Mere Pseud Mag. Ed.

Lyrics

Hex Enduction Hour:

His heart organ was where it should be
His brain was in his arse  (1)
His hand was well out of his pocket
His psyche's in the hearth

Had a beard which was weird
Some time ago heard Ramones in '81 (2)
Has a Spanish guitar

Real ale, curry as well - sophisticate!
Spanish guitar doesn't get far
In computer teaching job
His dreamgirl sings adverts for the Weetabix (3)
A fancied wit that's imitation of Rumpole of Bailey

Whose causes and rags were phoenix-like
They were dodo like
They were comfort blanket type
Pho-do in fact
Pho-do in fact
Pho-do in fact (4)

He had a weak pisser (5)
And one night at darts match
Sandwich quaff

He showed he was a big fan of double-entendre
Saw "Not the Nine O'Clock News" "History of the World Part One" (6)
Twice each at least
Twice each at least
Twice each at least

Mere pseud mag editor's father  (7)

 

Hip Priests and Kamerads (Live 1983): 

His heart organ was where it should be

His brain was in his arse

His hand was well out of his pocket

His psyche is in the hearth 

Has a sneer which was weird

Some time ago

Heard Kraftwerk in '81 (8)

Has a WASP synthesizer (9) 

A real male, make-up as well

Sophisticate

WASP synthesizer

Didn't get far
 in computer teaching job

His dream girl sings adverts for Renoir perfume (10)

A fancied wit that's mere imitation of D. Bowie
 in "Man Who Fell to Earth" (11)

Whose causes and rags were phoenix-like

They were vaudevillian-like

They were comfort blanket-type
Dodo in fact

Pho-do in fact

Photo impact 

He had a weak pisser

And one night at darts match

Decadent sandwich quaff

He showed he was a big fan of double-entendre

Saw "Man Who Fell to Earth" "History of the World" 
"Man Who Fell to Earth" "History of the World, Part One"

twice each at least twice each at least twice each 

Mere pseud mag editor's father

PEEL:      (12)

His heart organ was where it should be 
But his brain was in his arse 
His hand was well out of his pocket 
His psyche’s in the hearth 

Had a beard which was weird
Ten years ago
Saw the man [who so-and-so?]
On academy pop
In the computer job
His dream girl sings adverts for shampoo advert
A fancied wit that was wanton reverse of Rumpole of Bailey (13)
Whose Shadrachs were comfort blanket-like  (14)
Beware the sullen smiling fool
And the shallow frowning fool 
Both will be thought wise (15)
And phoenix-like

He had a weak pisser
And one night at sandwich brown bread club
He thought he was a master of double-entendre
Carry on, etc.        (16)
Meanwhile, waiting out in the car:

Mere pseud mag editor’s father
Mere pseud mag editor’s father
Mere pseud mag editor’s father
Mere pseud mag editor’s father (17)

 

 

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Notes

 

1. From Antoine Procuta:

From a gig on October 23, 1981 at Manchester University: "Look, heckler... look, your heart's in the right place, but your brain is in your arse."
About 4 months before Mere Pseud Mag Ed got its debut, according to the Reformation site.

This is not an entirely uncommon imprecation, of course, although it would be more usual for one's entire head to occupy the cavity in question.

^

 

2. This was around the time of Pleasant Dreams, an album which some considered disappointing at the time (but which is nevertheless an excellent album). Perhaps the implication is that the pseud mag. ed. (or his father) was a bit late in getting hip to the Ramones. The Spanish guitar in the next line, pace Mark Prindle, doesn't seem to be attributed to the Ramones here, but is a new thought.  

^

3. Weetabix is a British breakfast cereal which takes the form of largish oblong biscuits. In the 1980s they aired ads in which the biscuits dressed up as streetwise youths (often as skinheads complete with suspenders and boots) and sang the virtues of the cereal.

