic school slaver and learn
Lot from dog on grass and over nervous delicate dog
Detracts light from indiscrepant non-dog-lover
Dog pet dog come home to ya
Come home we'll talk shit to ya
Dog the pet-owner-owner  blistered hanging there death dog
Plato of the human example and copier dogmaster pet mourner (4)
Dog is life

And did those streets in ancient times, (5)
Walk upon mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth on clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem 
In the dark Satanic Mills? 

Jerusalem

It was the fault of the government
I was walking down the street (6)
When I tripped up on a discarded banana skin
And on my way down I caught the side of my head
On a protruding brick chip
It was the government's fault
It was the fault of the government
I was very let down with the budget
I was expecting a one million quid handout
I was very disappointed
It was the government's fault
It was the fault of the government

I became a semi-artistic type person
And I didn't have a pen
And I didn't have a condom
It was the fault of the government
I think I'll emigrate to Sweden or Poland
And get looked after properly by government

Jerusalem

Bring Bow of burning gold:
Bring Arrows of desire:
Bring me Spear: O clouds unfold!

And though I rest from Mental Fight  (7)
And though sword sleeps in hand
I will not rest til Jerusalem is built

In Englands green and pleasant Land.

 

Notes

1. MES reportedly hates dogs. From Mick Middles' The Fall:

"Mark E. Smith has a deep aversion to anything remotely canine. Always a ‘cat’ man, he once lingered for 20 minutes on the stairs of my house, playing cheerily with my two bemused black’n’white cats. 'Mick, your cats are boooootifoool.' Once, sitting in The Foresters Arms in Prestwich, a local toady Fall fan approached him with the words, 'It’s great that dog, isn’t it Mark?' to be swiftly rebuffed by Mark’s, 'No it fucking isn’t … it’s the worst thing about this pub, that fucking filthy dog … wish they would get rid of it and get a cat!'" ['Sic' throughout!]

It is easy to credit the veracity of such reports, in light of the following lyrics.

"A dog is for life, not just for Christmas" is a well-known campaign phrase used by the National Canine Defence League ("Dog's Trust" since 2003) since about 1979ish (Dan).

Note the possible resonance with George Clinton's "Atomic Dog," which proclaims: "These are clapping dogs, rhythmic dogs, harmonic dogs, house dogs, street dogs/Dogs of the world unite; dancin dogs, yeah, countin' dogs, funky dogs, nasty dogs!" Dan reports that this was pointed out in the article "Sound-alikes" in the Fall fanzine The Biggest Library Yet (issue 7, September 1996).

^

2.Dan drops some Chunnel science:

Construction of the Channel Tunnel commenced in 1988, and would be opened in 1994. There were widely published fears in the late 1980s that the Tunnel would let rabies into Britain. And dog licences had been abolished in 1987.

For example, see the Daily Mail of 6 October 1987: "Stray dogs are rabies 'time-bomb'" (p.13):
 


Up to a million stray dogs roaming Britain's streets are 'rabies time-bombs' which could plunge the country into catastrophe, animal experts warned yesterday.

Increased traffic between Britain and Europe - helped by the Channel Tunnel - means there is bound to be an outbreak of the deadly disease, says the RSPCA. 

The grim prediction came as the society launched a campaign against Government plans to scrap dog licenses.
 

^

3.A probable reference to guard dogs at the Berlin Wall (thanks, Dan).

^

4. In the Republic, Plato likens the guardians of the city to watchdogs. In the Victorian era, a faithful dog that has lost its master is sometimes portrayed in paintings that have been referred to as "dog mourner" paintings. Plato is often thought to have seen the physical world as a copy of an ideal world of Forms ("often thought" because there are debates in Plato scholarship about this, in any case it is a possibility bruited in the dialogues). This line is complex and neither of these comments may have anything to do with what MES is saying here.

