Theme From Error-Orrori

Lyrics

(1)

The conference is over (2)
Peace is the plan
I wonder how long will it last
When Izzy and Bizzy and Boney began (3)
We wondered how long they would last

Chuff had a cough
And cold in his snout (4)
Letter

Horror Error
Error Horror
Horror Error
Horror Error

Man's prog fanatic   (5)
Or as Italians say it:

Error Orror
Error Orror

Please take our three morons
and give us old Prussia

And with ... Shakespeare...

Horror Error
Horror Error
Horror Error

Give them our hybrids
Give us the bird
What they moan on about
The Hippocratic Oath (6)
Give them our sun
And we'll take the Shakespeare  (7)

Orror Orror

 

Notes

1. According to Reformation:

The video (see information above) was shot in Venice and Bambino Tostare, writing in the comments section on the website "The Story of The Fall", says:

"I've still got a poster somewhere that I pulled off a wall in Venice, for a public building project called "Errori Orrori", which I think was something to do with saving some bit of Venice from sinking into the sea. Given that the video for this (or was it something else around that time) was similar to 'Don't look now', which is set in Venice, I reckon this very poster was the inspiration for the song. "
 
In Italian, errori means "errors" (error is the singular form just as in English), and orrori means "horrors," so MES's usage of the title is more or less correct.
 
The remainder of this note is from Dan:
 
Let’s start with this phrase “Error Orrori”. 

First of all, “Mistakes and horrors” or “Errors and horrors”, or vice versa, are commonly found phrases in English and Italian in lots of different contexts. For example, the Croatian fascist leader Ante Pavelić published in 1938 an anti-Bolshevik work entitled “Horrors and Mistakes” , i.e, Errori e orrori in Italian – he was living under house arrest in Sienna at the time. Or there’s the Tennyson line, “Life with its anguish, and horrors, and errors – away with it all!” And lots more.

The Shiftwork and Holidays video has footage of posters saying “Errori – Orrori” in Venice (hence the Nick Roeg “Don’t Look Now” girl in red coat reference). MES could well also have come across the phrase elsewhere, but the image in the Shiftwork and Holidays video, and the posters at the top of this thread, are obviously those associated with Ottavio Spagnuolo’s “Venice is not sinking” campaign. 

It seems likely the film footage/posters are the proximate inspiration. If you look closely at the posters in the first image in this thread, the phrase to hold onto is “Venice is not sinking.” And then there is the bottom left poster, with the words “progetto Nicolazzi / Errori-Orrori / idrodinamica dimenticata." Translated, the posters read: “Nicolazzi Project / Errors – Horrors / hydrodynamics forgotten” (or "forgotten hydrodynamics" or some such). This is not an advert for a project to save Venice from the sea – it’s actually a protest against such a project.

Franco Nicolazzi is an Italian politician who served as minister of public works until 1987. His name has been attached for decades to what is otherwise known as the MOSE project, an engineering solution to the problem of the flooding of Venice. The particular plan goes back to 1987, but efforts to “save the city” go back at least to the 1966 flood, and were opposed or critiqued by the “Venice is not sinking” slogan, and by environmentalists and others on various grounds.

One of the opponents for four decades was Ottavio Spagnuolo, who died in 2011, and was regarded by some as a bit eccentric (but that is not our concern). There are images of Spagnuolo giving lectures in public, and of his other poster installations. [See More Information below for a photo of one of the posters]


^
 
 
2. From Dan:
 
From Pink Proles and Psychological Purple, by Ewald Braunsteiner, translated by Jakob Boysen of Hamburg for The Biggest Library Yet #13 (October 1998). The source is the German monthly music magazine Sounds (1966-1983). It was originally published under the title Pink Proleten und psychologischer Purpur in issue #149, July 1981:
 
I also like John Cale, I really like the album 'Helen of Troy' , particularly one track on it: 'Sudden Death'.
 
The first line of Cale's "Sudden Death" is:
 

The conference is over and they're calling out the guard


See note 3 below for more speculation about the "conference." 

^

 
3. Dan: "The line about “Izzy, Bizzy and Boney” is I think an obvious reference to Queen Isabella II of Spain, Otto von Bismarck and Napoleon Bonaparte III (commonly nicknamed “Boney”). The overthrow and eventual abdication of Isabella was manipulated by Bismarck and led to the Franco-Prussian War (Bonaparte unable to accept a German – Prince Leopold - on the Spanish throne)."
 
