I Feel Voxish

Lyrics

(1)

A pillbox crisp (2)

Offer, offer, it was not an unreasonable offer

A pillbox crisp, that French git 
The spikes he left in the bathroom (3)
And I never heard from him again

Offer, offer, it was not an unreasonable offer
But it made me hungry
For victuals could not raise nor buy (4)

I feel voxish, stack-heeled Hari Krish (5)
Those disgusting vegan new punks (6)
Caught my life mould, give me silenced lectures

Offer, offer, it was not an unreasonable offer
But it made me hungry
For victuals could not raise nor buy

I've been sharpening a knife in the bathroom
On a brick I got from the garden
No one will fuck with me again

Offer, offer, it was not an unreasonable offer
But it made me hungry
For victuals could not raise nor buy

Feel vox crisp (7)
And voxish

Notes

1. "Vox" is Latin for "voice," so the title means something like "I feel like singing." There is also a line of amplifiers called "Vox." 

Then again, Reformation reports the following:

"I also like experiments where it's just a sound experiment. In a way I find that I did that with something like 'I Feel Voxish', I just wanted a vocal tune going - but the lyrics in that are dead interesting actually." 

The song is built around a bass riff by Steve Hanley, and Karl Burns adds a second bass. From Hanley's The Big Midweek (via Dan):

"Being in Melbourne for a ten-day stretch lends itself to a spot of songwriting. During a rainy soundcheck, ‘I Feel Voxish’ comes about. It starts as a bass riff which everyone adds to and then Mark starts singing about sharpening knives on garden bricks in the bathroom. Psycho. So that’s what all the noise was about last night! We kept turning up the Superman cartoons that are on twenty-four hours a day but there was no drowning it out."

^

2. It's not certain whether this line is correct, or whether MES says "I feel vox crisp" each time. In any case, we spent quite a bit of time fretting over this rendering, and the below is what we came up with (for "I feel vox crisp," see note 7 below):

A famously obscure little phrase; a "crisp," in England, is what is called a "(potato) chip" in the United States, whereas "chips" are French fries over there. Maybe a potato chip shaped like a pillbox, or else a nonsense phrase (see note 7). From T.L.B.:  "I think he's talking about Pringles type small round crisps that are packaged in cylindical tubes, like a longer, narrower version of a pill box used for storing a hat. This style of crisp hadn't made it to Britain by 1983, so MES wouldn't have had a frame of reference for them if he'd come across some on tour in America or Europe and might conceivably have described them as 'pillbox crisps.' Maybe it's used in the lyric as a signifier of something inferior, a shoddy version of British crisps like Smiths Crisps, which M.E.S. would doubtless have preferred!"

Even if T.L.B. is wrong about the details, it may be the case that the connotations of the term "pillbox crisp" are private in this way. 

And PatrickH remarks that "the first thing that came to mind re pillbox crisp for me was the disc of foam that you get in the top of a pill bottle, it's thin and round, like a crisp, and might be the kind of rubbish that would be left behind by a drug user."

As Mike Groughsovt points out below, the general idea seems to be that the Frenchman whom we will soon meet is a jerk for leaving syringes in the bathroom and taking off (see note 3 below). His definition of "pillbox crisp" is "An effete French pill popping dandy now branching out into needle drugs." He goes on: "I'm proposing Crisp with a capital C, as in Quentin. That's the dandy. You know how you hear this done with historical names, someone is a corner-store Shakespeare, or, I dunno, a Robespierre on the Dancefloor... so 'pillbox Crisp' makes the French git and effete pill-popper..." And browneyespurplesockets suggests Nico's son Ari: Nico lived in Manchester at the time, and members of the Blue Orchids--formerly of the Fall--were her backing band. Her son apparently became hooked on heroin after a time of merely popping pills, exactly as Mike Groughsovt defines it above. 

See note 1 above, though--the fact that the song was apparently written in Melbourne may suggest further options. Dan submits the following from an interview with the New Zealand zine Rip It Up, dated September, 1982: "The Fall of Slick, Mark E. Smith’s Enduction Hour" by George Kay:

"Did You Like Australia?

We stayed in Kings Cross, what a fuckin' nightmare, I was bloody horrified. I'm no moralist but in the street I was accosted by prostitutes, drunks, people tryin' to borrow money, everything's open 24 hours and there's junkies everywhere. It's all cheap stimulation."

Kings Cross is an area of Sydney, where The Fall played several dates in July 1982 (i.e., prior to Melbourne). Also to note that in the same interview, MES describes Bessy as an "old French friend of mine."

