Neighbourhood of Infinity
Perverted by Language
Man whose head: (2)
A - Knew about politburo facade behind "Kicker" (3)
C - Who stole cafe's collection box (4)
B - Who applied cut-up technique literally to himself (5)
E - Who wore a red scarf to remind him of his fiancee
G - And visitor esoteric Jackanapes says analyser. Mr Alastair touched off the tragedy. (6)
Taped voice, barely audible: 'You can tell by the way [...]
H - There's a claque that makes use of Lancastrian patronisation of blacks. (7)
Their rep Jim Davidson. (8)
The love of Paris infects the Civil Service.
Lichen on the...N (9)
I used to have this thing about Link Wray (10)
I used to play him every Saturday
God bless Saturday
God bless Saturday
We are The Fall (11)
Palace of Swords Reversed (4/4/1984, Munich) (12)
The man whose head expanded knew:
?a) Who stole cafe collection box
?b) Stupid facade behind Jurgen (13)
?d) Who wore a red scarf to remind him of his fiancee
?e) The love of Paris, infects the civil service lichen on the North
??It was the time of the giant moths
In the neighborhood of infinity
??I used to have this thing about Link Wray
?I used to play him every Saturday?
God Bless Saturday
God Bless Saturday
We are the Fall
?In the neighborhood of infinity
??It was the time of the Giant Moths
?It happens... It happens... Instincts lost... It happens...
Lost through purple blossoms... It happens...
The desire will turn rotten??
We are the Fall
?In the neighbourhood of infinity (14)
1. Although Balance's comment nearly balances itself out of existence at the end, it is a useful one, on balance:
"Neighbourhood of infinity" is a maths term that describes an area close to the limit of a function, given the limit of this function as infinite (the limit of a function could also be definite). As simple (and as difficult) as that. Methinks "Neighbourhood of Infinity" means either nothing less than a) they (or MES) consider themselves to be of nearly infinite greatness, as the whole song appears to me like one big statement of superiority (the man whose head sees through all of them conspirators) or b) if you take MES by his words‚ "'It's [Perverted By Language] a suburban album. You just have to look at some of the titles - "Neighbourhood of Infinity..."' (Renegade, page 147)" about living in a boring and uninspiring neighbourhood, close to the end of civilisation, surrounded by inferior competitors, or c) a mixture of both, or d) something completely different.
2. A reference to "The Man Whose Head Expanded," as the full title is sung at this point on some live versions.
3. This makes reference to the contemporaneous Fall song "Kicker Conspiracy." A "facade behind" something is an odd choice of words, as a facade is by definition front facing.
'B' is omitted here, but in the blue lyrics book it is given as "Stupid facade behind Jurgen," and this is sung on the Palace of Swords Reversed version (see below).
Early 80s I went to school in Prestwich at St Peter's on Bury Old Road, about half a mile from MES's house. Down the road from the school, next to Heaton Park train station, was a greasy-spoon cafe that we would hang out in after school and play Space Invaders and Asteroids. One day, a kid nicked the charity collection box from off the counter there. It was one of those white, flimsy cardboard ones that you assembled yourself and was usually related to a temporary charity-drive or event, like the Spastics Society (as was). I clearly remember this being front-page news in the Prestwich & Whitefield Guide and it would've been '82 or '83. The lad who stole the box by the way, was one of the Ryan brothers (forget which one) from Radcliffe. Well-known hooligans at the school.
5. The cut-up technique involves cutting up and rearranging a text, in order to arrive at a new text by chance. The technique was pioneered by some of the Dadaists, and became closely associated with WIlliam S. Burroughs in the late 1950s. Burroughs was introduced to the technique by the former Surrealist artist and author Brion Gysin (from WIkipedia):
INTERVIEWER: How did you become interested in the cut-up technique? BURROUGHS: A friend, Brion Gysin, an American poet and painter, who has lived in Europe for thirty years, was, as far as I know, the first to create cut-ups. His cut-up poem, Minutes to Go, was broadcast by the BBC and later published in a pamphlet. I was in Paris in the summer of 1960; this was after the publication there of Naked Lunch. I became interested in the possibilities of this technique, and I began experimenting myself. Of course, when you think of it, The Waste Land was the first great cut-up collage, and Tristan Tzara had done a bit along the same lines. Dos Passos used the same idea in 'The Camera Eye' sequences in USA. I felt I had been working toward the same goal; thus it was a major revelation to me when I actually saw it being done.
The cut-up technique seems particularly suited to MES's approach to writing lyrics; he likes to rearrange words and phrases, and to unmoor them from their original context. One senses in Smith a strong faith in the power of language as a fount of insight; rather than simply seeing language as a medium for expressing meaning, MES often seems to regard it as a rich source of meaning.
