O! ZZTRRK Man (1)


1. There's actually some variety between iterations, but what the hell is he saying? The title is as close as anything, at times it comes across as sort of "O zirk man!"

Maldoror on the Fall online forum identifies the following possible lyrics; after reading his transcription, I can now hear just about all of them, but it may be auditory pareidolia (yes, this is what we have been reduced to!):


Hold your bets
Hold your breath
Joyous man
Old George Best
Oh, George Best
Joyous Mess
Oh, Judgement
Oh man, joyous man
the best
George knows best
Old George Best

In early setlists, this was called "Zaptrack" (and once "Zapatak").

And Rik has chimed in saying "All goes bad," and now I hear that too...

The chord changes are the same as the Gary Numan song "M.E.," to which this song bears a considerable resemblance. From Zack:

"MES once conducted a remarkably civil interview with his former Beggars Banquet labelmate and even sang about Numan in an unreleased collaboration with Elastica called 'We Want You.'"

Note MES on "Prole Art Threat," which (probably) goes "Get out the pink press threat file/And Um-brrrptzzap the subject" (thanks to Sean).


Comments (36)

  • 1. bzfgt (link) | 02/09/2017
Test--Martin cannot post. Try again Martin, maybe on a different browser...
  • 2. Zack | 02/09/2017
Multiple FOFers have noted the similarity between this song and "M.E." by Gary Numan.

MES once conducted a remarkably civil interview with his former Beggars Banquet labelmate ( https://kirstyallison.com/2013/11/21/the-fall-the-crane-and-biting-gary-numans-hand/ ) and even sang about Numan in an unreleased collaboration with Elastica called "We Want You" ( http://thefall.org/news/971203.html ).
  • 3. Rik | 03/09/2017
I hear..." All goes bad"
  • 4. bzfgt (link) | 07/10/2017
I can't read much of that interview, but what I can see of it looks remarkably civil, as you claim...he doesn't seem to be getting the Shane Macgowan treatment, anyway, does he?
  • 5. Sean | 26/02/2018
The title, at least, reminds me of the gibberish/“redacted” bits from Prole Art Threat - and accordingly makes me wonder if there’s even any lyric here to be deciphered or if it’s just, you know, folderol
  • 6. bzfgt (link) | 10/03/2018
Yeah, that's exactly what it always reminded me of, I am amazed, as sometimes happens, that this has not been noted.

As for doubts about whether there's anything to be deciphered, that's why the English bits are in the notes, not in the "Lyrics" bit...
  • 7. Steve | 28/03/2018
O!zztrrk reminds me of an instrumental by The Wedding Present, Dan Dare, from their album George Best.
Autolytic Enzyme
  • 8. Autolytic Enzyme | 21/04/2019
The title reminds me of SCRABrrRrraaNNG, a concrete poem by Marinetti or some sort of futurist/ dadaist poem where it is all sounds not words.
  • 9. Bob | 23/04/2019
Originally titled Zaptack with lyrics

"Oh joyous man,
Oh zaptrack man"

Plus lots of whhhhhhooooowhhhhhhohoooooooooohoo woohoohohohwooo.

Appears Oh Zaptrack has become O! ZZTRRK.

Don't know what a zap track is but it's a good word.

It does happen to be the name of an obscure GPS app, Zapptrack.
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 28/06/2019
Do we have a reference for Zaptrack? Reformation! doesn't have it (and you have two entries for it, Martin)
Shamfull Wanker
  • 11. Shamfull Wanker (link) | 25/07/2019


  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 16/08/2019
OK, does anyone have a reference for the title "Zaptrack (Man)"? The word "Zaptrack" is anything but clear in either of those videos, to the extent where I'd even say it could be "ZZTRRK". Are there any setlists with "Zaptrack" written on them, or anything like that?
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 16/08/2019
Sorry, Martin, I mean you have two entries for this song, and you don't have Zaptrack...you're still around, right?

Thank you, Shamfull Wanker
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 16/08/2019
1:07 of the first video is the most "Zaptrack" I hear but even there it's not certain
  • 15. SW | 17/08/2019

Interestingly, it is listed on set lists originally as Zaptrack later as Zapatak, sometimes as Zaptrak, as if he is just fucking about with the sounds.
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 23/08/2019
Thanks, S, I did wind up figuring it out! Yeah, I think that's what the process was sometimes...seemingly a lot of the time with song titles/title phrases...
  • 17. Wrayx8 | 01/02/2020
@ comment #8 – I tend to think of this tune in terms of something like Dadaism. The point of the lyric is to be empty or have very little definable semantic value. For me it’s a continuation of the “anti-lyric” of Sir William Wray etc.

