You're Not Up To Much

Lyrics

Not up to much!

She's imitative
Her mind's in pieces
She says we can't all live
Her mind is in pieces
She says we can't all live in semi-detached houses (1)

She's Oedipus (2)
(Not up to much)
She gets the cheque
For car tax   

She is Oedipus
(Not up to much)
She gets the cheque
For car tax
With barely a muttered thanks

Too much Warehouse shop (3)
Too many fancy hats
Clothes imitation
A body map (4)

Her mind's in pieces
(Not up to much)
She says we can't all live in semi-detached houses
She's Oedipus
She gets the cheque
For car tax
With barely a muttered thanks
Too much Warehouse shop
Too many fancy hats
Clothes imitation
Body map

Her mind's in pieces
Her ballroom days are deceased (5)

Love's boat is smashed
Against existence (6)
She got set walking
Walking irritant
Not up to much
Not up to much
And love's boots
Smashed against existence
Got set to walking
Irritant
She's imitiative
She's not up to much
She's not up to much
She's not up to much
Not up to much
Not up to much
She's not up to much

SaveSave

SaveSave

Notes

1. This isn't a term one hears much in the US; it refers to two homes that share a wall (any more and it'd be a row house).  

^

2. Oedipus was a mythical king of Thebes who killed a man on the road who turned out to have been his father, and then wound up marrying and having children with a woman who wound up being his mother. I'm not sure why the "she" in question is Oedipus, but one view of the theme of the play is that too much self-knowledge is not always a good thing, and Oedipus' mind was in pieces when he learned his fate (at which point he promptly gouged out his eyes).  

^

3. Warehouse is a U.K. clothier that advertises itself as a seller of fashionable product. I know you're wondering about the car tax, but I cannot help.  

^

4.  [Dan] Body map was a fashion label. There's a section of Brix's The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise, where she talks about the Bodymap brand in relation to The Fall: "BodyMap was a cult 1980s brand - exalted and legendary today - and we'd become friends with the designers. I would later model in one of their shows during Fashion Week. The social scene surrounding BodyMap would factor heavily in The Fall's personal life. One of BodyMap's designers was David Holah, and at the time his boyfriend was the renegade ballet dancer and choreographer Michael Clark." [/Dan]

In 2013, Brix tweeted: "This is 1, 4 all u #thefall fans out there. Me & Mark e Smith, back in the day. I'm wearing a #bodymap" [sic everywhere!] ... with a link to her wearing a bodymap creation. Which makes you wonder if this is one song that actually was about Brix.

^

5. This seems to be an allusion to "Five to One" by the Doors, in which we find the line "Your ballroom days are over, baby/Night is drawing near/Shadows of the evening/Crawl across the years." This is in turn taken from the 19th century lyric "Now the day is over/Night is drawing nigh/Shadows of the evening/Steal across the sky."  

^

6. This is taken from the suicide note of Russian playwright and poet Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930), which included a verse containing the following lines:

"Love's boat has been shattered against the life of everyday. You and I are quits, and it's useless to draw up a list of mutual hurts, sorrows, and pains."

^

Comments (12)

policetruck
  • 1. policetruck | 05/09/2013
Warehouse shoes are mentioned in Paintwork. I don't know if they sell shoes or if this is really tenuous? It needs to be said.
dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 18/09/2013
The line, each time it's sung, is "she says we can't all live", not "said".

Dan
Mark
  • 3. Mark | 29/04/2014
Someone once suggested that "Body map" was a reference to BodyMap, the fashion label.
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 04/08/2014
"And love's boots smashed against existence
Got set to walking"

Makes me think of Nancy Sinatra.

Thinking also about "not up to much". It can mean different things. I might mean that you fall short of a standard, or it might mean that you're not really doing a lot these days ("What are you up to?" "Not much"), or it might mean an unwillingness or inability to perform or achieve.
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 02/09/2014
"Body map"

Body map was a fashion label

Brix recently tweeted:
https://twitter.com/Brixsmithstart/status/503323467731972096

"This is 1, 4 all u #thefall fans out there. Me & Mark e Smith, back in the day. I'm wearing a #bodymap"

.. with a link to her wearing a bodymap creation.

Which makes you wonder if this is one song that actually was about Brix.
Dom
  • 6. Dom | 08/01/2016
I think she is Oedipus because she makes out as though she doesn't need or rely on her parents. She acts as if she's independent but then she gets a cheque from her parents to pay her car tax and gives barley a muttered thanks.
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 07/05/2016
There's a section of Brix's The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise, where she talks about the Bodymap brand in relation to The Fall:


BodyMap was a cult 1980s brand - exalted and legendary today - and we'd become friends with the designers. I would later model in one of their shows during Fashion Week. The social scene surrounding BodyMap would factor heavily in The Fall's personal life. One of BodyMap's designers was David Holah, and at the time his boyfriend was the renegade ballet dancer and choreographer Michael Clark.
Alan
  • 8. Alan | 19/03/2017
Car (vehicle) tax simply explained: https://www.gov.uk/legal-obligations-drivers-riders
And it should be 'cheque' not 'check'
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 23/03/2017
Hmm, that's a good question, Alan--do I have to adhere to British spelling conventions here? Probably. But I probably have "favorite" and "color" etc, sprinkled throughout this shit.
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 08/04/2017
Citation numbers 5 and 6 are not live links.
bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 06/05/2017
Thank you!
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 06/05/2017
And, I caved to Alan. Soccer.

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