Gut of the Quantifier

Lyrics

(1)

I'm telling you now and I'm telling you this
Life can be an upward, downward
Chip-chit-chip-chit-chip (2)

I'm not saying they're really thick
But all the groups who've hit it big
Make the Kane Gang look like (3)
an Einstein chip   (4)
chip
NYC
chip
A place to live
chip
This is the Thule group. (5)
This is the cool group.
(I'm telling you now and I'm telling you this)

Shawn and Petula Macabre (6)
Here are your wedding pictures
They are black
Stick it in the gut
Stick in the mud.
Boffins bray
Boffins brag (7)
Stick it in the gut
Stick in the mud.

They take from the medium poor to
give to the needy poor
Via the government poor
Give it to the poor poor
They're knocking on my door
Entrance
Entranced

Stick it in the mud
Stick it in the gut

Cheap fog
Cheap fog
Rotting scout-belt (8)
Stick it in the gut

Who are the riff-makers.
Who are they really?
How old are the stars really?
Half-wit philanthropist, cosy charity gig
If God could see this
He'd stick it
They stick it in the gut
Cheap fog
Rotting scout-belt

Stick it in the gut
Stay in the mud
They take it from the medium poor
To give it to the medium poor
Via the government poor
And give it to the poor poor
Stick it in the gut
Red composite (9)
Wealthy philanthropist
You son of a bitch

Entranced
Entrance
Entranced

Stick in the mud
Stick it in the gut

I'm telling you now
and I'm telling you this,
Life can be a downward chip.

SaveSave

Notes

1. According to Hanley, this was mostly written by Brix, with a riff copped from "The Changeling" by the Doors. At the same time, the Doors' riff is copped from "Shotgun" by Junior Walker, which in many ways this song resembles more than it does "The Changeling." "Gut of the Quantifier" has a groove that many fans also find reminiscent of James Brown. The basic riff also appears in "Tramp" by Lowell Fulson, which was a hit in its own right and also famously covered by Otis Redding (thanks to goodoldneon). And, it has been pointed out to me that there is also a resemblance to the 1977 hit song "Boogie Nights" by Heatwave (which went to #2 in both the US and the UK) (thanks to academichamilton).

"Quantifier" is most commonly used to refer to a symbol preceding a logical or mathematical statement that indicates one of two things: that the ensuing predicate or quantity applies to all of the subject-statement or figure that follows it (universal quantifier), or that the statement singles out one thing that exists (existential quantifier). The symbols used vary, but a typographically simple example from predicate logic would be the statement "All dogs are mammals" which could be symbolized as (x)(Dx Mx). The first 'x' is the universal quantifier, and a more literal translation of the symbolized statement would be "for any 'x,' if 'x' is a dog, then 'x' is a mammal." An existential quantifier, on the other hand, operates in the following manner: the statement "The dog is a mammal" could be symbolized (∃)xMx, which more literally would mean "There is an dog such that the dog is a mammal." The existential quantifier, (∃), specifies that the subject--a dog--exists. As for examples from mathematics, that field is mostly beyond my ken, but they work in a similar way. What would it mean to say that a quantifier has a "gut"? I'm not certain, but my best intuition about the lyric--assuming for the moment that it is meant to make some sort of sense--is that it is intended to draw a contrast between the rigidity of logic and the messiness of life as it is lived, or between the ideality of sense and the messy physicality of existence. If this is so, of course, the song may in a way be meant to ironize or undermine it's own meaning, or the project of making sense in general, adding to the difficulty of interpretation.  

^

2. "Chip" may be an empty signifier which allows the lyricist to draw connections that otherwise would not be available to him. It is possible that it is meant to have a more determinate semantic content than this, but I do not have much of an idea about what that would be. Thus, here "chip" could replace "spiral," "motion" or "trajectory," whereas none of these words would work at all in the phrase "Einstein chip," where "theory," "equation," "formula" or something of the sort would be more appropriate; even if we start to wander farther out looking for a noun that could go with "Einstein" (shirt? joke? hairdo? television appearance?), it is hard to arrive at anything that could follow "downward."  Simon (below) suggests that "upward, downward chip" means that an implanted computer chip will, in the future, supplant drugs ("uppers" and "downers").

