Mountain Energei

Lyrics

(1)

Mr Blairstowe and Mr Partridge (2)
They said to me
To get a mortgage
You need an income lid;
I thought it was free

Dolly Parton and Lord Byron
They said patriotism is the last refuge
But now its me  (3)

And water's flowing down the mountain
But a tree is blocking the water flowing

So I went fishing
A note from a fish said:
"Dear dope, if you wanna catch us
You need a rod and a line
Signed, the fish." (4)

Water is flowing down the mountain
But a tree is blocking the water flowing

Went to the car rental
They said to me
You need a log book and licence, son (5)

Water's flowing down the mountain
But a tree is blocking the water coming
Mountain energei

And water's flowing down the mountain

 

Notes

1. The word, as sung, is clearly "energy." "Energei," as far as I can discover, is not a word in any language; there is an Italian "Gruppo Energei," where the word is apparently a combination of "energia" and G.E.I., an acronym for a company name (however I haven't found any information about this in English so the details remain obscure). TamFG submitted an excellent comment about the word:

"With regards to note (1), it's probably worth pointing out that the German word for 'energy' ('Energie') is very nearly 'energei,' having only the last two letters exchanged. This would of course change the pronunciation of the German word entirely, but given Mark E. Smith's well documented fondness for bastardised German ("Bremen Nacht," "Reformation!" and "Das Vulture Ans Ein Nutter-Wain" being prime examples), there must be at least an outside chance that we have a similar situation here, even if there's nothing in the actual sung lyrics to suggest this."

The song is built around a Gary Glitter-style riff (see also "New Big Prinz" and "Glam-Racket"). However, the music was written by drummer Dave Milner, and in its original incarnation (an engaging recording in its own right) it doesn't have the Gary Glitter feel to it yet.

^

2. I could not ascertain who, if anyone in particular, these two gentleman are. MES is asked about it in a 2004 interview with Left of the Dial:

Blairstone and Mr. Partridge...is that Blair? Is that a political song?

No, not really. It's an objective song. Started off with, mmm, seeing Britain, and I think you have it here [in the US], as well....you get it on TV, y'know, "you can have endless credit" and all that. (Pause) Where I live, and I'm sure everywhere, there's people who actually believe it, y'know. But also...for instance, in Manchester, you probably get that here as well, "Water was always free" where I live, y'know. [Did MES do that thing with his hands? Or did the interviewer think it was a banal statement, and tried to rescue it by putting it in quotes? There's no telling.] 

So that's just metaphorical? It's not directly political?

It turns into a political song in America. [...] Yeah, I just think of it like, uh, your average fellow approaching...

^

3. They must have been quoting Samuel Johnson, who famously said "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Bob Dylan also (slightly mis-) quoted this line in "Sweetheart Like You": "They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings/steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king." The original Country On The Click version runs: "Lord Byron and Parton/They used to say/A scoundrel is patriotic/Now it's me they're blaming."   

Dan: "In November 2003 Parton released For God and Country, an album of religious/nationalistic songs, apparently written in the wake of the plane attacks on New York and elsewhere in September 2001; maybe there was some comment by her in the press that year. 

^

4. In Warner Brothers' 1950 cartoon, "A Fractured Leghorn," a cat is fishing with no bait. The fish attach a note to his hook which reads: "Dear Dope--You can't catch us Fish without a Worm on the hook. signed, The Fish."

^

5. Sark/Smirk contends that the line is "...a license SORN." In England, a SORN, or statutory off-road notification, may be obtained if one has a vehicle that is kept off public roads, in which case one does not have to obtain insurance or pay tax on the vehicle. It seems unlikely that one would get one of these for a rental vehicle, though, and it sounds like "son" to me...

^

More Information

Mountain Energei: Fall Tracks A-Z

The Left of the Dial interview has interesting bits about several songs

Comments (24)

DJAsh
  • 1. DJAsh (link) | 25/02/2013
"But now it's me"..... could be MES bemoaning the way in which everyone seems ( by 2003) to name-drop The Fall and claim inspiration from etc
Mike
  • 2. Mike | 01/09/2013
I'd always assumed that 'Mr. Blairstowe' was a reference to Tony Blair, the Uk's Prime Minister at the time of the song. Mr. Partridge could be John Prescott the deputy PM?
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 22/03/2014
"You need an income, lad"

Income LID, I think?
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 08/04/2014
It is "lid", I thought I changed that back a long time ago. I was hoping for something that made more sense than "lid" seemed to make, there, but live versions remove any doubt.
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 08/04/2014
Maybe a subprime mortgage?
Mark
  • 6. Mark | 22/05/2014
In the original version, the line is "But now its me they're after"...
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 22/05/2014
I am listening right now to COTC, and it has "blaming," just as I had it in the note. Is there a third studio version? Or are you quoting from memory?
Mark
  • 8. Mark | 22/05/2014
Mea culpa. Twas from memory, which is therefore incorrect. I'm 95% sure that I've heard the line as reported somewhere... a live version, perhaps?
Keynote
  • 9. Keynote | 15/07/2014
Mr. Partridge could be Andy Partridge from the band XTC (also in relation to Dolly Parton and Lord Byron as musicians) Don't know who Blairstowe could be though...
Anonymous
  • 10. Anonymous | 17/12/2014
I saw a discussion about this song once, where someone mentioned that in order to get a special type of mortgage, directed at people with low income, you'd need to not make more than a certain amount of money per year. Which contradicts the "free market" economics implemented since the 80's.
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 20/12/2014
From the notorious Left of the Dial interview, published Winter 2004/5:
http://thefall.org/news/pics/05winter-lotd/index.html

"It's an objective song. Started off with, mmm, seeing Britain, and I think you have it here as well... You get it on the TV, y'know, "you can have endless credit" and all that. (Pause). Where I live, and I'm sure everywhere, there's people who actually believe it, y'know. But also... for instance, in Manchester, you probably get that here as well, "Water was always free" where I live, y'know."

