Pat-Trip Dispenser

Lyrics

(1)

He moves slow at the petrol stop
It's Pat the trip dispenser
He came with solvent in his hair (2)
The trip dispenser

 

Spine-fuhrer of Hoboken (3)
It's Pat the trip dispenser
Friend of Syndicate of Sound (4)
Pigeon-toed band

 

McGinty thought he could fool the Fall (5)
With his imitation speed
But he had not accounted for the psychic nose
He did not know there are no big shots on the rock (5)
And even if there were, McGinty would not be among them

 

His head was full of icy calm
A clarity of nothing
It's Pat the trip dispenser

 

He paid at the generic supermarket
With paper
With paper
It's Pat the trip dispenser

 

Notes

1. This seems to be about a drug dealer named Pat who sold bum drugs. Despite Pat's agnomen, which would usually indicate hallucinogens, speed seems to have been the primary drug in question. A clue to the gentleman's identity is supplied by Brix in the booklet accompanying the 2010 reissue of The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall: "Pat-Trip Dispenser was about this guy, a tour manager in America."

Dan: "In her autobiography, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise, Brix tells the story of her first meeting with Mark E Smith. She describes going with him to a party for the band, and meeting "Pat, The Fall's American tour manager":
 


Pat was a plump fellow from Hoboken, New Jersey. He was a fun-loving, beer-drinking kind of guy. He also supplied the group with speed. A few months later The Fall would pay homage to Pat, their tour manager, in a song entitled "Pat-Trip Dispenser." In the lyrics, Mark remaks on his "imitation speed" and refers to Pat as "the Spine-Fuhrer of Hoboken," which I found hilarious.


According to Dan, "the sleevenotes to The Wonderful and Frightening World Of the Fall include a credit to 'P. Clark, Hoboken' [New Jersey]. A Pat Clark is identified elsewhere on the web as the Fall's tour manager at one time, and a player in Hoboken's music scene."

And Guy E on the Steve Hoffman music forum says:

"Pat Clark was a friend of mine, an amusing character on the music scene. He died of AIDS in the late-80's.  He was The Fall's road manager on a couple of US jaunts. He lived in an apartment above Maxwell's, which was so-named because it was a block from the Maxwell House Coffee factory in Hoboken. Among his many hustles, Pat would buy powdered caffeine from one of the workers there, residue from the decaffeinating process. He'd stuff it into capsules and sell it as speed (yes, pretty sleazy) and Mark E. Smith wrote the song about him.

Knowing Pat, the song makes perfect sense. It's a rather ruthless putdown, but oddly affectionate, and they must have liked him... he worked with the band more than once.  I also remember seeing Fall manager Kay Carrol at his funeral.  Pat probably distributed substances that were more psychedelic than "his imitation speeds," but he was also dispensing the road trip itself as their road manager/driver.

 

His head was full of icy calm

A clarity of nothing

 

...captures Pat perfectly. He projected an even-handed control, perfect for shepherding a crazed band in a van. But there didn't seem to be a whole lot going-on upstairs behind the unflappable facade.  His bemused demeanor often betrayed confusion.

 

By all accounts, Smith was a difficult character, but he sure did have a keen eye and a way with words."

Guy adds that Pat is pictured on the back of the "C.R.E.E.P." single with Hanley and Scanlon (see the comments below for more).

"McGinty" may be a pseudonym applied by Mark Smith (an act of mercy?), since there is a traditional Irish song called "Paddy McGinty's Goat" (in which the protagonist is also referred to as "Patrick" and "Pat"). "Paddy McGinty's Goat," in fact, turns up in some versions of "Words of Expectation," which is a more or less contemporaneous song. 

From the liner notes to Perverted by Language:

"The Man Whose Head Expanded. KNEW...WHY Val Doonican refuses to sing "Paddy McGinty's Goat" on his show..."

Note that the punctuation does not suggest a man named Pat who dispenses trips, but someone who dispenses "Pat-Trips"...

^

2. Yeah, that's (yet) another weird one; solvent would of course remove one's hair, and, although it is sometimes applied to rid oneself of hair extensions, it seems like this may be a garbled way of talking about one of those well-known substances of which a little dab is sufficient.  

^

3. Nope, there is no explanation for "spine-fuhrer" that I can think of, but somehow it's a neat lyric.  "Hoboken" (New Jersey) bolsters the plausibility of Brix's suggestion that Pat was an American.  

^

4. Syndicate of Sound was a late-60s garage rock outfit from San Jose, California, sometimes credited with being progenitors of psychedelic rock.  

^

5. "The Rock" was a nickname for the prison at Alcatraz. In the episode of The Untouchables entitled "The Big Train," the narrator intones "There are no big shots on the rock" (thanks to delmore on the Fall online forum). This saying may have been in circulation prior to its appearance on television; for instance, an article appeared in the May 26, 1937 issue of The Milwaukee Journal entitled "Big Shots Become Little in Alcatraz Deflating Machine," which says of Al Capone and others: "The 'big shots' are reduced to 'little shots' by the constant application of the warders' deflation system."  

^

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Comments (15)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 18/09/2013
"The Rock" is also a shopping area of Bury, also referred to in Pearl City. I think MES would enjoy the Bury/Alcatraz connection there.
dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 25/09/2014
I'm not convinced that "Pat" and "McGinty" are the same person.
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 04/05/2016
In her autobiography, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise, Brix tells the story of her first meeting with Mark E Smith. She describes going with him to a party for the band, and meeting "Pat, The Fall's American tour manager":


Pat was a plump fellow from Hoboken, New Jersey. He was a fun-loving, beer-drinking kind of guy."


He also supplied the group with speed.


