Lie Dream of a Casino Soul




Well, I didn't eat the weekend
But I put the weight back on again
And our kid got back from Munich  (2)
He didn't like it much
Böse schlechte Heiden mit Synthesizern (3)
Just like machines
It's getting like that here now It just goes to show

I got no nerves left Monday morning
And I think I'll cut my dick off  (4)
The trouble it got me in
Went home to my slum canyon
On my way I looked up
I saw turrets of Victorian wealth
I saw John the ex-Fox          (5)
Sleeping in some outside bogs (6)
There's a silent rumble
In the buildings of the night council (7)
It's a meeting of controllers
Who drive right through the gates
In white roll-tops

And I guess this goes to show
The lie dream of casino soul
And I just suppose this goes to show
The lie dream of the casino soul scene
And I guess this goes to show
The lie dream of casino soul 
And I suppose this just goes to show
The lie dream of the casino soul scene 

I'm a bit jagged right now In a tongue-tired, wired state
Cause Sunday morning dancing
I had an awake dream
I was in the supervision dept. (8)
Of a big town store
Security floors one to four
They had cameras in the clothes dummies.
A man came up to them
He wanted sex in the dummies eyes
Then came up the cry
Security mobilized
Meanwhile in the sticks
Proles rich, dance in cardboard pants

And I guess this goes to show
The lie dream of casino soul scene
And I just suppose this goes to show
The lle dream of the casino soul scene
And I guess this goes to show
The lie dream of casino soul 
I suppose this just goes to show
The lie dream of the casino soul scene 




1. This song is about the Northern Soul scene that kicked off in late 60s Britain and was particularly robust in the late 70s and early 80s. Adherents of the scene were originally focused on relatively obscure American R&B and soul music, some of which charted in Britain years after its release; by the late 70s original music was being produced specifically for the Northern Soul market, sometimes by British recording artists. Wigan Casino in Greater Manchester, which MES mentions by name several times in the Peel version (at times substituting "Wigan" for "casino" in the chorus), was a focal point of the scene until it closed in 1981, the year this song was released. In 1978, Billboard magazine voted Wigan "The Best Disco in the World," with Wigan beating out New York City's world-famous Studio 54 for the honor.

Smith spoke to the NME in 1983 about the song:

That song actually did create quite a bit of resentment in the North because people thought it was being snobby and horrible about the old soul boys, which it was never about anyway. Because I was brought up with people that were into Northern Soul five years before anybody down here [in London] had even heard about it. But they've all grown out of it, which is what the song is about, but it wasn't putting them down at all. If anything, it was glorifying them, but not in the format of, where are those soul boys that used to be here?

There are actually a lot of old soul boys who like The Fall, because that music was always offbeat and it gives them a feeling for the sort of wackiness that you find in our music. It's really funny because Dexys bust a gut trying to attract that audience and never even got close. All the kids I know just thought it was pathetic 'cause they were wearing the clothes they'd been wearing six years ago and ripping off all these horn riffs that they knew off by heart from the originals.

According to MES's liner notes for the single, "This is the pre-amble youthful ramble of Big Priest. The ripper mentality hid well under ex Empire wealth. The above referred to slates will be struck with revenge forthwith." The "slates" are scenester businessmen "making capital out of The Fall sweat and pre-cog."

John (in the comments below) has suggested that the title is inspired by Picasso's illustrated prose poem "The Dream and Lie of Franco," designed in 1937 to raise money for the Republican government in Spain, which mocks Generalissimo Franco. Picasso's piece may also be what finds an echo in the Grateful Dead's "Crazy Fingers": "Gone are the broken eyes we saw through in dreams/ Gone both dream and lie..."

Ted points out that the riff bears a resemblance to the riff from John Lennon's cover of "Be My Baby" (an outtake from Rock 'n' Roll--use Google if you want to hear it, as Youtube links are volatile, and in any case permissions differ by country).

Dan reports that a book by Adam Gearey entitled Law and Aesthetics (Hart Publishing: Oxford, Portland, Oregon, 2001) has "Lie Dream of a Legal Soul" as the title of chapter 2. This is a book with an intruiguing title if there ever was one; perhaps only a Fall fan could truly be qualified to write a book on law and aesthetics, but I suspect it is Dan under a pseudonym...

Darrg points out a certain similarity to the Beefheart title "Neon Meate Dream of a Octa-fish."


