Slang King

Lyrics

(1)

Whip wire (2)
Whip wire
Hawk man (3)
Slip down easy
Don't make me a go-between
This is Mr. and Mrs. Smith (4)
To whom you are speaking
Slang King
Words from a cheap man
Part-paid type who got his style 
From a press treatise
2 pound 50
Bottle of Brut and nausea (5)
Magazine
It's no longer a journey down the road for him
It is now escape route (6)
Bright, turn off sign
Swing, 14, turns off, between
Swingo greets lime green receptionist
All here is ace, All here is ace, All here is ace
Escape route
Caca-phony
Slang King
Swoop swoop
Voll media krieg, for his honour's binge (7)
During his Scandinavian stint
He said hi to Horst, the viking (8)
Hi Lo-l-lord Swingo (9)
At his triumphant procession
Down the road of quease
Dropping off, he stopped
At a British shop
Swoop scoop
Slang King 
At a British shop
Take it down easy
During a lull in his attack
3 little girls with only 50 pence
Had to take, had to put
The Curly Wurly back (10)

Swoop swoop, scoop scoop
Slip down easy
Slip away at court or him and his bloody mother
We'll go together
Sugar down
Slip down easy
Hyper Hyper! (11)
Slang King
Watch, the word had right
Biz by word processor
We'll go together, slip down down away
Hyper, with the young designers
The young designers are always there
Always wanted to be there
Slip down, caca-phony
Whip wire, whip wire
Slip down easy, sugar
Slip down easy, sugar
Slip down away, sugar
Hawkman, whip wire, whip wire (12)
Slang King

Notes

1. There is a song by Peter Hammill called "Jargon King"; there are no obvious connections in the lyrics, but MES is known to be a fan of Hammill (thanks to Dan).

The Story of the Fall reproduces this remark about the whimsical organ part: 

According to Dave Thompson's Users Guide to The Fall  "Smith even admitted he tried to persuade Burns to play drums like 70s Disco faves the Moments (of...And Whatnots fame). "And I had this organ tune and this ongoing fable about this historical character. Worked dead well, didn't it?'''

Slang King 2, the version on the B-side of the "Call For Escape Route" single, begins: "You feel depressed 'cause you've missed the day/Then you have to go to the hall."

^

2. To "whip wire" is to masturbate, according to the internet.  This may be "Wickwire," as UnVictorian points out:

With regards to the Twilight Zone reference [see note 6 below], I always thought the first lines in the song were "Wickwire." Mr Wickwire was the robotic custodian of a mortuary inhabiting the entirety of an asteroid in the first season of The Twilight Zone. Three astronauts land on the asteroid and -- being programmed to protect the mortuary from all threats -- [Wickwire] kills the astronauts and preserves them with the mortuary's other "guests".

^

3. There is a D.C. comics character dubbed "Hawk Man." One of the Hawk Man stories is called "Earth's Impossible Day," which became the title of side 1 of Shift-Work.   

See "More Information" for--well, you know. 

^

4. The song is of course from the Brix era; "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" is a 1941 comedy directed by Alfred Hitchcock about a couple who discover they aren't actually legally married, get mad at each other and part, and, of course, eventually get back together. However, according to Brix the source is something else:

Dan: "According to Brix Smith-Start's autobiography, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise, the line 'This is Mr and Mrs Smith to whom you are speaking' is '[...] obviously a direct allusion to us, but he is also sending up the heinous game show, Mr & Mrs, which we would sometimes watch even though we hated it. It was so bad it was good. A kitsch bit of British television history.'"

^

5. Brut is a sparkling dry wine, and nausea is what might happen if you drink it. (It has been pointed out to me that the cologne also called Brut may be what is meant here). 

^

6. At the Fall online forum, Conway relates:

A non-forum member has emailed me with an interesting connection between this song & The Twilight Zone:

The first season episode of the Twilight Zone called The HitchHiker. I was just watching it and this line of monolog came up:

"Towns go by without names, landscapes without form.
Now it isn't even a trip, it's flight. Route 80 isn't a highway
anymore, it's an escape route."

Compares to MES:

"It's no longer a journey down the road for him
It is now escape route"

Thanks for pointing this out Ted.


^

7. "Voll media Krieg" = full media war.  

^

8. Horst Wessel (1907-1930) was a Nazi Party activist who, after his death, became a hero to the ascendant NSDAP. He wrote the words to "The Flag on High" (Die Fahne Hoche, more commonly known as the Horst-Wessel-Lied or "Horst Wessel Song"), which became the official Nazi party anthem. He was a member of several far-right organizations in his youth, including one called "The Viking Union" (Viking Bund).    

^ 

9. Swingo is a swinger version of Bingo (the prurient among us can easily fill in details in imagination). This may not be what MES means, though; there's also a hotel in Cleveland that used to be called Swingo's, and here is what I learned about it:

If there were an award for the Hotel That Had Been Privy to the Most Debauchery, this Comfort Inn – formerly Swingos Celebrity Inn – would be a contender for the gong. Swingos' notorious reputation began in earnest when Elvis sashayed into the unprepossessing hotel having booked more than 100 rooms over three floors. By the time the King checked out, with a $20,000 bill, the hotel's fate had been decided. With bated breath, the hotel later welcomed the Who's Keith Moon, who checked in dressed as a cop before handcuffing two strangers together. Of its reputation, Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter said: "Swingos was a place you remember checking in and out of, but you can't remember anything in between."     

^

10. A Curly Wurly is a British chocolate bar.  

^

11. Hyper Hyper is an Australian clothes store with branches in New York and London.

^

12. This mysterious Hawkman also turns up on both of MES's solo albums, The Post Nearly Man and Pander Panda Panzer, as Zack reports. More on our friend the Hawkman below.

