Hotel Bloedel

Lyrics

(1)

 

Brix: And it's painless
Sitting in Subterranea (2)
Ancient reference
To Mesopotamia

And it's quiet again
Hidden fragments, surface now
Repetitious history
One more time for the record  

MES: 2013 Vicksburg Confederate graves (3)
Are uncovered, throwing new light on
This 19th century conflict, sparking off a repeat
These southern spectres were disease ridden, dusty, organic
And psychic

 

Brix: Rebellious mistakes
Occur again
Everything moving
In a circular fashion

And it's quiet again
Hidden fragments, surface now
Repetitious history
One more time for the record

 

Our words return in patterns
Our minds encapsulating time

 

MES: Gregoror, satiated walking thru' capitol
Stumbles on two thousand dead Thai monks in SS uniforms (4)
Then fled to Hotel Bloedel, outside Nuremberg
A long way south, to a reasonable smell of death (5)

 

Brix: And it's quiet again
Hidden figments, surface now
Repetitious history
One more time for the record

Notes

1. This is based on a song Brix wrote in her days in Banda Dratsing called "Everything for the Record." The titular hotel is probably the Hotel Grüner Baum Gasthof Blödel in Nuremberg. Here are the original lyrics as printed in Brix's lyrics collection Babble-On (thanks to Dan):

 

And it's painless
Sitting in Subterranea
Ancient reference to Mesopotamia

And it's quiet again
Hidden figments, surface now
Repetition history
One more time for the record

Rebellious mistakes
Occur again
Everything moving
In a circular fashion

And it's quiet again
Hidden figments, surface now
Repetition history
One more time for the record

Our words return in pattern
Our minds encapsulating time

And it's quiet again
Hidden figments surface now
Repetition history
One more time for the record
One more time for the record

 

This should indicate which lyrics above were written by Brix; note that there are only slight variations ("figments" rather than PBL's "fragments," and "repetition" has become on PBL "repetitious," and the original lyrics have "pattern" where the recorded version has the plural "patterns"). 

 

Our correspondent Mark has the lowdown:

"From the Paintwork book: 'The name Brix Smith appeared on the credits of "Hotel Bloedel," a song she had co-written in southern Germany after spending an unforgettable night in a Nuremburg hotel. Mark E Smith remembered how their room had been filled with "this choking smell - you'd have sworn there'd been a murder there." Brix agreed. "And at six in the morning there were ghastly screams. I was sure the place was haunted. Mark lit cigarettes and put them all around the room to fight off the horrible smell. When it got light we looked out of the window and saw an old woman coming across the courtyard carrying a sack of blood into the hotel..." It transpired they had checked in next door to an abattoir.'

See note 4 below...

^

2.  Subterranea is a broad geological term which refers to a variety of underground structures, including caves, of course, and underground rivers and lava chutes, but also man-made structures such as catacombs, tunnels and tombs. Interestingly, "Subterranea" is also the name, in various Marvel comics, of an underground network of sites where fictional beings called, appropriately, "Subterraneans" dwell (it seems obvious to me that these Subterraneans do not so much live as dwell, do you not think?). Mole Man (or "Moleman") is a supervillain who first appeared in Fantastic Four and who hails from Subterranea. He began as a human, before falling in a big hole and being blinded by a huge pile of diamonds, or something (a little heavy-handed, but that's what we love about it). He went native, like Mistah Kurtz, and cultivated a race of followers who became known as the Moloids. The Deviants also lived down there, at one time. It goes on like that.

Brix quotes the line in The Rise, the Fall and the Rise as part of the original Banda Dratsing lyric. She also mentions that her grandfather and his brother owned a hotel they bought from "the man who owned Marvel comics"; otherwise, I'm not sure if she read comics, or if she just picked up the word from the straight world...

^

3. The Orange Lyrics book, and hence the Lyrics Parade, has "Phillipsburg" (spelling corrected), which would have to be a reference to Phillipsburg, New Jersey, whose cemetaries hold over 300 Civil War dead. It sounds more like Vicksburg, though, and that makes more sense, since Vicksburg, Mississippi was the scene of major fighting during the Civil War.

In a 1981 NME feature called "A Portait of the Artist as a Consumer," MES lists among books he has read The Civil War Handbook by William H. Price. From page 14 of that book: "The largest Civil War cemetery is Vicksburg, where 16,000 soldiers rest; only 3,896 are known" (thanks to dannyno).

