Get a Hotel

Lyrics

Get a hotel today. (1)
Go get a hotel today. 
Go get a hotel today. 
Before the idea slips away, 
Get a hotel. 
Go get a hotel today. 
That was the first question raised, 
There was a question raised. 
Get a hotel 
Wanna get in
Wanna get in
But this is not the place to bring it up
Go get a hotel today
Go get a hotel today
Before the bike siren calls 
Time's running 
Like butter dissolving 
Time's running, time dissolving, 
Time's running melting 
Time's running passing 
Its running passing (2)
Get a hotel today 
Get a hotel today
She says get a hotel 
Ne'er do well 
Get a hotel
Get a hotel 
Before the bike siren calls 
And the horn siren yells 
It says 
Get a hotel
Get a hotel
You better 
Go get a hotel today 
Go get a hotel today.
Times running 
Times running passing 
Times running, 
Times running, 
It's running it's passing 
Like butter melting 
Times running, passing, it's running passing 
Like flesh cut melting 
It's running it's passing times running it's passing dissolving,
I was eating gravel when two cars put in.  
Headlights dousing, 
Broken warehouse; 
I just got out 
Dirt inhaled
The cinders told me, 
Ya shoulda got a hotel. 
Go get a hotel today.
Go get a hotel today.
Before the bike siren calls. 
And the blood-curdlers yell. 
Go get a hotel today. 
All thugs use the Burton ploy; (3)
The Lord acts 
Around my appeal. 
He says get a hotel. 
Shoulda! 
Go get a hotel today. 
Get a hotel. 
A little voice yells
should of got a hotel. 
Get a hotel. 
Go a hotel today.
Get a hotel, 
Get a hotel. 

Notes

1. The Story of the Fall thinks this is about purchasing an entire hotel, but it seems just as plausible that the narrator just wants to stay in one. The idea expressed in the title takes on more urgency as the song goes on, as the narrator is portrayed as in a race with his own mortality, and needs to keep reminding himself to find a safe haven in which to weather the storms of time. By the end the story gets a bit sinister as the narrator is lying face down in a driveway outside a warehouse as someone pulls in, perhaps the police looking for the narrator.  

^

2. From "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" by Big Youth: "Time is running and passing and running and running and passing/ So you all better get right this time, cause there might be no next time y'all" (thanks to tom_regazzi and Robert). This may be an allusion to the Last Poets line "I understand that time is running out." The Beastie Boys quoted the Big Youth line on "Futterman's Rule" from 1994's Ill Communication, and Paris sampled the Last Poets line on his 1992 classic "Bush Killa."

MES quotes Big Youth's "Jim Screechey" on "No X-mas for John Quays," and probably paraphrases "Keep Your Dread" in "City Hobgoblins."

Karl B, who may be--but probably isn't--Karl Burns, says

I think Mark's description of time running passing melting like butter are highly suggestive of Salvador Dali's melting watch paintings. The arbitrary stock mechanism of the watch/clock is just a pointing stick to the real nature of time's flowingness.

(He does seem to be on a first-name basis with "Mark"--get Dave Simpson on the phone!)

^

3. My best guess is that this refers to Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), the famous, in the words of Wikipedia, "geographer, explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat," and notably the translator of a popular version of One Thousand and One Nights (often called The Arabian Nights in English). Burton was indeed famous for a ploy: he disguised himself as an Arab and a Muslim in order to go on the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca, entry to which was forbidden to unbelievers. Burton closely studied Muslim customs and rituals, and he even went so far as to have himself circumsized in order to avoid suspicion.  

^

Comments (7)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 02/05/2013

I get "Brigadoon"-type vibes from this song...

tom_regazzi
  • 2. tom_regazzi | 19/06/2013

I think the 'running passing' lines are nod to an old dub record, "I'm running, I'm passing" ... possibly Big Youth? Or I might have heard the lines sampled at the beginning of a Beastie Boys track (possibly on Ill Communication)...?

Robert
  • 3. Robert | 05/11/2013

Yep, "Time is running and passing and passing and running" are lyrics from "Wolf in Sheep Clothing" by Big Youth. And sampled by the Beastie Boys.

Karl B
  • 4. Karl B | 16/11/2014

I think marks description of time running passing melting like butter are highly suggestive of Salvador Dalis melting watch paintings.the arbitrary stock mechanism of the watch/clock is just a pointing stick to the real nature of times flowingness.

bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 23/11/2014

Yes, good comment!

Martin
  • 6. Martin | 27/04/2016

The Janice Long session version of the track (recorded 13 May 1987, broadcast 19 May 1987) omits the reference to "the Burton ploy" which may lead us to think that MES came across this idea between this recording and the studio one, although I have to say there's something to me less than convincing about the Sir Richard Burton theory, though I have no concrete evidence either for or against!

dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 09/08/2016

"Burton" related news from 1987:

There were rumours (reported for example in the Observer of 27 April 1987, that there could be a Department of Trade and Industry investigation into Burton Group's 1985 takeover battle for Debenhams. The claim seems to have been that Burton acted in concert with Gerald Ronson's Heron group, which might be the "ploy". The Chief Executive of Burton was Sir Ralph Halpern. There were other headline about Burton that year. Not very convincing, I admit.

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