^

3. The Kane Gang were an English trio that played a slick sort of blend of blues, funk and R&B that was at times reminiscent of Steely Dan (without the irony). If we examine the Kane Gang song "Looking for Gold" (although you don't have to, since I did--you may thank me), it is not without a certain superficial stylistic kinship to "Gut of the Quantifier," although the aesthetic sensibilities of the two bands could not be further apart. I'm not sure what MES means by "all the groups who've hit it big," but one presumes he doesn't mean all of them, ever; nevertheless, he doesn't seem interested in specifying what groups he is sneering at here.  

^

4. According to Dan, there was an Einstein computer ("produced by a Taiwanese company, designed and built in the UK, and released in the summer of 1984").

^

5. Thule in ancient Greece was a name for a northern island, and is a name which is now most often thought to have confusedly referred to Norway, although Orkney, Shetland, and Scandinavia in general are also candidates for the 'real' Thule. In medieval geographies, Ultima Thule can refer to any place beyond the borders of the known world. Some of the leading Nazis were fascinated by an idea of a historical Thule, apparently inspired by a 19th century forgery called The Oera Linda Book which was once widely, and falsely, thought to be an ancient manuscript, written in Old Frisian. The Nazi party on part had its roots in an organization called The Thule Society which was dedicated to arcane and occult studies. The Thule Society located the origins of the so-called Aryan Race in an actual northern region called Thule, but this has no scholarly basis. The Society seems to have been more interested in propagating anti-semitism than in any scholarly pursuits; Hitler severed his ties with the group around 1920, and by the middle of the 20s the Society was defunct. MES has mentioned reading The Morning of the Magicians, a widely discredited, but nevertheless popular, work that paints Nazism as an occult movement. While some of the Nazis were indeed interested in the occult, the importance of this interest to the movement, and the number of Nazis interested in occult ideas in any serious or consistent way, is hugely exaggerated in the book, according to most current scholarly opinion. According to Morning of the Magicians, however, the roots of Nazism can be found in the mystico-racial mythological ideas of the Thule Society. It is clear that MES has no sympathy for Nazism, if we look at his various references to it over the years, but it is a topic he seems to find interesting. In general, MES seems to have a fairly wide knowledge of history, certainly more so than the average person in this age, although it is seemingly not roo rigorous or deep, and not much distinction is made between history and pseudo-history. However, I don't get the sense that he is more than commonly naive or gullible; it seems to be more the case that he likes a good story, and he is far more interested in the psychological, spiritual and anthropological insights that a good story provides than he is in keeping the facts straight.  

^

6. These names seem to be made up (although it is possible that they are nicknames for real people).

^

7. "Boffin" is British slang for a scientist, computer programmer or engineer, and is akin to the modern usage of 'geek' in that respect; it's origin is unknown, although it has been suggested that it might be derived from Nicodemus Boffin, a character in Dickens' Our Mutual Friend.  

^

8. Maybe a reference to attire associated with the Boy Scouts?  

^

9. The best I can figure is that this is a suggestion that the composite of all these wealth-redistributing activities is something akin to communism. This is one of those songs, however, that probably isn't meant to be paraphrased.  David, in the comment section, points out that this is the era of Live Aid and Band Aid, and MES may be taking a stab at the rich pop stars who tried their hand at philanthropy at the time. This would not be out of character...

^

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Comments (21)

Robert
  • 1. Robert | 02/05/2013

"Gut of the Quantifier" has a groove that is reminiscent of James Brown.


Or the chorus of "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc.

John
  • 2. John | 01/08/2013

Is downward chip a golf reference? I have wondered whether stick it in the gut/mud was a reference to vaginal and anal sex.

David
  • 3. David | 20/10/2013

When Nation's Saving Grace came out, the Ethiopian famine was in full swing and pop stars were indulging in high-profile charity projects like Live Aid and Band Aid. I took the references to philanthropy and giving to the poor to be a bit of a stab at rich popstars telling their considerably less well-off fans to give money to charity.

dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 14/02/2014

Is it obvious that the "it" in "stick it in the gut" is a knife, and so what we're talking about here is stabbing the "quantifier" in the stomach?