Here is a link to an online "cut-up machine" where readers can try the technique themselves. The following text is this note run through the machine:
to regard it as a rich source of meaning. Here is a link to an online "cut-up machine" where readers can try the technique themselves. The following text is this note run through the machine: likes to rearrange words and phrases, and to unmoor them from their original context. One senses in Smith a strong faith in the power of language as a fount of insight; rather than simply seeing language as a medium for expressing meaning, MES often seems idea in 'The Camera Eye' sequences in USA. I felt I had been working toward the same goal; thus it was a major revelation to me when I actually saw it being done. The cut-up technique seems particularly suited to MES's approach to writing lyrics; he became interested in the possibilities of this technique, and I began experimenting myself. Of course, when you think of it, The Waste Land was the first great cut-up collage, and Tristan Tzara had done a bit along the same lines. Dos Passos used the same far as I know, the first to create cut-ups. His cut-up poem, Minutes to Go, was broadcast by the BBC and later published in a pamphlet. I was in Paris in the summer of 1960; this was after the publication there of Naked Lunch. I introduced to the technique by the former Surrealist artist and author Brion Gysin (from WIkipedia): INTERVIEWER: How did you become interested in the cut-up technique? BURROUGHS: A friend, Brion Gysin, an American poet and painter, who has lived in Europe for thirty years, was, as 3. The cut-up technique involves cutting up and rearranging a text, in order to arrive at a new text by chance. The technique was pioneered by some of the Dadaists, and became closely associated with WIlliam S. Burroughs in the late 1950s. Burroughs was
6. "Jackanapes" means a rude, impudent, buffoonish or smart-alecky person. It can also mean a monkey or sometimes an ape, but the name probably doesn't derive from "ape" but from "Jack of Naples," although this isn't certain. It seems to have been originally applied to the Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole, who was blamed for losing territory in France...see jensotto's comments 48 and 49 below for more about "Jackanapes" and other references in the lyrics.
Maybe "Alastair" refers to Alistair Cooke, who hosted the BBC's Masterpiece Theatre from 1971 to 1992. Like Mark Smith, Cooke was from Salford.
And, Marc Balance refers us to the martime tragedy of January 1983 that was "touched off" when an Alistair Anthony tried to save his Jack Russell terrier; he drowned along with three police officers who were trying to save him.
7. Note what "English Scheme" says of the "commune crap," who seem to have proclivities that would perhaps today mark them, among a certain element, as "Social Justice Warriors," among whom is the "psychotic brother" who "Condescends to black men/Very nice to them/They talk of Chile while driving through Haslingden." Haslingden is in Lancashire, which may suggest that the patronization is of a kind with the condescension.
8. This probably refers to the controversial British comedian of that name, although he is from London rather than Lancaster. Marc Balance again:
"The 'claque that makes use of Lancastrian patronisation of vice' does not necessarily have to be Lancastrian itself. It is more likely that this claque is southerners or working-class tories from the home counties, whose Rep. Jim Davidson definitely is...."
9. "North"; see, for instance, the Palace of Swords version transcribed below the Perverted by Language lyrics. In both cases MES mispronounces "lichen," saying "litch-en" rather than "like-en."
10. Link Wray (1929-2005) was a rock and roll guitar player who was perhaps best known for his instrumentals, particularly 1958's "Rumble," often credited as the first hit song to employ power chords (a "chord" that consists only of the root and the fifth, and thus arguably not a true chord), a technique developed by blues guitar players. "Rumble" has been enormously influential, and the power chord became a staple of rock guitar. "Neighborhood of Infinity" sounds a bit like "Rumble" in the way its simple riff carries the song, although it is played faster than Wray's song was. "Rumble" is slow and menacing and very simple; it was actually banned from the airwaves in several markets, for a time, which is unusual for an instrumental number (in fact, this may be the only case). This was because the title refers to a gang fight, a phenomenon the menacing music seems to be evoking, if not endorsing. Smith and Wray met at least once, as documented here.
11. Dan contributes the following:
From "Looking at the Fall Guise," interview with MES by Don Watson, NME, 1 October 1983, p.7:
"On the new LP we've got the words 'We are The Fall' he continues "precisely because we've seen so much dross in the last couple of years and we've appeared to stay in the same place while all these morons have risen above us. Now I'm trying to instill some pride in the lads; just state that we are The Fall and be aware of what that means."
This line originally, at least in the studio, appears in "Crap Rap2/Like to Blow."
Note also "Jim's 'The Fall,'" "We are the new Fall," and "Before the Moon Falls," "We work under the name of 'The Fall.'"
12. The lyrics of this version match the ones in the blue lyrics book.
13. Chris Cohen:
"Jurgen" might well be a reference to the novel Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice, by James Branch Cabell.
14. The title line is probably taken from "Gunslinger" by Ed Dorn. From Book I:
and as the disputational 44
occurred in his hand and spun there
in that warp of relativity one sees
in the backward turning spokes
of a buckboard, then came suddenly
to rest, the barrel utterly justified
with a line pointing
to the neighborhood of infinity.
The room froze harder.
Thanks to Rich B from the Fall online forum.
Dan points out that the phrase also means something in math. What it means is probably expressed in the following statement:
"The exterior E of any (arbitrarily large) circle centered at the origin is called a neighborhood of infinity if E is a set in the extended plane (containing ∞) E and a deleted neighborhood of infinity if E is regarded as a set in the finite plane (not containing ∞)" (Complex Analysis with Applications by RIchard A. Silverman).
