Theme From Error-Orrori
Chuff had a cough
And cold in his snout (4)
Man's prog fanatic (5)
Or as Italians say it:
Please take our three morons
and give us old Prussia
And with ... Shakespeare...
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:
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]
I also like John Cale, I really like the album 'Helen of Troy' , particularly one track on it: 'Sudden Death'.
The conference is over and they're calling out the guard
See note 3 below for more speculation about the "conference."
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.
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.”