Simon Moore
  • 5. Simon Moore | 02/05/2014

It is actually "life could be an upward, downward chip". The idea was that in the future, rather than having "upper" or "downer" drugs, you simply have a computer chip implanted into you that does the same thing.

marc balance
  • 6. marc balance | 14/05/2014

..I think David is on the right track here, a stab at successful groups, this paragraph here is quiet obvious:
'I'm not saying they're really thick
But all the groups who've hit it big
Make the Kane Gang look like
an Einstein chip...'
in other words: I'm not saying they're completely stupid, but all the bands who are popular today, make the kane gang look smart like einstein...
...
I#m sure this shawn and petula macabre line is wrong. I guess it is something like 'shawn, immature, .....' I isolated the line and slowed it down with a time stretcher (keeps the pitch)... my english is too bad, but if you want to take a try on it I can send you an mp3. just send me yr email address

..red composite.... red composite doors are very popular in the uk (..entranced entrance....) javascript:void(0);

acousmetre
  • 7. acousmetre (link) | 15/05/2014

To my hear, this is so much more likely stolen from Jr. Walker and the All-Stars "Shotgun."
Listen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuxErrSMztY

The Jr. Walker has the more pronounced funk groove that The Doors song lacks. I think this song is an even more obvious and blatant riff-theft than "Athlete Cured," so much so that it should be called a "cover."

If MES knew that The Doors stole their riff from Jr. Walker, which seems likely, as Jr. Walker was played in Northern Soul clubs, it gives a context to the lines about riff-makers and the age of the pop stars.

bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt | 22/05/2014

Thanks, I've heard that song all my life and somehow never made the connection.

bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 22/05/2014

Marc, can you message me your email to my private messages? I'd like to hear that slowed down version...

marc balance
  • 10. marc balance | 03/06/2014

bzfgt, sent my email by the 'contact' thingie at the top of the page, sent two mp3s to the email from which reception notice came.... did I made any mistakes, or did you received the mp3s???

bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 15/06/2014

Sorry for taking so long, Marc, I got the mp3s and they sound very clear. Thank you very much for doing that!

However, oddly enough, when I listen to them I swear to you hear "Petula Macabre" very clearly, with MES enunciating the final silent syllable of "Macabre".

dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 11/12/2014

From "The Big Midweek":

"Gut of the Quantifier" is a better attempt by Brix at playing Hide The Riff than 'Elves' was... This ones a Doors song which they took from an old blues song... by the time we've finished it's altered beyond recognition."

goodoldneon
  • 13. goodoldneon | 13/02/2016

The bass riff in the verses sounds a lot like Lowell Fulson's "Tramp" to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsgFYY5XXUQ

John Richards
  • 14. John Richards | 26/01/2017

If there was an award for "The Internet's most overly-intellectual explanation of the lyrics of a Fall song" then I am pretty damn sure that the second paragraph of Note 1 would win it. But I think when you said "assuming for the moment that it is meant to make some sort of sense" you might just have pulled the rug from under your own argument. Anyway I've bookmarked it now so I can show my children, when they grow up - please don't take this page down for the next 10 years, ta.

bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt | 11/02/2017

John, a lot of my notes would probably be in the running--I often weed out some of my gassier moments when I find them again in the sober light of day. But I don't know how I could avoid talking a stab at what a quantifier is and why it's here, and I'm not making an "argument," and it's not really an "explanation"--it's not like I'm trying to put something over and just accidentally noted that it may not make any sense at all. I am perfectly up front about the fact that I have little idea what it might be about and am just stumbling around in the dark.

Anyway, you didn't even notice that there were two typos in my logical notation! I mean, sheesh.

dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 17/02/2017

"Who are the riff-makers.
Who are they really?
How old are the stars really?"

These lines read like magazine headlines, don't they?

"How old are the stars" might refer to rock stars (or other famous people), or it might refer to astronomy. The prior mention of "riff-makers" suggests the former, but it might not necessarily be so.

dannyno
  • 17. dannyno | 18/02/2017

Yeah, good points.

dannyno
  • 18. dannyno | 25/02/2017

"Einstein chip"

Perhaps a reference to the Tatung Einstein computer? Produced by a Taiwanese company, designed and built in the UK, and released in the summer of 1984.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatung_Einstein

dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 25/02/2017

Imitators hereby defeated. From now on, if a comment claims to be me but doesn't have my avatar, it's not me. Or I've forgotten to log in.

bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017

It's the sincerest form of flattery man

GFR
  • 21. GFR | 03/03/2017

Some cunt's been fucking about deleting posts here.

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