Touchy Pad

Lyrics

(1)

There's always a show there
In the castle 
In the castle, is decay
It has been invaded
[Where's my time machine?]
By Asians with weak bones
[Where's my time machine?]
They cry  
[ahhhhhaaa!]
How long can we tolerate this 
[Where's my time machine?]

[Shoot us!]
They say "Judas" (2)
I love them 
AI that's too much price (3)
And save the money yourself
And buy some uniforms
From the retired customs official 

Your lousy country stinks anyway
Shop London
Welsh kids
Your slime leaks and mixes
With the tentacles of the Old Ones (4)

[You are waiting for 
You are waiting for
Our exhibition
Our exhibition]

Notes

1. The title of this song may very well have to do with some kind of electronic product or other. A touch pad is a metal surface, usually on a laptiop computer, which interprets tactile commands and moves the cursor on a computer screen and allows one to click. On the other hand, the title could also allude to an ipad or something of that sort, which is called a "pad" and is operated by touch.

It is often the case with recent Fall lyrics that the ones that actually seem to approach the form of a narrative are often the hardest to follow. I am unsure if I should be able to make out a story in all this or if that is fool's gold. Whatever it is, however, it is glorious, and the band sounds fantastic: psychedelically phased systolic and diastolic chords lurch beneath the singers' feet, giving the whole affair an uneasy feel, even while the music is some of the most accessible of recent Fall fare. The accompaniment seems to emulate the rhythms of a living body, even as the lyrics allude to artificial intelligence and Lovecraftian aliens.

The second vocal is provided by Tamsin Middleton (credited simply, and erroneously, as "Tasmin" on the sleeve), who plays in the bands Mr. Heart and As Able As Kane. The latter band is led by Simon "Ding" Archer, the Fall's producer on The Remainderer.

According to Middleton, "I was ranting about the UKBA [United Kingdom Border Agency] officers operating outside of their jurisdiction at London's major train stations a few months ago. Witnesses have it that they were stopping only non-whites and demanding papers from them to prove their right to be in the country." The random checks came at a time when the Home Office was carrying out a controversial advertizing campaign in which, among other things, vans equipped with huge billboards reading "Go Home Or Face Arrest" were driven around London. As Middleton says, people at the scene say the UKBA was stopping people based on their appearance, although the Border Agency helpfully claims that its stops were "intelligence-led" and not based on profiling performed on the spot. Speaking of obscurantism, Middleton also provided the even more shocking revelation that "the narrative is somewhat obtuse in the final edit, which is how MES seems to like it!"

Anyone who appreciates Middleton's contribution to "Touchy Pad" and is curious to hear more should check out Mr. Heart's soundcloud, and the AAAK website.

Thanks to Shrimper for the initial transcription of the lyrics.

^

2. Middeton remembers singing "Judas," but it sounds like "shoot us" here. She acknowledged she may have said both, in which case MES in the next line picks up on something that was edited out, so that it sounds as if he mishears her here.

^

3. "AI" stands for "Artificial Intelligence," if that's the correct line here.

^

4. A lifelong reader of H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), MES here invokes the aliens who, in Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, came to Earth long before humans evolved. Many of them are still sleeping in a mysterious stupor in caverns far below the Earth's surface and dreaming of a time when they can return to the open air and rule the planet again. They are worshiped by human cultists who consider them gods, but it seems likely that they are just powerful aliens or perhaps demigods, as their powers do sometimes have aspects that seem to be supernatural. Lovecraft seemingly didn't, however, give a rigorous taxonomy of Old Ones and clarify their differences from the Outer Gods and other more obviously supernatural entities, although the various creepy beings he envisaged have since been exhaustively listed, categorized, and supplemented or altered by the numerous authors and role playing game aficionados who have continued and built on the Cthulhu Mythos since Lovecraft's death. 

^

Comments (1)

SlightlyDislocated
  • 1. SlightlyDislocated | 17/02/2014
Pretty sure that line 4 of verse three is:

Your slime mings and mixes

"Mings" as in "mingles"

Not sure that is a common shorthand anywhere, but that wouldn't stop MES if it suited him.

Heard it as "mings" the first time I played it, and on all subsequent close listenings.

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