"Things Fall to Bits" is a song by Barry Andrews. It appeared on the 2002 Coat of Many Cupboards box set. It is a Go 2 outtake, one of the only four songs Barry wrote for XTC, and one of the two that would be rejected.
Barry: “When Andy first asked if they could include these two out-takes from Go 2 on this compilation I must say my feeling was rather as if the Sunday Times had offered to serialise my 1973-75 Secret Wank Diaries. However, eventually a more detached sense of indulgence to the folly of youth asserted itself and, in a spirit of openness towards the Work in Progress that is life, I agreed.
“As to the power struggles surrounding these tunes [and the other two that made the album] those who may think it worth the trouble can find a full account of my side of things at Shriekback.com [under ‘propaganda’, strangely enough]. Suffice to say the short version is that with the innocent megalomania of 22 years I had decided it would best serve the general good if XTC became a Platform for my Thought and Vehicle-for-my-Unique-Personality. Not unreasonably, Andy was reluctant to take up this opportunity and battle [or rather both of us plotting and bitching] commenced. Democracy, man - good for the people - musicians just aren't ready for it.
“A reference [of course] to the line in the W.B. Yeats poem: ‘things fall apart the centre cannot hold’ which I'm sure everybody grokked on at the time. A perky little meditation on worldly impermanence remarkable mainly for its reference to ‘Smitty’, the 70's perfume that no one seems to feel nostalgia for - or even remember - and the racket in the middle that sounds like a thousand rainsticks - deployed for no apparent reason [unless of course it is actually something falling to bits].”
Andy: “Not so much of an out-take, more of a supressed track from Go 2. I was the little bastard who went to Virgin and said ‘Look he's written all these songs and is insisting we record them. It's going to take the XTC sound down a different road too quickly. Can't we just limit him to two songs?’ What a frightened bunny I was. Here was my childhood dream of being in a pop group, driven by me, just taking off, and now the new boy in the band wanted to grab the controls and fly it to a different place. I admit, I was a selfish shit, especially as the songs Barry had written were actually very good. I didn't want my winter palace stormed thank you.
“This is a great little tune, with lyrics that still make me smile... ‘I like to sniff your Smitty as you stalk the bar’. Seeing as Virgin and myself condemned this track to the cupboard, I thought I'd nab back my cheap Hong Kong guitar motif and write my own tune around it later [see Drums and Wires.] Thankfully my wayward son was having nothing of my control freak tantrums and left the group to pursue his own unfettered dream. We're good friends now.
“ps. Oh yes, this is the only time that Terry Chambers could be coaxed into doing a backing vocal, several pints later. That's also him [ahem] playing... the football rattle.”
I like to sniff your Smitty as you stalk the bar