Psykick Dancehall

Lyrics

(1)

Is there anybody there?
Yeah!

Rock Rock Rock Rock Rock

Rocky! Rocky!
Is quester psykick dance-hall
Get aboard 
For ESP medium discord

My garden is made of stone
There's a computer center over the road (2)
I saw a monster on the roof
Its colors glowed on the roof

Round the corner
Is quester psykick dancehall
Step forward     (3)
For ESP medium discord

Here they have no records
They know your questions about no words
Just bumble stumble to the waves
Twitching out to the waves

Clock it! Rock it!
It's quester psykick dance-hall
Never bored with
ESP medium discord

When I'm dead and gone
My vibrations will live on
In vibes not vinyl through the years
People will dance to my waves

Rock it! Clock it!
It's quester psykick dance-hall
Step aboard for
ESP medium discord

You gotta come
For a mental orgasm

 

Notes

1. From Reformation:  "In Simon Ford's book 'The Fall,' Kay Carroll explained the origin of the song's title: her mother opened a psychic centre 'on the corner of Gardner Road and Bury New Road in Prestwich. It was over a row of shops that consisted of a bakery, hairdresser's and a shoe shop...It had originally been a dance studio, you know tap, ballroom dancing, things of that nature.'" 

From a 1981 interview:

 JNM: Something I've noticed about the Fall is that there seems to be reoccuring theme of...an interest in mysticicsm, or the supernatural...for instance, i'm thinking of "Psykick Dancehall"...

MES: You mean, sort of dark...like "Spectre vs. Rector" and that?

JNM: "Psykick Dancehall" doesn't seem dark to me, it's almost...happy...about the idea of your vibrations living on...oh God, I don't want to sound like an old hippe here, but the whole notion of a life after death where your energy can be perceived as music...I liked that.

MES: Yeah, that's what the song was saying, really. That was written at a time when we were in a really bad state, financially and everything. So I wrote this song about this dancehall, which does sort of exist in Prestwich...or doesn't anymore...they were going to have a disco with no music. Just old psychics, you know, like 50-year-old women.

JNM: Just sort of, like, projecting, huh?

MES: I mean, it was also saying that, it doesn't matter if the Fall are never going to be very big in London and don't think that I feel a bit of a failure because...my soul and personality will outlive anything I ever did on a record, I know that. It'll change more things. Me meeting you, hopefully, will have as much effect on you as the records. I've always had in me this very sort of Puritan northern Englishman in me that finds records sort of...childish. I mean when people go "why don't you produce this" or "when is this album coming out" and I just think, "I don't fuckin' know!" We do in-store appearances in America, and I get really embarrassed! (Laughs)

JNM: (Back to the "psykick" question) So do you believe in these sort of...occult ideas? Things you can't see that are following you around, that are responsible for things you can't explain?

MES: Yeah, I believe in all those things...I don't think about them much. I'm not an "enthusiast" for that sort of thing. I went through aphase in my teens where I read all the books on the occult. The only reason I was into it is that it's fascinating, really. But you can't really go around talking about it, or people will just come out with facts, books and lists..."oh yeah, Crowley, blah blah blah..." all these boring farts, you know. I believe that things leave vibrations, you know. America's good for that, you go to all the Civil war places where they had the battles...the atmosphere is incredible. You can really reach out and feel it.

JNM: It's just something that's there.

MES: Like cats, you know cats are always looking at things you can't see at all. When we started the Fall in Manchester, Martin Bramah, who's now in the Blue Orchids and all that, he was very heavily into it and I used to avoid it...he used to do Tarot readings and all that...which I still do. But once you get a hold of heavy drugs and start getting into all that stuff it gets really insane. It just gets silly. I'm more interested in stuff like where Philip K. Dick is going. 'Cause it's real, you know? About time and stuff like that, the way writings can prophesize things. Like I've found a lot of my writing is actual prophecy. It's really strange. 

(via Reformation)  

And Dan dug up the following, from 2003:

"That was based on this Christian Psychic club that I used to go to for a laugh. These psychic women would stop me coming out of the dole and go, 'You've got it, come to our meeting.' Fascinating stuff. It was like Alcoholics Anonymous for psychics. But it's best forgetting about. They're never rich, those people. Show 'em a racing paper and they know which horse is gonna fall over at the hurdle but they don't know which horse is gonna win it. What's the use in that?"

Later in the interview, we learn that Fiery Jack used to go to the same meetings...

Martin Brahmah, on the other hand, tells us it was he who went to the club, and MES never went there (via Dan):

 

"Psychic Dancehall" was a story I told Mark about a club I used to go to - a little disco - above a spiritualist church in Prestwich, called Questers Psychic Disco. It was a rough little dive, a pre-18 place, because there was no alcohol. It got raided by the police one night. I didn't know Mark at that point, and Mark never went, but later I told him about this place, and the "outside" of Prestwich became a strong theme in his writing.

Dan sums up:

Reading all the accounts of the genesis/inspiration of this song together reveals some further contradictions.

Bramah says he went to a Spiritualist disco called "Questers", but that MES did not.

Kay Carroll talks about a psychic centre, which she locates precisely, in a room which was originally a dance studio.

In 1981, MES talks about a putative "disco with no music" in a psychic dancehall which used to exist.

In 2003, MES talks about a psychic club which he went to "for a laugh" (and that "Fiery Jack" also used to go). This does not sound at all like the same place as Bramah's spiritualist disco.

I haven't got a quote to hand where MES explicitly says he went to something that sounds like Bramah's disco. So either there is more than one source for the song, which is plausible, or MES is covering his tracks (less likely, because of Carroll's very precise recollection).

