Don’t give him spike and pot or any crackpot viewpoint (1)
Give me the teacher’s who said
If you deny the strong pot or ecstatic imbibed within
You will be end up in eyeball-injecting (2)
A dad's reassessed
A lesson to all to o’er
Give me the fright


He can’t find the lyric
He avoids death by fright
Your dad’s still patron that spot in the Simple Minds reformat(3)
Will still be operational when you’re deaf
Don’t get them smoking the strong pot or all their crackpot viewpoints deny the strong pot
Micro-plastering (4)
The wife is giving fright


Don’t give him spike and pot or any crackpot viewpoints


Give me the …
Give me the teacher who said


Induces death by fright
Induces death by fright


To fix the bathroom cistern
That spot in the room he cannot find
3 point below the shoulders (5)
Natter Natter
Can’t find the cistern
Mr Strongpot


The connection says "play guitars all night"
If you deny that strong pot or ecstasy imbibed you will end up
Eyeball injecting with Domestos or household butane chemicals that contain (6)


A lesson to all to o’er
A lesson to all to o’er
A lesson to all to o’er

Natter natter
Is giving fright


Your dads arrive and your dads play guitars all night


Who let Mr Strongpot in their home
To fix the bathroom cistern?
The spot in the room he cannot find
3 point below the shoulder
Natter Natter
Can’t find the cistern
Mr Strongpot


Giving fright

Give me the
Give me the...



1. Gladys Winthorpe offers the following thoughts on the lyrics (via Reformation):

I thought that the subject of the song might be handyman-related, similar to "DIY Meat". The main character described arrives "to fix the bathroom cistern" (which he subsequently fails to locate) but, instead of working, gets talking to MES instead ("Natter natter") about smoking dope ("Mr Strongpot") and the band he's a member of in his spare time ("play guitars all night"). However, in "A User's Guide to the Fall", Dave Thompson surmises that it's to do with "trendy" parents and the contradictions contained within their lifestyle (playing in bands, recreational drugs, domestic DIY, etc), which I'd suggest is just as valid. Whatever the song is really about, it's still a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
My sense is that Dave Thompson is probably closer to the mark, especially judging by the lyrics from the XFM live version (see note 3 about Simple Minds below).
See "More Information" below for more (unused, at least on The Marshall Suite) lyrics.


2. This seems to be a version of the "gateway drug" trope. In an interview with Pitchfork, MES decries the deadly weed:

Pitchfork: ...and then a flashback ["Aspen Reprise"], talkativeness in "Assume", inebriated camaraderie in "Clasp Hands"-- am I imagining this, or do you think that's there?

MES: Well, it's there, but I can't be objective about it. But it is there, isn't it? It is, it is. Because there's a lot of skunk damage in Manchester, I'll tell you that.

Pitchfork: Skunk damage?

MES: Yeah, skunk. The weed, yeah.

Pitchfork: Did you say skunk damage, though?

MES: Yeah, there's a lot of damage there.

Pitchfork: How do you mean, "damage"?

MES: Well, I've got a lot of young mates, and the skunk is like 30 times more powerful, isn't it... I'm not a pothead, you see, so I don't fucking know about it, I'm just commenting on it. It's weird, that thread, though.


3. Simple Minds is a Scottish band remembered for the final scene of The Breakfast Club who never seem to have actually broken up, making the era of their career pretty closely conterminous with that of the Fall.

The version played for "XFM live" on April 14, 1999 begins "Who let that man in the home? Who let that eh, eh, revival of a Simple Minds reunion in the house? Shake off!" At the end, the theme is revisited: "Your father is playing guitar all night for the Simple Minds reunion"


4. Nothing I can find for this word is particularly promising.


5. Head and Shoulders is anti-dandruff shampoo.


6. Domestos is a kind of bleach, so it probably wouldn't be too great to boot it in your eye.

See also "Garden"; according to Brix, the "Jew on a motorbike" mentioned in the lyrics is "Sol Seaburg" [sic], who sang in a Manchester band called FC Domestos and was a part-time driver for the Fall. This is also presumably the "Seaberg" who is credited with helping to write "The Man Whose Head Expanded."


