Touch Sensitive


The Marshall Suite:


Hey Hey Hey …

Hey Hey Hey …
I know, I know, I know …

In the cars or on the street
If you smile you are a creep
If you don’t say it’s very cold
You are drunk or too old (2)

They say what about the meek?
I say they’ve got a bloody cheek (3)
Vanity and presumption...

Living in the hard porn shop lately
I say Hey hey hey
Touch Sensitive

I know, I know, I know …

And you’re dying for a pee
So you go behind a tree
And a Star Wars police vehicle pulls up
I say gimme a taxi (4)

Touch Sensitive
Touch Sensitive

If you don’t say it’s very cold
You are drunk or too old
It's Touch Sensitive

In the cars or on the street
If you smile you are a creep
It’s Touch Sensitive

If you don’t say it’s very cold
You are Touch Sensitive

Touch Sensitive
Say Hey Hey Hey

I know, I know, I know…


The Complete Peel Sessions: 

Heeeey! Hey! Hey! Hey!


Well everyone you meet,
In the pubs and the street
Is touch sensitive


Don't frown and you're a creep
If you smile you're bitter
If you don't say "It's bitter cold"
You're drunk or too old


Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! .... Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!


They say what about the meek?
But I think that I'm indiscreet
I think they've got a bloody cheek
I'm livin' in a pawnshop weekly
In Delia's
What don't want a little kip (5)


They're touch sensitive 

Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! 

Touch sensitive
Old people worry about their milk
But in the street they call you filth

Houses line up 
Volume tremors
Pass down your barber till your carrot speaks
Stand back and laugh
You are burstin' for a pee


So you go behind a tree
Two coppers follow and see
That as will be the end
The best thing is to stay home
And have a wank


1. The song was used in a Vauxhall automobile advertisment. According to MES (via Refomation):

In Renegade (Viking, 2008; page 227, MES is quoted or (ghostwritten) thus: "It was a bit different when they used 'Touch Sensitive' for that Vauxhall Corsa advert. I didn't have full control over that. And at the time I needed the money. Sometimes that's the sad case. We're not all Elton John."

Zack points out that "touch sensitive" is said of keyboards, and MES may have heard it from Julia Nagle, with whom authorship of the music is disputed...
2. I think older people generally have more sensitivity to cold, so this doesn't quite make sense to me.
3. Of course, the defining characteristic of the meek is a lack of "cheek." This is also a pun, since one who practices meekness according to the presciptions of Jesus would "turn the other cheek," perhaps resulting in a literal "bloody cheek."
4. A comprehensive list of Star Wars police vehicles can be found at Wookiepedia.
5. These lines are almost certainly wrong; since I don't know what they are, I left the Lyrics Parade attempt intact.

Comments (12)

  • 1. policetruck | 05/09/2013
It is possible that "In Newcastle" is said instead of "In the cars on". This could provoke comment on a night out in the said city and witnessing its culture?
Joseph Mullaney
  • 2. Joseph Mullaney | 05/03/2014
Re note 2: older people are less sensitive to cold, therefore they don't say it's very cold...
  • 3. bzfgt | 11/03/2014
Right, but I actually meant "more." In other words, older people are always bundled up in sweaters and cranking the heat, aren't they? But my comment doesn't make any sense, so thanks for noticing that...
  • 4. dannyno | 19/07/2014
Peel Session version typo:

"I think they've got a bloody check"

they've actually got a "bloody cheek"!
  • 5. Zack | 24/08/2014
It is worth mentioning that "touch sensitive" is a term pertaining to keyboards: the harder you hit the key, the louder the resulting sound. Perhaps this is a term MES heard Julia Nagle say, or read on one of her keyboards.
Adam O
  • 6. Adam O | 03/09/2014
Could MES be singing in the first line "In the Council on the street/If you smile you are a creep"? I'm thinking Council as shorthand for Council housing, or a tough residential neighborhood where you might not want to be caught smiling....
  • 7. bzfgt | 21/09/2014
"Bloody check" was a typo! "Council" sounds plausible, what do the ears out there think?
  • 8. bzfgt | 21/09/2014
OK, I'll go with it, at least until someone objects...
  • 9. dannyno | 21/09/2014
I don't think it's "council". It used to think it was "khazi" or "khaza", i.e. toilet, but now i think it's just "cars", meaning, er, "cars" or "taxis" I suppose.
  • 10. bzfgt | 21/09/2014
Erg, I don't know what to do. I listened again and now I think "cars" again, but he's awful slurry. I suppose to be conservative I should change it back now, and check Peel and live versions before considering changing it back again to something else.
  • 11. dannyno | 28/05/2015
Interesting blog post about the dispute over the credits on this song:

Original official legal case report:
  • 12. dannyno | 16/10/2017
"They say what about the meek?
I say they’ve got a bloody cheek
Vanity and presumption..."

Two biblical references for the price of one here, because "vanity and presumption" is the Douay-Rheims bible translation of Ecclesiastes 6 : 9:

Better it is to see what thou mayst desire, than to desire that which thou canst not know. But this also is vanity, and presumption of spirit.

The King James version is:

Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

Douay-Rheims wouldn't be the Bible of choice for someone Methodist-raised like MES, but perhaps MES has been reading Augustine, because in Augustine's "On the Sermon On The Mount", Book I, Chapter 1, para 3 is this:

What, then, does He say? "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". We read in Scripture concerning the striving after temporal things, "All is vanity and presumption of spirit;" but presumption of spirit means audacity and pride: usually also the proud are said to have great spirits; and rightly, inasmuch as the wind also is called spirit.

In other words, for those who don't know their Douay-Rheims, translations of Augustine are probably the main source of the "vanity and presumption" phrase. There's a little bit more to that paragraph, and then we're into Chapter 2, which begins with para 4, which may or may not be coincidental but is certainly notable:

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall by inheritance possess the earth:" that earth, I suppose, of which it is said in the Psalm, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living." For it signifies a certain firmness and stability of the perpetual inheritance, where the soul, by means of a good disposition, rests, as it were, in its own place, just as the body rests on the earth, and is nourished from it with its own food, as the body from the earth.

...and so on.

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