2. Dan points out that the brat is back from "Düsseldorf" on at least one live version (May 22, 1981 in Hof, Bavaria, Germany).


3. The lyric that is given in the blue lyrics book is as follows: "the bands go hierden faerden clunken klicken aren Kobenhan anchines."  The vocal on the Peel version more or less follows this, although it becomes indiscernable after "klicken" and then resolves into "like machines." The line as written above was transcribed Portsmouth Bubblejet, and means "evil bad heathens with synthesizers."


4. On the sleeve of the "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul" single, the lyric is rendered as "I think I'll cut mein Dyckhoff." Below it is a note that says "Dyckhoff=Deutsche Kendals." Kendals is an English department store, and there is, or at least was, apparently a German department store named "Dyckhoff." 

I guess, as Dan suggests, this means MES thinks of Dyckhoff as the German equivalent of Kendals. I mean, when I say it like that, it sounds obvious, but I don't know anything about any of these stores.


5. Robert Brokenmouth suggests this may be "ex-Vox," referring to John Foxx of Ultra-Vox, in which case it could be either "Vox" or "Fox(x)," although the latter makes less sense. MES was friends with Foxx, who left Ultravox in 1979. But according to Dan "on the reverse of the 'Lie Dream' single, the lyrics to this song (or a version of the lyrics) are reproduced. And it's 'John the ex-Fox' there (capital 'F')."

Dan and Hexen Blumenthal suggest it could also be a reference to Thin Lizzy's "Johnny The Fox," a hustler-junkie who appears in at least 2 songs.


6. "Bogs" are toilets in British lingo. 


7. Dan refers us to the "Night Council" in Plato's Laws. This powerful body, in the Utopian city Magnesia, would meet from dusk until dawn, when citizens have the requisite leisure to consider weighty matters...


8. Characteristically, MES pronounces "dept."


9. At least one early version seems to have lyrics that wound up in "W.M.C. Blob 59." From the Reformation! entry on this song:

From the version of the track found on the DVD release "Northern Cream" (details above). The review on the webzine issue of this website has this to say:

"About half of an early version of Lie Dream of a Casino Soul, in which the tune isn’t fully formed and we get the lyrics "to deny it was I...I spent a lot of time...wondering who or what the hell was the crime” (also uttered in Blob 59 / Prole Art Threat from 23 February 1981 in Glasgow); and then “all of Britain was a university town..." (prefiguring lyrics in CnC-S.Mithering) The track finishes with MES remarking, “That’s the experimental bit for tonight” (By the time Lie Dream makes its Peel session debut in late March, it has been considerably tweaked and sounds a very different beast.)"


Comments (42)

  • 1. John | 17/10/2013
The "lie dream" is likely from Picasso's The Dream and Lie of Franco
  • 2. Mxyzptlk | 18/02/2015
I've always assumed John the ex-fox to be fellow Mancunian John Foxx on some psychogeographical spree around his beloved decaying cityscape. Why 'ex' though I can't fathom, as his star was still ascendant in 1981.
  • 3. dannyno | 26/10/2016
"And I think I'll cut my dick off
The trouble it got me in "

On the reverse sleeve of the Lie Dream single, a version of the lyric is printed. It's really not the same as what is being sung.

Instead of the above, we have:

"And I think I'll cut mein Dyckhoff
The trouble it got me in"

And "Dyckhoff" is explained with:

Dyckhoff = Deutsche Kendals


This seems to be a joke or pun of some kind, rather than an accurate rendering of MES's lyrics, but still.

Kendals, by the way, was a Manchester department store. Could it be the "big town store" of the lyric?

And it turns out that Dyckhoff seems to have been a German department store. See reference here:
  • 4. dannyno | 04/03/2017
Note #2

"The bad news is that we had to find out what "Dyckhoff=Deutsche Kendals" means..."