The Franco-Prussian War was provoked by Bismark, who, incensed with the French for convincing a Prussian prince to give up his candidacy for the Spanish throne, doctored a dispatch to make it look like Kaiser Wilhelm had insulted the French Foreign Minister. This was in 1870--Isabella, who had been dethroned in the Glorious Revolution, officially abdicated that year, so she wasn't involved in the war; Bonaparte and Bismark were the heads of state and government, respectively, for France and Prussia. There doesn't seem to have been an actual peace conference involving all three, but this could refer to the inconclusive "Biarritz Meetings" between Bonaparte and Bismarck.

Dan:
"I think I've previously made a connection to the conference (which was technically a peace conference) that led to the reunification of Germany (which was in the air at the time the song was written, and the first few lines indisputably refer back to the history of the original unification of Germany of course). I think that holds up, at least for parts of the text. Perhaps there's an expression of fear of reunification here.

But it could also be referring to the Munich appeasement conference, or to the Potsdam conference.

But of course there's no guarantee that the text is a single narrative. There are likely to be multiple unconnected threads here."

 

^

4. Dan: "The verse about Chuff’s cough and cold might possibly be referring to Dickens – there is a character called Mr Chuffey in Martin Chuzzlewit, described as having a 'blue nose' and of whom it is said, 'twenty years ago or so he went and took a fever.' But that feels like a bit of a stretch, and perhaps more interesting is the fact that the word 'chuff' meaning cheeks is derived from the Italian 'ciuffo,' meaning “animal’s snout.'" 

^

 

5. "Man" is fanatical about progress, but human fallibility sabotages or gives the lie to the idea of progress! In fact, fanaticism, which is irrational, contradicts the idea of progress if the latter is associated with rationality or Enlightenment, so being a "prog fanatic" is self-contradictory, and more evidence of humankind's proneness to disaster. Of course, "prog fanatic" also means an aficionado of progressive rock, and I think this pun is intentional...also, note that one of the posters discussed in note 1 (see More Information below for the image) reads "progetto Nicolazzi," or Nicolazzi project." So a Nicolazzi himself, with his public works project that is said to be in error, could be the "prog fanatic." And more broadly, this indicates humanity's propensity to screw things up in the name of progress.

^

 

6. Or possibly "hypocritic oath." The Hippocratic Oath enjoins doctors to abstain from doing harm. Nicolazzi and the engineers of progress are like doctors that kill the patient? 

^

 

7. A trade between England and Italy? Also, there may be a suggestion Shakespeare is something worth preserving from the horrorshow of history and "progress."

Dan: "The references to Shakespeare are puzzling, but he wrote 'The Comedy of Errors,' of course, and also 'The Merchant of Venice.'" Dan does on to suggest that this could be a reference to the BBC's Desert Island DIscs, where guests often choose the complete works of Shakespeare to accompany them in their lonely idyll. 

 

 

What about playwrights? There seems to be an obvious parallel between the use of repetition in Samuel Beckett’s work and in the music of The Fall.

“It’s funny you should mention that, because we’re playing the Royal Exchange tomorrow and I saw ‘Waiting for Godot’ there. We’re the first rock group to play there. Personally I don’t know how much he had an influence. Do you like Beckett?”

I do, yeah.

“All me mates do. They really love him. I can’t see it myself. Although, I did see a version of it where it was set in the Weimar Republic and it was really good. The big bully boy was a Nazi. I like Shakespeare a lot, though. Macbeth, in particular. I think Shakespeare’s very, very underrated. Henry V. Every American film you can see they’ve just nicked bits from it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Comments (42)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 13/07/2014
"When Izzy and Bizzy and Boney began"

You ask: "But who are Izzy, Bizzy and Boney?"

That's actually easy.

Boney is a common nickname for Napoleon Bonaparte III.

In which case "Bizzy" would be Otto von Bismarck.

And "Izzy" would then be Queen Isabella II of Spain.

The Franco-Prussian war, of course, had its origins in a Bismarck-manufactured crisis over the succession to the Spanish throne.
dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 13/07/2014
There poster referred to above can be seen here:
http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=31406&view=findpost&p=12087618
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 13/07/2014
From the Shiftwork and Holidays video:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xc30bx_the-fall-shift-work-and-holidays-03_music#rel-page-2
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 13/07/2014
I cracked the mystery of the posters.