^

More Information

Slang King: Fall Tracks A-Z

The Story of the Fall: 1984

See this thread on the Fall Online Forum, which is a goldmine.

 

Here is a taste of what you'll get--there is much more on the thread, though--as Buy Kurious quotes the following text from DC's Hawkman (taken from Dial B for Blog):

EARTH'S IMPOSSIBLE DAY
THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN


"If ponies rode men and grass ate cows,
And cats should be chased to holes by the mouse,
If the mamas sold their babies to the gypsies for half a crown;
Summer were spring and the t'other way around.
Then all the world would be upside down."


In 1781, the British army under Gen. Cornwallis surrendered to Gen. George Washington, ending the American Revolutionary War. On the day of the surrender, the English fife and 
drum corps played a march called “The World Turned Upside Down” (lyrics above).

The declaration of July 4th -- to which America’s Founding Fathers had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor -- had achieved fruition. Despite inconceivable odds and to the complete astonishment of the entire world, a tiny colony had defeated the world’s greatest military power and secured for itself the right to exist as a free and independent nation.

It was IMPOSSIBLE -- as unlikely as ponies riding men, or grass eating cows. It was as impossible as making rain fall upward, hurling lightning bolts, or seeing the invisible. There was just no possible way it could have happened. But it happened anyway.

Remarkably, on distant Thanagar, home of Hawkman, an annual Thanagarian holiday coincides with America's Independence Day. To celebrate it, Hawkman must make rain fall upward, hurl lightning bolts, and see the invisible! IMPOSSIBLE, you say? That's true! There is just no possible way it can happen. But history is not a record of the "possible," it is a record of what happened. To celebrate the "impossible" day America declared her independence, let's do something impossible. Today is the day for it, reader! Because TODAY is --

Earth's Impossible Day!

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Comments (17)

Martin
  • 1. Martin | 25/04/2013

With reference to the word "route" used in the song, it's interesting that MES pronounces it in the American way and not in the "standard" British way. More evidence of where he got the phrase from, I think.

dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 27/04/2013

MES-fave Peter Hammill has a song called "Jargon King". It's quite Fallesque, but there are no real lyrical correspondences. Here's a bit:

He prescribes the subject
he proscribes outsiders
his terms have a golden ring.
He wants to find some order
quantifying chaos
in words that all the children sing.
He tabulates the lexicon
vocabulary minimised
bow down to the Jargon King.

Robert
  • 3. Robert | 03/05/2013

"Earth's Impossible Day" was the title of side one of Shiftwork, not Bend Sinister.

bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 04/05/2013

Fixed.

Huckleberry
  • 5. Huckleberry | 16/08/2013

I think "Hyper" might be referring to Hyper Hyper, a trendy clothes shop in Kensington whose slogan in the 1980s was "The home of the young designers" or something similar.

Beef Manifold
  • 6. Beef Manifold | 10/01/2014

"Kecks" is northern British slang for pants; Harlequin kecks are checked or multicolored trousers.

You are correct except that kecks can mean either trousers or pants (and in the UK pants means underpants not trousers). So he may be talking about harlequin ys, which sounds particularly lovely.

bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 22/01/2014

What is the difference between pants and trousers? You foreigners never cease to confound me...

bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt | 22/01/2014

Beef, you got in the wrong song somehow...I'll check "Shoulder Pads."

Martin
  • 9. Martin | 30/01/2014

I'm sure that 50 pence would have been more than enough to buy a curly wurly back in 1984. The girls didn't need to put it back.

bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 15/02/2014

That's interesting information, Martin, but I will leave it down here in the comments...I'd hate to destroy the man's credibility.

dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 28/02/2014

50p probably would have been enough to buy a Curly Wurly, but where in the song does it say that the girls were *only* buying a Curly Wurly?

There's three of them, so while they *might* have been buying one Curly Wurly to break into three to share, isn't it more likely they were buying a pile of chocolate to share. And their funds didn't stretch to the Curly Wurly. So they put that back but are able to leave the shop with sufficient chocolate for their purposes.

dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 28/02/2014

In 1981, Curly Wurly's cost 10p:

http://www.sfu.ca/cmns/faculty/kline_s/320/06-spring/resources/sup_readings/adeffective-curlywurly.pdf

Dan

dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 18/05/2014

"You feel depressed 'cause you've missed the day
Then you have to go to the hall"

It should probably be clarified that these lines come from Slang King 2, a version which appeared on the B-side of the Call for Escape Route single/EP.

UnVictorian
  • 14. UnVictorian | 02/12/2014

With regards to the Twilight Zone reference, i always thought the first lines in the song were "Wickwire".

Mr Wickwire was the robotic custodian of a mortuary inhabiting the entirety of an asteroid in the first season of the Twilight Zone. Three astronauts land on the asteroid and - being programmed to protect the mortuary from all threats - kills the astronauts and preserves them with the mortuary's other "guests".

dannyno
  • 15. dannyno | 04/05/2016

According to Brix Smith-Start's autobiography, The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise, the line "This is Mr and Mrs Smith to whom you are speaking" is ...


[...] obviously a direct allusion to us, but he is also sending up the heinous game show, Mr & Mrs, which we would sometimes watch even though we hated it. It was so bad it was good. A kitsch bit of British television history.

Zack
  • 16. Zack | 24/02/2017

Hawkman also turns up in "Dissolute Singer" on both The Post Nearly Man and Pander Panda Panzer.

dannyno
  • 17. dannyno | 01/03/2017

Earth's Impossible Day - discussion of the Hawkman link, plus images from the comic here:
http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=18320&view=findpost&p=11311237

Image

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