^

5. Most of the following lines are taken from William Blake. They appear in the preface to Blake's lengthy "prophetic" work, Milton a Poem. Blake's verse gets chopped up a bit in the process; the original lines are as follows:

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land

This section of Milton was famously set to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916 as a hymn called "Jerusalem." The Fall's version has a melody that is simpler, yet somewhat similar, to the hymn. Emerson, Lake & Palmer recorded a version of the hymn in 1973 on Brain Salad Surgery, and Jonder points out that Blake's poem was first set in a post-punk musical context by Mark Stewart and Maffia on their 1982 single Jerusalem.

Courtesy of mountainoaf:

From an interview with Liz Kershaw on Radio One, circa "Kurious Oranj": LK: Now, it's rumoured that you're doing a cover of Jerusalem. MES: That starts the show off. LK: You've actually done it. So how do you do that, 'cause it was our school song, do you give it a totally different interpretation? MES: It was your school song... well, I think it was everyone's school song. We approach it like the Velvet Underground would. There's a nice joke section in the middle of it as well.

"Jerusalem" is technically a distinct song from "Dog is Life," and they have been performed separately.  

^

 

6. This is a favorite line of MES's, who also uses it in "Blindness" and "Ol' Gang," and variants pop up elsewhere.The following anecdote is told by Stewart Lee about seeing comedian Ted Chippington open for the Fall:

Ted took the stage to a crowd that weren't expecting him, rooted to the spot in Teddy Boy regalia, scowling and supping a beer. He spent half an hour delivering variations on the same joke, each of which began with the phrase "I was walking down this road the other day," in a flat Midlands monotone, interspersed with listless interpretations of pop hits. A typical joke would run like this "I was walking down the road the other day, this chap came up to me. I said to him, 'Haven't seen you for a while.' He said 'Well, I've just got back from Nam.' I said, 'What, you mean Vietnam?' He said 'No, mate, Chelt'nam.'"

According to Lee this happened on October 28th, 1984, at a place in Birmingham called the Powerhouse. The gigography confirms this date and time, and various sources on the web mention Chippington opening for the Fall. Anyway, it's possible MES's frequent use of the line is a kind of homage to Chippington.

^

7. Blake has "I will not cease from mental fight" (see note 3 above).

^

Comments (27)

Zack
  • 1. Zack (link) | 26/08/2013
"Dog is Life" is almost certainly the "vicious anti-dog rant" that MES mentioned writing in Holland in his 1988 tour journal.
Martin
  • 2. Martin | 09/09/2013
As for the references to the budget in the song, it may of interest that the UK 1988 budget, delivered by Nigel Lawson, was on 15 March, less than a month before the song debuted in concert. According to wiki:

"During the 1988 budget statement of Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson, Labour MP Dave Nellist led a group who attempted to intervene and disrupt the sitting; he refused to resume his seat. The Speaker suspended the sitting for 10 minutes."
Mark
  • 3. Mark | 03/07/2014
From an interview with Liz Kershaw on Radio One, circa "Kurious Oranj":

LK: Now, it's rumoured that you're doing a cover of Jerusalem.
MES: That starts the show off.
LK: You've actually done it. So how do you do that, 'cause it was our school song, do you give it a totally different interpretation?
MES: It was your school song... well, I think it was everyone's school song. We approach it like the Velvet Underground would. There's a nice joke section in the middle of it as well.
Alan
  • 4. Alan | 25/09/2016
The version on I Am As Pure As Oranj appears to be the same reading, but with an extra 8 lines or so between lines 4 & 5 as published above. Sorry, I haven't attempted to transcribe them yet
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 15/10/2016
Thanks Alan, and I will appreciate it if you do so. If not, someone will get to it eventually...I don't actually have that recording at the moment.
harleyr
  • 6. harleyr | 07/12/2016
I found the transcribed lyrics above a revelation but I think it's 'learn lot from dog' not 'rot'.
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 27/12/2016
That makes more sense, Harley. It's distorted at that point but it does sound that way to me so I changed it.
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 15/02/2017
"Owner of rabid dog saving fare for tunnel
Euro-dream of civil, civil liberation for dogs"

Construction of the Channel Tunnel commenced in 1988, and would be opened in 1994. There were widely published fears in the late 1980s that the Tunnel would let rabies into Britain. And dog licences had been abolished in 1987.