^

2. From "Garden" by the Groundhogs: "My garden is overgrown/And the weeds are creeping up on my home." The Fall have covered "Junkman" (which they renamed "Junk Man") and "Strange Town" (renamed, yep, "Strangetown").

Joseph Holt: "In the early 80s, as home computers (ZX Spectrum, etc.) took off, there was a small computer shop in the center of Sedgely Park, corner of Bury New Road and Kings Road, either in the space that is now Sedgely Park post office, or right next door. My dad bought me my first computer from there, an Oric, in about 1983."

^

3. The Fall's record label at this time was Step Forward, sometimes also known as Step-Forward.

^

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Comments (22)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 28/09/2014
From Uncut magazine, October 2003:

"That was based on this Christian Psychic club that I used to go to for a laugh. These psychic women would stop me coming out of the dole and go, 'You've got it, come to our meeting.' Fascinating stuff. It was like Alcoholics Anonymous for psychics. But it's best forgetting about. They're never rich, those people. Show 'em a racing paper and they know which horse is gonna fall over at the hurdle but they don't know which horse is gonna win it. What's the use in that?"

http://thefall.org/news/pics/03oct-uncut.html
Martin
  • 2. Martin | 06/04/2016
According to pre-song comments made by Mark E Smith before the gig at the Marquee, London; 29 July 1979, Psykick Dancehall is "about, uh, the sort of people [that] don't need records. This song's supposed to be about that."
PJ
  • 3. PJ | 28/01/2018
Hi - shouldn't it be .. my vibrations will live on thru 'vibes not vinyl'

'not vinyl' is also stated in MES's orange lyrics book - and implied in the MES quote above re ... my soul and personality will outlive anything I ever did on a record.. and the other later quote abot people not needing records..

(Btw the Annotated Fall version is also on unofficial fall website front page )..I think it sounds better - especially in current circumstances!?
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 29/01/2018
Comment #3: I think the lyric contrasts immortality on vinyl with the record-less ESP disco. Hence "on" not "not". I don't hear it clearly as "not".
Wraithlet
  • 5. Wraithlet | 31/01/2018
Does anyone know what the sample is right at the end of the song? I've listened but can't make it out.
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 02/02/2018
Comment #4. But see this Dragnet advert, which has lyrics:

http://dannyno.org.uk/fall/psykicklyric.jpg
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 09/02/2018
Grant Showbiz also thinks the line is "in vibes not vinyl"

https://twitter.com/zombat/status/956870963618025474
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 11/02/2018
It makes the lyric a little better too, "vibes not vinyl" affirms the whole "psykick" trip rather than a corny approximation thereof.
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 11/02/2018
I can't believe we never had a note for "Step Forward"
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 12/02/2018
I do not know, Wraithlet.
Dabadaba
  • 11. Dabadaba | 13/02/2018
It sounds like he sings 'Clock it! Rock it!' first time and then later flips them over to 'Rock it! Clock it!'.
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
Yeah, that might be right, I'm listening now. It may be too close to call (although of course it's unfortunate that the mere fact that we have something gives it a leg up...).
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
I can't hear "clock it" or "rock it." You're on this and not Part II, right?
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
OK I hear ROck it, Clock it on the one on Early Fall. Is that Part II? It's not marked as such but it has the Part II lyrics and production. so I guess it is. Now I have to go back to Dragnet, it comes later in the song than I thought you meant.
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
Yes, you got it on the money, Dabadaba.
dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 25/02/2018
Typo, you've got a "Rlock"....
Joseph Holt
  • 17. Joseph Holt | 03/03/2018
Re: ‘computer centre over the road’ In the early 80s as home computers ZX Spectrum etc took off, there was a small computer shop in the center of Sedgely Park, corner of Bury New Road and Kings Road. Either in the space that is now Sedgely Park post office, or right next door. My dad bought me my first computer from there, an Oric, in about 1983.
dannyno
  • 18. dannyno | 29/08/2018
Martin Bramah wrote an account of the circumstances around him leaving The Fall, in which he says;

"Psychic Dancehall" was a story I told Mark about a club I used to go to - a little disco - above a spiritualist church in Prestwich, called Questers Psychic Disco. It was a rough little dive, a pre-18 place, because there was no alcohol. It got raided by the police one night. I didn't know Mark at that point, and Mark never went, but later I told him about this place, and the "outside" of Prestwich became a strong theme in his writing.
dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 29/08/2018
dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 29/08/2018
Might have been this place, on Victoria Lane, Whitefield, empty since September 2011 (according to an article from December 2011 about arson in the building: Link to archive of article

http://www.churches-uk-ireland.org/images/manc/whitefield/spir.jpg

See also: https://www.eigpropertyauctions.co.uk/files/758/20139/a5934433-9621-432f-9203-38a680f0473b.pdf

Whitefield though, so technically north of Prestwich. But they often go together, like "WhitefieldandPrestwich". Possibly.
dannyno
  • 21. dannyno | 01/09/2018
Reading all the accounts of the genesis/inspiration of this song together reveals some further contradictions.

Bramah says he went to a Spiritualist disco called "Questers", but that MES did not.

Kay Carroll talks about a psychic centre, which she locates precisely, in a room which was originally a dance studio.

In 1981, MES talks about a putative "disco with no music" in a psychic dancehall which used to exist.

In 2003, MES talks about a psychic club which he went to "for a laugh" (and that "Fiery Jack" also used to go). This does not sound at all like the same place as Bramah's spiritualist disco.

I haven't got a quote to hand where MES explicitly says he went to something that sounds like Bramah's disco. So either there is more than one source for the song, which is plausible, or MES is covering his tracks (less likely, because of Carroll's very precise recollection).
bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 13/10/2018
Yeah I mean it could be the case that all of these are true, and maybe some of it postdates the song but all blends together in the minds of the principals in retrospect...who knows

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