See the FOF here: http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=31406&view=findpost&p=22375763
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 14/07/2014
I also have a theory that the conference referred to may have something to do with the reunification of Germany - hence the reference to Bismarck.
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 22/09/2014
Godot at the Royal Exchange.

Could have been this one: http://www.royalexchange.co.uk/history/1999/Waiting_for_Godot.htm
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 22/09/2014
Other performances of Godot at the Royal Exchange:

1980: http://www.royalexchange.co.uk/history/1980/WAITING%20FOR%20GODOT..htm
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 01/02/2016
I've said this somewhere, but apparently not here. But "I will take the Shakespeare" could be a quote from the long-running BBC Radio 4 show, "Desert Island Discs". On the show, a celebrity is interviewed about their life and achievements, structured around the idea that they can choose eight of their favourite records to be stranded on a desert island with - so they get to play those records and say what they mean to them. They also get to choose a luxury and a favourite book (they automatically get the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible - or other substitute). "Prog fanatic" could also be a reference to the same show...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qnmr
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 01/02/2016
John Peel was the subject of Desert Island Discs in January 1990, just a couple of months before the live debut of this song.
nutterwain
  • 10. nutterwain | 06/04/2019
I'm hearing:

Please take our free morons
And give us old Prussia
nutterwain
  • 11. nutterwain | 06/04/2019
I'm also hearing:

What they moan on about
The hippocratic oath
Give them our sun
And we'll take the Shakespeare

Ever so slightly obsessed with this song
dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 08/06/2019
From Pink Proles and Psychological Purple, by Ewald Braunsteiner, translated by Jakob Boysen of Hamburg for The Biggest Library Yet #13 (October 1998). Source described only as "German magazine article from July 1981".

I also like John Cale, I really like the album 'Helen of Troy' , particularly one track on it: 'Sudden Death'.


I tracked the source down, it's from the German monthly music magazine Sounds (1966-1983). It was originally published under the title Pink Proleten und psychologischer Purpur in issue #149, July 1981.

See my comment #83 in the entry for "New Puritan" here on Annotated Fall for some further info/images re magazine, and my comment #38 on "And This Day" for not entirely convincing suggestion of a lyrical echo.

But here, now I'm much more confident.

The first line of Cale's "Sudden Death" is:


The conference is over and they're calling out the guard


Given MES's stated liking for the song, for him to begin this song with the same words surely cannot be coincidence. Well, it can. But I don't think so!


The conference is over
Peace is the plan
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
"10: Worship" has to be wrong. I'm listening now to see if it can be changed.
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
Definitely "Prussia," it's pretty distinct
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
"Chuff" has to be wrong.
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
"A cop had a cough"?
bzfgt
  • 17. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
It's
"Please take our three morons
and give us old Prussia"

Izzy Bizzy and Boney are the three I'll wot
bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
Oh nutterwain I should look at all the comments and save time
bzfgt
  • 19. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
Yup, Spain wants to trade the sunshine for Shakespeare...that's what he says. Makes Desert Island Discs obsolete...
bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
I put "cop" which would make "snout" a play on "pig" but I'm not sure enough of the lyric to bother with a note yet
bzfgt
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
OK, it's getting better but "Chuff" is definitely wrong, and "prog fanatic" seems like it has to go
bzfgt
  • 22. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
This seems not quite relevant but I'll paste it here in case it needs to return for some reason

Dan points out that Shakespeare wrote The Comedy of Errors and The Merchant of Venice, either of which may be connected, if obliquely, to the lyrics of this song. 

MES on Shakespeare and Beckett:

What about playwrights? There seems to be an obvious parallel between the use of repetition in Samuel Beckett’s work and in the music of The Fall.

“It’s funny you should mention that, because we’re playing the Royal Exchange tomorrow and I saw ‘Waiting for Godot’ there. We’re the first rock group to play there. Personally I don’t know how much he had an influence. Do you like Beckett?”

I do, yeah.

“All me mates do. They really love him. I can’t see it myself. Although, I did see a version of it where it was set in the Weimar Republic and it was really good. The big bully boy was a Nazi. I like Shakespeare a lot, though. Macbeth, in particular. I think Shakespeare’s very, very underrated. Henry V. Every American film you can see they’ve just nicked bits from it.”

