Laptop Dog



All life was there
But the path disappears
I say to you,
I say to you
All life was there
But lap disappears (2)
Searches all the bins
On advice of P.C.
No luck did he 

All life was there
But lap disappeared
Searches all the bins
Burning veins
Outside the B'n'B
Now takes two months (3)
No joy has he
Has no family
Has no... 

I say to you
All life was there
Lap disappeared
Searches all the bins
Burning veins
Do not underrate what I say
And the intolerant of laptop craze
A big creature will stalk you
And it will alliterate and proclaim (4)

laptop ignorant
Everybody proclaims
Laptop ignorant 

No luck has he
Keith Richards follows him
To his hotel stop (5)

Laptop ignorant


1. "Laptop Dog" is a phrase that evokes both "lap dog" and "top dog," and of course refers to a laptop computer (I say this for the benefit of future readers of this site, for whom a laptop will be about as relevant or useful as an abacus is to us now, since they will have the internet hardwired into their brains at birth). The riff is nicked from Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak," more or less, although it is gentler with a somewhat-rare-but-not-unheard-of-for-the-Fall acoustic guitar set high in the mix. Reformation! spills the beans on what this song is about:

According to MES, speaking on BBC Radio 6, this was the oldest song on the album. It was about a friend who lost his laptop and was very upset about it, but was also inspired by the previous Fall US tour when none of the group members' laptops worked. 

One pictures MES cackling and feeling superior to his bandmates who are getting their comeuppance for their dependence on technology, but what the hell does one know anyway? Maybe MES actually has a laptop himself. 

And from The Skinny, Nov. 1, 2011(thanks to Liabilirty):

"The new album’s first single, Laptop Dog, obliquely critiques technological dependency, bemoaning the 'laptop ignorance' that increasingly permeates British culture. Smith feels that addiction to technology is a real problem, and one that tends to stifle creativity: 'There are people like that – it is a true story, that song. I know some people who are worse than alcoholics.' Characteristically, Smith is sceptical about developments that are assumed by some to herald genuinely significant cultural shifts. Producing valuable music remains something that depends upon hard work, dedication and the gradual evolution of ideas – but also upon being prepared to adopt a new direction when life gets too familiar."

Anyway, this doesn't come off as a cautionary screed like "Auto-Tech Pilot." Although we often hear about MES's songwriting methods in a way that makes them seem haphazard, pulling bar napkins out of a grocery bag and singing whatever lines come to mind over top of whatever riff his guitar player is banging out that week, one thing I've learned while doing this project is that the lyrics often match the music in one way or another, and indeed sometimes in rather marvelous and unexpected ways. In this case, what we find is that the mood of the lyrics and that of the accompanying music are of a piece; gently (but firmly rather than cloyingly) lilting and, if indulging in a bit of mockery, doing so good-naturedly.


2. The lap, of course, is a physical feature that disappears when one stands up. All life is there, in the fecundity of genitalia and what lies beneath, but also in the electronic device through which the world comes streaming into our minds via our laps.


3.There is an outtake that has been circulating on the internet, and MES here finishes the line: "Now takes two months to order clothes" (thanks to harleyr).


4. Here's where it gets a little weird; is MES imagining the internet as a monstrous creature coursing through a million electrical wires and leaping our of our screens to get us? On the other hand, maybe he just switched bar napkins at this juncture. I say that somewhat jokingly, but something like that scenario is always a live possiblity and has doubtless fouled up (or inspired, depending on how you look at it) many an attempt at interpretation in the notes on this site.

It seems slightly odd that MES has the critter alliterating, in a song pretty well devoid of noticeable alliteration.

In any case, Basmikel conjectures that "alliterate and proclaim" alludes to the "www" prefix. 


5. While Keith Richards follows, the line does not--it seems like a non sequitur to me. Another bar napkin, I suppose. incidentally, this is the only song on my site where I have allowed myself recourse to the bar napkin explanation, so go easy on me.

Is Keith Richards, rather than the internet, the creature that was stalking us earlier? I have no idea why this would be the case; one can imagine Keith Richards being one of those people who has never used email, but I have no basis for saying so.


Comments (8)

  • 1. harleyr | 04/01/2017
In one of the bootleg alternative versions that's doing the rounds at the moment, the line...

Now takes two months...

is completed by... order clothes.
  • 2. Zack | 06/03/2017
Further proof that the roots of this song go back to the 2006 US tour: The title turned up in a version of "Bo Demmick" performed 13 May 2006 in Los Angeles: "From the long, long days of the laptop dog and his coffee" (as per the Fall Gigography).

One of the outtakes that leaked last year, "Lapdog," was apparently recorded with the American lineup of The Fall and shares most of its lyrics with "Laptop Dog," though the music is completely different. In this version, it "now takes two months to get new kecks."
Robert Brokenmouth
  • 3. Robert Brokenmouth | 07/02/2018
"P.C." is quite a triple pun.
  • 4. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
Right, I have nothing there--what is the primary (surface) meaning of PC here? I know it's a personal computer, but is there something like "Psychological counselor" or something that it means here? I can think of personal computer and political correctness, but what is the third meaning of the pun? (or if you don't have one of those, the fourth?)
  • 5. dannyno | 17/02/2018
Triple pun? Well, a double one maybe. Is it the laptop dog disappearing and searching the bins, in which case it could be doing on on the advice of a personal computer, which would make sense. Or if someone else is trying to find the lost laptop dog by searching the bins, then that would be on the advice of a Police Constable" surely? With maybe they looked up what to do on their desktop PC.
  • 6. Basmikel | 17/06/2018
Alliterate and proclaim: www.
  • 7. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2018
Wow, that's a clever supposition...has to be mentioned then
  • 8. Liabilirty | 24/06/2019
The new album’s first single, Laptop Dog, obliquely critiques technological dependency, bemoaning the “laptop ignorance” that increasingly permeates British culture. Smith feels that addiction to technology is a real problem, and one that tends to stifle creativity: “There are people like that – it is a true story, that song. I know some people who are worse than alcoholics.”

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