Quit iPhone



And the letters that you wrote me, oh
I wish I was
I wish I was at home
I'm home
It was alone

I just couldn't hear the phone
Quit making the foam

My eye muscle is bright 
In the light
Of Dis-

Why don't you leave it alone?
Why just can't you quit that iPhone?
Why don't you just quit iPhone?
Just quit your phone, iPhone!

Oh I don't want to look in people's home
I look at front
Look at back
Here I stand!   (2)

Why don't you tell them 'bout styrofoam
Why don't you tell 'bout iPhone

Just quit using your phone
Just quit i-iPhone app

Eye muscle is bright
The lights of dis-enfranchencide
Of dis-enfranchencide
Why don't you leave it alone?
Shout about the back gate and styrofoam

Just leave it far alone!
Stop looking at iPhone!
Stop looking at iPad phone!
All right! 
All right!

Don't you see you missed out
Walking away
And shouting about
Your bet
Just can't quit iPhone
Just don't quit iPhone
Give it just conphone
Really just conphone (3)
Pad, why?
Look at people's home
And look at handstand
Don't you see you missed out-sta-sta, 
Re-Mit                    (4)

Just give iPhone
Why don't you give them styrofoam?
Ooo, they all know about tablet and phone,
In God's home

Just quit the WhyPhone
Just quit with phone
Gimme shoes, hey,
Just quit walking the phone,

Every just keep licking foam, alone

My eye muscle is bright as I stare into the morn
And I see the citadel of media city shining bright  (5)


1. Thanks to Thop Daverty from the Fall Online Forum for transcribing. He admits uncetainty about much of this, and I can scarcely do better...The lyrics occupy a twilit zone between words and scatting. The effect is transfixing in a particular way that one can only imagine Mark E. Smith pulling off: that mixture of humor, rage, message, anti-message, sense, and nonsense which has been, in one form or another, the signature of Fall music for four decades.


2. This phrase is of course associated with Martin Luther, who according to tradition (but probably not in fact) declared "Here I stand, I can do no other!" when called before the Diet of Worms and asked to recant. The allusion to Luther seems appropriate--I imagine the genesis of this song to have gone something like this: "Why don't we do 'Sir William Wray' again, but as a protest song?" (see note 4 below) Not that "Quit iPhone" is quite a protest song, except maybe in a very loose sense--if we personify the idea of a protest song, it can almost be thought of as a reflection of Phil Ochs in a funhouse mirror, or, to continue with the Protestant connection, seen through a glass darkly. Surely there is an annoyance with iPhones expressed here--whether as personal nuisance or social phenomenon, we never get quite squared away enough to say--but the song doesn't really have a message any more than any other Fall song if we look at it closely. The iPhone theme is more of a motif then a thesis; I almost wanted to say it is a pigment on the canvas, but this may be a little too weak....



3.  That's what I hear, anyway, and I am thinking of "con-phone" as a portmanteau of conform and phone. That may be a little corny and, if I am hearing it wrong, I suppose the corniness is mine. But it is in keeping with the general lyrical approach here, in which many of the words teeter between two or three foci--one or two words, and a scat vocable. MES tips all the way over in to scatting by the last line, so this seems to me to be a feature of the song rather than a failure of transcribing chops on my part...



4. "Sta-Sa-Za" I take to be pure scatting, I don't hear anything here that seems to convey a sense. Re-Mit should perhaps be italicized as above, or perhaps should just be spelled "remit"--I split the difference.  The first option is appealing if we hear this as an oblique tip of the cap to the "anti-lyrics" of "Sir William Wray," but this could be an over-interpretation.


5. According to Zack, "MediaCity, as in MediaCityUK which was built on the former site of the Manchester Docks where MES famously once worked."


Comments (13)

  • 1. Zack | 21/06/2015
"media city" should be MediaCity, as in MediaCityUK which was built on the former site of the Manchester Docks where MES famously once worked.
  • 2. creativenameisnotava | 09/01/2017
I hear:

"Don't you see you missed out-ah-ah...Re-mit" at 3:00 min.

"Do they all know about tablet and phone, in God's home?" 3:15 min or so instead of typewrite/bomb.
  • 3. bzfgt | 04/02/2017
creativenameisnotava, thanks for giving the times, that's very helpful. To me it sounds distinctly like "Don't you see you give me..." although the rest is of course anything but distinct, but the "st-" also comes through clearly. Is it possible that the vinyl version is slightly different? I'm listening to the CD one right now, but I'll check the other next.

You're certainly right about "tablet" at 3:15. I still hear "bomb," kind of, but yours makes more sense so I changed that too.
  • 4. bzfgt | 04/02/2017
They are the same except the rip of the vinyl I have, at least, does not sound as good as the CD. But you are definitely right, either version, I don't know what I was hearing but it's "Don't you see you missed out-sta-sta..."
  • 5. bzfgt (link) | 23/12/2017
I cannot actually delete comments here...I'll delete that in the manager and see if that deletes it here.
  • 6. bzfgt (link) | 23/12/2017
Ha! Begone, spammer!
Albion Inmate
  • 7. Albion Inmate | 04/02/2020
The backing vocal: is it 'Hate hate, hate-hate-hate' or 'Hey hey, hey-hey-hey'?
  • 8. joincey | 14/05/2020
I listen to this and I start to think about the Hannibal Lecter film - the one with the guy with the RED DRAGON tattooed on his back , the lines in the song about looking at the back and the front of people's homes .. and the 'bright eye muscle' makes me think of the reflective mirrors places in the eyes of the victims .. * really not sure this has much to do with iPhones .. but MES liked Blake and , uh , isn't there some other reference to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS in some song .. ?
  • 9. joincey | 14/05/2020
- obviously there's the scene in SILENCE ... ! I'm sure there was a lyric that nodded at this , someone help me out !
  • 10. dannyno | 16/05/2020

Married, 2 Kids, is the one I expect you have in mind, of course.

Potentially Cowboy George too.

Perhaps even Cyber insekt
  • 11. joincey | 18/05/2020
Ha, not one but _three_ ! I think I was thinking of INSEKTS actually , yeah.
  • 12. dannyno | 29/07/2022
Ted Kessler, "Q Maverick: Mark E Smith[/i], Q magazine, July 2015:

There’s Quit iPhone, during which Smith seems possessed of an apocalyptic rage about people being unable to “just leave it fucking alone”. In fact, he was shouting at a studio engineer and liked the result so much he left it in.

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