Dan mentions the song "Vicksburg Blues," by Little Brother Montgomery, which probably has nothing to do with anything. A sample lyric:

I got the Vicksburg Blues and I sing 'em and ache everywhere I go
I got the Vicksburg Blues and I sing 'em and ache where I go
And the reason I sing 'em is my baby didn't want me know more  

^

4. Japan occupied Thailand from 1941-1945. However, this is more likely a garbled reference to a legend about Tibetan monks living in Germany during the war; the Nazis sent a scientific expedition to Tibet in 1938, and various works of pseudo-history have repeated a legend that Tibetan monks subsequently traveled to Germany to assist the Nazis with their occult powers, charging them with magically altering the weather to assist the German invasion of the USSR. In the pseudo-historical book about the occult The Morning of the Magicians, which contains, among other things, an account of occult tendencies in the NSDAP that is of dubious veracity, it is reported that a Tibetan monk nicknamed "The Man With The Green Gloves" lived in Berlin and headed a group called "The Society of Green Men," which was in consultation with Hitler about a secret underground city ("Agarthi") from which Buddhist adepts ruled the planet. Interestingly, the authors themselves seem to have openly acknowledged that their book is fanciful, but this hasn't stopped some of its claims from being perpetuated. From the book (quoted here):

In Berlin there was a Tibetan monk, nicknamed “the man with the green gloves,” who had correctly foretold in the Press, on three occasions, the number of Hitlerian deputies elected to the Reichstag, and who was regularly visited by Hitler. He was said by the Initiates to possess the keys to the kingdom of Agarthi … It was in 1926 that a small Hindu and Tibetan colony settled in Berlin and Munich. When the Russians entered Berlin, they found among the corpses a thousand volunteers for death in German uniform without any papers or badges, of Himalayan origin. As soon as the [Nazi] movement began to acquire extensive funds, it organised a number of expeditions to Tibet, which succeeded one another practically without interruption until 1943. 

MES very well may haveThe Morning of the Magicians; he has professed a taste for crackpot pseudo-history in general (although he doesn't seem to take it too seriously), and the book was quite popular. 

Martin:

In a piece which MES wrote for the "Alternative Ulster" fanzine in early 1979, there's a kind of prototype of this line: "Did you know? That when the Russians took Berlin in '45 they found 2000 hari-karied Buddhist monks in German uniforms?" 

^

5. As befits a ghost story, the best interpretation of this line comes from a mysterious source. A poster named "countrygent 58" visited the Fall online forum one dark night and left the following remarks. He has never appeared on the forum before, and he was never heard from again:

Somehow i seem to know the story of the origins of this song, thought can't remember who or what told me. 

It is a ghost story inspired by a stay at a "real" hotel outside Nuremberg by MES and BES. They entered the hotel room very late at night to find there was an unpleasent smell in the air. MES freaked out thinking the room was haunted so they lit candles to try and fight both the spectres and the smell. In the morning they awoke to find the source of the smell was more prosaic; there was a slaughterhouse right behind the hotel. 

That i assume is the meaning of "reasonable smell of death". 

^

Comments (39)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 04/04/2013
"Thai monks in SS uniforms"

I'm reminded of the SS expedition to Tibet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938%E2%80%931939_German_expedition_to_Tibet
Robert
  • 2. Robert | 04/05/2013
IIRC the hotel story was recounted in the Brian Edge book.
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 17/12/2013
The orange lyrics book has "Philipsburg" not Vicksburg. And "figments" not fragments. I hear Vicksburg and figments.
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 17/12/2013
"The titular hotel is probably the Hotel Grüner Baum Gasthof Blödel in Nuremberg"

The trouble with this theory is that the Hotel Grüner Baum Gasthof Blödel, at any rate the current one, seems to have been built in 1987, according to various websites anyway. So if that's right, maybe that's not the actual one.
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 17/12/2013
.. and indeed if you look at the place on google maps' street view, the date 1988 is over the door.
bzfgtI
  • 6. bzfgtI | 18/12/2013
Danny, we've had the "Phillipsburg" conversation. However, MES personally had a hand in the lyrics book, or maybe even supplied the lyrics himself, did he not? I find it odd that he's even heard of Phillipsburg (it's spelled with two 'L's), or even that Brix had, her being from LA and Chicago; this gives me some doubts, as it seemingly isn't the kind of thing that MES could have slipped in off-handedly or by accident. Anyway, I agree that it sounds like "Vicksburg," and I'll check "figment."
Mark
  • 7. Mark | 13/06/2014
From the Paintwork book:

The name Brix Smith appeared on the credits of 'Hotel Bloedel', a song she had co-written to southern Germany after spending an unforgettable night in a Nuremburg hotel.

