“I must create a new regime, Or live by another Mans”
The Fall, Before the Moon Falls (Dragnet)
“I must Create a System, or be enslav’d by another Man’s”
William Blake, Jerusalem I 10:30-1


Andy Wilson

Singular men with peculiar visions, uncowed and willfully uninterested in the views of their peers and critics, William Blake and Mark E Smith took a similar stance, and Smith knowingly dipped into Blake’s pool of myth and language over the years. Another singular, driven artist with a fiery imagination, and with a taste for atavistic spirits and haunted spaces, Austin Osman Spare would be the link between WB & MES. 

Unlike Blake, Smith often felt he had to prove his plebian credentials by mouthing stupid and reactionary views he imagined made him closer to his Salford / Prestwich background, assuaging his anxiety about his unfinished education by putting clear water between himself and ‘student-types’, with their anti-war and anti-racist views that were actually rather like William Blake’s. A singular weakness.

Pauwels and Bergier’s book, The Morning of the Magicians, was a hit with the counterculture and became basic reading for MES and other working-class ‘autodidacts’, ie. working-class intellectuals. They tell a fantastical tale of the Moon’s inevitable fall to earth. Less literally inclined, in Blake’s Jerusalem the moon becomes a shadow of the psyche, a burden the artist must bear, the ‘spectre of Urthona’, the egotistic will—ugly but nonetheless necessary for creation, to which ends it must be put to work. Now there’s an idea that would make some sense of MES. On the plate of Jerusalem where Blake depicts the figure dragging the moon behind him (see above), his character Los, which he identified with himself, speaks to his spectre:

He might just have added, “Hey there, fuck-face!”

Before the Moon Falls

It is certain, then, that the moon will end by falling on to the earth.
Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, The Morning of the Magicians (1960)

Aloft the Moon fled with a cry the Sun with streams of blood
Blake, The Four Zoas II 25:10

Before the Moon Falls

(Mark E. Smith)

We are private detectives onward back from a musical pilgrimage
We work under the name of ‘The Fall.’
Who would suspect this?
It is too obvious.
Our office is secluded.
Those there to suspect
Would not see the wood for the trees
We were six like dice but we’re back to five
Up here in the North there are no wage packet jobs for us
Thank Christ
While young married couples discuss the poverties
Of their self-built traps
And the junior clergy demand more cash
We spit in their plate and wait for the ice to melt 

I must create a new regime
Or live by another man’s
Before the moon falls
I must create a new scheme
And get out of others’ hands
Before the moon falls

I could use some pure criminals
And get my hands on some royalties
Before the moon falls

A problem of this new scheme
Is answering obscene phone calls
Before the moon falls

Gotta stop drifting around
Kill this ugly duckling
We’ve got the power
And must not misuse it
Cos life is short and full of thought
I use the power
I use the power

And I will forever end this reign of terror
Before the moon falls
Before the tide subsides
Before the moon falls for the fifth time
Before The Fall swoons

Blue Orchids: Skull Jam

Written shortly before Bramah’s original departure from The Fall, its lyrics were held back by Mark E Smith for a different tune, which became a standout track on the second Fall album, Dragnet. The music, written entirely by Bramah, was given new words and released as the Blue Orchids’ second single, Work. Work Before The Moon Falls provides a hint of how The Fall might have sounded if Bramah had remained for their second album – much of which, uncredited (of course!) had music written by Bramah.

Blue Orchids, Skull Jam @ Picadilly Records >>

The Blue Orchids: Work Before the Moon Falls

(Martin Bramah, Mark E. Smith)

I must create a new regime or live by another man’s

I’ll buy a boat I’ll keep it afloat
I’ll sail the sea emotion pulling at me
We’ll be the salmon swimming against the tide
The golden salmon swimming against the tide of life
Work before the moon falls

You took the road from severe to serene
nobody could keep pace
All alone – long way from home
Work Work Work before the moon falls
Work before the moon falls

I’ll buy a boat I’ll keep it afloat
I’ll sail the sea emotion pulling at me
Work Work Work Work Work Work Work Work Work Work
Work before the moon falls

Do you ever feel lonely like the cold moon?
And you feel it’s hungry
Deep down you know what for!

Gotta stop messing around
Kill this ugly duckling
We’ve got the power
And must not misuse it

Use the power

Before the moon falls
Before we all swoon
Before the moon falls
Work Work Work Work Work Work Work Work

And I will forever end this reign of terror

Before the moon falls
Before the moon falls
Use the power

The Fall and Blake

The Fall: W.B. (William Blake)

(Mark E. Smith, Tom Head, Adam Helal, Julia Nagle and Neville Wilding)

It’s on forever…
Hit it!

