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
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)
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
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
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
Slip down easy
Hyper Hyper! (11)
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
Slip down easy, sugar
Slip down easy, sugar
Slip down away, sugar
Hawkman, Wickwire, Wickwire (12)
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."
Dan: Rob Waite's article, "Notebooks Out," in "The Biggest Library Yet" issue #18, January 2000, p6, notes an alleged musical similarity to The Monkees' "Love is Only Sleeping."
Paul Hanley, who plays keyboards, from a listening party on Twitter:
Mark showed me a rough approximation of the chorus riff on kazoo. The verse bit was in A- I insisted the chorus had to be in C as that was the only key where I could play the riff cos that made it all white notes. So really I wrote the chorus!
When Mark says Whickwire [sic] he is referring to a character in Rod Stirling’s Twilight Zone.
We were obsessed with that show . Mark thought Rod Stirling was a genius poet.
The reference is to the episode "Elegy." UnVictorian summarizes:
"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.'"
Dan finds a further Twilight Zone connection in the sleeve notes of The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall:
SLANG King - "... a cheapness of mind, a cheapness of taste a tawdry little shine on the seat of his conscience ... But Mr. Hammer has a talent, discovered at a very early age." - Rod Serling.
This comes from the opening narration, delivered by Serling, of the "Twilight Zone" episode "The Four of Us Are Dying" (Season 1, episode 13, first broadcast 1 June 1960. In full it is: "His name is Arch Hammer, he's 36 years old. He's been a salesman, a dispatcher, a truck driver, a con man, a bookie, and a part-time bartender. This is a cheap man, a nickel-and-dime man, with a cheapness that goes past the suit and the shirt; a cheapness of mind, a cheapness of taste, a tawdry little shine on the seat of his conscience, and a dark-room squint at a world whose sunlight has never gotten through to him. But Mr. Hammer has a talent, discovered at a very early age. This much he does have. He can make his face change. He can twitch a muscle, move a jaw, concentrate on the cast of his eyes, and he can change his face. He can change it into anything he wants. Mr. Archie Hammer, jack-of-all-trades, has just checked in at three-eighty a night, with two bags, some newspaper clippings, a most odd talent, and a master plan to destroy some lives.
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). As Mike Watts points out, MES pronounces it BRUTT but in both cases the correct pronunciation is BROOT. Pronouncing words according to their spelling is not an uncommon thing for MES; for instance, see his pronunciation of "shoppes" in "How I Wrote Elastic Man," "dept" in "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul," "Victuals" in "I Feel Voxish," "Karaoke" in "Pumpkin Head Xscapes," and "Hyperbole" in "Hot Runes."
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.
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. Dan has found an ad from 1987 that prices a Curly Wurly at 12p, so they were at least that cheap in 1984. Conclusion? The girls were shopping for more than just Curly Wurlys...
Brix from Twitter again:
Once when Mark and I were at our local corner shop, these too little girls really didn’t have enough for a curly Whiley and had to put it back!
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.
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!