Mark E Smith remembered how their room had been filled with "this choking smell - you'd have sworn there'd been a murder there." Brix agreed. "And at six in the morning there were ghastly screams. I was sure the place was haunted. Mark lit cigarettes and put them all around the room to fight off the horrible smell. When it got light we looked out of the window and saw an old woman coming across the courtyard carrying a sack of blood into the hotel..."

It transpired they had checked in next door to an abattoir.
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 13/08/2014
From Steve Hanley's The Big Midweek (p164-5):

"[Brix's] working on a guitar riff for a song she wrote with Mark when we were in Europe. 'We thought of it in that Nuremburg hotel with the abattoir next door. Those poor cows were screaming all night long. You could hear them through the walls as they went to the slaughter. Can you put some bass to it?' Well, hello. All these years Mark's been so MI5 about his lyrics and what inspires them, but now Brix is here to tell the world! When I've finished silently chortling away to myself, I notice it's actually quite a melodic riff I can easily add to and, an hour later, we're all miked up ready to go with 'Hotel Bloedel'. "
Antoine
  • 9. Antoine | 09/12/2015
If the 87/88 building date rules that particular hotel out, I happen to be reading a book about the Einsatzgruppen mobile death squads, which included one colonel Paul Blobel. The senior officers in the Einsatzgruppen were tried at Nuremberg of course. All a bit fanciful but the song came to mind right away when I got to that chapter. We all know Mark's penchant for messing with words and names.

Typically grisly stuff, although not directly related to the lyrics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Blobel
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 04/05/2016
According to Brix's autobiography, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise, this song is based on Banda Dratsing's "One More Time for the Record" (which is already noted). However, Brix goes on to say:


It was renamed 'Hotel Bloedel' and became the first song I ever recorded with The Fall... The album version of 'Hotel Bloedel' remains exactly as I wrote it. Mark added a spoken word over my verse..."


So does that mean that she wrote all the words not spoken by MES, or just the

And it's quiet again
Hidden fragments, surface now
Repetitious history
One more time for the record

bits?

ie. are the references to Mesopotamia in her original? We are not told.
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 04/05/2016
Update: later in the book, Brix quotes the verse and indicates that the words are hers:


And it's painless
Sitting in Subterranea
Ancient reference
To Mesopotamia
And it's quiet again
Hidden fragments, surface now...


Says Brix:


I had no idea what the song was about until years later. Generally, I write from my subconscious, and the complete understanding of my words and emotions may only make complete sense with hindsight and an objectivity gained from distance. This particular song was about history repeating itself. It's about past lives and about reliving things over and over again.
dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 07/05/2016
Just another bit from Brix's account of the story behind Hotel Bloedel in The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise:


Mark wrote lyrics based upon the gory experience of the slaughterhouse... and wove in a similar theme to my lyrics about time-hopping and the Civil War.
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 24/06/2016
Why are we questioning "Mesopotamia" in particular?
dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 26/01/2017
It was a question about whether Brix was likely to have written all the words she sang. What Brix originally said might have meant that only the repeated verse was hers, but no, her lyrics are all those sung by her, and MES has interspersed his Bloedel words in between her original words. It wasn't originally clear to me where Mesopotamia came into it. Now we know that was in Brix's lyrics.
Martin
  • 15. Martin | 13/03/2017
There's a kind of prototype for these lines:

"Gregoror, satiated walking thru' capitol
Stumbles on two thousand dead Thai monks in SS uniforms"

...in a piece which MES wrote for the "Alternative Ulster" fanzine in early 1979:

"Did you know?

That when the Russians took Berlin in '45 they found 2000 hari-karied Buddhist monks in German uniforms?"

http://thefall.org/news/fallau.html
dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 13/03/2017
Surprised that hasn't been noted already!
dannyno
  • 17. dannyno | 13/05/2017
Comment #4. I argued my point about the dating of the building on the FOF, but people with better knowledge of German than me showed that I was wrong: http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=8463&view=findpost&p=22295406
bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
Is there a version of Brix's original that people have heard, or can be heard? I assume "subterranea" was in it already? I'm cooking a note, it's a geographical term but also appears in Marvel comics which would make me think of MES, not sure if Brix was into them as a girl...
bzfgt
  • 19. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
Or, does anyone have her book to hand? Is there a passage like "I grabbed my acoustic and started singing, 'Blah blah blah, subterranea blah blah blah"? Just curious because there is a chance MES added that bit, since he is known to use Marvel comics terms. But again, maybe Brix was into it to, or maybe she just knew the word independently of the Mole People...
bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
Maybe one of those Tweeter people can ask Brix (see note 2 above)?
bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
Note 19: Moloids, of course. I mean, jeez.
bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
Yes, Dan, I saw that at the time, which is why it was never changed. Thanks for updating me, though...better late than never...
bzfgt
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
"Is there a passage like 'I grabbed my acoustic and started singing, "Blah blah blah, subterranea blah blah blah"'?"