More Information

Shake-Off: Fall Tracks A-Z

Handwritten lyrics from the Fall gigography; these were procured on 1999-02-28 at The WItchwood in Ashton (thanks to Dan). All spellings are as in the original:

I have an authorised
Thug from the water board
Aboard the pre-tend baliff
At me door-stop
I've locked 'im in
Back garden and given
Heem wrong directions
To stop tap--shake off!
Who let your mom out
While you were mixin
She got
Smash hit nineteen
Like her it's frikkening


Comments (34)

  • 1. Martin | 14/02/2014
Head and Shoulders is a brand of anti-dandruff shampoo.
  • 2. bzfgt | 15/02/2014
Yes, actually it's so common I didn't think to put a note (about like if he'd said "Cheerios") but I don't know what kind of glop you limeys put in your hair, so I'll put a note in for it.
  • 3. dannyno | 13/05/2014
I don't think he sings "Head and Shoulders" at all.
  • 4. bzfgt | 22/05/2014
Yeah, this is a tough one to decipher in spots.
  • 5. dannyno | 09/08/2014
It's not"spikenard", but I'm not sure what it should be.

I'm hearing "Mike will still be operational when you're deaf"

It's "pot or", not "or pot" every time.

It's doesn't quite sound liket "teacher", it's more like "tissue", but I can't decipher the next word.
  • 6. dannyno | 09/08/2014
Right. I've listened to it at a slower speed, and I think the line is

"Don't give him spike in pot"

"Spike" is slang for heroin cut with scopolamine or strychnine:

Which would then give "crackpot" a different connotation.

And "shakedown" has obvious drug-search connotations hitherto unnoted.

  • 7. dannyno | 09/08/2014
And obviously "shake-off" could refer to the difficulty of shaking off the 'monkey on your back'. Particularly, I imagine, if the monkey on your back is Domestos.
  • 8. dannyno | 29/09/2014
Early Shake-Off lyric sheet, from the Gigography:

  • 9. Martin | 10/06/2015
I don't think the apostrophes should be where they are in the words "teacher's" and "dads'" in the first verse. The first word is a plural and thus no apostrophe is needed and I think that "dad" refers to one such person, so it should be "dad's".

Pedant alert over.
  • 10. Martin | 10/03/2016
9 months later, I think I'm still right. About the apostrophes, I mean. You check this any more? (Lol, or what the young kids say these days...)
  • 11. bzfgt | 19/03/2016
Martin, you are certainly right about "dad." I think "teacher" is as likely singular, and has the added benefit that it could be a fake singular like "The North American bobolink," so I left that one.

Sorry for the delay, I certainly still check this, I seem to have missed it the first time somehow; sorry about that.
  • 12. Martin | 04/11/2016
The reference to Simple Minds: I can find no mention in the lyrics in any live version up to the one referred to in note 3 above. Now, in that month, according to:

"...The album was recorded between April 1999 and June 1999..."

Maybe the band hadn't actually broken up, but there were various personnel changes and various acrimonious disputes:

I don't know if anything much appeared in the music press about this at the time, or if Mark E Smith had some kind of inside knowledge of the above-mentioned recording sessions.

