Portugal

Lyrics

(1)

For the record
I have only had 2 conversations with you
For the record
He would be paid more than he had, in fact, asked for
For the record
No real arrangements were made
For the record
Very standard industry procedure
For the record
You were abusive
For the record
Way beyond what anybody should have to reasonably deal with

Firstly, may I take this opportunity to apologise to you all for the
situation which developed
I at least owe you an explanation
Both myself and the crew were subjected to both verbal and physical abuse

For the record
Words fail me
For the record
How offensive a human being you are
For the record
They are very professional crew
For the record
And very good at what they do
For the record
All this complete debacle could have been avoided
For the record
You would have known what and how it was going to happen
For the record
Treat people as you want to be treated

They were swearing, throwing newspaper with snotballs (snotballs!) and spit at us across a plane and physically slapping members of the band
I had to threaten him and then I told him that if this continued I would
have to review my position

For the record
You have to start making the right moves
For the record
You really do need someone
For the record
You really do need someone
For the record
You never actually did the interview
For the record
You never actually did the interview
For the record
It had had a negative impact on you and your band
For the record
You really do need someone

At 10 p.m. the crew and myself went to our rooms after being out for just
over an hour and fifteen minutes for a bite
We had not had any sleep due to travelling times
Began banging on doors and then what sounded like throwing himself against both mine and the crew's hotel room door
How nobody in the hotel didn't complain, I have no idea
This is becoming unbearable

I believe this concludes my mail
For the record
I have only had 2 conversations with you

I believe this concludes my mail
For the record
I have only had 2 conversations with you

I believe this concludes my mail
For the record
I have only had 2 conversations with you

I believe this concludes my mail

Snotballs!

Notes

1. Reformation must be quoted at length on this one:

In an interview with Tim Cumming (Mark E Smith Interview, Malmaison Hotel Bar, Manchester, 14th May 2004; published in The Independent, 28 May 2004) MES had the following to say about the track: "I wanted to put this song Portugal on the B-side, which we put on the American thing. And they were going, no, no you can't do it, it's libellous. Last time we played in Portugal there was this road crew. It's completely surreal. We arrived and they sort of pissed off on the day of the show, saying we behaved really badly and all this. Somebody threw a bit of paper at them, like a plane or something. It was quite funny; they wrote, like, their excuses for running off. But if you saw these blokes you'd laugh your head off, because they were four big blokes with long hair and leather jackets, and like, I'd knocked on the door at 12 o'clock at night to ask what time they're going down to the show. Just banging on the door. And they wrote, ‘he was banging on our door at 12 o'clock at night,' and I got the group to read all their letters out. And a few more. It's a good track. I'm quite mad they didn't put it on the B-side. It would've fitted great, Sparta with Portugal. It would've been good." [MES is right in his praise for the song, which rocks along in splendid fashion.]
 
Dave Milner, paraphrased in Dave Simpson's book "The Fallen": ["the group] were employing road managers and crew whom Smith became convinced were trying to rob the band. He complained about this so much that two managers finally resigned in exasperation - taking some money with them. As payment, perhaps?"
 
The gig in question was on 29 September 2003  at the Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon. According to contemporary reports, MES wasn't in the best of moods on this occasion, spending even more time than usual fiddling with the amps and disappearing off stage for lengthy periods.
 
The majority of the vocals in the song are by Dave Milner, apart from the following which are the work of Ben Pritchard:
 
"Firstly, may I take this opportunity to apologise to you all for the situation which developed. I at least owe you an explanation. Both myself and the crew were subjected to both verbal and physical abuse."
 
"They were swearing. Throwing newspaper with snotballs

Snotballs !

And spit at us across the plane and physically slapping round us on the van. I had to threaten him and then I told him that if this continued I would have to review my position."

This is of a small number of Fall tracks on which MES  doesn't sing. Others include The City Never Sleeps, Birthday, Trust in Me and Stay Away (Old White Train)

This track has never been played live.


According to Dave Simpson in The Fallen (in a passage complete with pre-cog hype):
 
"Milner reveals a typical instance in Portugal that perhaps puts a more comical angle on Smith's ability to predict the future. The Mighty Fall were employing road managers and crew whom Smith became convinced were trying to rob the band. He complained about this so much that two managers finally resigned in exasperation--taking some money with them. As a payment, perhaps? Whatever, Smith has since explained that the pair quit "after a piece of paper was thrown at them, like a plane or something"; the affair was later documented in the brilliant track "Portugal," which consists of Pritchard and Milner reading out emails from the managers explaining their departure, over a powerful musical backing" (p. 272).
 
The Story of the Fall suggests that one or more of these characters may also have inspired "Mod Mock Goth," although I am unsure where this idea comes from.
 
Thus, in addition to not singing on this song, MES technically did not write the lyrics either...
 

 

Comments (1)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 09/08/2014

"Snotballs" can refer to rubber cement rolled into balls, which are then burned and the fumes inhaled. Apparently.

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