Room to Live

Lyrics

(1)

Some people have stars in eyes
Some people want eyes of stars
They've been like that for years
They've been like that for years
I suspect they're just if if if
I just want room to live

There's a new club in town
Plenty of space to posy around
It's a copy of the Peppermint Lounge (2)
(I'll stick around the center always
Even if it is run down.)
Some people wanna be joining the club
Think to be on the clientele is big
I just want room to live

Foreigners and Experts go in
And through my place
Turn my home into a museum
Like the murder squad
They gaze, scan the room
For the well of inspiration
They don't tolerate ordinary folk
and folk look at me strange
But I'll give them this at least:
They pay for what they eat
Visitors, peripherers never give
I just want room to live

Some people think happy is way to live
Some men want to cram up to women
I've been down that street before
It just makes meat out of the soul
There's a D.H.S.S.S. Volvo estate (3)
Right outside my door
With a Moody Blues cassette on the dashboard (4)
There's no hate in the point I give
I just want room to live

Violence is just waiting for its due

Some people want money around
You can tell, they're the ones that never buy a round
And some men want reporters with no wig
And some people cannot hold their drink
They've got to tell you what they think (5)
And some men want reporters with no wig
I just want room to live

 

 

Notes

 1.The title seems to allude to the German Lebensraum, the supposed need for which justified Hitler's policy of clearing out the lands to the east of Germany so that they could be settled by Germans.

Zack: "'Room To Live' may have been inspired by 'I'm Just Me' (written by Glenn Martin and popularized by Charley Pride) which has a similar payoff at the end of the first verse: 'Some people live just to love but I just love to live.'"

^

2. The Peppermint Lounge was a discotheque in New York city that operated from 1958 to 1965. It was a popular hangout for celebrities, particularly during the Twist dance craze c. 1960-1961.

^

3. "Estate" is another term for station wagon. D.H.S.S.S. possibly stands for the United Nations Division of HQ Security and Safety Services, in which case the owner of the car works for the U.N. It seems more likely, however, that this refers to the British D.H.S.S., or Department of Health and Social Security, responsible for welfare and pensions (until the department was divided in 1988).

According to Martin, "In at least a couple of live versions from the tour of New Zealand in 1982, the line 'D.H.S.S.S. Volvo estate' is replaced with 'Drugs Squad Volvo estate,' or maybe that was the original line, to be later changed."

^

4.  On the live version included as a bonus track on the CD of Room to Live: Undilutable Slang Truth (from Rotterdam, Feb. 1983), there's also a Duran Duran tape on the dashboard, a thematic link with the "New Romantics" who are "coming over the hill" in "Hard Life in Country." Jacqueline Kennedy, according to one account, set up a duplicate Peppermint Lounge in the White House. A second Peppermint Lounge opened in 1980, and it moved further downtown in 1982 before closing again in 1985. The Fall played at the revived Peppermint Lounge on June 5th, 1981, a little over a year before Room to Live was released. 

^

5. The live version (see note 3) has "And some people are forced to think/and some people cannot hold their drink."

^

Comments (17)

Stefan
  • 1. Stefan (link) | 25/02/2013
Pedantic note: Peppermint Lounge refers to the club in NYC The Fall played the year before (5 June 1981). (Also where The Cramps' "Smell of Female" LP was recorded.)
Martin
  • 2. Martin | 13/02/2014
The Peppermint Lounge mark 2 referred to by Stefan above was open between 1980 and 1982.
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 14/02/2014
"There's a new club in town
Plenty of space to posy around
It's a copy of the Peppermint Lounge "

I always assumed that this was a reference to the Hacienda, which opened in May 1982, shortly before this song made its debut. While The Fall did play Peppermint Lounge 2, it would seem more likely that if you were going to copy a club it would be Peppermint Lounge 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppermint_Lounge

Thus the "room to live" Nazi reference could be a sly way of referring to the people around "New Order", couldn't it?

But that's just my assumption, I'm probably way off.
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 15/02/2014
Sorry to be so slow on the uptake with the PL; Stefan's note from a year ago somehow slipped by me. I'm looking into it, but for some reason the gigography won't load.
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 15/02/2014
It also seems more likely to me that the lyric intends Peppermint Lounge pt. 1. Did the Hacienda physically resemble (either) PL at all? That would really narrow things down.
Martin
  • 6. Martin | 21/02/2014
In at least a couple of live versions from the tour of New Zealand in 1982, the line "...D.H.S.S.S. Volvo estate" is replaced with "...Drugs Squad Volvo estate...Or maybe that was the original line, to be later changed.
Martin
  • 7. Martin | 21/02/2014
Just thought: do people or did people actually say "posy around"? Surely the standard phrase is "pose around"?
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt | 22/02/2014
I've never heard either...
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 11/05/2014
If the club is the Hacienda, then the Peppermint Lounge, on reflection, is going to be PL2, because members of New Order visited that club during their time in New York in the early 80s. http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2012/jul/02/how-we-made-hacienda-club

The designer, Ben Kelly, seems to have had Danceteria more in mind, but in the end they didn't end up with anything that resembled New York clubs very closely.

So I think I was wrong to identify Peppermint Lounge 1 as the likely model. But I was right to identify the Hacienda, and it all fits.
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 11/05/2014
Peter Hook on the Hacienda:
http://news.beatport.com/blog/2012/10/26/new-orders-peter-hook-talks-about-three-decades-of-the-haciendas-nightclub-legacy/

Ben Kelly and Peter Hook
http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2012/jul/02/how-we-made-hacienda-club

Although MES is pointing at Peppermint Lounge 2, having recently been there, we can perhaps interpret it as more about New York style clubs in general - New Order et al didn't just have PL2 in mind.
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 11/05/2014
Tricky, this, because the the lyrics here resemble those in the Orange lyrics book, but I don't think they're entirely right.

So:

"Some people have stars in eyes
Some people want eyes in stars"

I'm hearing:

"Some people have stars for eyes
Some people want eyes of stars"

Which makes more sense.

"Like the murder squad
They scan the room"

He stumbles over the wording, it seems to me, but what I'm hearing is:

"Like the murder squad
They gaze-scan the room"

and finally:

"There's no hate to the point I give"

I hear "There's no hate in the point that I give"
Zack
  • 12. Zack | 17/12/2016
I believe "Some people want {X} / Other people want {Y} / I just want {Z}" is a standard lyrical conceit in country & western music.

"Room To Live" may have been inspired by "I'm Just Me" (written by Glenn Martin and popularized by Charley Pride) which has a similar payoff at the end of the first verse: "Some people live just to love but I just love to live."
dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 26/02/2017
"With a Moody Blues cassette on the dashboard"

The most recent Moody Blues album to the debut of this song seems to have been Long Distance Voyager. But it could be anything, couldn't it?
Dan
  • 14. Dan | 02/11/2017
I always thought it was "violence is just waiting for its cue" rather than "due"
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
Both make perfect sense, but I do think the sense "cue" makes is more perfect. I am listening now.
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
Shit, man, the "d" sounds clear to me. I'll check some livers and see if it varies.
bzfgt
  • 17. bzfgt (link) | 11/11/2017
He doesn't generally sing the line live, at least judging by the ones I have.

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