Paintwork

Lyrics

(1)

We go two, twice all the way round those things
Two high ones, two low ones, yeah
Right man

Man stopped us at corner
He had a bloody nose
And then he opened his denim jacket
It was under his vest made out of tracing paper
Chest scars portrayed Aztec life in his horrible...

"... formation of Beryllium 8. Main sequence stars were no good for making carbon in this way. Red Giant stars ..." (2)

...[surplayed].
Disfigured in a lady, tedious
Was over accountant's and on business

Then I woke up and I decided to recommence my diary
Then I read Paula Yates on vision mopeds (3)
Then I found out we were not going to Italy 

Later Mam said "Them continentals are little monkeys" (4)
And yesterday we had liver and sausage dinner

And sometimes they say "Hey Mark, you're spoiling all the paintwork"
And sometimes they say "Your thumbprints are on the paintwork"

Distractors, post-doctors behind come in
Dressed in suits, grow talons
Everyone clenched plaits horror

And sometimes they say "Hey, you're messing up the paintwork...
... thumbprints are on the paintwork"
And sometimes they say "Hey Mark, you're spoiling all the paintwork"
And sometimes they say "Your thumbprints are on the paintwork"

And sometimes I feel like saying
Hey, this is bloody Newark (5)
Or some drive-in slap place
In Breda and in Cologne (6)
With the shirt on
Sun in vicinity
As if I hadn't done 10 months service
In the USA on the big yachts
That circle is where I start

And sometimes they say "Hey Mark, you're spoiling all the paintwork"
And sometimes they say "Your thumbprints are on the paintwork"
And sometimes they say "Hey! You're messing up the paintwork!"
 

And I think
If I wanted to, if I wanted to live in Holland
And if I'd wanted to be lived in
I'd have packed up and pissed off
When I was 16
A Swiss stewardess 
And this lousy business
Was the last thing I was ever imagining

"Hey! Mark! Why can't I live in England?"

The end of shoes, all warehouse you've got
Cheap new one, the target is too yahoo
And take over all the desparate
I'll take over discussion and
...humanely regular colours over...
...engineered oxidate zeppelin 
Old world style, old man only juke box caught
All power jets on...spectacular facets  
(7)

And sometimes they say "Hey, you're spoiling all the paintwork"
And sometimes they say "Hey Mark, you're messing up the painwork"
I thought we lived in England!
And sometimes they say "Hey, you're fucking up the paintwork"
And sometimes they say "Hey, hey! Your fingerprints are on the paintwork"
And sometimes they say "Hey Mark, Hey Mark! You're spoiling all the paintwork"

What is this thing they're so hard-assed about?
What is this thing they're so hard-assed about?

I thought, I thought we lived in England!
"Hey! Hey! Hey Mark!"

And sometimes they say "Hey Mark, Hey Mark! you're messing up the paintwork..."
They say, "Hey..."

Notes

1. MES was playing the tape of this song in a hotel room when he accidentally activated the "record" function, and the snatches of a TV program (see note 2 below)  that made it onto the tape were left in the final version of the song. Here are various remarks about the song information from the Reformation entry:

Simon Rogers, quoted in the booklet accompanying the Omnibus edition of This Nation's Saving Grace (details above): ""Paintwork was sort of half done in my bedroom and then Mark took the cassette away. He had it in his little Dictaphone/cassette recorder and sat on it and made a big hole in the middle but John [Leckie] was like, what we'll do is put the cassette on the 24 track, we'll play along to it and then where Mark's rubbed that bit out, we'll start playing..."
 
John Leckie, from the same booklet: ""He had a tune, a little synthesiser thing which was on the tape and I think it was one of those cassettes with a record button and he dropped it and it started recording in the bag, so that interruption is all we could do, it was like, 'it doesn't matter, leave it in'."
 
Mark E Smith (from an interview with Edwin Pouncey, Sounds, 28 September 1985); "I was watching telly and singing along to the song after I'd played it, while it was recording. It fits in really good, you can't contrive something like that. It was written like that too, like things my mother said to me....
 
MES (in an interview with Dave Haslam; City Life, 18 July 1986): "With Paintwork there's personal jottings and bits, but there's a lot there about England compared to Europe; how if you're not some flag-waving moron you don't fit in. This wasn't what England was about - it was about individuals. And that's what Paintwork was saying."
 
 
 

2. Here is the first bit where Mark Smith claims to have sat on his tape recorder in a hotel room, thus recording the television. Dan has identified the source of the TV segments:
 
It's an Open University broadcast called "How do red giants make carbon?", part of the OU "Matter in the Universe" course which ran from 1985-1992.

The speaker is Alan Cooper, and it was apparently first broadcast on 29 June 1985, and I found it was repeated on 12 July 1985. It may also have been shown between those dates or afterwards.
 