Dan points out below that there is no reference to the title in the lyrics, which is true, but "pillbox crisp," if it does appear in the lyrics, is certainly a pun on "feel voxish."

"Pillboxes" in the sense of concrete guard houses are mentioned in "H.O.W."  

^

3. The reference here is almost certainly to hypodermic needles. John points out that the "French git" may be Claude Bessy, a journalist who was associated with MES and apparently liked his spikes...on the other hand, T.L.B. says "I'm not sure Claude Bessy would have been the French git, MES was supposed to be good friends with him and I don't think he would have described him like that as he wasn't a Fall band member or manager so there's no obvious reason for them to have fallen out. Also, it is unlikely that next line 'never hear from him again' would apply to Bessy either because he worked with The Fall on the Peverted By Language Bis' video which I'm guessing was mostly filmed after I Feel Voxish was written." And see note 2 above, where it is suggested that Nico's son Ari is the "git."

Dan points out that "git" is relatively mild and may be banter. So, there is much we do not know.

^

4. Smith pronounces "victuals" the way it's spelled, eschewing the the correct pronunciation "vittles." The line is from H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Picture in the House" (thanks to John in the comments below), in which a traveling scholar seeks shelter in an old New England house. The denizen is an old man who has a book filled with pictures of supposed African scenes, and his favorite is one which shows the "butcher shop" of a band of cannibals. The old man waxes passionate about the picture: "Killin' sheep was kinder more fun [after viewing the picture]--but d'ye know, twan't quite satisfyin'. Queer haow a cravin' gits aholt on ye--As ye love the Almighty, young man, don't tell nobody, but I swar ter Gawd that picter begun to make me hungry for victuals I couldn't raise nor buy..." [emphasis in original]  

^

5. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is commonly known as the "Hare Krishnas" after the movement's mantra "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare." According to the movement's founder, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Harā means "the energy of God" while Krishna and Rama refer to God himself, meaning "He who is All-Attractive" and "He who is the Source of All Pleasure". The Krishnas are known for, among other things, their vegetarianism.  

^

6. Smith pronounces "vegan" as "vedge-an," whereas the proper pronunciation is "vee-gan." This may be an honest mistake, as the word was not at all common in 1982; on the other hand, Smith often seems to enjoy mispronouncing words, and a mispronunciation is sometimes employed to convey contempt.

^

7. This may be a clue to "pillbox crisp," as both phrases pun on "feel voxish." "Vox crispa" seems to be a musical term, but one that is only used in Italian language contexts, as far as I can discover via the internet. One could probably take a guess at the meaning and come up with some vague notion that, if left unexamined, makes one feel like one is reasonably close...at least, that's what I did. Google it and see...

^

Comments (55)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 05/05/2013
There are several songs where the title doesn't relate to the text of the lyrics, but to an approach, or the origins of an idea which may be musical as much as lyrical. So "I Feel Voxish" in this case, but we've also got "I'm Frank" and "Craigness" and "Stephen Song" and "Bill Is Dead".
John
  • 2. John | 01/08/2013
Voxish may refer to the vocal effect, which may be pushed through a Vox pedal or special amp. "Get" sounds like "git" to me. The victuals line is from The Picture in the House by HP Lovecraft, which you should read to get more context
bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 06/08/2013
Thanks, John, the Lovecraft reference is a great catch--that's the kind of thing that makes this project worthwhile, in fact. Great job.

My understanding is that "git" is an alternate pronunciation of "get" and maybe more common in England, but that in the North it was still likely to be "get." I'm not sure about this, though, and I'll have to listen again.
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 06/08/2013
I listened tonight and it actually sounds more like "get" to me.
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 21/12/2013
Yes, git/get, same thing.
Mike Groughsovt
  • 6. Mike Groughsovt | 13/01/2014
I don't, uh, Get the confusion here. "Git" means "jerk" or "asshole" -- i.e. the Frenchman who left the needles (note: "he" left in the bathroom). So it's saying "A pillbox crisp [the fuck?], that french git, the spikes he left in the bathroom.."
Translation: "... that French jerk, he left dirty syringes in my bathroom and I never heard from him again..."
Nest paw?
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 22/01/2014
The confusion is about the line "the pillbox crisp." If you don't get the confusion, what does it mean? That's the one thing you don't say in your comment...the general interpretation seems sound though, I'll move it up.
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt | 22/01/2014
Where the hell did I get "feel box crisp"?
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 22/01/2014
Danny,

