The Joke

Lyrics

(1)

Go back go back
to your diseased-hut-control room

Don't be don't be
nice about it
just spit it back

Why don't, ward off
why don't you be mature about it
in your grey raincoat

Off ward, ward off
The Joke

Violent food
descends over you, huh
Off ward, ward off The joke
Ward off, off ward The joke

The Joke
five years in a PC camp (2)

Multicoloured sweets 
in bottom of white sweet pack
The realization burns into my back

The Joke
Five years in a PC camp
The Joke

Violent food
descends over you

The Joke

The Joke
Five years in a PC camp

The Joke
Five years in a PC camp
The Joke

Five years in a PC camp

Notes

1. This may be a vague screed against political correctness, but maybe there's more to it. In any case MES, as usual, has the virtue of not making sense just when you think things are getting too banal.

Junkman:

"MES had this to say:

'People are very afraid to say things in England at the moment if they're not PC. It's getting very American. It's being pushed on us, I think, through the media. Y'know, food and everything has to be green related and all that. It's quite funny seeing British people adapt to that sort of thing as we've always had really shitty diets. We eat worse than the Australians and New Zealanders' (Rip It Up Issue 215, Jul '95)."

 

Reformation has the following to say:

The title is possibly taken from Milan Kundera's book of the same name, published in 1967. The Wikipedia entry for this book says: The novel was referenced in The Fall's song "The Joke" on the album Cerebral Caustic. The song's refrain is, 'The Joke! Five years in a PC camp - The Joke!', linking humorless Eastern Bloc authoritarianism to political correctness." This may or may not be accurate.

^

2. In Kundera's The Joke, Ludvik Jahn finds himself in trouble after writing a joking postcard to a girlfriend in the 1950s. I haven't read the book, but according to Wikipedia:

Since Ludvik believes she is too serious, he writes on the postcard, "Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky!" His colleagues and fellow young-party leaders did not see the humor in the sentiment expressed in the postcard. Ludvik finds himself expelled from the party and college and drafted to a part of the Czech military where alleged subversives form work brigades and spend the next few years working in mines.

^

Comments (9)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 03/07/2014
Missing bit of chorus-type thing, after the first "violent food" line.

it goes like this:

"Violent food descends over you, huh

Off ward, ward off
The joke

Ward off, off ward
The joke"
Rich
  • 2. Rich | 07/01/2016
Go back go back to your diseased hut - Brix says so on the 2013 version promo interview
bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 19/01/2016
Yeah let's run with it.
junkman
  • 4. junkman | 15/02/2018
MES had this to say:

"People are very afraid to say things in England at the moment if they're not PC. It's getting very American. It's being pushed on us, I think, through the media. Y'know, food and everything has to be green related and all that. It's quite funny seeing British people adapt to that sort of thing as we've always had really shitty diets. We eat worse than the Australians and New Zealanders."
Rip It Up Issue 215, Jul '95.

Is "multicoloured sweets in bottom of white sweet pack" something to do with immigration, like the multicoloured sweets are immigrants on the bottom rungs of the white sweet pack, which is the UK?
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
I always suspected it's something like that, and always hoped it wasn't--not even for political or humanitarian lyrics, but because it's clumsy writing...
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
"reasons" I mean, not "lyrics"
Raging Ostler
  • 7. Raging Ostler | 19/02/2018
It's just another gripe about tokenism, isn't it? The idea that a sweets firm would feel obliged to put different coloured sweets in a packet of white sweets, for PC reasons... it's a bit pub-bore-like by MES standards, but as gripes about tokenism go, at least it's less awkward than the one in "The Classical".
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 24/02/2018
Right, it probably is and it's really heavy-handed and frankly kind of lame. I don't even mean that moralistically, just aesthetically.
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 22/03/2018
Yeah, it's a bit rubbish. There may be some context to it, though. For example, in 1994 there was a media kerfuffle around a child called Nathan Brandy, who was black and failed to get the part of the Milky Bar Kid (traditionally white and blue eyed, presumably to reflect the white chocolate bar). Regardless of the merits of the particular case, which I haven't investigated further, this might have fed into the song at some level.

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