Yes, there is just such a passage. Updated.
dannyno
  • 24. dannyno | 16/12/2017
Vicksburg. We should note the existence of "Vicksburg Blues", a 1930 song by Little Brother Montgomery.

https://youtu.be/I_KYbizxhg8

https://youtu.be/ZXcWyKWopUg
bzfgt
  • 25. bzfgt (link) | 23/12/2017
Great record, Dan, but I'm not convinced it's apposite.
bzfgt
  • 26. bzfgt (link) | 23/12/2017
It's a small price to keep you happy, though....so, noted.
Gizmoman
  • 27. Gizmoman | 01/11/2018
Re: "reasonable smell of death", just realised this is a reference to The Smiths "meat is murder". In that song morrissey sings " a death for no reason is murder". It always struck me as a silly line as killing an animal for meat certainly has a reason. As noted above this line refers to a slaughterhouse hence the "reasonable" smell of death.
Gizmoman
  • 28. Gizmoman | 01/11/2018
Hotel Bloedel was recorded well before Meat is Murder so my theory is clearly wrong! (unless Morrissey sent Mark the lyrics beforehand in one of his letters).
dannyno
  • 29. dannyno | 05/11/2018
Brix has published a book of lyrics entitled Babble-On, available from The Extricated's online shop.

The lyrics are non-Fall, with one exception, which is the text of "Hotel Bloedel (One More Time For the Record)", which is presumably the lyrics to her Banda Dratsing song. It seems to confirm what we deduced above about which lyrics were MES's, and which Brix's.

Here's the lyric:


And it's painless
Sitting in Subterranea
Ancient reference to Mesopotamia

And it's quiet again
Hidden figments, surface now
Repetition history
One more time for the record

Rebellious mistakes
Occur again
Everything moving
In a circular fashion

And it's quiet again
Hidden figments, surface now
Repetition history
One more time for the record

Our words return in pattern
Our minds encapsulating time

And it's quiet again
Hidden figments surface now
Repetition history
One more time for the record
One more time for the record
Kairam
  • 30. Kairam | 17/11/2019
Hidden figments
Cian O'Farrell
  • 31. Cian O'Farrell | 26/07/2020
I think this song is also influenced by William S. Burroughs' Cities of The Red Night A book that MES refers to in Renegade. It features similar scenes of death and war. It uses dead bodies to transport from one time to another, the idea that dead bodies act as a spectre causing events to recur in a repetitious fashion.
dannyno
  • 32. dannyno | 06/09/2020
Comment #31: he does mention Cities of the Red Night[ in Renegade.

But the full quote is this:


Contrary to what a lot of critics think, I’ve never been influenced by him. I’m not such a big fan of his work. In fact, I don’t particularly like Naked Lunch. It’s almost unreadable, if you ask me. Cities of the Red Night is much better.


If we take this at face value, "not being influenced" might rule out any influence on these lyrics. Or it might not.
Ant
  • 33. Ant | 18/10/2020
Addition to #2--I'm not sure about the timelines but the "hotel brought from the owner of Marvel comics" could either refer to a) Ron Perlman, who took charge of the company in the mid nineteen eighties (iirc) or could equally apply to (and I think this is more likely, possibly?) Martin Goodman, who was Stan Lee's uncle back when the company was known as Atlas comics--that's possibly a more realistic timeline that matches up. Didn't know Goodman dabbled in real estate, which makes me think it could have been a mid-eighties-to mid-nineties acquisition by Brix's Father and Grandfather when Goodman (who WAS known as a property magnate) sold them a hotel. FYI Perelman is now one of Trump's biggest donators.
dannyno
  • 34. dannyno | 20/10/2020
Comment #33.

No, unfortunately that's off in the wrong direction - but not your fault as the clue is misleading.

So Brix's paternal grandfather was Oscar Salenger (born Zalinger in I think Moldova), 1909-1993 (I think).