My understanding is that it's pronounced "get" in some parts of England and "git" in others, which is the entire question above, so in that sense, not the same thing.
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 22/01/2014
Sorry, Mike, I didn't mean tio sound snippy in my last comment. The confusion is about "pillbox crisp," not whether MES thinks the frenchman is a jerk for leaving needles in the bathroom.
Michael Groughsovt
  • 11. Michael Groughsovt | 28/01/2014
Snippy? You sound incredibly patient and considerate. I'm the one who sounded like a jerk with my original tone. Sometimes I type whatever pops into my head, need to work on that. Thank you for doing this site.
Anyway, taking a stab, what about a "pillbox Crisp"? An effete French pill popping dandy.. now branching out into needle drugs?
dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 02/02/2014
The song has inspired art:
http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-I-feel-voxish/179072/102082/view

and businesses:
http://www.voxishindustries.com/pages/about-us

Dan
dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 02/02/2014
Trying to find another angle to "pillbox crisp", I've tried looking at headwear, and then also at communion wafer boxes.

Dan
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt | 12/02/2014
Leopard Skin Pillbox Crisp. Anyway, it's clearly a pun on "Feel Voxish" (or vice versa), whatever else it may be. I suppose vice versa is closer to it since it's in the lyrics and the latter is not, which means the hunt has a little more urgency.
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt | 15/02/2014
Oops, I missed your last comment, Mike. I didn't think you sounded like a jerk or anything, and I said the "snippy" apology because it's hard to tell what the tone of a written message is supposed to be and I have been accused of snippitude many times in the past when I didn't mean to be (and sometimes when I did). Anyway, I like your interpretation of "pillbox crisp" more than anything I've heard yet, although it is seemingly impossible to corroborate it...
Mike Groughsovt
  • 16. Mike Groughsovt | 17/05/2014
1. I am unaware of anyone being called a "crisp" in this sort of context

Hello again, how are you?.. Hmmm did I make it clear I'm proposing Crisp with a capital C, as in Quentin. That's the dandy. You know how you hear this done with historical names, someone is a corner-store Shakespeare, or, I dunno, a Robespierre on the Dancefloor... so "pillbox Crisp" makes the French git and effete pill-popper, was my gist. I really really think it's "French git", not "get", don't you?
Tgee
  • 17. Tgee | 05/02/2017
Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat / A pill box crisp , = MES ...shitawk?
MES was never one for Dylan now was he,
Jus a thought
bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt | 11/02/2017
It's hard to say, I bet he's more into Dylan than he gives out. Although he did once claim to be a WIlbury's fan...http://thequietus.com/articles/09277-mark-e-smith-nick-cave-shane-macgowan-nme-interview
John Howard
  • 19. John Howard | 07/07/2017
The French git is possibly Claude Bessy, founder of Slash and noted junk abuser. Very likely to have left needles in his host's bathroom.

Pillbox crisp more of a drug reference than a military one, perhaps.
dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 07/07/2017
Comment #18, re: Bob Dylan. MES seems to have mixed opinions. In conversation with Michael Stewart, who asked him about the line in "Renegade" about Dylan not being able to write for toffee, MES says:


I wasn't criticising him. To me Dylan is Bible.


Which might be praise, but also might be making the point that MES regards Dylan as borrowing a lot from the Old Testament.