Well, surely he's saying that the Dyckhoff store is the German equivalent of Kendals' store.
  • 5. dannyno | 08/04/2017
"slum canyon"

This phrase is used out there, it's not an MES coinage. I'm gonna try and find some good examples.
  • 6. bzfgt (link) | 06/05/2017
I didn't get anything good with a simple google of - slum canyon -, the first result was "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul" (not #^%! ours, either!).
Dr X O'Skeleton
  • 7. Dr X O'Skeleton | 17/05/2017
I always thought he said "I'm Mick Jaggered right now, in a tongue tied wired state"
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
Anyone else hear that? Live versions help any?
  • 9. dannyno | 23/05/2017
I don't hear "Mick Jaggered" on any of the versions I've got.
  • 10. egg | 17/09/2017
About the line "Had a psyche that hadn't been synthesised": although it's what the lyrics on the sleeve say, it really doesn't sound what MES sings. What he does sing is hard to make out but it's always sounded to me like fake German, like "there's a schlechte heiter been synthesisèd", with extra emphasis on the last syllable. Of course this would tie in with Munich in the lyrics and the Dyckhoff joke on the sleeve.
  • 11. egg | 21/09/2017
(To update my above comment, I actually looked at the sleeve, rather than relying on weak memory, and it doesn't include the "psyche" line, making the line even more questionable.)
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 07/10/2017
Yes there are some things before the end that are a bit muddy, but I swear I hear "synthesizéd".
  • 13. dannyno | 09/10/2017
"John the ex-fox"

You don't suppose this could be a reference to the Thin Lizzy song, "Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed"? Jimmy the Weed, of course, is said to be based on an actual Manchester gangster of that name:
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 04/11/2017
Yeah, Manchester; maybe...
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
Yeah the lyrics book has The bands go hierden faerden clunken klicken aren Kobenhan anchine

I think it ends with "synthesizen" here
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
OK egg, check out what I have. It matches the Peel version better than the single, in the way I indicate in the note.
  • 17. egg | 11/12/2017
Thanks, bzfgt! Agree with what you've written about the Peel session, but as for the single, if I had to write the fake German down, it would be "böse schlechter heitner mit synthesizen", on the grounds that "böse" and "schlechter" are common German words (ie, "evil" and "worse"), which MES would probably have at least heard a few times, and that when English-speakers pretend to speak German, two things they almost always do are to substitute "mit" for "with" and to add "-en" to words. (see for a good example, and I'm very disappointed that no-one outside Australia seems to use the euphemism "Scheissenhausen", beloved of infamous football commentator Rex Hunt).
It does sound like he sings "heitner" (which isn't a German word as far as I can tell, but is a personal name), rather than "heiter" ("bright") or "heisser" ("hotter").
(I only have Year 10 German plus four months' work in Frankfurt to assist me with this, but perhaps someone who barely knows German is in the best position to decipher these lyrics! My other question is where the "psyche that hadn't been synthesised" line originally came from — it sounds nothing like any version of the song I've heard.)
  • 18. dannyno | 11/12/2017

There's a silent rumble
In the buildings of the night council
It's a meeting of controllers ...

I've long wondered about "the night council". And I've found something I like because it suggests MES has read more of Homer than you might imagine.

In Alexander Pope's translation of The Odyssey, book III, is the following:

The brother-kings inspir'd with fell debate.
Who call'd to council all th' Achaian state;
But call'd untimely (not the sacred rite
Observ'd, nor heedful of the setting light,
Nor herald sworn, the session to proclaim)
Sour with debauch, a reeling tribe they came.
To these the cause of meeting they explain,

To this Pope appends a note:

It may seem at first view, that the Poet affirms the night to be an improper season to convene a council. This is not his meaning. In the Iliad, there are several councils by night; nay, the night council is used proverbially to express the best concerted councils.
What therefore Nestor here condemns is the calling not a select, but a public assembly of the soldiers in the night, when they
are in no danger of an enemy, and when they are apt to fly into insolence through wine, and the joy of victory. The night is
then undoubtedly an ill chosen season : because the licence of the soldier cannot be so well restrained by night as by day.

So make of that what you will.
  • 19. dannyno | 11/12/2017
"And our kid got back from Munich"

It's Dusseldorf on the "Alter Bahnhof" (1982) CD in the "Live From The Vaults" series.
  • 20. dannyno | 11/12/2017
Listening to the single on the new singles box set,

"'Cause the bands go hierden faerden clunken klicken [aren Kobenhan anchines]"

Sounds like it ends "mit synthesizen". I can't make out the rest of it, except it doesn't really sound like the above. "Hiren Firen" is somewhere in there, maybe.
  • 21. dannyno | 11/12/2017
A book by Adam Gearey entitled Law and Aesthetics (Hart Publishing: Oxford, Portland, Oregon, 2001) has "Lie Dream of a Legal Soul" as the title of chapter 2.