So from that, I kind of get two things. One is that the perspective of the narrator in the song is not necessarily that of MES. And secondly, that credit is being treated metaphorically like water - plentiful and free.

Dan
Sark-Smirk
  • 12. Sark-Smirk | 09/01/2015
You need a log book and a licence SORN (statutory off-road notice). A play on words on registering a car to be temporarily off the road. Commonly displayed on licence forms.
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 31/01/2015
It's worthy of a note, Sark, but I'm too skeptical to change the lyric (see my note 5 for my reasons)...
russell richardson
  • 14. russell richardson | 04/05/2015
(2) It's definitely Mr. Bledsoe, a good Northern name. Can't think of a famous one.... but there is a DR. Bledsoe as a flawed and duplicitous educator in Ralph Ellison's Invisible man' : "Dr. Bledsoe distorts and perverts the Founder's dream of lifting the veil of ignorance from his people. Rather than enlightening his students and providing them with an education that prepares them to contribute to society and function as educated adults in the real world, Bledsoe perpetuates the myth of white supremacy. Thus, pondering the statue of the Founder lifting the veil, the narrator suspects that Bledsoe is, in fact, lowering the veil and ensuring that his students remain in the dark. "
Mr Partridge would immediately suggest Steve Coogan's dumb but didactic TV presenter Alan Partridge, but that doesn't seem to have any bearing on this song...

as for the car rental... you would def. NOT need a log-book to rent a car, BUT if the car was a 'loaner' while your own car was being repaired, you'd likely need both the log-book (of your own disabled vehicle) and a note for the insurance Co proving it was 'off road'. Just saying...
But he's 100% saying 'Son'.
TamFG
  • 15. TamFG | 25/08/2015
With regards to note (1), it's probably worth pointing out that the German word for 'energy' ('energie') is very nearly 'energei' having only the last two letters exchanged. This would of course change the pronunciation of the German word entirely but given Mark E. Smith's well documented fondness for bastardised German ('Bremen Nacht', 'Reformation!' and 'Das Vulture Ans Ein Nutter-Wain' being prime examples) there must be at least an outside chance that we have a similar situation here, even if there's nothing in the actual sung lyrics to suggest this.
Neale Bairstow
  • 16. Neale Bairstow | 11/09/2015
'Blairstowe' appears to me to be a play on 'Blair' and 'Bairstow' (no relation!) as in 'Bairstow Eves' estate agents. There is also a chain of estate agents called 'Partridge' - so all that fits neatly in with the theme of the lyrics.....
bzfgt
  • 17. bzfgt | 15/11/2015
Neale, thank you, but what does all that mean? What's Blair then?
dannyno
  • 18. dannyno | 29/08/2016
From the notorious "Left of the Dial" interview:
http://thefall.org/news/pics/05winter-lotd/index.html


Q: ...Blairstone and Mr. Partridge ... is that Blair? Is that a political song?

MES: No, not really...

etc



You have to read the whole bit.
dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 29/08/2016
Ha, I already quoted a bit of that interview! Doh!
bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt | 03/09/2016
In 2014! It went by me then, or something...if I'd been reading the comments here instead of in my email box, I'd have copied that comment instead of key entering all that....oh well.
dannyno
  • 21. dannyno | 15/03/2017
The Dolly Parton reference puzzles me, because as far as I know she has been an uncomplicated patriot - but in November 2003 she released "For God and Country", an album of religious/nationalistic songs, apparently written in the wake of the plane attacks on New York and elsewhere in September 2001. So maybe there was some comment by her in the press that year.

Dan
bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 23/03/2017
Sure, but it's not necessary--MES may have had the album, or seen it, or seen press about it.
Alan
  • 23. Alan | 08/04/2017
A Fractured Leghorn (note at 0:45)
https://vimeo.com/68416931
dannyno
  • 24. dannyno | 11/04/2017
Note 3 again: since MES is misquoting Lord Byron (although Byron did say, in an 1823 letter, "Though I love my country, I do not love my countrymen."), might he not also be misquoting Dolly Parton? Maybe he meant someone else entirely. Like Emmylou Harris, who has a vaguely relevant quote too: "Patriotism can be good or bad. Knee-jerk patriotism can be very bad. I'm patriotic almost to the point of self-consciousness, but I love my country the way I love a friend or a child who I would correct if she was going the wrong way." ["What I've Learned," Esquire, June 2004]. But of course it might be anyone, or complete misdirection.

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