On 24 August 1947, the following advert appeared in the Chicago Tribune, part 7, p.9.

http://dannyno.org.uk/pics/breezypoint.jpg

It announces that Oscar Salenger, with his brother Jack, had purchased Breezy Point Lodge, Minnesota.

The advert notes that the venue was built by "Doc Fawcett", but in fact (by which I mean I haven't found that he was ever known as 'Doc' Fawcett, but I may just not have found it) it was "Captain Billy" Fawcett who developed the site.

An advert in the Minneapolis Star Tribune of 11 June 1950 (p, by which time Jack was the sole owner (he was to sell on in 1955) provides confirmation:

http://dannyno.org.uk/pics/breezypoint2.jpg

There is the correct attribution to Captain Billy Fawcett.

Captain Billy Fawcett was Wilford Hamilton Fawcett (1885-1940).

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

Wilford Fawcett was the founder of Fawcett Publications, starting with the comic-book Captain Billy's Whiz Bang.

As the wikipedia page about him says, he created the Breezy Point resort, buying the land in 1920. It formally opened in 1924.

Fawcett Publications (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fawcett_Publications) was huge. Founded in 1919, it would eventually be taken over by CBS publications in 1977 and killed off by 1987.

It was very much a family business. Wilford had five children: Roger, Wilford Jr, Marion Claire, Gordon Wesley and Roscoe.

Roscoe was the youngest and - on his account - did a lot of the day to day work.

In 1939 ,just before Wilford died (7 February 1940), Fawcett Comics launched as a subdivision of Fawcett publications (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fawcett_Comics). And the same month that Wilford died, was issued the second issue of Whiz Comics, featuring a character called...

...Captain Marvel!

Image

The character would end up in a copyright battle with National (DC) comments, who claimed he was too similar to Superman (Captain Marvel outsold Superman at the time). You can read about all that on the links provided and elsewhere. Not our concern here.

Anyway, according to this site: https://www.pulpartists.com/Fawcett.html


Roscoe Fawcett later recalled, "I was responsible for Captain Marvel. I got us into the comic book business. I said, 'Give me a Superman, only have his other identity being a ten or twelve year old boy, rather than a man.'


Roscoe would likely have been who the Salenger's did business with, but he and family were indeed owners of "Captain Marvel".

You can see how comics featuring Captain Marvel would come to be confused with Marvel comics (that name not being used until 1961, after Fawcett's character had ceased appearing).
dannyno
  • 35. dannyno | 20/10/2020
comment #33, Ant:

Unfortunately that's the wrong bunch, but Brix's book is misleading.

Just posted some research, which identifies the hotel and who it was bought from, but it's ended up in moderation so we need to wait for bzfgt to release it!
dannyno
  • 36. dannyno | 20/10/2020
This is the quote from Brix's book, which I've only just looked up. Would have saved a bit of time if I had as I had to first identify Breezy Point as the location! Anyway, this confirms I was right.


my grandfather, together with his brother, Uncle Jack, bought a hotel. It was an imposing vacation lodge in Minnesota called Breezy Point. They bought it from the man who owned Marvel comics. As a kid my grandparents would show me pictures of Breezy Point and tell me wistful tales about spending summers there.


When my post gets approved, you'll get all the documentation of this, but basically the family that owned Breezy Point was the Fawcett family, who also owned the Fawcett Publishing company and through the Fawcett Comics subdivision a character called Captain Marvel. This was back in the 1940s, whereas Marvel Comics didn't exist (under that name) until 1961.

Anyway, you'll see all this....
dannyno
  • 37. dannyno | 21/10/2020

Gregoror, satiated walking thru' capitol


There seems to be an invitation here to read this as a callback to Leave the Capitol, in light of the "Slates and Dates" press release / Orange book note that:


rounded off by Leave The Capitol (note fancy spelling) which relates time warps and encounters in Victorian Vampiric London.[


"Gregoror" is a bit of a vampiry name, isn't it? And he's described as "satiated".
dannyno
  • 38. dannyno | 21/10/2020
Although really I suppose "Gregoror" represents a Russian arriving in Berlin and not necessarily a vampire.
dannyno
  • 39. dannyno | 21/10/2020

2013 Vicksburg Confederate graves (3)
Are uncovered, throwing new light on
This 19th century conflict, sparking off a repeat
These southern spectres were disease ridden, dusty, organic
And psychic


You know what this represents, don't you? The South Will Rise Again!

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