3. Paula Yates (1959-2000) was a British television personality, who was for a time married to Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof, with whom she had three children. She also had a daughter with Michael Hutchence of INXS. Yates, who died of a heroin overdose in 2000, authored eight books and worked on the television programs The Tube and Big Breakfast.  ^
 
 
"We were supposed to play in Turing the night of the Brussels tragedy [Heysel stadium, European Cup Final; 29 May 1985] and I said to her, Look Mam, I feel really
 bad about cancelling this Italian tour, and she goes,'Oh well, you never know those Continentals, they're little monkeys really' [referring to lyrics from the finished track]."
 
 

5. There are a couple places named "Newark" in England: Newark and Sherwood and Newark-on-Trent. There is also a city in New Jersey, USA, with that name.  

^
 
6. Breda is in the Netherlands, and Cologne (Köln) is in Germany.  
 
 
7. A poll about this lyric was conducted on the Fall online forum, and it was decided (by a margin of 8 to 6) that MES actually says "spectacular buttocks" here.  
 

Comments (20)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 28/04/2014
Do you think someone at Honda is a Fall fan?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Vision
dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 28/04/2014
"Those continentals"

It's "Them continentals", isn't it?

"yesterday we has liver "

We "had liver".
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 28/04/2014
Also, you're currently missing some repeated lines after "spectacular facets".
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 13/05/2014
Probably but I can't really make out any of that section, I just have what the LP has. I made a bunch of small corrections though and added some other missing lines.
Martin
  • 5. Martin | 14/05/2014
I'm not sure about these lines:

"A Swiss, good,
As for this lousy business,"

On the original studio LP, the word "good" seems garbled at best. On the rough mix of the track released by Beggars Banquet, I hear "A Swiss God and its lousy business". Wouldn't swear on it, though!
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 22/05/2014
Martin, how sure are you about it? In other words, I don't have that recording--should I change it on your say-so or not?
Martin
  • 7. Martin | 22/05/2014
Pretty sure, but another opinion would be useful and reassuring to have.
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 29/08/2014
I've been trying - ridiculously - to identify the programme which interrupts the song. Although we have testimony identifying it as an Open University programme, I don't feel this has been established beyond doubt.

First of all, it doesn't sound like David Attenborough. Secondly the language used doesn't necessarily sound very Open University-like - "no good". Could have been, but might not have been. So I would like to do a bit more research.

Now, the recording of the album seems to have been during June/July 1985. This track was recorded with MES and Simon Rogers, not in the studio. That might mean it predates the studio sessions. But we may as well take June/July to start with. It ought to be possible to get hold of TV listings for the whole period and see what jumps out. Worth noting, for example, that aside from Open University broadcasts, The Sky at Night was also broadcast. The speaker is not Patrick Moore, but could have been a guest. Or it could have been another science programme. The point is to document the possibilities.
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 29/08/2014
After a tedious evening reading newspaper television schedules, I think I found it. I think it was the Open University, but not Attenborough. I'm just trying to confirm at the moment.
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 01/09/2014
Origins of the taped interruption nailed, definitively, by me, over on the Forum:
http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=13623&view=findpost&p=22393938

It's an Open University broadcast called "How do red giants make carbon?", part of the OU "Matter in the Universe" course which ran from 1985-1992.

The speaker is Alan Cooper, and the transcription above is incorrect. It should be:

"... formation of Beryllium 8. Main sequence stars were no good for making carbon in this way. Red Giant stars ..."

It was apparently first broadcast on 29 June 1985, and I found it was repeated on 11 July 1985. It may also have been shown between those dates or afterwards.
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 01/09/2014
[actually, thinking about it, really we should say it was repeated at 12:40am on the morning of 12th July]
dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 21/09/2014
Now you've updated this with my amazing research, your note 2 is obsolete!
Moe Aboulkheir
  • 13. Moe Aboulkheir | 22/10/2014
I'm pretty convinced the line is "a Swiss stewardess and this lousy business was the last thing I was ever imagining".
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt | 27/10/2014
I'll fucking run with it, man.
Robert
  • 15. Robert | 24/01/2017
"10 pounds service"

"10 months service" surely?
dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 28/01/2017
Robert, post #15. Yes, months, that's what I heard for the concordance.

But also, not I come to check, "Mersey" is "USA":

"As if I hadn't done 10 pounds service
In Mersey on the big yachts"

So this is what I hear:

"As if I hadn't done ten months service
In the U.S.A. on the big yachts."
Robert
  • 17. Robert | 05/02/2017
Agree that "In the USA" is closer than "Mersey".

But then also, "In circle, is where I stare at."
dannyno
  • 18. dannyno | 24/04/2017
Over on the FOF, user "Slushy Pen" has posted a link to a YouTube video of the relevant Open University episode:
https://youtu.be/v05ljfEdfeA

http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=13623&view=findpost&p=40056697
dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 24/04/2017
Listen from about 7:04
dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 26/10/2017
Typo, note #1: "sntaches"

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