^

4. "Pho-do" is most likely a portmanteau of "phoenix" and "dodo." A phoenix is a bird in Greek mythology that is periodically reborn, and a dodo is an extinct African flightless bird (unlike the phoenix, the dodo has not managed to regenerate itself). We can make of this what we will--the "causes and rags" keep coming back but, in a sense, they are dead. The gentleman who is the subject of the song is perennial in one sense, but always out of date, so, in fact, perennially out of date. I suppose something like that is what is going on. "Dodo" is also sometimes used to connote stupidity.  

^

5. This isn't a use of "pisser" I'm familiar with; taken literally it would probably indicate someone's penis, or perhaps bladder.

^

6. Not the Nine O'Clock News was a British television program (1979-1982) which lampooned the news; History of the World, Part I is a movie written, directed, and featuring Mel Brooks that lampoons history. The title character's taste isn't particularly highbrow or recondite, for a pseud...

^

7. "Pseud" (which is most often short for "pseudo-intellectual") is a term which, like "poseur," identifies someone who is very concerned with projecting an image but not particularly authentic: thus, an artificial and pretentious person. I take "pseud" to modify "mag. ed." rather than just "mag.," but it probably works for both. The exact role of the father, in relation to the son, isn't entirely clear here, but in some versions the line "Waiting in the car..." preceded this refrain (for instance, see the Peel version below), which would put this in context nicely; perhaps the pseud mag. ed. lives with his father (thanks to dalyzach from the Fall online forum).  

^

8. The electronic/Krautrock outfit released the generally well-regarded Computerwelt in 1981. Again (see note 1), the implication may be that our pseud is behind the curve.   

^

9. The Wasp was one of the first commercially available synthesizers to adopt digital technology. There may be a pun intended with "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant."   

^

10. As far as I can tell, Renoir perfumes were made from the 1930s until the 1950s. I have not found any television or radio ads, or references to such ads, for Renoir.  

^

11. The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 movie in which David Bowie plays a humanoid alien who has come to our planet seeking water to bring back to his drought-ridden home planet. He is thwarted by the government and winds up a broken man, or anyway a broken alien. Buck Henry plays a role in the movie, and he also collaborated with History of the World, Part I director Mel Brooks on the television program Get Smart, a fact which may not be relevant at all.  

Bowie crops up in a few other Fall songs: "Hard Life In Country," "Get A Summer Song Goin'," and "He Pep!"

^

12. Thanks to Joseph Mullaney for transcribing these. I have made corrections where it seems appropriate...

^

13. Rumpole of the Bailey is an English television drama about a London barrister, which were subsequently adapted into short stories by the screenwriter, John Mortimer.

^

14. It does sound like "Shadrachs," but I don't know of this being used as, for instance, slang for articles of clothing anywhere, so it may be "[something] rags" (the other versions have "causes and rags"). Shadrach was of course one of Daniel's companions who survived being thrown in a furnace by Nebuchadnezzar, but if the lyric is correct there must be something else going on here. 

^

15. From William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," one of the "Proverbs of Hell":

The selfish smiling fool, and the sullen frowning fool, shall be both thought wise, that they may be a rod.

MES changes it a little and, I must admit, it is hard to imagine a fool, or anyone else, both smiling and being sullen; likewise, "shallow" seems to go more naturally with "smiling" than with "frowning," so the adjectives may be reversed here (such liberties would not be unprecedented). It is amusing to see Blake's lines merged with MES's as we get back to phoenix; sadly, this version lacks both the dodo and the portmanteau "phodo."

^

16. The "etc." is MES's, not mine.

This probably refers to the Carry On franchise of British comedy films (see also "(Jung Nev's) Antidotes"). There are 31 films in the franchise, as well as several television specials, a series, and three plays. The series parodies British customs and institutions.

^

17. There follows a lot of stuff from backing vocalists, much of which I cannot make out, plus a few ad libs from MES and a recording of someone talking...Zack points out that here is repeated the "Land of bounty...land of dope cakes" stuff from "Open the Boxoctosis."

