In My Area

Lyrics

The dwarf plays pool to prove his height (1)
People play games when they lose in life
There's no sport, lad, just acid tension stomach flash
A madness in my area

I have seen the birth of bad (2)
I have seen declining tracks
I have seen the madness in my area

Understand time till I'm asked about it   (3)
Years cross-check, days become a tick
Can't remember who I've sacked, just stupid faces looking bad
The madness in my area

I have seen the birth of bad
I have seen

declining tracks (4)
I have seen the madness in my area

Former friends suck on the Fall
Genuine white crap article (5)
Their future cries
of broken pain are idiot victims'.
Just adds to the madness in my area

 

I have seen the birth of bad
I have seen declining tracks
I have seen the madness in my area

 

Politic comic fools in full bloom
McCarthy reincarnate soon (6)
See the bones on the two-late faces
The me generation (7)
See the traces of
The madness in my area

 

I have seen the birth of bad
I have seen the declining tracks
I have seen the madness in my area

 

I have seen the burrowmen (8)
Frozen pain that is so bad
I have seen the madness in my area
Madness in my empire
In the writer
The Berlin fighter
In the mirror
The doppelganger (9)
The new satire [boozed satyr?]

Blood and sand.... (10)

 

 

Notes

1. Well, either people know how high a regulation pool table is, and thus they can gauge how tall the dwarf is when he shoots, or this is a garbled way of saying that the dwarf has what is sometimes known as a Napoleon complex (despite the insistence of revisionist historians that Napoleon was actually 6'3'') and is trying to prove that his pool game, at least, is quite tall.

^

2. Dan's comment conveniently comes with its own disclaimer. Nevertheless, an otherwise silly line like "birth of bad" needs to be a quote or allusion in order to not suck, so his dicovery is welcome:

"I found this phrase in the book The Harley-Davidson Reader, MBI Publishing, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7603-2591-X. It's an edited collection of essays by people like Hunter Thompson.  

Chapter 4 is headed "The Birth of Bad". I can't find any context for this, but I wondered if it had something to do with the film, "The Wild One", which a number of the essays are about.

Having found online a draft script of the film, I don't see the phrase used. But I haven't seen the film in many years, so perhaps I need to watch it again. MES, who's sister we know was a biker (noted in "Renegade", for example, among other sources), would surely be familiar with this kind of stuff.

So I dunno. I have a gut feeling I'm onto something here. But I've had that feeling before and it's amounted to zip."

^

3. In Book XI of his Confessions, Augustine says: "What, then, is time? If no one ask of me, I know; if I wish to explain to him who asks, I know not." In the early lyrics these allusions often seem half-digested...

^

4. Dannyno saith:

"Declining tracks" could refer to a type of conveyor belt found on docks, or else to a gravity railway. "Declining tracks" might also refer to railways going down hill economically or in terms of popularity.

^

5. "White crap" is a common self-applied epithet for the Fall in this period, as in "Crap Rap"'s declaration "We are the Fall/ Northern white crap that talks back!" The tag is pronounced as a boast, certainly, in the way that people sometimes take a term of opprobrium and turn it into a mark of pride. However, its use here is probably less of a straightforward reversal of value than it may, on the face of it, seem; MES, despite superficial indications, is not really much of a boaster, at least not in an unequivocal way, and thus the phrase "white crap" should not be heard as shorn of all self-deprecation. Thus, I hear a kind of double reversal here: the phrase denigrates northerners, who in turn denigrate snobs by using it boastully, and this is in turn mocked a bit when MES gets ahold of it. 

^

6. Joseph McCarthy was a US senator from Wisconsin whose name became synonymous with political bullying and repressive anti-communist agitation and legislative activity. Although MES seems to verge on James Hetfield territory with this lyric, it should be noted, in all fairness, that if we take "reincarnate" to be an adjective the line is only slightly ungrammatical. Or, although I think this is less likely, we could hear the sentence as a perfectly grammatical statement in the imperative mood: "McCarthy, reincarnate soon!" This would foreshadow MES's somewhat silly invocations in "Spectre vs. Rector."

Dan:

1977, in "LM: Labour Monthly" (which I can see MES reading or at least come across, possibly, back then), Vol.59, p.320, was this line: "one cannot help but wonder whether there has been a reincarnation of McCarthy after all." Who knows? Maybe MES saw this, and in any case Joseph McCarthy is the kind of guy who attracts a lot of "reincarnation of"-type comments.

^

7. The Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) were sometimes called "the 'me' generation." This handle may have been coined by Tom Wolfe, who also called the 1970s "the 'me' decade."  

^

8. I don't think there's any such thing as "burrowmen"; I also am far from sure the song says it, although it is in the lyrics book...Dan suggests "boroughmen" as a possible spelling.

^

9. Dan points out that Hitler employed, as far as is known, at least one physical double as a decoy. Gustav Weler was killed with a bullet to the forehead at the end of World War Two, and his body was left in the garden of the Reich Chancellery garden, where it was found by the Soviets; apparently, the ruse (temporarily) worked...also see note 9 below. 

^

10. Also Sprach Dannyno:

Blood and Sand is a 1941 film starring John Carradine.

Carradine also played Reinhard Heydrich in the 1943 film, Hitler's Madman.

Heydrich famously shot at the reflection of himself in a mirror.
 

