So What About It?


Fall advice!
Fall advice!
Fall advice!
Fall advice! (1)

The Year Number One
Has gone and turned 
Into Year of Bomb
TV wars 24 hours (2)
But it happens

Fall advice!

Shaking my bones down the M40 (3)
Passenger seat gripped tight
In a Series 3           (4)
I cannot sleep
But I'm happy
I cannot eat
So what about it?

It happens
It happens
It happens

Fall advice!

The work's down the drain (5)
And interest never wanes
So what about it?

Fall advice!
Some are born to life
Some are born depressed
About it   (6)

Fall advice!

To parties underground
You're driving around in Lake District (7)
You're stepping around
It doesn't matter to me
Cause it happens
It's magic
So what about it?


1. This is definitely he says, at least part of the time, although sometimes it seems to morph into something like "Fall advance!" There's not really anything in the song that sounds like advice, unless "but it happens" means the equivalent of something like "don't worry about it." The addressee of the advice is most likely the singer (whether we take that to be MES or a character), judging by the first person form of the lyrics.

The first side of Shift-Work is labelled "Earth's Impossible Day" (see "More Information" below).


2. What is Year Number One, and in what sense has it turned into the Year of Bomb? Harley suggests: "Year number '1' probably refers to 1991, the year that Shiftwork came out and the year that 'turned into bomb' with the beginning of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq on 17th January." This theory fits well with "TV wars 24 hours," as CNN's 24 hour coverage of the Gulf War was widely considered to have propelled the network into the big time, as for the first time a cable news channel was consistently surpassing network news in the ratings. Indeed, Simon Ford reports, in Hip Priest, that the original title of the album was "The War Against Intelligence," but Smith decided--for reasons which are inscrutable to me in lieu of more information--that the title was too controversial in light of the Gulf War (Ford doesn't exactly say this, but he strongly implies it, writing "Smith decided to change the title to something less controversial"). 


3. There is an M40 that runs from Birmingham to London. The Lyrics Parade has "M14," which is also possible, but less so. There is not a motorway in England called the M14, but The Fall had been touring Europe, and there is a highway of that name in Germany. (There is also an M14 in Michigan--the 'M' in this case stands for "Michigan" rather than "motorway").

In any case, the blue lyrics book has

Shaking my bones
Down the M42
Passenger seat gripped tight

The version sung here definitely does not have "M42."


4.  A Series Three is a kind of BMW. 


5. This seems to be an echo of David Bowie's "Suffragette City" ("Hey, man, my schoolday's insane/Hey, man, my work's down the drain").


6. This is somewhat reminiscent of these lines from Blake's "Auguries of Innocence":

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

Jim Morrison quoted the last lines in "End of the Night."


7. The Lake District in northern England is also mentioned in "Levitate."


More Information

So What About It?: Fall Tracks A-Z

The Story of the Fall: 1991

From Buy Kurious on the Fall Online Forum, the following is text from DC's Hawkman (taken from Dial B for Blog)::


"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!


Comments (14)

  • 1. harleyr | 06/09/2013
'Year number 1' probably refers to 1991, the year that Shiftwork came out and the year that 'turned into bomb' with the beginning of Operation Desert Storm in Iraq on 17th January.
  • 2. dannyno | 24/05/2014
According to, Shift-Work was recorded late 1990, early 1991. It was released mid-April 1991.

The Fall toured Europe in 1990, including Germany, and there is an M14 motorway in Germany.
  • 3. dannyno | 24/05/2014

Well I've just listened to this again properly.

I'm not hearing "yak yak yak" anywhere, I don't think.

But perhaps more importantly, I don't think he's singing "M14" at all.

I think he's singing "M40".
  • 4. bzfgt | 28/05/2014
I actually seem to hear a "yak yak yak" near the very beginning, but it's not distinct enough to bother with, so I gave the song a yak haircut. I have it listed as in the blue lyrics book, but when I open the book it's nowhere to be found...
  • 5. bzfgt | 28/05/2014
Does anyone know a live version in which M14/M40 is clearer than this?
  • 6. Martin | 29/05/2014
No, because as far as we know, it's never been performed live.
  • 7. Martin | 29/05/2014
Just to confuse things, in the"v11" lyrics book, the reference is to "the M42", which runs from the county of Worcestershire to that of Leicestershire.

Another added lyric in the book goes: "Passenger seat gripped tight/In a Series Three", presumably a reference to some model of car.
  • 8. dannyno | 29/05/2014
bzfgt: it's on p145 (index is near the back of the book), just before the Chindits stuff.
  • 9. Martin | 29/05/2014
I've just listened to the first remix version of the song as released on Listening In and the extended Shiftwork LP, and MES clearly sings "M40".
  • 10. petey | 17/09/2017
"some are born to be depresed
about it"
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 07/10/2017
I hear "D-depressed"
  • 12. Junkman | 05/03/2018
"Yak yak yak" is at 2:10.

Also I'd like to cast a vote for "In a Series 3" instead of "And seriously". It makes more sense, its a better line, and I can only hear an "ee" vowel sound at the end of the word, no "ee-uh".

Thanks for a great site bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 17/03/2018
Both make sense, but Series 3 is attractive--it does sound more like that to me now, let's run with it and see if anyone objects.
  • 14. dannyno | 07/05/2018
"In a Series Three" is an improvement, definitely.

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