Friday, 15 April 2011

Day 32: Brum Brum, get out of my way...

A request today from a reader of the blog from Germany, thanks Andrew, good suggestion this.

Song: The Birmingham School of Business School
Album: Code:Selfish

Year: 1992

Okay, so this is a weird combination of 90s rave-esque electronics and a song about one of the most referred-to cities in Britain when talking of dull, faceless places. Birmingham has been transformed since, but looked like a concrete jungle back then (New Street Station is still a brutalist abortion as far as I'm concerned). Birmingham, or as us Brits like to call it, Brum, is a city in the midlands, famous for spawning Black Sabbath and not a lot else (at least I can't think of anything bar the annual Supersonic Festival which is incredible).

Yeah, so as Brum is a byword for boredom, MES sounds quite depressed here, half-mumbling lyrics such as: "And my friend, he said Im full of surprises now/Let me tell you about scientific management/And the theft of it's concealment" which just conjures up an image of some business tosser bending your ear about some stocks or management techniques he no doubt was taught by someone calling themselves a 'consultant advisory manager' or something similar.

He goes on to berate the city as a joke: "Laughing-stock of european/Olympic bidding again and again/Exciting developments" which tickles me, I love it when towns and cities try to be something they aren't, I'm sure Brum in its current state could be a contender these days, but I'm pretty sure it was depressed in the 80s and 90s, as the whole of the midlands were. I worked for the local paper in Barnsley for two years and during that time, they put in a serious bid for European Captial of Culture (Liverpool has won it before, so it could have happened in some strange universe) but Barnsley's bid was woefully short of its competitors (Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester among them) I think the saddest thing was seeing local poet Ian McMillan posing next to a derelict office block, its windows painted in rainbow colours in the name of diversity and art, papering over the cracks of a town that is generally horrible (needless to say, it didn't win).

The music in this song is classic mad-chester rave fare, I can imagine pillheads dancing to this with whistles in their mouths, not taking notice of MES ranting over the top. It's all in a similar vein to his recent-ish forays into dance music with Von Sudafed (his project with Mouse On Mars) where he is given free reign while the music does its own thing. The music here sounds a little dated in dance terms, but it does the job, nice retro-sounding drum machines and synths to create a modernist urban palette for MES to paint over.


  1. oh man this is a favorite of mine. i cant think about critically at all, but it doesn't sound like madchester to me

  2. I think its just the era and the general trance-ness of it that reminds me of that.

  3. i cant remember the exact details but its about an ex manager i believe who screwed them in a deal

  4. See this is why I'm doing this blog, finding out stuff like that. Awesome.

  5. this book is awesome for this kind of thing:

    A User's Guide To The Fall
    by Dave Thompson
    Helter Skelter Publishing, ISBN 1900924579, 20 June 2003

    Album-by-album, track-by-track guide documenting every Fall recording, every significant concert they have played, and every major radio session. 224 pages.


    i have it squirreled away in a box somewhere else i'd dig it out and tell you what it has to say on this song.

    i think we're hearing different songs though, this is easily in my top 5 fall songs. the bells, the guitars, wawawahwawawah

  6. I'll look into it, though I don't want my views of songs skewed, it could be very interesting. So much information out there!

  7. yeah its one guys opinion i guess not fact

  8. i have a request. for something off slates. preferably the title(ish) track 'slates, slags, etc'

    i don't think you've done anythign off slates yet and its a brilliant mini album thing

  9. Hi Mike

    just caught up with this from the Fall a lifelong Fall fan I'm really loving it & think its a great idea...very interesting to read your thoughts...Im wondering what Mark would think? Because Ive only just caught up with this Im going to put in a couple of requests, apologies if you've done these already {when I get time Im going to go through your whole list}...a couple of personal favorites for me are The Steak Place from The Frenze Experiment/Senior Twilight Stock Replacer from Imperial Wax Solvent/On My Own from The Marshall Suite ~ that's 3 sorry, could go on forever! A friend of mine has asked me to compile a cd of what I believe to be the 'best' Fall tracks, that was a year ago & I just don't know where to start!

    Anyway thanks Mike for taking the time

    Bev {from Coventry}

  10. Replied to your email, but thanks again.

  11. @bev - i have a fall compliation in the works but its so hard to cut it. i have tried to choose only one track from each album. but then i cheated and allowed castle reissue bonus tracks (usually singles).

    i think the 50,000 fall fans compilation is a pretty solid starting point for the fall. i got into the fall via kurious oranj and i think i read that mike did too (maybe?) so perhaps that is the fall gateway album