However, contrary to all this, the album from which the song comes was apparently recorded in late 1998 and early 1999. The question is how "early" (or late) in the latter year?
  • 13. junkman | 18/02/2018
FWIW, I always heard "Your dads still patron that spot in the Simple-Minds-reform-might that'll still be operational when you're dead", as in the dads are constantly hopeful that Simple Minds might get back together.
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 19/02/2018
Yeah I think "patron"is right.
  • 15. dannyno | 22/12/2018
Lyrics sheet from The Fall online gigography, Ashton Witchwood, 28/2/1999
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 19/01/2019
I put those lyrics in More Information, I need to try to make them appear there too like you have, if they don't it means I didn't figure out how. Interesting that none of these are in the studio version above.
  • 17. bzfgt (link) | 19/01/2019
Gritting my teeth writing "baliff" without a dedicated disclaimer, but if I start writing "sic" next to MES lyrics it'll soon crowd everything else off the page...
Mike Smith
  • 18. Mike Smith | 03/02/2019
Steve Hanley's The Big Midweek mentions on page 145 a driver for The Fall named Sol Seaburg who reportedly sang with a group called FC Domestos and Brix says he is the "Jew on a motorbike" from Garden.
  • 19. dannyno | 21/02/2019
Comment #18 - not sure why that comment is here, but in any case the information is already in the notes to Garden.
Mike Smith
  • 20. Mike Smith | 23/02/2019
Comment #18 is regarding footnote six and Domestos.
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 16/03/2019
Thanks, Mike.
Xyralothep's cat
  • 22. Xyralothep's cat | 03/12/2019
Hearing an <eyelid> in that first line, which I think is -
<don't give him spike in pot or eyelid crackpot viewpoint>
and then repeated after 2nd verse.
In 2nd verse I think is <your dad's still bartering that spot...>
Under the second <micro-plastering> there's a <micro-welding>
In 3rd & last verses <three point, head over the shoulder, natter, natter>
plumber too busy yakking, not getting on with job
Xyralothep's cat
  • 23. Xyralothep's cat | 08/02/2020
the peel version is a brilliantly nasty little wonder. The vocals are difficult and indistinct throughout and a transcript can only be highly speculative but we can get the ball rolling on what it might be;

Strongpot fixed the bath
But plughole would not [gid?]
Shake-off, shake-off to him
Cistern couldn’t conform

Mister Strongpot fixed the bathroom
With the plughole was interfering and the
Cistern would not handle it

Let them have deadly quiet
I must go on to [crisis feeding?]

If you deny the strong pot
Says Mrs Strongpot
You will end up eyeball injecting
With Domestos or household products
Containing alcohol within

So revealed inhabitants
Who did not grasp the significance of the strong pot
But on strong pot learned [?]
You can end up in advertising
Deny the strongerers
If you deny the strong pot
  • 24. Mark | 24/04/2020
Given the lyrics to the Peel version are fairly clear;

You will end up eyeball injecting
With Domestos or household products
Containing alcohol within

I've always taken the LP version to be;

You will end up eyeball injecting with Domestos or household butane chemicals that contain...

An attempt at cut-up technique, substituting "alcohol" for "butane", that doesn't quite mesh with the music resulting in the slurred trailing-off "contain"? ("contaayyuurrrrn")
  • 25. bzfgt (link) | 02/05/2020
Seems does sound like "butane" to me so I'll change it and see if it sticks
  • 26. Binyi | 21/05/2020
A letter to all to o'er
  • 27. Binyi | 22/05/2020
Re: "Don’t give him spikenard or pot any crackpoint viewpoint"

Although the spikenard/spike idea is evocative I'm certain those lines (e.g. the first) are actually mumbled repeats of a line in the middle of the song:

Don’t get them smoking the strong pot or all their crackpot viewpoints
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2020
The first one before it kicks in sounds very clearly "lesson"

I like the crackpot idea, let me listen
  • 29. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2020
Hmm something like "don't get them spiking pot"
  • 30. Antoine | 21/06/2020
I very much think that instead of "If you deny that strong pot or ecstasy" it's "if you deny the trumpet of ecstasy".

Also, I've long thought that "a lesson to all to o'er" should be "a lesson to all to owe up" which I know is a bit off as well. But all to o'er just seems weird here, to me it seems more likely that Mark wanted to say "to own up".
  • 31. Antoine | 21/06/2020
Just noticed this too -

"Don’t give him spike and pot or any crackpoint viewpoints"

I think it should be

"Don’t give him smack and pot on all their crackpoint viewpoints"
  • 32. Antoine | 21/06/2020
Oh and surely he says "crackpot" the second time around as well, not "crackpoint".
  • 33. bzfgt (link) | 28/06/2020
Yeah I got rid of "crackpoint," that's not right

Maybe, "o'er" seems unlikely in any case
Michael Nath
  • 34. Michael Nath (link) | 15/02/2024
I think he's saying 'The/your wife is giving French' -- not 'fright'

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