^

More Information

Comments (24)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 27/12/2013
"I have seen the good and bad"

It sounds more like "the birth of bad". Granted that doesn't seem to make sense, but that's what it sounds like.
bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 22/01/2014
That's weird, because that's what the Lyrics Parade has and i changed it because it didn't sound like it to me; now I suspect they might be right, if that's what you're hearing, but I'll have to check.
bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 22/01/2014
Yep, my 2014 ears agree with you and the LP. I think "the birth of bad," while a little clunky, is a better line than the banal "the good the bad"...
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 05/04/2014
Just a thought: "burrowmen" or "Borough Men"?
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 18/06/2014
"The Berlin fighter
In the mirror
The doppelganger"

Could this be a reference to Hitler's doubles?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Weler
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 18/06/2014
"Blood and Sand" is a 1941 film starring John Carradine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_and_Sand_(1941_film)

Carradine also played Reinhard Heydrich in the 1943 film, "Hitler's Madman" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler%27s_Madman).

Heydrich famously shot at the reflection of himself in a mirror.
http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/h-heydrich.htm

Just a thought.
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 25/06/2014
"prove his height"

It's just occurred to me that "prove" here may be being used in its original sense, "test", as preserved as a linguistic fossil in the phrase "the proof of the pudding". Similar kind of meaning when we talk about "alcohol proof - the measure of its strength.

That gives us another way to read the line, anyway.
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 25/06/2014
"Declining tracks" might have something to do with gravity railways. But what, exactly, I have no idea.
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 25/06/2014
"Declining tracks" might also have been found on the Salford Docks, for moving pallets etc. Seems like a possibility.
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 15/07/2014
"prove"

Yeah, I don't think it's quite a fossil--I think that usage is still alive, but very ill. Anyway it doesn't really change much, insofar as it still doesn't make sense to me. Unless he's secretly measuring himself against the table, which he knows is exactly a regulation (?) feet high...
john
  • 11. john | 19/11/2014
i have so many misheard lyrics:

and the writer
is merely a fighter
in the mirror
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt | 23/11/2014
Do you mean you misheard it as that, or that I misheard it as not that?
dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 31/03/2015
"Birth of bad"

I found this phrase in the book The Harley-Davidson Reader, MBI Publishing, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7603-2591-X. It's an edited collection of essays by people like Hunter Thompson.

Chapter 4 is headed "The Birth of Bad". I can't find any context for this, but I wondered if it had something to do with the film, "The Wild One", which a number of the essays are about.

Having found online a draft script of the film, I don't see the phrase used. But I haven't seen the film in many years, so perhaps I need to watch it again. MES, who's sister we know was a biker (noted in "Renegade", for example, among other sources), would surely be familiar with this kind of stuff.

So I dunno. I have a gut feeling I'm onto something here. But I've had that feeling before and it's amounted to zip.
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt | 05/06/2015
Damn it Dan, couldn't it have been something at the end of the song? I have to replace all the notes and anchors after 1 to add that in and with the new system I'll be all night.
dannyno
  • 15. dannyno | 13/09/2015
Oops.

Note 8:

also see note 8 below


You mean "note 9" :-)
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt | 15/11/2015
Thanks Dan, the note numbers change when I insert one and then I don't read through every last #$@%! one trying to figure out the consequences, so comments like that one are very useful.

You didn't mention it but I was also able to eliminate a "Danny" when redacting...
Martin
  • 17. Martin | 23/03/2016
Although I'm not sure how the word "tracks" might fit into what I'm about to write, the word "declining" could easily refer to the decline of Salford Docks in the 1970s:

From this website: http://manchesterhistory.net/manchester/gone/salforddocks.html

"The introduction of container shipping meant that the Salford / Manchester Docks went into decline in the 1970s. The new container ships could no longer navigate the ship canal and this, combined with increased trading with Europe and the east, saw trade decrease dramatically. In 1982 the remaining docks closed and the area became derelict."
bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt | 24/03/2016
I guess there could have been a freight train line to the docks...
dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 22/01/2017
I've pointed out previously that "declining tracks" could refer to a type of conveyor belt found on docks, or else to a gravity railway. "Declining tracks" might also refer to railways going down hill economically or in terms of popularity.
dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 05/03/2017
Recently Ted Cruz was described by some critics as McCarthy reincarnate.

However, back in 1977, in "LM: Labour Monthly" (which I can see MES reading or at least come across, possibly, back then), Vol.59, p.320, was this line:


one cannot help but wonder whether there has been a reincarnation of McCarthy after all.


Found in Google Books, so no other context. And anway the line isn't the kind where you think it has to have an outside source. But still.
bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017
"You didn't mention it but I was also able to eliminate a "Danny" when redacting..." (16)

No wonder you didn't mention it...I just thought to cmnd-F search it and there are 15 of them remaining! To work I go...
bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017
Oh, most of them were Dannyno. We're cleaning up the streets here, slowly but slowly.
bzfgt
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017
There's another song that mentions McCarthy that I added Joseph to a couple weeks ago. Don't remember which one but I think he's a lower level candidate on that one. Here it seems clear it's him but I could be totally wrong, you never know with foreigners, half the time they're talking about a soccer player.
dannyno
  • 24. dannyno | 20/08/2017
Note 10. Found a good quote on Heydrich in Heinz Höhne's The Order of the Death's Head: the story of Hitler's SS (Pan, 1972), which is also the likely source of the German text that MES recites in Oh! Brother.

p.149 (talking about the myth that Heydrich had Jewish ancestry):


Carl Burckhardt, the League of Nations Commissioner, found... that he could detect a dual personality in Heydrich's face: 'I said to myself: two people are looking at me simultaneously.'

Burckhardt tells a story of Heydrich regaled to him by SS men. One day, when under the influence of drink, Heydrich staggered into his brilliantly lit bathroom and came up against his reflection in the great wall mirror. He snatched his revolver from his holster and fired twice at the mirror shouting: 'At last I've got you, scum!' Burckhardt's comment is: 'The man with the split personality had shot at his reflection because at last he had met his other half - but he had met him only in the mirror and could never get rid of hi; that other half was to accompany him to the end.'

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