Filler is stuff which is put in just to fill a gap; light-hearted 'human interest' pieces added to bulk out newspapers on a slow news day, tracks added to albums to bring them up to full length dropped into conversations, plaster added to a wall to fill a hole, phrases like 'you know what I mean?' - that kind of thing.

'I think this line's mostly filler'
- Willow Rosenberg, Once More, With Feeling

All but the most confident of speakers pepper their speech with filler, with different languages - and different demographics - characteristically making use of different sounds and words. Such utterances often sound odd or ridiculous to those accustomed to different filler sounds, but this is mainly a question of familiarity - there is nothing inherently stupider or less respectable about, like, the filler used by The Youth Of Today, compared to the, um, the hesitations of the older generation, or those of the, euh, French - tu vois?

Filler is also the name of a track by Teenage Fanclub, from the 1992 single What You Do To Me. Along with a song called B-Side and Life's a Gas (cover version), the title lends a sort of self-disparaging air to the EP, as if really they'd have been happier to just release What You Do To Me without any other songs to back it up. The track consists of what might easily be the longest drum solo ever committed to record which uses just a standard drum kit. That's it. Just drums. I like it.

When a trapped butterfly
flaps its pinned wings
A woman finds the words
“I do” stuck in her throat

While the words, “do I love him?”
clamber around her brain.
Was it love that filled
that dark chamber, or simply
spent time?

Spent money
Spent cigarettes
Spent life

The same face flutters
around the vacant factory
of memory.

When an exposed nail
travels through a rubber soul,
and pierces the meaty flesh
of a construction man’s foot,
the pain registers as white light.

At the doctor’s office
the white walls of a waiting room
remind him of a girl he met
two years before. He remembers
the way she held her drink,
and the way her eyes moved
around the room, slowly.
And he remembers why
he can’t conjure up her voice.

He never spoke to her

When a woman looks into the sky,
in the middle of the afternoon
She sees only the color blue.
Impossibly, raindrops fall.
She suddenly thinks of proportions.
The human body is seventy percent water.

An atom, is over ninety-nine percent empty space.

An aging fisherman lies down on the deck,
and begins creating his own constellations;
the horny blonde, and the lonely bastard.
He sees the fires he started,
first with report cards, and later
with the envelopes of unemployment checks.
The motorcycle he never rode
Rumbles across the sky,
across country, across continent.

In the morning he pulls in his nets,
a tire bounces away, a license plate
clangs against the deck, and a soggy
rag doll, with red hair, sloshes to
his feet. He leaves them there,
filling as much empty space
as the stars filled the night sky,
on board the SS Forgotten

with all the lovely tuna.

Fill"er (?), n.

One who, or that which, fills; something used for filling.

'T is mere filler, to stop a vacancy in the hexameter.

They have six diggers to four fillers, so as to keep the fillers always at work.


© Webster 1913

Fill"er, n. [From 1st Fill.]

A thill horse. [Prov. Eng.]


© Webster 1913

Fill"er, n.

1. (Paint.)

A composition, as of powdered silica and oil, used to fill the pores and grain of wood before applying paint, varnish, etc.

2. (Forestry)

Any standing tree or standard higher than the surrounding coppice in the form of forest known as coppice under standards. Chiefly used in the pl.


© Webster 1913

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