CHAPTERS & VERSES: side 1
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
As 'fessed up to at The Songs in the Shadows section of the website, the Neverland in Shadow story is deeply influenced - overtly or otherwise - by pop music. Bands and songs have contributed in all sort of ways to the story. These can range from a line or lyrics, a song's theme and, often, even the way it makes one feel on hearing it.
Some of the most brazen thefts are found across Neverland in Shadow's chapter titles. Here's a rundown of the chapters in question, alongside the guilty band/artist - and a note or two.
THE MOTH AND THE FLAME
A well-worn phrase, but it's likely that a line from The Smiths' The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1984) was presenting itself here, though subconsciously.
Are You Ready For Valhalla?
A bit of a hybrid, this one. Neverland's street address - Old Valhalla Road - (and the road's crematorium) has actually been swiped from the December 1997 Morrissey b-side Now I am a Was.
Canonically, this would be one of the last new Morrissey songs released for more than seven years.
But returning to the chapter title: it in fact originates from a line in British Sea Power's Observe the Skies, a blistering track from the 2011 LP Valhalla Dancehall.
CATCH THE BREEZE
This is a shameless lift of the Slowdive song title from 1991, and the song itself certainly aided the writing of the story. Catch the Breeze appears on Just For a Day, the band's debut LP released that same year.
THE WORD BENEATH THE WINDOW
A lateral steal here, a bit like watching a man throwing a brick through a jewellers' window, then buying a watch from him a short while later. This title was inspired by the Veronica Falls song Teenage, and is much-discussed at this blog post.
Tea time Tales
Pinched from Glasgow's mighty Pastels, I have to admit I knew only the title and not the song itself. It's a real rarity: the b-side of the band's debut release, the 7" single Songs For Children (1982).
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
Another known phrase, but also the title of an album by Manic Street Preachers.
At this point, haters of Morrissey should leave the room as each of the next three chapter titles are Mozz-connected one way or the other.
For those still reading:
So, Kit is a somewhat obscure Morrissey song. It's never been commercially released and exists as an off-cut from the 1997 Maladjusted LP (its rumoured demo-take was only even confirmed several years later when it showed up online). I've always liked the one-syllable nature of the song's title, and ended up naming the story's toy hare in its honour.
Rush To Danger
This isn't meant to be yet another round of Mozzer-trainspottery, but will probably end up that way. The short version is that Rush to Danger is a phrase contained in the excellent Morrissey song Now My Heart is Full: the opener to Mozzer's much-loved Vauxhall and I album (1994).
It seems Morrissey - himself a fellow exponent of the maxim Talent borrows, genius steals - grabbed it from an existing source also. Here's a relevant entry from Simon Goddard's Mozipedia, an exhaustive Morrissey encyclopaedia:
...the phrase ‘rush to danger’ resonated with Australian poet Henry Lawson’s ‘At The Beating Of A Drum’ from 1910; ‘The glorious words and music from a lonely heart shall come/When our sons shall rush to danger at the beating of the drum.’
Meanwhile, back at the chapter title (remember that?) the phrase fitted so perfectly it simply had to be used.
The Last Night Of The Fair
More complication. This line - an even more perfect fit than Rush to Danger - was stolen, by me, from the Smiths song Rusholme Ruffians. That song, which appears on the 1985 Meat is Murder LP, is set in a fairground: a location juxtaposing love and violence (a theme that recurs across this particular album).
Where it gets complicated, or at least more interesting, is the fact, and this is nothing new for casual+ Smiths scholars, that the lyric borrows - ingeniously, remember - from another song entirely. Step forward Fourteen Again, by the - deep breath - comedian, actress, singer, composer, screenwriter, producer and director Victoria Wood.
Here's a section of Fourteen Again:
For a promise of a snog the last night of the fair
French kissing as the kiosks shut
Behind the generators with your coconut
The coloured lights reflected in the Brylcreem on his hair
I want to be fourteen again
For all the things I didn't know then
And here's one from Rusholme Ruffians:
This is the last night of the fair
And the grease in the hair
Of a speedway operator
Is all a tremulous heart requires
Both songs influenced Neverland in Shadow way beyond the chapter title. But that's another story...
HERE'S WHERE WE ARE SO FAR
With some chapters nicking lines rather than song titles, for anyone interested, it's handy to have a collated rundown. So here's side 1.
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle - The Smiths
Observe the Skies - British Sea Power
Now I am a Was - Morrissey
Catch the Breeze - Slowdive
Teenage - Veronica Falls
Crawl Babies - The Pastels *
So Why So Sad - Manic Street Preachers **
Trouble Loves Me - Morrissey ***
Now My Heart is Full - Morrissey
Rusholme Ruffians - The Smiths
* Tea Time Tales are not told by Spotify. So here's a corking Pastels track as a substitute.
** This track appears on the LP Know Your Enemy. The Manics have better songs, but this is a fine-enough summery single. Chopping away relentlessly, it also has a kind of Beach Boys feel about it.
*** Kit, to the surprise of no one is not featured on Spotify either. In its place, a number from the Maladjusted LP of its era. One of Mozzer's best-ever torch songs.
CHAPTERS & VERSES: SIDE 2...
...will be popping along soon. So keep checking back.