Yes O Yes

Lyrics

Yes (1)
Stretch!
Stretch!   (2)
The god you reject
Makes ours the best (3)

A just disgusting
Yes yes the best year

Phoenix
The bird of ashes   (4)
An ordure from this planet
that could not be extinguished
Angelic devil sun

Oh, go Joe
good natured barracking
Children cross here
Both day and night
Angelic devil-sun

Yes O Yes

(And that's what you get when you join the M. Clark School of
Soccer Coaching School: Enraged and inflamed with torment.) (5)

 

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Notes

1. The lyrics to this one are resistant to too much interpretation. The title always puts me in mind of Molly Bloom's last words in Ulysses, a very long sentence which ends "I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."

Harley remarks that "as it's 'Yes O Yes,' not 'Yes Oh Yes,' in the context of the ballet the O probably refers to William of Orange."

^

2. Harley suggests: "This is stating the obvious perhaps but Michael Clark & Company were probably doing lots of dancerly stretches while this or other songs were performed during the IAKO show, and [see three lines down and note 4, "swivel heads"] one of Clark's signature moves involves several dancers swivelling their heads abruptly in synchonisation whilst moving across the stage in the same direction."

^

3. From the Lyrics Parade: "A play on the British TV advertisement for John West fish: 'It's the fish we reject that makes ours the best!'" The line also may contain an echo of Psalm 118, verse 22: "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone."  

^

4. I Am As Pure As Oranj has "O ye swivelheads/Bird [burned?] from ashes". "Keep your head on a swivel" is an expression sometimes used to mean "stay alert."

^

5. Michael Clark is the choreographer who composed, directed and danced in the ballet I Am Curious, Orange in which this song appears (the accompanying Fall album is entitled I Am Kurious Oranj). This formulation echoes MES's radio piece entitled "The Mark E Smith Guide to Writing Guide," and the same form later crops up with "The Birmingham School of Business School."

I Am As Pure As Orange has at the end: "This is what you get from a corrective school of soccer coaching as done by M. Clark! Talking of which, back three centuries ago, enraged and stifled with torment, he threw his right arm to the North and his left arm to the South. Enraged and stifled in torment, he threw his left arm to the North and his right arm to the South, and then in swift diseases and torments, the inhabitants of those cities, their marrow rotten, their bones weakened from grindings and throbbings, the senses inward rushed, shrinking beneath the dark net of infection." 

Martin reports that the following lines came between "Yes O Yes" and a taped "Hip Priest" at Sadler's Wells on 9/24/88:

"And this is the result of applying to a P.O. Box number in Ipswich for soccer coaching. Talking of which, back three centuries ago, enraged and stifled with torment, he threw his right arm to the North and his left arm to the South. And the inhabitants of these cities felt their nerves change into marrow, hardening amidst diseases. Shootings and poundings through all the coasts, till weakened, the senses inward rushed within the dark mess of infection."

This closely echoes Blake, from The Book of Urizen:

Enragèd and stifled with torment,

 

He threw his right Arm to the North,

 

His left Arm to the South,

 

Shooting out in anguish deep,

 

And his Feet stamp’d the nether Abyss

        250

In trembling and howling and dismay...

 

Then the Inhabitants of those Cities

 

Felt their Nerves change into Marrow,

        470

And hardening Bones began

 

In swift diseases and torments,

 

In throbbings and shootings and grindings,

 

Thro’ all the coasts; till weaken’d

 

The Senses inward rush’d, shrinking

        475

Beneath the dark Net of infection...

 

^

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Comments (15)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 24/07/2014

"Angelic devil son" might make more sense than "Angelic devil-sun"?

dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 24/07/2014

"(And that's what you get when you join the M. Clark School of
Soccer Coaching School: Enraged and inflamed with torment.)"

I'm not hearing this on I Am Kurious Oranj - is my flac file cutting off? Something like it is does appear in a spoken section at the end of the track on the I Am As Pure as Oranj live recording.

Before "good natured barracking", I think the line is "Oh, go Joe". That's what it sounds like.

bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 21/09/2014

"Angelic devil son" might make more sense than "Angelic devil-sun"?

Not in context.

I'll have to look into the other thing...

Martin
  • 4. Martin | 28/03/2016

Dannyno says in comment no.2:

"Before "good natured barracking", I think the line is "Oh, go Joe". That's what it sounds like."

For what it's worth, that's what I hear too.

Martin
  • 5. Martin | 28/03/2016

With reference to the lyrics as a whole, perhaps the following interlude from the Saddler's Wells performance of I Am Kurious Oranf (24 September 1988) may clarify (or not) some of the themes and meanings:

"And this is the result of applying to a P.O. Box number in Ipswich for soccer coaching. Talking of which, back three centuries ago, enraged and stifled with torment, he threw his right arm to the North and his left arm to the South. And the inhabitants of these cities felt their nerves change into marrow, hardening amidst diseases. Shootings and poundings through all the coasts, till weakened, the senses inward-rushed within the dark mess of infection."

[between "Yes, O Yes" and the tape of "Hip Priest"]

Martin
  • 6. Martin | 29/03/2016

I've just listened to the track on "I Am As Pure As Oranj" and the line in question (see comments nos.2 & 4 above) does indeed seem to these ears to be "Oh, go Joe".

bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 30/04/2016

Martin, that's Blake or I'll eat my hat. If it's been altered it may be hard to find but I am certain of it.

bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt | 30/04/2016

Actually I found it easily, thank goodness.

harleyr
  • 9. harleyr | 07/12/2016

Stretch! / Ye swivel heads: This is stating the obvious perhaps but Michael Clark & Company were probably doing lots of dancerly stretches while this or other songs were performed during the IAKO show, and one of Clark's signature moves involves several dancers swivelling their heads abruptly in synchonisation whilst moving across the stage in the same direction.

Also - I always heard 'ordure' as 'augur'.

bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 27/12/2016

OK, I never checked this obviously because there are lacuae and errors. I am listening to IAKO right now. "Burn from ashes" is "bird of ashes. There is no swivel head in this version. Please someone check these to see I've got the additions right (beginning second stanza) and tell me what version my lyrics were taken from as it seems to be something different.

It's definitely "ordure" though, Harley.

bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 27/12/2016

I'm stashing note 4 here in case I need to bring it back, as "swivel-heads" must come from somewhere:

"Keep your head on a swivel" is an expresssion sometimes used to mean "stay alert."

nairng
  • 12. nairng | 31/12/2016

I only have the vinyl version, but on that it sounds like "agent disgusting", not "a just"

bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 04/01/2017

That's a tough one, I can convince myself I hear either one on the CD version. I Am As Pure As Oranj is no help here, but I found the "swivel-heads" there...

harleyr
  • 14. harleyr | 16/04/2017

Another statement of obviousness: as it's "Yes O Yes", not "Yes Oh Yes", in the context of the ballet, the O probably refers to William of Orange.

bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017

Ah! I never thought of that, so so much for obviousness, but by golly I think you're right!

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