Spinetrak

Lyrics

May the sideshow begin

Young lad from Escom (1)
Is a schizophrenic  
He also thinks he's a man 
His other half is his side-kick. (2)

The man from Escom
Is a schizophrene 
Other half is called Chip, his sidekick

You are my spinetrak, my spinetrak, my spinetrak (3)
You are my spinetrak, my spinetrak, my spinetrak
You are my spinetrak, my spinetrak, my spinetrak

Spinetrak

Spine clicked and came out of its box
May the sideshow begin 
One: endless pursuit of women 
And desire to impress them

You are my spinetrak, my spinetrak, my spinetrak 
You are my spinetrak, my spinetrak, my spinetrak (On news programs)
You are my spinetrak, my spinetrak, my spinetrak

On news programs

Spinetrak

And application pages for women's jobs
Whose other side too 
Looked rather big 
Sideshow begin

You are my spinetrak, my spinetrak, my spinetrak
You are my spinetrak, my spinetrak, my spinetrak
You are my spinetrak, my spinetrak, my spinetrak

 


Notes

1. Escom refers to a German computer company, which had a UK division which had massively expanded its operations not long before this song was recorded. According to Mark:

"The Man From Escom" was a character from promotional materials for the German computer manufacturer. A noir-themed series of adverts had the private-dick seeking out deals on computers. Towards the end of the company's run the character was dumped in favour of a more generic mascot, a wide-eyed geeky young lad called Chip, as mentioned in the song.

And Dan found a report that fills in more details:

Escom has killed off the 1940s detective character known as ‘The Man from Escom’ who fronted the ads for last year’s launch as a national computer retailing chain.

In his place comes ‘90s man’ who replaces the trench coat and trilby
with caring credentials.

Joining him is ‘Chip’, a computer-literate teenage tearaway and Escom’s latest marketing weapon to hit the family market.

In the end Brix speaks for us all (The Rise, The Fall and The Rise, via Dan): "'Spinetrak' is a great song. I have no clue what it is about."

^

2. It was very common, years ago, to see "schizophrenia" incorrectly used to refer to a multiple perconality disorder, as MES seems to do here. Such an error is presumably due to the etymology of the word, the Greek roots of which give us something like "split mind." A famous example of this misuse comes in the liner notes from the Who album "Quadrophenia":

"So that's why I'm here, the bleeding boat drifted off and I'm stuck here in the pissing rain with my life flashing before me. Only it isn't flashing, it's crawling. Slowly. Now it's just the bare bones of what I am.

A tough guy, a helpless dancer.

A romantic, is it me for a moment?

A bloody lunatic, I'll even carry your bags.

A beggar, a hypocrite, love reign over me.

Schizophrenic? I'm Bleeding Quadrophenic."

"Quadrophenic" is quite an odd coinage: even if "schizophrenic" were taken to denote, in English, a split personality, the etymology suggests no quantification, and thus could conceivably cover tough guy, romantic, lunatic, and beggar; furthermore, it's not clear why Townshend didn't opt for "quadrophrenic," which would seem to make a little bit more sense.  

^

3. There is a mountain trail in the Quantocks, in Southern England, that seems to be sometimes referred to as the Spine Track, although the paucity of references for this (I only found one)  suggests that this is probably a descriptive term rather than a proper name. More promisingly, the word could refer to Kundalini, which, in yoga, is considered to be a reservoir of energy or force located at the base of the spine. Certain yogic practices aim to "awaken" the Kundalini,  at which point it travels up the spine to the head. Kundalini is sometimes thought of as a kind of sexual energy (although the concept is broader than that) which is in keeping with the suggestion in the second verse that the character who is the subject of the song is on the make. 

^

More Information

Comments (13)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 25/05/2014

I don't hear a "spinetrak" after the first "May the sideshow begin", just goes into the "Young lad from Escom" verse

Mark
  • 2. Mark | 31/12/2014

"The Man From Escom" was a character from promotional materials for the German computer manufacturer. A noir-themed series of adverts had the private-dick seeking out deals on computers.

Towards the end of the company's run the character was dumped in favour of a more generic mascot, a wide-eyed geeky young lad called Chip, as mentioned in the song.

bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 01/01/2015

Excellent!!!!!

dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 01/01/2015

Good call, Mark, although not quite right.

Here's a source: http://www.brandrepublic.com/news/61406/ (22 Feb 1996)

Escom has killed off the 1940s detective character known as ‘The Man from Escom’ who fronted the ads for last year’s launch as a national computer retailing chain.

In his place comes ‘90s man’ who replaces the trench coat and trilby
with caring credentials.

Joining him is ‘Chip’, a computer-literate teenage tearaway and Escom’s latest marketing weapon to hit the family market.


So the detective character was actually replaced by two new characters, not one. So perhaps those two are the two halves referred to.

bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 31/01/2015

Would you believe when I googled it to get more info, this page was the third result...

Martin
  • 6. Martin | 02/10/2015

Pedantic request to change "womens'" to "women's". Thanks.

bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 15/11/2015

Right, I had to think about it but that's correct, isn't it? So you wouldn't say "dogs' jobs" but "dog's jobs?" I think you're right, it would be the plural of "dog's job" rather than "dogs' job," I think.

Lobster
  • 8. Lobster | 20/11/2015

No mate. The plural of "dog" is "dogs", but "women" is already a plural. The singular form is "woman". Accordingly, there must always be an apostrophe between "women" and any terminal "s" regardless of any other factor. Not so with "dogs".

bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 23/11/2015

Now that you mention it that does seem like it should have been obvious. You could never have "womens" anything unless it were a really exceptional situation of which I cannot think of an example...yeah, that one should have been obvious. Oh well.

dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 05/05/2016

According, unhelpfully, to Brix, in The Rise, The Fall and The Rise:


'Spinetrack' is a great song. I have no clue what it is about.

bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 24/06/2016

Dan, is "Spinetrack" "sic," or did you accidentally change it?

dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 08/09/2016

"Spinetrack" is how Brix spells it, I'm afraid.

bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 15/10/2016

Yeah I have now read the book and saw that...this the woman who has done unmentionable things with "Guest Informant," after all. I know how traumatic all this is for you...

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