Say! Mmmmmm-uuuaahhh
Say! Mmmmmm-uuuaaaah
Say! Mmmmmm--uuuaaaah


Monday night at operation control
I sat facing rows of monitor mountains
Mind control
Life control
Operation mind control (2)

My first is in car
I'm easily bought, but still always short

[Fly that over space beam]

And round my way the people still do say
And round these parts the people still impart

My second is in..


Say! Mmmmmm
Say! Mmmmmm

And round my way the people still do say
Round these parts the people still impart

Third: slopes
Fourth: [inverting within]

Round my way the people still do say
And round these parts the people still exclaim

And even now kids round our place say 



1. "My approach to writing has definitely changed. I used to get into the serious thing of loads of words, couldn't get enough into a song. You end up dead pretentious. 

"That's what I like about 'Riddler', it's dead slow and there's not a lot said in it but it sort of stops people in their tracks. I always remember we used to shout 'Riddler' when we were kids in Salford, but I can't remember what for, it's still a sort of mystery."  



2. There is a 1978 book, which would be right up MES's alley, called Operation Mind Control: the Cryptocracy's Plan to Psychocivlize You, written by one Walter Bowart. The author was a founder and editor of the East Village Other and an associate of figures like Timothy Leary, Abbey Hoffman, and Robert Crumb. The book chronicled the ways in which the government, through hypnosis, drugs, and other methods, seeks to control the minds of the citizenry. 

On Amazon, one J. Moore, who says he is one of the researchers mentioned in the book, had the following to say about Bowart:

"Walter Bowart reportedly wrote a follow-up, but suddenly stopped and virtually vanished. The rumor mill has it that he was threatened with "termination with extreme prejudice" - a phrase for assassination that is now outdated.

To my knowledge, he is still alive but living his life in a very low profile. From my own experiences over the years, I can't say I blame him."

If MES (who has admitted to having a taste for crackpot pseudo-history) was familiar with any of this, he would have eaten it up, so it may be the origin of the lyric about "Operation Mind Control."


More Information

Comments (6)

  • 1. harleyr | 06/02/2013
My take (pulling together the MES quote above and various comments by Fall forum folks) - a bored solitary late night security guard surveys the closed circuit TVs in front of him, jokes to himself about it being 'operation mind control', idly attempts to solve a puzzle in Riddler magazine ('My first is in...' etc), and thinks about the local kids who (channeling MES) shout random words at strangers. No idea what the solution to the puzzle is though.
  • 2. Martin | 31/01/2014
10 February 1986 Laser's, Haringay:

- "Riddler! Riddler!" (extra lyrics during Words Of Expectations, some months before the first performance of Riddler!)
  • 3. dannyno | 11/05/2014
It doesn't help much, but there is the 1978 book "Operation Mind Control", by Walter Bowart, an associate of Timothy Leary. It's about government use of psychedelic drugs and other tools of psychological warfare.
  • 4. bzfgt | 13/05/2014
Actually that does help and resulted in a good note. MES loves stuff like that so I think it not entirely unlikely he was aware of the book.
  • 5. dannyno | 31/01/2019
Brix in conversation with John Leckie:

Leckie thinks this track was mastered from cassette (and only this track on the album, rumour notwithstanding).

Also he says there is "a lot missing" from the track. I don't know if he means lyrically or in terms of sound.
  • 6. bzfgt (link) | 16/03/2019
Does that jibe with the info on the reissue? I think someone said that says there are two cassette tracks?

Can't wayback that &$^#% link

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