You’ve heard about mad Blake
Went down the hill
In Chepstow
In London
He was broke
But it was oke

Rome didn’t matter or come off
But Heaven and Hell did
And look up
The fire, the fire is falling
And look up, look up

Flaming hair shot through the streaking sun over him
Oh merchant leave thy oil and Nebuchadnezzar
Never knew there’d be times like this

Rome didn’t matter or come up
But Heaven and Hell did
And look up
The fire, the fire is falling
Look up, look up

Oh citizens of London
Enlarge thy countenance
From the flaming wind-hairs of thought
In his forehead

Rome didn’t matter or come off
But Heaven and Hell did
And look up
The fire, the fire is falling
Look up, look up.

William Blake: A Song of Liberty

The Eternal Female groand! it was heard over all the Earth:
Albions coast is sick silent; the American meadows faint!
Shadows of Prophecy shiver along by the lakes and the rivers and mutter across the ocean! France rend down thy dungeon;
Golden Spain burst the barriers of old Rome;
Cast thy keys O Rome into the deep down falling, even to eternity down falling,
And weep!
In her trembling hands she took the new, born terror howling;

On those infinite mountains of light now barr’d out by the atlantic sea, the new born fire stood before the starry king!
Flag’d with grey brow’d snows and thunderous visages the jealous wings wav’d over the deep.
The speary hand burned aloft, unbuckled was the shield, forth went the hand of jealousy among the flaming hair, and hurl’d the new born wonder thro’ the starry night.
The fire, the fire, is falling!
Look up! look up! O citizen of London. enlarge thy countenance; O Jew, leave counting gold! return to thy oil and wine; O African! black African! (go. winged thought widen his forehead.)
The fiery limbs, the flaming hair, shot like the sinking sun into the western sea.
Wak’d from his eternal sleep, the hoary, element roaring fled away:
Down rushd beating his wings in vain the jealous king: his grey brow’d councellors, thunderous warriors, curl’d veterans, among helms, and shields, and chariots horses, elephants: banners, castles, slings and rocks,
Falling, rushing, ruining! buried in the ruins, on Urthona’s dens.
All night beneath the ruins, then their sullen flames faded emerge round the gloomy king,
With thunder and fire: leading his starry hosts thro’ the waste wilderness he promulgates his ten commands, glancing his beamy eyelids over the deep in dark dismay,
Where the son of fire in his eastern cloud, while the morning plumes her golden breast,
Spurning the clouds written with curses, stamps the stony law to dust, loosing the eternal horses from the dens of night, crying

Empire is no more! and now the lion & wolf shall cease.

William Blake, A Song of Liberty, from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The Fall: Dog is Life / Jerusalem

(William Blake, Mark E. Smith)

You don’t see rabbits being walked down the street
And you don’t see many cats on leads
Dogs pet dogs dogs rapacious wet dogs
Owner of dogs slow-witted dog owner
Owner of rabid dog saving fare for tunnel
Euro-dream of civil, civil liberation for dogs
Society secret society inevitable nightmare
Of drift dog pet dogs street bullshit
Dog shit baby bit ass-lick dog mirror
Dead tiger shot and checked out by dog
Big tea-chest-fucker dog
Black collar sends East German refugee back switch and crap pathetic
Of earth-like lousy dog role model for infidel doghouse continent
Most citadel dog-eye mirror hypnotic school slaver and learn
Rot from dog on grass and over nervous delicate dog
Detracts light from indiscrepant non-dog-lover
Dog pet dog come home to ya
Come home we’ll talk shit to ya
Dog the pet-owner-owner blistered hanging there death dog
Plato of the human example and copier dogmaster pet mourner
Dog is life

And did those feet in ancient times
Walk upon mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth on clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem
AIn the dark Satanic Mills?


It was the fault of the government
I was walking down the street
When I tripped up on a discarded banana skin
And on my way down I caught the side of my head
On a protruding brick chip
It was the government’s fault
It was the fault of the government
I was very let down
From the budget I was expecting a one million quid handout
I was very disappointed
It was the government’s fault
It was the fault of the government

I became semi-autistic type person
And I didn’t have a pen
And I didn’t have a condom
It was the fault of the government
I think I’ll emigrate to Sweden or Poland
And get looked after properly by government

Bring Bow of burning gold:
Bring Arrows of desire:
Bring me Spear: O clouds unfold!

And though I rest from Mental Fight
And though sword sleeps in hand
I will not rest ’til Jerusalem is built

In England’s green and pleasant Land

With thanks to The Annotated Fall.