^

Comments (23)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 02/03/2014

HP&K version: I'm not sure it sounds like a "darts match" or a "sandwich quaff". Might even be "dance class" or dance catch. I'm certain it's not "sandwich".

The Interim version definitely has "darts match" and "sandwich crap", and also Muller Ice Cream instead of Renoir perfume.

Dan

dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 02/03/2014

In the Hex version, it's definitely not "decadent" sandwich etc. It might just be "Sandwich crap". Still not hearing "darts match", though it does sound more like "darts" something or other.

Dan

acousmetre
  • 3. acousmetre (link) | 15/05/2014

One of the things that I think is neglected about MES's influences is how much he likes Frank Zappa's music. The references to Zappa are particularly strong in this song.

The list of seemingly mundane, nearly-nonsense details about the subject (the weird beard, the Spanish guitar) is mirrored in a Zappa song called "Honey Don't You Want a Man Like Me." Like "Mere Psued..." Zappa's song describes an elitist, snobby, pseudo-hipster with the lyrics "He was the Playboy type (he smoked a pipe), His fav'rite phrase was 'outta site!' He had an Irish Setter."

On the same album, there's a similarly themed song called "For the Young Sophisticate." I'd say that Sophisticate is an idiosyncratic enough word that MES could easily have heard it from Zappa.

"Honey..." and "Sophisticate..." come from an album called Lather that Zappa on the radio in 1978, after the record company refused to released it. it was heavily bootlegged from that broadcast. The timing is just right that MES would have gotten a bootleg LP of Lather before writing "Mere Psued..."

Mark
  • 4. Mark | 21/05/2014

Re: "pisser" - during gigs in the late 70s, MES used to refer to "Rebellious Jukebox" as "Jukebox Pissers" (that may or may not be related).

Mark
  • 5. Mark | 21/05/2014

"Rumpole Of The Bailey": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumpole_of_the_Bailey

Joseph Mullaney
  • 6. Joseph Mullaney | 13/07/2014

On the Hex version it sounds like `darts match sandwich quaff' to me.

Mark
  • 7. Mark | 16/07/2014

At the start of the "Hip Priest And Kamerads" version can be heard the following comment, presumably from one of the attendees of the gig: "I don't understand the words!"

dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 16/07/2014

The Weetabix Gang: Image

Joseph Mullaney
  • 9. Joseph Mullaney | 18/07/2014

On the HP&K version it sounds like `decadent matchup quaff', whatever that might mean.

Zack
  • 10. Zack | 11/01/2015

For any non-native English speakers who might not be aware, the first line of the song is a play on the expression "his heart was in the right place."

bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 31/01/2015

Good point, sometimes something gets by me because it seems too obvious but as you point out it may not be. Nevertheless, I'm not renaming all those notes and anchors tonight so the foreigners will have to read it in the comment section...

Joseph Mullaney
  • 12. Joseph Mullaney | 09/02/2015

Lyrics to the Peel version from 2004. Feel free to challenge some of these. In particular I can't make out the backing vocals towards the end at all.

His heart organ was where it should be
But his brain was in his arse
His hand was well out of his pocket
His psyche’s in the hearth

Had a beard which was weird
Ten years ago

Saw the man [who so-and-so?]
On academy pop
In the computer job

His dream girl sings adverts for shampoo advert
A fancied wit that was wanton reverse of Rumpole of Bailey
Whose Shadrachs were comfort blanket-like
Beware the southern smiling fool
And the shallow [brownie fool?]
Both will be thought wise
And phoenix-like

He had a weak pisser
And one night at sandwich brown bread club
He thought he was a master of double-entendre
Carry on, etc.

Meanwhile, waiting out in the car
Mere pseud mag editor’s father

Zack
  • 13. Zack | 09/06/2015

Legendary Fall Online Forumite fallchase and I once debated the meaning of the word "pisser" in the context of this song. Chase thought it meant penis but I thought it meant a drunken night on the town.