A few months later The Fall would pay homage to Pat, their tour manager, in a song entitled 'Pat - Trip Dispenser'. In the lyrics, Mar remaks on his 'imitation speed' and refers to Pat as 'the Spine-Fuhrer of Hoboken', which I found hilarious.
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 24/06/2016
Neil Young has other ideas, like Sinatra:

https://twitter.com/jigsawlounge/status/675838049503289344

It doesn't seem to be THAT Neil Young, by the way.

I still think "Pat"'s surname is "McGinty," via Occam's Razor (which of course ALWAYS applies when it comes to Fall lyrics).
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 11/10/2016
"Spine-führer"

I'm gonna have a go at this. You ready?

So inspired by the suggestion in the entry for "Kinder of Spine", that "Spine" could be meant to be the German "spinne" [spider], i thought to myself, "ooh, so what if "spinneführer" is a thing?" Or "spinnenführer"?

And do you know, it kind of is, in that google finds stuff. But nothing helpful.

I wondered if there was a "spiderman" link. I don't see one yet.
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 02/04/2017
In the FOF thread on this song, http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=35109&view=findpost&p=40048704, I note that the sleevenotes to "The Wonderful and Frightening World Of...." include a credit to "P. Clark, Hoboken".

A Pat Clark is identified elsewhere on the web as the Fall's tour manager at one time, and a player in Hoboken's music scene. A possible candidate?
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt (link) | 29/04/2017
I'd say a damn strong candidate, considering the Brix statement.
Stefan Cooke
  • 8. Stefan Cooke (link) | 28/01/2018
Posted today by Guy Ewalt on the Steve Hoffman forum:

"Pat Clark was a friend of mine, an amusing character on the music scene. He died of AIDS in the late-80's. He was The Fall's road manager on a couple of US jaunts. He lived in an apartment above Maxwell's, which was so-named because it was a block from the Maxwell House Coffee factory in Hoboken. Among his many hustles, Pat would buy powdered caffeine from one of the workers there, residue from the decaffeinating process. He'd stuff it into capsules and sell it as speed (yes, pretty sleazy) and Mark E. Smith wrote the song about him.

Knowing Pat, the song makes perfect sense. It's a rather ruthless putdown, but oddly affectionate, and they must have liked him... he worked with the band more than once. I also remember seeing Fall manager Kay Carrol at his funeral. Pat probably distributed substances that were more psychedelic than "his imitation speeds," but he was also dispensing the road trip itself as their road manager/driver.

His head was full of icy calm
A clarity of nothing


...captures Pat perfectly. He projected an even-handed control, perfect for shepherding a crazed band in a van. But there didn't seem to be a whole lot going-on upstairs behind the unflappable facade. His bemused demeanor often betrayed confusion.

By all accounts, Smith was a difficult character, but he sure did have a keen eye and a way with words.
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 28/01/2018
Thanks, Stefan! I just saw that and added it above, and then I thought to look down here to see if he posted it here...
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 29/01/2018
Looks like I was right. Which is nice.
Guy Ewald
  • 11. Guy Ewald | 30/01/2018
Let me add that Patrick - a.k.a. Pat-Trip, a.k.a. McGinty - is pictured on the back of the C.R.E.E.P. single. He's seated to the right of Scanlon and Hanley in the middle photo. The song is absolutely about Pat Clark.

My guess is that "Friend of syndicate of sound" refers to a booking agent (Singerman/Riley? Bob Laughton?). They had a pretty tight grip on the Indie touring circuit and I'm sure The Fall were booked by one of them. Pat knew those guys… he was probably recommended by one of them as tour manager.

"There are no big shots on The Rock, and even if there were, McGinty would not be among them." Pat was a rock scene guy and in his unassuming way, aspired to being a big shot. He created Mod Monday's at Tramps on 15th Street. He managed a couple of bands including Phosphenes and Drunk Driving (predecessor of Missing Foundation). Bob Bert was DD's drummer.
Guy Ewald
  • 12. Guy Ewald | 30/01/2018
I should clarify that "McGinty" was not a nickname that I ever heard used for Pat. I don't know if The Fall actually used it or if it was part of Smith's writing process. Mark E. Smith certainly fits the profile of men I've known who are fond of nicknames; possessing keen intelligence and wit, with a head full of cultural and literary references. If they called Pat by that name, I'm sure he had no idea where it came from, which plays into the conceit of the superior mind that bestowed the nickname.

McGinty thought he could fool the Fall
With his imitation speeds


Pat fooled me with it once. Not that I was a drug user... I was either trying to lose some weight or to cram for the architectural licensing exams. LOL.
Brash by name
  • 13. Brash by name | 25/02/2018
I wonder if McGinty is just a nickname that they give to anyone called Patrick?

There’s a sleevenote (Ithink) possibly Hex Enduction Hour that says something along the lines of ‘(the man whose head expanded) knew why Val Doonican wasn’t allowed to sing Paddy McGinty’s goat on the BBC’. That’s a very loose paraphrase.
dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 04/03/2018
Brash by name, comment #13:

Brash by nameThere’s a sleevenote (Ithink) possibly Hex Enduction Hour that says something along the lines of ‘(the man whose head expanded) knew why Val Doonican wasn’t allowed to sing Paddy McGinty’s goat on the BBC’. That’s a very loose paraphrase.


The sleevenote you're referring to is from Perverted by Language, not Hex. It's quoted in note 1 of the annotatedfall entry for The Man Whose Head Expanded: http://annotatedfall.doomby.com/pages/the-annotated-lyrics/the-man-whose-head-expanded.html.

And the line is:

The Man Whose Head Expanded. KNEW :- <snip> f)WHY Val Doonican refuses to sing "Paddy McGinty's Goat" on his show; <snip>
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 10/03/2018
Good to link here too, great. Yeah, I was also thinking "McGinty" is due to Pat/Paddy.

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