http://www.michael-stewart.org.uk/docs/2009-06-14_hudlitfest-transcript.pdf
bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2017
There's a lot of Claude Bessy in these comments lately...
bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2017
The Dylan stuff is intriguing, could MES be a closet Dylan freak?
T. L.B.
  • 23. T. L.B. | 19/08/2017
I think "pillbox crisp" is a lot more literal in it's meaning. I think he's talking about Pringles type small round crisps that are packaged in cylindical tubes, like a longer, narrower version of a pill box used for storing a hat. This style of crisp hadn't made it to Britain by 1983, so MES wouldn't have had a frame of reference for them if he'd come across some on tour in America or Europe and might conceivably have described them as "pillbox crisps". Maybe it's used in the lyric as a signifier of something inferior, a shoddy version of British crisps like Smiths Crisps, which M.E.S. would doubtless have preferred! One of my all-time favourite Fall tracks.
T. L.B.
  • 24. T. L.B. | 19/08/2017
I also think the title is more to do with "vox" as in voice, like "Bono vox" rather than Vox amps (aren't they expensive? I'm not sure The Fall would have been able afford those at this point in their career). The title is maybe a generic thing he's come up with to describe a lyric that was otherwise difficult to give a form to, so I Feel Voxish would just mean "I feel like ranting/rapping about anything". Words of Expectation from the same era has a similar vibe.
T. L.B.
  • 25. T. L.B. | 19/08/2017
just realised my last 'vox' comment pretty much reiterates the first para of the notes word for word, sorry bzfgt!
I'm not sure Claude Bessy would have been the French git, MES was supposed to be good friends with him and I don't think he would have described him like that as he wasn't a Fall band member or manager so there's no obvious reason for them to have fallen out. Also, it is unlikely that next line 'never hear from him again' would apply to Bessy either because he worked with The Fall on the Peverted By Language Bis' video which I'm guessing was mostly filmed after I Feel Voxish was written.
dannyno
  • 26. dannyno | 20/08/2017
Comment #24-25: I'm not a strong advocate of a Bessy link, but "git" is relatively mild and could certainly be used in banter. And you might well say "never hear from him again" if there a period of silence, given that nobody can predict the future. As for the meaning of the title, again I'm not a strong advocate of anything in particular, but it strikes me that one could "feel" voxish even if you couldn't afford a vox pedal.
duncandisorderly
  • 27. duncandisorderly (link) | 01/09/2017
in the early 80s, the second-hand market was awash with old AC30s left over from the 60s & 70s, & smith would certainly have seen as many vox amps as anyone else knocking about in a band back then. possibly even a guitar or bass with their branding either, or the vox version wah-wah pedal.
but the actual line made me think of george harrison as well as bob dylan. I should probably listen to the song again.
bzfgt
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 16/09/2017
No, thanks TLB--when I don't know what's going on, as in this case, I'm only as good as those I quote, and I am not convinced by the Quentin Crisp/actual pills angle, so thanks for helping me balance that out with something else.
bzfgt
  • 29. bzfgt (link) | 16/09/2017
I don't have vox amps in the notes but maybe I should, although ultimately I agree with you on that too.
bzfgt
  • 30. bzfgt (link) | 16/09/2017
I took out the line about the lyrics maybe being meaningless, it's just defensiveness because people always say we're over-interpreting when we interpret, and it's always possible a Fall song is just a kind of free associating but that doesn't relieve us of the responsibility to determine some of the things it might mean....
bzfgt
  • 31. bzfgt (link) | 16/09/2017
Yeah, it's always the problem--because Bessy is the only candidate nominated here, it comes to appear as though it is more likely he than someone else, but really we just have no idea. He was just French and in the right place...
bzfgt
  • 32. bzfgt (link) | 16/09/2017
Anyway most things are about Alan Wise...did he speak French?
PatrickH
  • 33. PatrickH | 08/10/2017
The first thing that came to mind re pillbox crisp for me was the disc of foam that you get in the top of a pill bottle, it's thin and round, like a crisp, and might be the kind of rubbish that would be left behind by a drug user
bzfgt
  • 34. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
Thanks, Patrick, excellent idea; incorporated.
Arty Seventeen
  • 35. Arty Seventeen (link) | 12/04/2018
Surely the first line is "Feel Vox Crisp" - as in feeling clear of voice and ready to vocalise? I'm not hearing Pillbox at all!
dannyno
  • 36. dannyno | 06/05/2018
Hm. I don't know, it's hard to give up on "pillbox", having spent so many hour trying to work out what it means. But quite often we find we've been off on a wild goose chase and a new suggestion dissolves the problem entirely.

I've made a decision for my concordance - I'm going to have "feel Vox Crisp".
bzfgt
  • 37. bzfgt (link) | 05/07/2018
This is a tough one. Often when a phrase is particularly mystifying it turns out we just had it wrong. And it's hard to hear for sure, and there's no lyrics book version of any kind.

But I am having a hard time pulling the trigger, it still sounds more like "pillbox crisp" to me. This will require some consideration and I hope other ears working in concert.

But, one thing I will say--"pillbox crisp"--what the fuck?
bzfgt
  • 38. bzfgt (link) | 05/07/2018
And I do seem to have "feel vox crisp" at the end--fuck
bzfgt
  • 39. bzfgt (link) | 05/07/2018
Should I just change it?
bzfgt
  • 40. bzfgt (link) | 09/07/2018
Fuck
dannyno
  • 41. dannyno | 14/07/2018
"vox crisp".

