(Spare a little grease, spare a little grease...And today, here on the vitamin B glandular show...) (2)
With four left wing kids
I spent time in Nazi Fortress
Much discussion in room C-H-1-O-C-H-11 (3)
I did not understand why
I could not accept the fact
that I'd accepted the contract
Much discussion in this institution
Much discussion in boiled beef and carrots (4)
It was clear in the window eye
The brick outlined the blue sky
And I had to go round the gay graduates in the toilets
And Good King Harry was there fucking Jimmy Savile (5)
Much discussion in room C-H-1-O-2-H-11
Much discussion in room C-H-1-O-11 (6)
1. This song is brief on Hex Enduction Hour (1:23, depending on where you place the cut), where it serves as the intro to "Deer Park." Live, the songs were usually played separately, and "Fortress" was longer than in the studio. A possible clue to the lyrics is identified in the entry for this song on Reformation: "The first performance features MES mentioning King George (as well as Harry, as used in the released version) in the lyrics; George would continue to be a part of the lyrics for some time to come. The version played on 4 June 1981 (and there may be more) has the lines, 'I spent time in this institution / It's called Great Britain.'"
The keyboard riff at the beginning is a preset beat on the Casio VL tone keyboard; an almost identical riff is used on "The Man Whose Head Expanded." The same riff appears in "Da da da ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht aha aha aha" ("Da Da Da I Don't Love You You Don't Love Me Aha Aha Aha") by the band Trio. They were associated with Neue Deutsche Welle ("German New Wave," but reportedly they preferred to call their style Neue Deutsch Frölichkeit, or "New German Cheerfulness"--one wonders, was there old German cheerfulness?). "Da Da Da" was a number 2 hit in the UK in 1982 (thanks to nochmal in the comment section of "The Man Whose Head Expanded" for bringing all this to my attention). "Da Da Da" came out not long before the appearence of Hex Enduction Hour.
The same intro (the Casio riff and the spoken lines) also appears at the beginning of "Look, Know" on Hip Priests and Kamerads.
2. We've had some back and forth on this one. To me it sounds as written. Thehippriestess is quite certain it's "Beryl Reid," which may be correct, but I don't hear it. The orange lyrics book does not have the line at all.
Dan: "If 'grease' is right, it's probably a reference to 'greasepaint'--theatrical make-up, no doubt ubiquitous within the BBC and among those actors and other showbusiness types who plied their trade there."
3. From Craig on the Fall online forum:
|QUOTE (chachacha @ Sep 29 2005, 03:32 PM)
|did i read that room c-h-1-0 etc referred to a room in the bbc where mr smith was treated to a forum with some crypto/proto-communists or anarcho-syndicalists and their over-interpretation of things????
CRAIG: [I]t was Radio One Talkabout, a bunch of left wing kids (a theatre group or somesuch I think) were invited onto the show to talk about erm the state of the nation, and they in turn had invited MES as their guest. There are tapes of it floating around, and it's a hilarious listen. After 50-odd minutes, the problem with the nation is ascertained to be, like, y'know, right, the establishment, right, and all that, it's the establishment, right, right, y'know, it's like, them.
'Much discussion in Langham House fortress.
Boiled beef and carrots' [see note 4 below; note the initials "BBC"]
From Duncan Goddard:
Paul Hanley's Have a Bleedin Guess has a quote from Craig Scanlon:
The BBC had that ridiculous door-naming thing, which is why we always got lost in Maida Vale.
But here's Hanley's explanation:
Mark was sufficiently vexed by the experience [of appearing on the radio programme] to pen a satisfyingly splenetic lyric which even takes umbrage at the door numbers - CH10CH11 is presumably a parody of the BBC addressing system. All rooms in Langham Hotel were prefixed LH followed by the floor and room number. Broadcasting House rooms begin BH, in Maida Vale it was MV.
Finally, harleyr adds:
"If anyone is wondering why he would run two numbers together in this way, it might be because rooms next to each other at BBC buildings such as TV Centre were often knocked together as one - so CH10 and CH11 next door could have been effectively one room."
5. "Good King Harry" usually refers to Henry V, who ruled England from 1413 until his death in 1422, and of whom a fictionalized version appears in Shakespeare's Henry IV parts I and II and Henry V. Jimmy Savile was a DJ and television personality for the BBC who died in 2011 and is currently the subject of numerous allegations of sexual abuse of children. It's not completely clear whether King Harry is fucking Jimmy Savile, or whether "fucking Jimmy Savile!" is an interjection; the orange lyrics book has "My fave Jimmy Savile!" (which is again ambiguous due to the punctuation!).
6. The room number is made even more mysterious by its dream-like mutability; every time it appears, it's something different. Other inexplicable, or only partly explicable, numbers or combinations of numbers and letters appear in "Eat Y'Self Fitter," "Paranoia Man in Cheap Sh*t Room," and "50 Year Old Man" (thanks to Reformation for the list).