Im 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
Im a potential dj
A creeping wreck
A mental wretch
Everybody asks me
How I wrote "elastic man"

His soul hurts though its 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

Im living a fake
People say, "you are entitled to and great."
But I havent wrote for 90 days
Ill get a good deal and Ill 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 Im resigned to bed
I keep bottles and comics stuffed by its head
Fuck it, let the beard grow
Im too tired,
Ill do it tomorrow
The fridge is sparse
But in the town
Theyll stop me in the shops
Verily theyll 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"

Lyrics submitted by Major Valor

How I Wrote Elastic Man song meanings
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  • +5
    General Commentbrilliant song, but you miss the key thing.

    MES actually sings Plastic man throughout the song. The whole thing is about people not understanding what his work is all about. Hence

    Away from the empty brains that ask
    How I wrote "Plastic man"

    They're asking about a song called Plastic man although the song is called Elastic.

    Also heaps of rants againts journos - for those not in the UK The Observer is a sunday newspaper which includes a magazine - eg self satisfied, smug
    davo111on August 06, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentDid anyone dare ask Mark E Smith how he wrote 'How I Wrote Elastic Man'?
    light vesselon December 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmy favourite bit is

    "The observer magazine just about sums him up
    E.g. self-satisfied, smug"

    because when i first heard it, i thought it was saying that the observer magazine called him self satisfied and smug in an article.
    but then i realised that he's using the description the magazine gave him, to also sum up the magazine. so both of them are self satisfied and smug.
    well, i think, anyway.
    cheddaringoon July 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the song that inspired the Elastica Song (which features Mark E. Smith) "How I Wrote Elastica Man".
    Major Valoron August 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentseems like it is a song about a writer who had a smash hit with *elastic man* and hasn't been able to muster up annything of quality since then - and he is frustrated. in fact he is destroyed by his inability to produce anything of worth and is sick and tired of people asking him, and they will ask him: how i wrote elastic man, how i wrote elastic man, how i worte elastic man!

    i love this song. they got me with:

    E.g. self-satisfied, smug

    when's the last time you heard a rock / pop song with the term, "E.g.?"
    moikon September 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGood comments, especially davo about the plastic-elastic thing. Should comment that I think this is also a sideways tribute to Ray Davies and The Kinks. Plastic Man was one of The Kinks' fabulously cutting songs about the British middle-class. The Fall later did a great version of "Victoria" which had a similar theme...
    makhnoon August 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah straight away i thought of Plastic Man
    asertyon November 06, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMr. Smith, you don't seem to explain in the song. How exactly did you write elastic man?
    feinsteinon September 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think this is about Jack Cole. He was the writer/creator of Plastic Man, who, at a young age (43), killed himself. No-one's quite sure why. Jack also wrote Mystery in Space comics (although not for the Daily Mail). However, he left comics behind when the industry faded, going off to work for Playboy (Leather Thighs?)

    As for whether it's plastic or elastic, the comics, petty villain Eel O'Brien falls into a vat of acid and becomes pliable ('you'll believe a man can ply'). He goes after his ex-criminal friends for abandoning him. This revenge act gets mistakenly interpreted as heroic by a reporter who asks what his superhero name is. Eel replies, "Elastic Man". However, the reporter runs off shouting Plastic Man, with Eel trying in vain to correct him.
    starchiefon June 22, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'd often thought the recorded lyrics sounded like Plastic Man. But I also thought that, as someone who'd read and enjoyed the Cole Plastic Man comics, maybe this is what I just wanted to hear.

    I agree with the idea that the song takes from Jack Cole's personal and professional history. Though obviously Mark E Smith put this to his own use. He was using a desperate, cranky and fantasised comic writer character as a kind of mouthpiece to satirise interpretation of any popular culture including, by inference, music by The Fall.

    What's interesting from a comics angle is that the comics that would have been around during the time Smith was growing up wouldn't have included Cole's Plastic Man. Mystery in Space was still going then but Cole was never a major contributor. So Mark E Smith would have come across Plastic Man through the agency of the fans and collectors, who as stereotypes are bugging and pestering the first person character of the song's lyric.

    On why, if Smith is singing Plastic Man throughout, the song is titled Elastic Man, I suppose this is to give it some critical distance. And make it less likely for comic fans to track Smith down in the shoppes and ask him why he wrote. It would also have the side effect of keeping DC off his back if the single ever came to the attention of people in rights there (who were grotesquely intractable then and for years afterwards). That would have been about the time that The Fall were the 'gods of the East Village' as Brix Smith later put it.
    ReginaldSideon February 13, 2018   Link

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