For example, see the Daily Mail of 6 October 1987: "Stray dogs are rabies 'time-bomb'" (p.13):


Up to a million stray dogs roaming Britain's streets are 'rabies time-bombs' which could plunge the country into catastrophe, animal experts warned yesterday.

Increased traffic between Britain and Europe - helped by the Channel Tunnel - means there is bound to be an outbreak of the deadly disease, says the RSPCA.

The grim prediction came as the society launched a campaign against Government plans to scrap dog licenses.

etc

dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 15/02/2017
"Dog is life"

"A dog is for life, not just for Christmas" is a well-known campaign phrase used by the Dog's Trust since about 1979ish.
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 15/02/2017
"The Dog's Trust" was known as the National Canine Defence League until 2003.
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 15/02/2017
"Black collar sends East German refugee back"

A reference to the dogs guarding the Berlin Wall?
http://blog.gudog.co.uk/dogs-berlin-wall/
dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 16/02/2017
"Dead tiger shot and checked out by dog"

There are contemporary press reports about the shooting of a tiger that escaped from Woburn Safari Park. I haven't, however, found anything describing the role of any dogs.

From The Times, 5 September 1987:


Two tigers escaped from their cages at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire yesterday after a keeper forgot to close a door. One was caught but the second became restless and was shot dead.
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
Well, I have the CD and he says "And did those streets in ancient times...
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt | 18/02/2017
"Plato of the human example and copier dogmaster pet mourner"

I have a number there. Either I had a note there and accidentally deleted while rearranging things just now, or there was an empty note, but fuck, I'd love to see what I had for that if I had something! It's gone now either way, and I have to come up with something (it seems like a note is definitely called for there).
dannyno
  • 15. dannyno | 28/02/2017
Your note numbering is a bit out of whack.

You have two note twos, the second of which says "2. In the Republic, Plato likens the guardians of the city to watchdogs." The ^ link from the note actually takes you to the Plato line in the song, which is numbered 4, and which takes you to your new note 4.
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017
Thank you very much for pointing that out.
harleyr
  • 17. harleyr | 15/04/2017
Been doing some clearing out and I came across this snippet on a xerox sent (I think) by the Fall fan club back in the day... original capitalisation and punctuation preserved.

I thought Brix's illustrations in that German lyric book were very like William Blakes stuff, very dark like Dantes inferno or something...

HAVE YOU SEEN THE ORIGINAL OF BLAKES 'MILTON'? THEY BROUGHT IT OUT. IT'S INCREDIBLE. IT'S JUST LIKE YOU WERE SAYING. THE PREFACE IS 'JERUSALEM'. THERE'S THIS BIG RAP ABOUT HOW CRAP GREEK ART IS AND HOW BRITAIN'S GOT TO GET IT'S SHIT TOGETHER THEN THERE'S 'JERUSALEM' THEN THERE'S THE POEM. BUT IT MUST'VE TOOK HIM AGES COS EVERY PAGE IS ART WITH HANDWRITING OVER IT. I'VE SEEN NOTHING LIKE IT IN MY LIFE. APPARENTLY HE HAD TO DO IT ALL BACKWARDS SO IT COULD BE PRINTED UP. YOU GET 'JERUSALEM', YOU READ IT IN A BOOK AND IT'S OKAY BUT IN THE ORIGINAL IT'S JUST THIS FUCKING RAP, DEAD CONCENTRATED LIKE, THEN THE POEM BUT UNDERNEATH THERE'S THESE RAINBOWS AND TYPICAL BLAKE STUFF AND AS IT GOES ON THERE'S LANDSCAPES AND STONEHENGE. YOU CAN'T READ THE POEM CAUSE OF ALL THIS GREAT ART BEHIND IT. WITH BLAKE I TEND TO JUST READ BITS OUT OF IT AND JUST MEDIDATE ON IT. I THINK THAT'S THE BEST WAY TO TREAT HIM BUT WITH THIS IT'S LIKE TOTALLY DIFFERENT. WHAT AMAZED ME WAS IN THIS BOOK IN THE RAP HE GOES ON ABOUT HOW FULL OF CRAP PLATO IS AND ALL THAT AND THAT'S WHAT I WAS SAYING IN THAT 'DOG IS LIFE' THING AND I'D NEVER ACTUALLY READ THE PREFACE.