  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 16/12/2017
OK, egg, I'm on it...I'll see what I hear and what I can get away with on the basis of that and what you say you hear.
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 16/12/2017
Wow, it sounds like exactly what you have, I think that transcription with my note to cover Peel does it, I hope anyway.
  • 24. bzfgt (link) | 16/12/2017
The German/English translator bot apparently reads "heitner" as sons, since if I remove the "n" it spits out "bad bad cheerful with synthesizers" (as opposed to"heitner": "bad bad sons with synthesizers"). So "heitner" actually returns something that makes more sense, even if it's not correct, as he mentions his son in the previous line (although it would have to be Heitner with capital 'H' right? if it's a noun).
  • 25. bzfgt (link) | 16/12/2017
Incidentally, however, if I remove the rest and just put in Heitner, it refuses to translate it at all. I wonder if that means it's guessing from context? It's nothing like Söhne, of course. Anyway for some reason that makes me not think it's a good idea to capitalize heitner, of that makes any sense.
  • 26. bzfgt (link) | 16/12/2017
WOw Dan, when I google "night council" I get nothing of Pope on the first page. That is suggestive but I am uneasy about it.
  • 27. bzfgt (link) | 16/12/2017
Not for anything to do with our respective Google fates, I hasten to add.
  • 28. Darrg | 30/01/2018
I've long wondered if the title isn't also a nod to Beefheart's 'Neon Meate Dream of a Octa-Fish'
  • 29. dannyno | 01/02/2018
Comment #28. Could be. Could also be a nod to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep or any title with "dream of" in it.
  • 30. bzfgt (link) | 12/02/2018
But it's much closer in form to "Neon..." and we know MES is a Beefheart fan, so I think it needs to be mentioned.
  • 31. peudent | 12/02/2018
In at least one live version from 81/82, MES sang "....And i think i'll cut my head and dick off"
  • 32. bzfgt (link) | 15/02/2018
Noted here for possible future action, from Robert Brokenmouth:

realised something - you know the line about John the ex-fox?

apparently Mark and John were good mates: the line may be

John the ex Vox

as he'd walked away from Ultravox...
  • 33. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
OK--it would be nice if John Foxx reverted to his birth name upon leaving Utravox, then it could be ex-Foxx. I can't tell if he says fox or Voxx. Does anyone who knows more about this know more about this?
  • 34. dannyno | 18/02/2018
Now we know from Foxx's tribute to MES that they got on well and socialised, he seems a more likely candidate for a lyrical reference than Johnny the Fox in my comment #13. Or maybe there's a double reference.

I'll look into this some more.
Portsmouth Bubblejet
  • 35. Portsmouth Bubblejet | 04/03/2018
With the caveat that Smith's German pronunciation is not easy to disentangle, I make the fifth line: 'Böse schlechte Heiden mit Synthesizern' ('Evil bad heathens with synthesizers'). The Peel sessions and live versions of this line are cod-German gibberish, but Smith does seem to have made a little effort here.

Regarding Dyckhoff, there was indeed a range of clothing department stores owned by H. Dyckhoff AG which were very successful in the German-speaking countries from 1967 onwards:
  • 36. bzfgt (link) | 17/03/2018
OK I'm going with that, unless and until egg seems right to me.
Hexen Blumenthal
  • 37. Hexen Blumenthal | 13/08/2018
John the ex-Fox could also be a reference to Thin Lizzy's "Johnny The Fox" a hustler-junkie who appears in at least 2 songs.
Art Simak
  • 38. Art Simak | 31/10/2018
Dunno about "Be My Baby", but it's "Tequila" by the Champs, quite blatantly!
  • 39. dannyno | 06/11/2018
Re: Note 5 and other speculation.

Just to note that on the reverse of the Lie Dream single, the lyrics to this song (or a version of the lyrics) are reproduced. And it's "John the ex-Fox" there (capital "F").
  • 40. dannyno | 17/11/2018
Note 8.

Reformation! changed their text. It now begins:

This ties in with the version of the track found on the DVD release "Northern Cream" (details above). From this review::

Then the quotation continues as before.
  • 41. dannyno | 08/12/2018
"Night Council"

The "Nocturnal Council" is part of Plato's "Laws".

Lots to be found through googling. But just as a reference :

What this would be doing in the song is anyone's guess, but there are references possibly from ancient Greek philosophy and literature scattered through MES' lyrics.
  • 42. bzfgt (link) | 12/01/2019
Oo, good one! I should have come up with that, damn it! I don't really know the Laws though...I confess.....

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