"Vox crispa" is a latin phrase in music, apparently
bzfgt
  • 42. bzfgt (link) | 22/07/2018
Very good catch, but frustrating--I cannot find it attested in an otherwise English language context, so unlike many Latin musical terms it seems like it might be only used in Italian contexts.
bzfgt
  • 43. bzfgt (link) | 22/07/2018
In fact, if you google -"'Vox Crispa' music"- your comment above is the first result. Unbelievable.
brownsocketspurpleeyes
  • 44. brownsocketspurpleeyes | 04/08/2018
A while ago I read James Young's 'Nico: Songs They Never Play on the Radio'.
I'm sure someone can provide dates for ‘I Feel Voxish’ it first appears in set lists etc. but the song first shows up in 1983? At this time I think Nico was based in the Salford area.
I need to have a proper look when the book is at hand but – also around this time Nico's son (she conceived during an affair with Alain Delon) 'Ari' (Christian Aaron Boulogne) arrives in Manchester – when mentioned in ‘Songs They Never…’ he is basically described as being an effeminate French bohemian, or dandy, and is essentially a parasite for all the drugs those in Nico's band/circle/entourage acquire. Throughout his time in the UK Ari quickly progresses from softer drugs (mainly amphetamines and pot if I remember correctly), too eventually, via his Mother’s habit and influence - getting hooked on heroin. This would be the transition from “pills” to “spikes”.
This almost supports the below interpretation of “pillbox crisp” unless I've misinterpreted it? - I’m suggesting that Ari is the pillbox Crisp.
(Note 2). “On the other hand, his definition of "pillbox crisp" is "An effete French pill popping dandy now branching out into needle drugs." He goes on: "I'm proposing Crisp with a capital C, as in Quentin. That's the dandy. You know how you hear this done with historical names, someone is a corner-store Shakespeare, or, I dunno, a Robespierre on the Dancefloor... so 'pillbox Crisp' makes the French git and effete pill-popper...".
Moving on, some of Nico's backing band around this period where ex-The Fall/Blue Orchids members. Nico’s live album ‘Do or Die: Diary 1982’ lists Bramah and Baines under personnel. I remember in 'Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E Smith' MES, when recounting the early days of The Fall describes the likes of Bramah, Baines and Friel self-righteously lecturing on lefty-politics, vegetarianism and practising yoga, or at least something along these line - which obviously riles and distances MES. I think this could go towards these lyrics -
"I feel voxish, stack-heeled Hari Krish/ Those disgusting vegan new punks/ Caught my life mould, give me silenced lectures".
In MES's 'The British Masters' interview with John Doran for Noisey MES briefly talks about seeing Nico cycling by his window and generally being around the Salford area, which obviously means MES was at least aware of her presence. Although MES is known to not really mix with ex-members it’s not too far-fetched to presume that nonetheless they continue to mix in similar social circles, have mutual friends, music-business related contacts and possibly frequent the same drug dealers.
Also, in ‘Renegade…’ MES acknowledges that he once took heroin in the 1980's, (he describes being strung out and thinking that he had penned an epic poem/play/short story, only to wake up afterwards and find it completely incoherent drivel, and that he also also felt terrible). MES has since confirmed this during an interview with Dave Haslam at the Green Room in Manchester (March 2010).
“DH: There’s another story in your autobiography that the ghost writer tells us, about taking heroin…
MES: Yeah, yeah, that happened once.”
This all generally makes me think that MES encountered members of Nico’s band/circle/entourage, (including Ari and at least one of Baines and/or Bramah), when Mark took heroin, and that ‘I Feel Voxish' loosely documents this.
dannyno
  • 45. dannyno | 05/08/2018
There are very clear connections between the Fall's circle and Nico's, some documented in notes to other songs on this site, for example Two Librans. Alan Wise, Bramah, Baines, John Cooper Clarke... all feature in the story of her later years. And James Young's book, which is very good, should be read alongside Dick Witts' biography of Nico. Witts has his own role in the stories of The Fall and of Nico. The books may even have been published the same year.

So it is I think easily established that MES knew of Nico's presence in Manchester, and may have met her (not sure if he says he ever did anywhere, but certainly he has said he knew she was around). Certainly he knew and met those in her orbit at the time.

However, MES obviously knew many other heroin users than just Nico or Ari. This is not a secret. And indeed in Renegade the quote about heroin mentions Nick Cave, as follows:


I remember Nick Cave when he used to write on heroin, he’d show me his lyrics. I’d be like, ‘Nick, what you doing?’ From The Birthday Party to this – lyrics like, ‘Ohh, I went to the canal, fell in the lake.’ That’s what heroin’s like, you think you’re really good. I did it once at a party in Manchester in the mid 80s, just to be sociable.


