Song by The Fall, originally released as a single on Rough Trade Records early in 1980 coupled with 'City Hobgoblins', this song appears on the 1987 compilation Palace Of Swords Reversed and also as the first track on the Castle Communications CD re-issue of Grotesque (After The Gramme).

An odd sounding, self serving Country & Northern song, where Mark E. Smith simultaneously acknowledges writer's block while bemoaning the fact that nobody listens to him. The song announces the next stage (C&N) in the Fall's musical journey, the next step after the twisted rockabilly that appeared in tunes on the first two albums (and would make up a big portion of their album released later in 1980; Grotesque (After the Gramme)). The band are in top form, able to carry the song unaided while Smith gets down to some seriously biting vocals. Listen out for the out of time overdub of the third verse, a tape experiment that works surprisingly well.

After a couple of bars of an unsettling guitar riff, the song settles down into a loping country song, the guitars and drums plodding along like a record with a hole ever so slightly off centre; similar to their song Psychic Dancehall on the Dragnet album. Mark's voice grates away at the top of the mix, sounding very angry and reasonably coherent. He references past songs, ponders if he will ever be able to write music again, takes aim at journalist hacks who write for trash tabloid newspapers, and worries about his own future and if he'll be able to let his past works die peacefully; unnecessarily so, as The Fall had many original songs up their collective sleeve at the time.

Elastica, on their 1999 release 6 Track EP performed a track (one of two, actually) with Mark E., titled How He Wrote Elastica Man. The track was actually written by Smith and his then girlfriend; Julia Nagle.

HOW I WROTE ELASTIC MAN


I'm eternally grateful
To my past influences
But they will not free me
I am not diseased
All the people ask me
How I wrote "Elastic Man"*

Life should be full of strangeness
Like a rich painting
But it gets worse day by day
I'm a potential DJ
A creeping wreck
A mental wretch
Everybody asks me
How I wrote "Elastic Man"*

His soul hurts though it's well filled up
The praise received is mentally sent back
Or taken apart
The Observer magazine just about sums him up
E.g. self-satisfied, smug

I'm living a fake
People say, "You are entitled to and great."
But I haven't wrote for 90 days
I'll get a good deal and I'll go away
Away from the empty brains that ask
How I wrote "Elastic Man"*

His last work was "Space Mystery" in the Daily Mail,
An article in Leather Thighs
The only thing real is waking and rubbing your eyes
So I'm resigned to bed
I keep bottles and comics stuffed by its head
Fuck it, let the beard grow
I'm too tired,
I'll do it tomorrow
The fridge is sparse
But in the town
They'll stop me in the shops
Verily they'll track me down
Touch my shoulder and ignore my dumb mission
And sick red faced smile
And they will ask me
And they will ask me
How I wrote "Elastic Man"*


* Some sources (like CloudStrife) say Mark really sings "Plastic Man", perhaps to avoid a lawsuit from D.C. Comics. It can really go either way, Smithy of course using the ambiguity to claim that no one really listens to anything he says.

Cheers to Fall Lyrics Parade," by Jonathan Kandell & Jeff Curtis, still the best place for Fall lyrics

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