Weather Report 2



Hello, how are you today?

I thought the vitamins would change my life
I walk down the city streets
I see weather reports

(It's like an ice rink)

Made a very, very, very big mistake
Nobody has called me sir in my entire life
You gave me the best years of my life   

I look to the right then the left
The whirlpools cascade over my face
And I watched
"Murder, She Wrote"
At least five times
The cast deserved to die (3)
The whirlpools go wider and wider
Of words spoken

And you gave me the best years of my life
You gave me the best years of my life

Weather report
It's like an ice rink
Limescale (4)
In a Mediterranean retarded...
Mediterranean, it is not
Three days a week
(?) my TV

I miss my family in Oxford (5)
That's why I hope to get to back
That's what I'm looking at
That's what I'm looking forward to
That's the way it goes
That's the way it goes

You gave me the best years of my life
You gave me the best years of my life
The whirlpools get wider and wider
The whirlpools get wider and wider
Nobody has ever called me sir in my entire life
Nobody has ever called me sir in my entire life
The whirlpools cascade over the smoking tent

But then anathema
Gave up Tuesday
Chino hyphen lap (6)
Cheap crispy guitar
Nobody has called me...
Nobody has...
The medium
The whirlpools cascade
Over widening, widening, widening

Never mind Jackson
What about Saxon's
Recording of lost London
You don't deserve rock 'n' roll (7)



1. From a Quietus interview with MES (via Reformation):

Cumming: Is "Weather Report 2" a personal song?

MES: Yes it is. It’s one of the later ones. It is actually the last song recorded. It’s fitting that it’s the last song on the LP. It wasn’t meant to be like that actually. It’s a lot of people’s favourite as far as I can work out. If I’d have had my way, actually, I would have had it more instrumental. The only reason there’s a lot of vocals on there is the way we recorded it, it was quite difficult. We did that in Salford with Ding [Archer] in his studio. So it’s like you’ve got to do it very quick. The idea of it was to co-op an acoustic track with a machine track. Then I reversed it. Then Ding said, "If it’s going to work –" I was going to sing bits and bobs over it, just joining it up – and he said, "You can’t do that because we need a vocal level". So a lot of that is getting levels. They are the lyrics for it, but the middle bits – they’ve come out very well, and the end bits, I would’ve chopped them out, but they work out very well. It’s good that I didn’t have too much of a say in the matter! [Laughter]


2.  Some  of  the commenters below have brought up the song by Kevin Johnson, and covered by Mac Davis, "Rock and Roll  (I  Gave You the  Best  Years of My Life."  An obvious, but not necessarily correct, thought would be that this line is addressed to MES's then-wife  and  Fall keyboard player Eleni Poulou.  It is not (ever, in fact) clear  that MES is singing in his own voice,  so to speak; on the other hand, in  a  song that  seems to confront mortality, it would be equally hard to insist that he does not identify with the narrator, and the song does have a sort of confessional tone. The best course is to keep all of this in mind.


3. "Murder, She Wrote" was a mystery drama that aired from 1984 to 1996. It appealed mostly to older audiences, and star Angela Lansbury was 70 by the time the show went off the air. The song is in some ways a reflection on aging, and "Murder, She Wrote" may be seen as a relatively placid entertainment for someone getting on in years, which produces a violent reaction in the singer. However, Lansbury should surely be given a reprieve on the basis of, at the very least, her performance in Gaslight.  


4. Limescale is a chalky white deposit left by hard water in pipes, hot water heaters and kettles.  


5. Oxford is in Southern England, and as far as I know MES does not have family there. This may be a fictional element, but there are various streets and roads named Oxford in Greater Manchester.  

Aubrey: "Wanting to get back to his family in Oxford--he'd rather be watching Morse (set in Oxford) than Murder, She Wrote. Maybe."


6. There's a song called "Chino" on the same album.


7. Dannyno IDs this line (from the comments below):

"Michael Jackson died on 25 June 2009. Sky Saxon (formerly of MES-faves The Seeds) died on the exact same day. Guess who got the coverage?"