I THOUGHT THAT WAS QUITE A COINCIDENCE.

PREFACE

THE Stolen and Perverted Writings of Homer & Ovid, of Plato & Cicero, which all Men ought to contemn, are set up by artifice against the Sublime of the Bible; but, when the New Age is at leisure to Pronounce, all will be set right, & those Grand Works of the more ancient & consciously & professedly Inspired Men will hold their proper rank, & the Daughters of Memory shall become the Daughters of Inspiration. Shakspeare & Milton were both curb'd by the general malady & infection from the silly Greek & Latin slaves of the Sword. Rouze up, O Young Men of the New Age! Set your foreheads against the ignorant Hirelings! For we have Hirelings in the Camp, the Court & the University, who would, if they could, forever depress Mental & prolong Corporeal War. Painters, on you I call! Sculptors! Architects! Suffer not the fashionable Fools to depress your powers by the prices they pretend to give for contemptible works or the expensive advertizing boasts that they make of such works; believe Christ & his Apostles that there is a Class of Men whose whole delight is in Destroying. We do not want either Greek or Roman Models if we are but just & true to our own Imaginations, those Worlds of Eternity in which we shall live forever in Jesus our Lord.
dannyno
  • 18. dannyno | 16/04/2017
The illustrated texts are online here: http://www.blakearchive.org/

They've made it harder to link directly, so just quickly here's an example, from "Song of Liberty", which I used on the FOF in the Lyrical Magpie thread:

Image
bzfgt
  • 19. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017
Yeah I've got a book of all the illuminated texts. They are done by hand by engraving on a copper plate and then eroding the unillustrated parts with acid...
dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 13/08/2017
The article "Sound-alikes" in Fall fanzine The Biggest Library Yet (issue 7, September 1996), suggests a George Clinton influence on "Dog is Life" - specifically "Atomic Dog" (1982).

There is certainly something of a lyrical echo - both songs make use of lists.


These are clapping dogs, rhythmic dogs
Harmonic dogs, house dogs, street dogs
Dog of the world unite - dancin dogs
Yeah, countin dogs, funky dogs
Nasty dogs
dannyno
  • 21. dannyno | 28/08/2017
Note 1: "MES reportedly hates dogs."

We should cite a source for this...
dannyno
  • 22. dannyno | 23/09/2017
MES on dogs.

From Renegade


Actually, I’m not such a big fan of dogs. I prefer cats.


and from a footnote in the Mick Middles/MES book "The Fall":


Mark E. Smith has a deep aversion to anything remotely canine. Always a ‘cat’ man, he once lingered for 20 minutes on the stairs of my house, playing cheerily with my two bemused black’n’white cats. “Mick, your cats are boooootifoool.” Once, sitting in The Foresters Arms in Prestwich, a local toady Fall fan approached him with the words, “It’s great that dog, isn’t it Mark?” to be swiftly rebuffed by Mark’s, “No it fucking isn’t … it’s the worst thing about this pub, that fucking filthy dog … wish they would get rid of it and get a cat!”
bzfgt
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 07/10/2017
Great call with the Middles. In general, you must have noticed (and gritted your teeth), I'm a little lax with citing--if I'm sure something is true I don't always sweat it. I'm not saying that's justified. I think it's partly a result of frustration with the lifespan of links, now that you've given me the Wayback idea I may just up my standards. I haven't tried that yet, but it seems to be a great idea--if I were half the man I should be I'd start going through and converting everything.
bzfgt
  • 24. bzfgt (link) | 07/10/2017
Of course you're only a little better with your "a footnote"...
Jonder
  • 25. Jonder | 17/10/2017
It is worth noting that Blake's poem was first set in a post-punk musical context by Mark Stewart and Maffia on their 1982 single Jerusalem.
dannyno
  • 26. dannyno | 26/10/2017
bzfgt, comment #24.

Alright then, a footnote on p241 of the updated paperback edition (Omnibus Press, 2008).
bzfgt
  • 27. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
Thank you, Jonder, I've noted it.

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