Shakespeare, by the way, was an obscure English playwright.
bzfgt
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 21/06/2019
I don't know what "prog fanatic" could be otherwise...that's it for now
carl (I'll skip this if it says bzfgt)
  • 24. carl (I'll skip this if it says bzfgt) | 28/08/2019
Reminder to note the John Cale connect
dannyno
  • 25. dannyno | 07/01/2020
The proximate origins of the phrase "error-orrori" (the song is not of course about the campaign against Venetian flood defence engineering projects):

http://thefall.org/gigography/image/errori.jpg

The FOF link in my comment #4 is dead. Here it is again (has full explanation):
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/thefall/theme-from-error-orrori-t31406-s6.html

More on Ottavio Spagnuolo: https://web.archive.org/web/20200107081011/http://www.veneziadoc.net/Storia-di-Venezia/Ottavio-Spagnuolo.php

https://web.archive.org/web/20200107081011im_/http://www.veneziadoc.net/Graphic/Ottavio/San-Salvador.jpg

http://www.veneziadoc.net/Graphic/Ottavio/San-Marco-01.jpg

http://www.veneziadoc.net/Graphic/Ottavio/Ferrovia-01.jpg
dannyno
  • 26. dannyno | 07/01/2020
My comment #2, the old Fall Forum link died when the Forum moved to tapatalk.

Can all be read here now: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/thefall/theme-from-error-orrori-t31406-s6.html

I posted earlier, but it went into moderation.
dannyno
  • 27. dannyno | 07/01/2020
Basically the "error-orrori" image in the Shiftwork video, and possibly therefore the proximate inspiration for the song title, comes from Ottavio Spagnuolo's opposition to the MOSE engineering project (supposed to defend Venice from flooding), to which Italian politician Franco Nicolazzi's name became attached (he was minister of public works to 1987).

Spagnuolo: https://web.archive.org/web/20200107081011/http://www.veneziadoc.net/Storia-di-Venezia/Ottavio-Spagnuolo.php
dannyno
  • 29. dannyno | 07/01/2020
http://www.veneziadoc.net/Graphic/Ottavio/San-Salvador.jpg
dannyno
  • 30. dannyno | 07/01/2020
http://www.veneziadoc.net/Graphic/Ottavio/San-Marco-01.jpg
dannyno
  • 31. dannyno | 07/01/2020
http://www.veneziadoc.net/Graphic/Ottavio/Ferrovia-01.jpg
dannyno
  • 32. dannyno | 04/09/2020
"Hypocratic Oath"

Whether or not it is "-cratic" or "-critic", it might also be "Hippo-" rather than "Hypo-".
bzfgt
  • 33. bzfgt (link) | 06/09/2020
Unfortunately the Quietus URL has been "excluded from the Wayback Machine"; enjoy it while it lasts...
bzfgt
  • 34. bzfgt (link) | 06/09/2020
"Shakespeare's very underrated"

Fuck this was a mess but I got it into shape a little more I think.
bzfgt
  • 35. bzfgt (link) | 06/09/2020
I don't know why I had "hypocratic oath," I kept someone's typo?
bzfgt
  • 36. bzfgt (link) | 06/09/2020
I think note 5 is good, if the lyric is transcribed correctly!
bzfgt
  • 37. bzfgt (link) | 06/09/2020
Hybrids?
bzfgt
  • 38. bzfgt (link) | 06/09/2020
I still think I have the sun/shakespeare thing a bit wrong, see notes 5 and 6, and "when they moan about" introducing the sun/shake line...got to tie it in
bzfgt
  • 39. bzfgt (link) | 06/09/2020
The opposite and equal danger is getting too enthralled with an interpretation
dannyno
  • 40. dannyno | 13/09/2020
Talking of getting too enthralled with an interpretation...

This conference.

I think I've previously made a connection to the conference (which was technically a peace conference) that led to the reunification of Germany (which was in the air at the time the song was written, and the first few lines indisputably refer back to the history of the original unification of Germany of course). I think that holds up, at least for parts of the text. Perhaps there's an expression of fear of reunification here.

But it could also be referring to the Munich appeasement conference, or to the Potsdam conference.

But of course there's no guarantee that the text is a single narrative. There are likely to be multiple unconnected threads here.
bzfgt
  • 41. bzfgt (link) | 20/09/2020
I think in general with the Fall, a source is an occasion for a lyric, rather than a lyric being a pointer to a source. I'd like to be able to say that in every note, but what can you do. So I don't think a Fall lyric is ever a "single narrative." Well...hardly ever...
dannyno
  • 42. dannyno | 20/09/2020
True.

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