Again from Reformation:

Cumming: It’s a haunting end to that song, that last intake of breath. 

MES: That’s right, that’s not meant to be there. [Pause, then quietly] Bit strange, isn’t it.

Cumming: Is that the process of fortunate accidents, chance operations?

MES: Very much so, yeah. On that one definitely. It’s a sound experiment, with things about whirlpools and esoteric lyrics over it, and it turned into that. I’m very pleased with it. 

Thop comments:

"[Sky Saxon's 2005 album] Transparency was recorded live at the Dirty Water Club, a regular night of garage rock music in London. The club's last night was 19 June 2009, within the same week as Saxon and Jackson's deaths. I wonder if 'lost' could be a kind of reference to the club closing, had MES been a fan of it."

See also note 2.


Comments (29)

  • 1. dannyno | 27/04/2013
"Never mind Jackson
What about Saxon S
Recording of lost London"

Michael Jackson died on 25 June 2009. Sky Saxon (formerly of MES-faves The Seeds) died on the exact same day. Guess who got the coverage?

Sky Saxon's 2006 album "Transparency" was recorded in London. Perhaps that's the reference?
  • 2. dannyno | 05/05/2013
There's not much textual support for this, but from "How are you today?" I've always felt that this was a hospital lyric - and so some of the lines could be overheard patients' conversations. Possibly.
  • 3. Zack | 26/08/2013
Weather Report was the name of an American jazz fusion band of which founding Fall bassist Tony Friel was a fan.
  • 4. harleyr | 20/09/2014
I think...

Three days a week
(?) my TV


Three days a week
I'm at ITV

which might make more sense of the following lines about missing his family in Oxford.
And might make the song a backwards journey from a pensioner lamenting their restricted lot to a media person working away from home and looking forward to retirement when (they think) they can spend more time with their family.
  • 5. harleyr | 25/09/2014
...and of course Murder She Wrote is regularly shown on the ITV network, which makes another connection.
  • 6. Zack | 19/06/2015
"But then... anathema... gave up Tuesday"
  • 7. dannyno | 08/04/2016
So someone needs to volunteer to watch episodes of Murder She Wrote to see if any of the lines in the song appear in the scripts. I'd do it but I'm still trying to watch episodes of TJ Hooker for the L.A. notes.
  • 8. Thop | 19/04/2016
'Saxon's recording of lost London'
Transparency was recorded live at the Dirty Water Club, a regular night of garage rock music in London. The club's last night was 19 June 2009, within the same week as Saxon and Jackson's deaths. I wonder if 'lost' could be a kind of reference to the club closing, had MES been a fan of it.
  • 9. Zack | 20/02/2017
"I look to the past then" should be "I look to the right then the left."
  • 10. bzfgt | 25/02/2017
I think this is about a time MES went to see Weather Report in 1976. He was calling out loudly for "Birdland" the whole time...
  • 11. bzfgt | 25/02/2017
Yeah, that seems definitely correct, Zack.
  • 12. dannyno | 09/04/2017
Somewhere in the Fall canon there will be a clear Bukowski reference.

Until that turns up, I'd just like to note the existence of a Charles Bukowski poem titled "Weather Report". It's in "Love is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977", published in 1977.

I suppose it's raining in some Spanish town
while I'm feeling bad
like this;
I'd like to think so


Yeah, that's right, it pretty much carries on in that vein. I see you know your fucking Bukowski.
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 06/05/2017
I know it well. I don't think I've ever read an entire poem, but all the quotes I stumble across are much of a muchness...
  • 14. Aubrey | 05/02/2018
Wanting to get back to his family in Oxford - He'd rather be watching Morse (set in Oxford) than Murder, She Wrote.