(I’m still straining my ears to try and work out what he’s actually saying though!)
John Reardon
  • 18. John Reardon | 18/06/2020
The use of the word "joyous" (?) seems particularly apposite because whenever I play this song I feel a compulsion to play it 5 times in a row (minimum).
Michael Nath
  • 19. Michael Nath (link) | 03/07/2020
As John R says, it is joyous -- and very funny. It's also a kind of hymn (to GB), rather than a Dada effort.
  • 20. dannyno | 22/10/2020
Comments, apparently by Keiron, during the Tim Burgess twitter listening party devoted to New Facts Emerge, 22 October 2020:

So this one was quite a story to it. Dave’s car had been smashed into outside his house so he couldn’t get to the studio but me and Pete made it. We ended up recording this and playing the best part on the keyboard


Marc got me to put the whole mix through an amplifier and record the sound through the speaker and then gave me his dictaphone with his vocal on it and that was the finished vocal

  • 21. dannyno | 22/10/2020
Hm, bit confusing, similar story (dictaphone etc) told to Uncut magazine, but about Couples vs Jobless Mid 30s (see comment #48, or note 1 for page on that song). Misremembered, or same process?
  • 22. harleyr | 07/11/2020
Could there be a connection with Lindsay Anderson's 'O Lucky Man!' ?

I've not seen the film, but Smith apparently held it in high regard:
'Mark E. Smith of The Fall was a huge fan of the film and once said “If you want to know what Britain was like in 1973, watch O Lucky Man!"'
  • 23. dannyno | 14/11/2020
Are you asking if there could be a connection because the title has both an "O" and a "Man"?

Bit tenuous. Unless, I suppose, the wiping out or erasure of "lucky" is the important takeaway.
John Hall
  • 24. John Hall | 27/12/2020
I dont think the O Lucky Man connection is tenuous at all...Smith was keen on Anderson's anti naturalistic State Of The Nation style. They're a good fit, given Anderson's history of independent British filmmaking within the Free Cinema movement. Anderson used the O prefix in 2 titles and ( Dreamland, Lucky Man) and mooted it for a third ( cant remember what it was but he was talked out of it...)
  • 25. Dave | 28/12/2020
Nonsense comments mainly - the only lyrics to the song are:

'Oh! joyous man
Joyous man
Oh! man, Oh! joyous man'

No George Best + no judgement!
  • 26. dannyno | 16/02/2021
John Hall, comment #24. It's certainly true that Smith cited some of Anderson's films with approval, wouldn't argue with that. It's just we're rather short of textual warrant for the leap. I don't say the leap cannot be made.
  • 27. bzfgt (link) | 10/04/2021
I listened to this tonight and I really thought he was saying "joyous man" a lot of times. I didn't look at the lyrics, and couldn't say whether I'd hear more of Maldoror's stuff if I did, but "joyous" seemed to come through.
Terry Bucknell
  • 28. Terry Bucknell | 23/06/2021
Re Steve’s comment about the Weddoes’ Dan Dare: that’s on Seamonsters (though not on the original UK 10-track release), not George Best.
  • 29. 34 | 12/08/2021
The only lyrics to the song are thus:

O joyous man
Joyous man
O man, O joyous man

Anything else is your imagination.
  • 30. dannyno | 15/08/2021
Listened to this for my concordance update with a proper listening head on.

Everyone hearing "joyous man" is correct.

That's the lyric.
  • 31. gappy | 15/08/2021
I just came here to propose a link with Anderson's O Lucky Man, having read more fo MES praising the film in his conversations with Graham Duff, and see that the theory has some detractors, above. I think it's improbable that it's not a reference, but that doesn't mean that there's anything more to be decoded.

Also, if the piece was originally called Zapatak, could that have been a nod to this classic? Quite possibly not, but you should listen anyway https://youtu.be/YEBFH9R3cg4
  • 32. Rik | 23/02/2022
My nephew bought one of those Stem devices ( kanye West devolped or summat) anyway you can isolate just the vocals. ITs both imo but not conclusive...O joyous man & all bad or all goes bad.

This device will clear up alot of missing words. i cant wait to have it for a bit to play around with on my own
Bored squirrel
  • 33. Bored squirrel | 12/12/2022
He certainly says 'tired man' in there...
John Reardon
  • 34. John Reardon | 19/06/2023
@Rik - we're still awaiting further revelations!
Rik Neace
  • 35. Rik Neace | 04/08/2023
The Excavate book has it as a mixture of all these:
(From the Cardinal j Totale scrapbook chapter)

“Hold your Breath”
“ Old George Best”
“ O Judgement “
  • 36. harleyr | 07/10/2023
Could this be MES imagining that there were one or more sequels to O Lucky Man! ?

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