Medical Acceptance Gate



I worked for future salary the nightshift
In Spalding Street. The respect is worth it.
1 AM at the front gate it had just been
Sunday night stood this man, tall and twisted back.
He spoke loud and said
Come out of there that
Grill on the wall contains a crowl, and
That twisted shape you call the
Laundry post reminds me of my origin
Your criss-crossed fences are avenues 
Paid for by the NHS, you need it more than (2)
The patients for mortgage fees and medical pranks

But you wont fix my quartz chip
Or repair my broken kind
Kindness born of mousy brain
Truth hit with kin of bitter world
Vicious dreams of EC1 (3)
And Lapland girls and green birds
Which crawl and chase  through dug basements (4)

The porter went to move the man
And we got back to practice time
But his hands went through the man
He was made up of liquid pitch
His legs two smoke pillar sticks
Crisscrossed fence posts were his eyes
His mouth red like a twisted knife
His mouth like a twisted life
He reeked of bleach and hospitals
He reeked of bleach and hospitals
The porter swears this is true
He reeked of bleach and hospitals
The porter swears this is true
And drinks too much in his brown and white hut
But the thing clings to the acceptance gate
The thing clings to the acceptance gate
The thing clings to the acceptance gate
The thing clings to the med. acceptance gate
And nobody sane he's seen it
It only bugs us young MDs
We are dedicated to fight disease
To fight disease


1. Here is what Reformation has to say:

Fall outtake presumably dating from 1983, though for some reason its second official release was on the Slates reissue album. Certainly one of the group's more weird offerings, but definitely not throwaway. According to the editor of this website,  it has a "Manchester Royal Infirmary" feel about it....Edwardian /victorian buildings nestled south of the City Centre guarded by jobsworths.....kobolds and gremlins roaming the environs There may be a link to Peter Hammils' "Institute of Mental Health (Burning)" from Nadir's Big Chance which both MES and Lydon cited as influences." 
There is a Spalding Street in Leicester which is half a mile from Leicester Royal Infirmary; The Fall played at Leicester Polytechnic on 19 November 1983; however, any connection between these facts and the Spalding Street mentioned in the song would seem fanciful, especially given that the group were not active in the studio at this particular time.
The term "Medical Acceptance Gate" doesn't seem to be a term in general use and so we must presume that MES invented it.
This track has never been played live.

Musically and lyrically this song seems in many ways to be a cousin of a ghost story like "Spectre vs. Rector," or a horror story like "Impression of J. Temperance". The "thing" thay clings to the gate is clearly a ghost or some kind of supernatural being, perhaps a demon; it is never made clear what it wants, or why it haunts a medical establishment, 
2. The National Health Service is Britain's public healthcare system.  
3. EC1 is a postal district in London.  EC1A is the postal code for St Bartholemew's Hospital (thanks to Sam).
4. He says something like "inducticements."

Comments (13)

  • 1. Martin | 24/03/2016
"Liquid pitch" appears to be a synonym for pine tar, which is a:

"substance obtained by the destructive distillation of the wood of Pinus palustris and other species of Pinus; used internally as an expectorant and externally in the treatment of skin diseases"

The use of the term "MD" to mean doctor seems to me an American usage. Brix, maybe?

I'm aware that what I'm about to post has little import, but I like this song a lot and would like to know more about its lyrics, so something is something, I suppose.
  • 2. therealgaryhill | 04/03/2018
Come out of there that
Grill on the wall contains a Krell
  • 3. dannyno | 11/03/2018
Martin, comment #1.

Pitch in this context most likely means a form of tar or bitumen - as in "pitch black". I like the association with pine tar, though, because of the medical angle But the image is more straightforward than that and would be understood easily enough as that.

"MD" is a bit of an Americanism, but not opaque to British English speakers.

I wonder if "acceptance gate" is a term MES picked up from working on the docks. An "acceptance gate" is a specialist reception for large deliveries, perhaps by lorry. You'd have them at transport terminals, at industrial premises etc..

See for example:

Our MXP terminal is equipped with 40 docks for loose cargo, 12 docks for BUPs and a dedicated acceptance gate for oversized shipments where crane services can be arranged at all times, guarantee smooth and non-congested acceptance operations all year round.

The phrase has other meanings too, none in widespread non-technical use. But it seems tolerably clear in the lyric what the "acceptance gate" is.
  • 4. bzfgt (link) | 17/03/2018
It might be Krell, it sounds kind of half-way between that and "crowd" to me.
  • 5. bzfgt (link) | 17/03/2018
Closer to Kraal than anything I think...
  • 6. Sam | 22/03/2018
I always heard the bit after "Vicious dreams of EC1 and Lapland girls" as being something more like "green birds to crawl and chase through the basements". Also, I was going to add that I think of EC1 as being an extremely posh, upmarket postcode area - but having just looked that up to make sure my memory's correct, I notice that the whole postcode EC1A is used for a single hospital, which may well be relevant:
  • 7. bzfgt (link) | 31/03/2018
Yeah, all that is correct I think, Sam
  • 8. dannyno | 13/05/2018
But the postcode for St Barts according to is EC1A 7BE?
  • 9. Bazhdaddy | 30/03/2019
The grille on the wall contains a crowl

Truth hit with kin of bitter world

Which crawl and chase through dug basements

His legs two smoke pillar sticks+ +i.e. pillar candle sticks
Crisscrossed fence run square each eyes
His mouth red like a grist to grind
His mouth like a twisted rite

And no-one who’s sane has seen it
It only bugs us young MDs
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
It sounds like "crowd" with gargling the last consonant or as you say "crowl.""Crowd" doesn't make sense...I'm going to change it for now but I'd like others to listen and advise us.
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
The "bitter world" line is very hard to hear. But what I have is definitely wrong, what you have only possibly wrong, so I'm going with it until someone has something more convincing.

It's close between "dug" and "the" with weird emphasis, but I'm going with yours

You've got me hearing "smoke pillar" too though I'm not convinced it means "candles," I never heard that nor can find a reference, but his legs were like pillars of smoke.

I'd like a 3rd opinion on that too.

It does sound more like "run square each eyes" but I hate to change it from something that makes sense to something that does not without being sure...

"Twisted reich" definitely has to go one way or another, it doesn't seem like something he'd come up with...damn it I don't hear "grist to grind" though, but it doesn't make it worse, I need more ears on it but I'll do it for now...

I think the "mouth" stuff is wrong

"bugs" not quite either but closer
Portsmouth Bubblejet
  • 12. Portsmouth Bubblejet | 09/10/2021
'And nobody sane he's seen it' => this sounds more like 'And no-one will say he's seen it'
John Reardon
  • 13. John Reardon | 22/06/2022
Since this was supposedly recorded during the Berry Street session(s) for Slates, and Berry Street is in EC1, I suspect that that is more relevant to the EC1 reference than the fact that St Bartholomew's Hospital is in EC1A...

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