  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
It's an idear, Aubrey. I put it in.
  • 16. dannyno | 04/03/2018
"You don't deserve rock 'n' roll"

I'm suddenly struck by the echo of Hitler's comment, in the run up to his suicide:

The German people don't deserve me.
  • 17. bzfgt (link) | 17/03/2018
Ugh, yeah...I hope he was right.
  • 18. Bongo | 22/03/2019
I remember an interview where the Fall drummer references a cheesy country song by an Australian, "Rock and roll gave me the best years of my life." The sort of cheesey country shit Mark would use to annoy the band.

I see the song as Mark's reaction to a cancer diagnosis (swirling whirlpools in his head) watching Murder She Wrote on Repeat in a sort of trance. The Doctors calling him Sir. He's listening to random shit on the radio in bed trying to take his mind of things while fucked up on painkillers and sedatives...the whole album is pretty much like this. The radio is talking about Michael Jackson and some people stranded by the weather. Sounds like radio 4 or the world service or something.
  • 19. Doc | 23/03/2019
“Just once I’d like someone to call me ‘Sir’ without adding ‘You’re making a scene.'” - Homer Simpson
  • 20. dannyno | 27/03/2019
Comment #18: You're referring to Kevin Johnson, I think, though the song has been covered:
  • 21. dannyno | 27/03/2019
...But I haven't been able to find a quote by Keiron that mentions the song or Kevin Johnson. Any clues?
Caped Hector
  • 22. Caped Hector | 29/03/2019
The track follows a cover of Funnel Of Love by Wanda Jackson and Wanda has also recorded a groovy track called Whirlpool.
Caped Hector
  • 23. Caped Hector | 30/03/2019
Just as Plastic Man appears on the same "Best Of" as Victoria so Whirlpool appears on the same "Best Of" as Funnel Of Love. Coincidence? I think not!
  • 24. dannyno | 16/04/2019
Given the lyrics to Funnel of Love[ refer to "spinning around" anyway...
Ian F
  • 25. Ian F | 17/04/2019
The one-note machine-like noise for the last few minutes sounds eerily like a life support machine registering that the patient has gone. I sort of feel that Weather Report really means Medical Report and the feedback was not good. It is one of The Fall's most distinctive tracks: I can only think of Mazzy Star's 'Into Dust' as being thematically similar (and equally moving).
  • 26. bzfgt (link) | 04/05/2019
Yeah. This comment by Keiron, if it indeed exists, MUST BE tracked down, that would be significant.

And--there are a lot of comments like the other part of #18 lately, and I think they need to be taken seriously. But does anyone know that MES got a cancer diagnosis in 2010? It would cast a different light on much of the album, which we know does treat of medical themes in one way or another...and, finally, it feels a little ghoulish to be inquiring into it. Nevertheless, however suggestive it is, as far as I can tell right now this is all speculation.
  • 27. bzfgt (link) | 04/05/2019
Has the Kevin Johnson/Mac Davis song been mentioned on a different song/thread? It seems familiar. Dan?
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 04/05/2019
Also, it seems just as likely that if MES did know the song, he had it by Mac Davis, as that seems prima facie more likely to be on the kind fo truck stop rack compilation MES was said to go in for, like this:
  • 29. dannyno | 04/05/2019
Comment #26.

Eleni was quoted in "The Indelible Mark", by Simon Goddard, Q magazine, May 2018, p.44:

In early 2009, just as Poulou and the newly shipshape Fall F.C. of Greenway, Melling and Spurr were about to start work on their second album together, Smith was diagnosed with kidney cancer. In spite of his cult status as the post-punk Alex Higgins who likely bled Holsten Pils and chewed Marlboro butts for gum, Poulou maintains his specific illness was "non-lifestyle related". Smith was nevertheless "failed by the NHS", she claims, instead seeking medical attention in Germany were an infected kidney and surrounding tissue was successfully removed. "And he was fine", says Poulou. "He didn't need any chemo and he was five years clear. But he didn't want to tell anybody because he didn't want to be 'poor me'. He went right from the hospital and continued recording in a wheelchair. Mark was so, so strong."

There were rumours, but the story for public consumption at the time was that MES has broken his hip again.

Given this confirmation of the true nature of his illness at the time, revisiting songs of that period with this in mind does seem necessary.

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