(?) to the world then aspired to the height, aspired to the height
I used to have this thing about Link Wray
I used to play him every Saturday
God bless English Saturday
God bless English Saturday
I was in south Germany
So bored I had to read the passport
...We are The Fall and Steve has forgot his (kinky?) pitch..."
Subsequent live versions retain the bit about Germany ("being stranded" is a slightly alternative lyric sung). Link Wray and the giant moths are present from the start. I'll be listening to all the live versions of the song I have in the next week or so and will report back if more information comes to light.
Now, the reference to Germany could of course be Mark E Smith thinking back on the mini-tour of Austria and Gemany in June 1983. The Fall Online gigography says: Austria / Germany : ca. 5 - 15 June, 1983. We have information for a gig in Vienna on 5 June but then nothing until Hamburg five days later. The only other German dates mentioned are ones in Hamburg and Münster. Nothing in the south of the country at all. It would seem unlikely (though not impossible) that the group flew to Vienna, back again to England and then back out to Germany again. But staying in hotels in Austria and/or Germany for five days would also seem a waste of financial resources, so one guess would be that the group played a couple of dates in the south of Germany of which we are unaware.
Sorry, I realise that speculation about gig dates is not the prime idea behind this website, but it's the sort of thing which keeps me awake at night!
I suppose you don't need to know every twist and turn of my annotating efforts tonight, but it's 5 am and I am loopy...
as simple (and as difficult) as that.
me thinks, the fall in ‚neighbourhood of infinity’ means either nothing less than
a) they (or MES) consider themselves to be of nearly infinitve greatness, as the whole song appears to me like one big statement of superiority (the man whos head sees through all of them conspirators) or
b) if you take MES by his words (see reformationposttpm) ‚It’s (PBL) a suburban album. You just have to look at some of the titles - Neighbourhood of Infinity...", about living in a boring and uninspiring neighbourhood, close to the end of civilisation, surrounded by inferior competitors, or
c) a mixture of both, or
d) something completely different
What is "reformationposttpm"?
and, yes, part of paragraph b) was in quotation marks because it is a quotation from an interview (you'll notice if you follow the link), and you wrote 'me thinks' in one word... otherwise all fine with me, thank you very much ;-)
2. What the hell is TPM? I've been linking to that site for years and never noticed there was a TPM in the address. Martin?
3. Thanks, I didn't notice because the quote mark is upside down and closes as a double quote right side up...check it now, I think it's right (I added the citation from TPM because it is helpful but it does break the flow of your sentence a little, maybe I should take it out?).
Now, no one wants that to happen. All you have to do is let me change it to "methinks," and we can all walk away...
1. "Methinks" is absolutely definitely one word. Confirmed in Chambers Dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary, neither of which allow "me thinks" even as an alternative. Two words would just be ungrammatical.
2. "Post TPM is "Post The Pseud Mag". "The Pseud Mag" being the fanzine that succeeded "The Biggest Library Yet". The people originally behind the Reformation! site had previously been involved with "The Pseud Mag".
at https://sites.google.com/site/reformationposttpm/the-pseud-mag-archives, we're told "As you may know we were all in the team that worked with Fallfandave to put together The Pseud Mag.", and that was always my perception too - that there was some continuity.
Sorry, all of this has squat all to do with Neigbourhood of Infinity!
Ha! YOU apologize? We were douches about it, not you!
I mean, mostly Dan, of course...
I have always heard this as a brexit reference. Leaving the European Economic Community was a big issue in the 1983 election, and the big north/south political divide may tie in with the Lancastrian/Davidson/lichen on the north references
remarkable story by the way... I remember 'the Blackpool sea tragedy' was a big thing back then.
not sure if there's a connection because the lyrics are '...Mr. Alistair touched off...' but then again, this incident was so bizarre...
There are other options, like Hermann Lohr and an early Diana Ross :-) https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/f940196aad4d44feb7be8e0113b10cde
Cut-up technique: Matches an Italian adventure https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbctwo/england/1967-05-21#at-20.15
Collection box: Not so easy. Maybe The Enigma Files, ep 6 Charity Man (May 20, 1980 BBC Two, aso). Giant Moth is searchable
Beware of date-encoding (and versions) 1933-01-20 - SAWAT or SCCAT. 1950-01-12 as SEAL or SDJAL. Imagine opportunities with US vs UK date formats ...
Kicker: There are some options, but an intriguing one is Veronica (World Champ High Kicker) shown on experimental Baird TV early 1933 (3rd Jan, 1st Feb) - sound on BBC Natl Programme and picture on another frequency.
From "Looking at the Fall Guise", interview with MES by Don Watson, NME, 1 October 1983, p.7 http://thefall.org/news/pics/83oct01_nme/83oct01_nme.html
On the subject of coming in late to a discussion and not adding much to it, does "B - Who applied cut-up technique literally to himself" **definitely** start with a B? I always heard "D", which would keep it in aphabetical order. I still think it's "D" listening again now.
Walter Sickert, perhaps?
Started a discussion linking “ time of the giant moths” to German artist Franz Radziwill