UrbanDictionary.com lists several colorful definitions of "pisser"; listed at #21 out of 27 we learn that a pisser might be "A night on the town getting drunk with your friends. Used frequently by NE English types. So named for the obscene amount of urine created by drinking 18-24 pints of Stella over the span of an evening." Works for me.

dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 21/06/2015

You can't rely on the urbandictionary.com.

"Pisser"=penis is not particularly regional slang.

Chambers Dictionary:


1. One who urinates
2.An annoying person or thing
3.A toilet
4.The penis


Shorter Oxford English Dictionary:


1. A person who urinates.
‣b The (male or female) genitals.
‣c A lavatory.

2. An extraordinary person or thing; a difficult or distasteful event, an annoying or disappointing thing; an unpleasant person; (in weakened sense) a fellow, a chap.


Eric Partridge's "A Dictionary of Historical Slang" has the same meanings.

Earliest quote given for pisser=penis in the online version of the multivolume OED is 1896:


1896 J. S. Farmer & W. E. Henley Slang IV. 214/2 Pisser = (1) the penis, and (2) the female pudendum.
a1935 T. E. Lawrence Mint (1963) i. xxiii. 99 You're pulling my pisser: our mob's on fatigue for the duration.
1963 C. Bukowski in Burning in Water drowning in Flame (1997) Girls kicking high, showing everything but the pisser.
1971 B. W. Aldiss Soldier Erect 37 He was pulling your pisser, Wal. Malaria's no worse than a cold to the Wogs, is it, Bamber?
1997 C. Shields Larry's Party (1998) vii. 125 His penis jumped in his pants. His pisser, his pony, his jack-in-the-box.


Dan

dannyno
  • 15. dannyno | 06/01/2016

"His dreamgirl sings adverts for the Weetabix "

Melody Maker, 8 August 1981, p4 has a short news item about Captain Sensible's girlfriend, Cursty (Christiane Kistner). It seems she was setting up an all-girl band called Short Commercial Break, whose set would consist of jingles for products including Weetabix (https://youtu.be/XwL7eAWWSIM for their take on "Unbeatabix").

They later did a BBC radio session for John Walters which was repeated on Peel's show. This would have been after the lyrics here were recorded though.

More here: http://peel.wikia.com/wiki/Short_Commercial_Break

dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 06/01/2016

Captain Sensible went on to "star" in Weetabix adverts.

https://youtu.be/HF4wP2Oaa5c

This is all probably a red herring.

Martin
  • 17. Martin | 06/04/2016

Small typo: "Who's causes and rags were phoenix-like"

"Whose",surely?

dannyno
  • 18. dannyno | 09/05/2016

"His psyche's in the hearth"

So, like ashes?

bzfgt
  • 19. bzfgt | 19/05/2016

Thanks, Martin. I bet that came right over from the Lyrics Parade and I never noticed.

bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt | 19/05/2016

Dan: yeah, why not? Alternatively, I suppose it could imply he is a homebody, or someone who has to go out a lot to keep up appearances or do his job but who at heart is a bourgeois homelover....something like that, but when I speculate like that I'm often shown quite wrong, whenever evidence arises.

Zack
  • 21. Zack | 25/06/2016

The group chant in the Peel version:

Land of bounty
Land of ___
Land of ___
Land of dope cake
Land of schizo
In my ___
Land of ___
Sixteen nineteen ninety six

"Land of bounty" and "land of dope cake" are, of course, lyrics from "Open The Boxoctosis".

Earlier in the Peel version I hear "Saw Samantha So-and-So".

bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt | 29/06/2016

Thanks, Zack; if anyone figures that out and transcribes it, that would be very helpful.

Antoine Procuta
  • 23. Antoine Procuta | 23/03/2017

From a gig on October 23, 1981 at Manchester University: "Look, heckler... look, your heart's in the right place, but your brain is in your arse." You can hear it 10min18sec into this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9rKexs87RA

About 4 months before Mere Pseud Mag Ed got its debut, according to the Reformation site.

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