"Mid-80s", even assuming MES is remembering correctly and that his ghost writer has recorded him correctly, means a wider frame than just "1985" - could be a couple of years either side. Note that MES doesn't there mention Nico or any of her entourage.

Seems no particular reason, then, to prefer Ari's son to anyone else. But also, we're not even sure that the line is in fact "pillbox crisp" at all.
bzfgt
  • 46. bzfgt (link) | 06/08/2018
@brownsocketpurpleeyes (shouldn't that damn @ thing work here?), it looks like the song debuted on 8/2/82:

https://sites.google.com/site/reformationposttpm/fall-tracks/i-feel-voxish
bzfgt
  • 47. bzfgt (link) | 06/08/2018
Fuck, this whole Pillbox Crisp affair is getting unwieldy. I need to try to shape it up a bit, but thanks for the contribution. I'm still reading by the way and didn't get to Dan's response yet...
bzfgt
  • 48. bzfgt (link) | 06/08/2018
OK I got it in briefly. Dan, one thing that separates your alternative from bspe's suggestion is that Nick Cave is not French.
marc balance
  • 49. marc balance | 07/08/2018
comment 35. 'I feel vox crisp'. second that. after listening back to album and two live versions (1982 & 83), quite clearly. convinced.
dannyno
  • 50. dannyno | 08/08/2018
Comment #48. No, no, I'm not suggesting Nick Cave is responsible for leaving spikes in MES' bathroom. I'm suggesting that heroin users are ten a penny, and resisting attempts to create over-elaborate theories based on tenuous assumptions. The only apparent indication as to identity we have is "French git". That could be Ari or Bessy. And there are reasons supporting and undermining a case for either.

Indeed, we don't actually know that this is a lyric based on MES' own experiences, or something he observed or overheard. Given one of the lines comes out of Lovecraft, we might want to a bit less confident that the song's narrator is MES himself.

It should also be noted that "spikes" doesn't necessarily imply heroin - MES uses the word in "U.S. 80s-90s" too, where heroin wouldn't appear to be the thing. Amphetamines can of course can be administered by needle too. etc,
dannyno
  • 51. dannyno | 08/08/2018
I'm surprised that Hanley's "The Midweek" has not yet been quoted re: this song:


Being in Melbourne for a ten-day stretch lends itself to a spot of songwriting. During a rainy soundcheck, ‘I Feel Voxish’ comes about. It starts as a bass riff which everyone adds to and then Mark starts singing about sharpening knives on garden bricks in the bathroom. Psycho. So that’s what all the noise was about last night! We kept turning up the Superman cartoons that are on twenty-four hours a day but there was no drowning it out.


So that dates the song's writing to around the time it was first played live - August 1982.

If Hanley is right, note that the bathroom in which the knife-sharpening occurs is an Australian one (can't find any information about where the group were staying). in which case perhaps the spikes were also not left in MES's home bathroom. In which case perhaps the "French git" is someone encountered on tour, rather than someone MES knew from Manchester.
dannyno
  • 52. dannyno | 08/08/2018
This might be relevant:

An interview with a New Zealand zine, dated September 1982:

The Fall of Slick, Mark E. Smith’s Enduction Hour by George Kay (Rip It UP, September 1982, p.12) :

http://thefall.org/news/fallnz.html#Fall%20of%20Slick


Did you like Australia?

"We stayed in Kings Cross, what a fuckin' nightmare, I was bloody horrified. I'm no moralist but in the street I was accosted
by prostitutes, drunks, people tryin' to borrow money, everything's open 24 hours and there's junkies everywhere. It's all
cheap stimulation.


Kings Cross is an area of Sydney, where The Fall played several dates in July 1982 (i.e. prior to Melbourne).

Also to note that in the same interview, MES describes Bessy as an "old French friend of mine."
dannyno
  • 53. dannyno | 08/08/2018
Note 50: just to clarify that in saying "it could be either Ari or Bessy", I don't mean that it necessarily must be either Ari or Bessy. It might be neither of them.
bzfgt
  • 54. bzfgt (link) | 16/08/2018
I never, ever assume that the narrator of a song "is" MES. Actually maybe I do by accident sometimes, who knows, but on principle I don't. I don't see how asking who the inspiration for a character in the song is implies that the character singing it is MES, though...
bzfgt
  • 55. bzfgt (link) | 16/08/2018
Ha, I wonder how many times I came across that "Danny" in note 2 and didn't notice...I finally killed it, I bet we're getting close now.

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