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"Real by Reel" is a song by Andy Partridge. It appeared on the 1979 album Drums and Wires.

A live in-studio version, for John Peel appeared on Drums and Wireless, later appearing on the 1998 Transistor Blast box set.

An unused single version appeared on the 2002 Coat of Many Cupboards box set.

A dub remix appeared on Go Home Productions: GHP Complete CD11 ‘Unofficial Remixes 2’

QuotesEdit

Andy (on the Peel session): “Live in the studio with cranked-up guitars and lots of stomping along. We used to open our live set with this, because if you could get past that little guitar part with shaking hands, you could get through the rest of the set pretty good.”

Andy (on the unused single version): “By now, ‘Nigel’ had been a reasonable hit and we needed a follow up. Perhaps there were some songs on Drums And Wires we'd overlooked, so before that Japanese/Australian tour (see tracks 1 [‘Meccanik Dancing’] & 2 [‘Into the Atom Age’]) we had a rapid shufty. Quickly, with Steve and Hugh at the controls, we bundled into Beatle publisher Dick James' DJM Studios to rummage around with the next three tracks. Keeping the bass and drums, but re-recording the vocals, some of the guitars and adding extra percussion, had we found a successor? Well the answer is a two letter word beginning with N and ending with O. But, I have to say, I think these are much better than the versions that were on Drums And Wires. More spunk, more punk, more funk, more chunk.”

LyricsEdit

In this secret time, invading on our privacy

Unknowing we mime, we play for the ministry

They can film you in bed

Or when you take a bath

They can tape every cry

They can tape every laugh

They can turn you around so you won't know what's


Real by reel

Busy little bees recording everything you feel

On real by reel

Documented down like rats

They're catching up on every squeal

On real by reel

Real by reel by real by


In this hidden time, ignorance may help you to cope

Rehearsing for crimes, in government cinemascope

They can film you at work

Or when they let you play

They can tape what you think

They can tape what you say

They can blur your I.D. so you won't know what's


Now I lay me down to sleep

Knowing that your lenses peep

Now I eat my daily bread

And into the tape spool I'll be fed


Real by reel

Busy little bees recording everything you feel

On real by reel

Documented down like rats

They're catching up on every squeal

On real by reel

Real by reel by real by

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