CHAPTERS & VERSES: side 2
A follow-up to the previous post in this two-part series.
Here are a load more songs that unknowingly assisted in the writing of the Neverland in Shadow story.
As was stated in the first post, each track’s influence varies: it can be the song’s theme and/or lyrics, a line or word, its title, or the way it makes you feel when listening to it.
Fifth In Line To The Throne
A shallow use of a deep song title. This lilting Camera Obscura track is from the adored Glasgow band’s fifth LP Desire Lines (2013).
Chapter-wise, the honest truth is that something therein is described as being fifth in a line of seven, and this elegant title popped up.
Yet another steal from Morrissey. And another, it’s just been noticed, from the largely unfancied – and to this writer, underrated – Maladjusted LP (see the Side 1 post for other Mozzer tracks from this era).
Ambitious Outsiders is a terrific title for a song (it seems it was to be also the title of the LP but was pipped by Maladjusted). Either way, it provided a fine summation of the characters populating this chapter of the story too.
The track is one of Mozzer’s more controversial outings, as Simon Goddard explains in Mozipedia, his exhaustive Morrissey reference work:
Among his most disturbing lyrics, it appeared to voice the unapologetic conscience of a paedophile ring in the face of mounting tabloid hysteria. Teasing society’s greatest fears and paranoias about child abusers – that they walk among us unnoticed, monitoring the school-bus run while calculating their opportunity to seize another victim – the song dares to blame their crimes on the children’s parents as punishment for ‘reproducing’.
A Riot Of Our Own
Looted from White Riot, the scorching 1977 debut single from The Clash.
Like a lot of worthy pursuits, White Riot is done and dusted in under two minutes. The chapter in question takes a bit longer to read. To be fair, not much longer, actually, as it’s only little.
Falling Without Knowing
Something spontaneous and revelatory occurs in this chapter. And it changes everything. When it happens, it does so quite mundanely. But its effects are dramatic.
As a chapter title, Falling Without Knowing – stolen from a song on Tilly and the Wall’s 2008 LP O – described this beautifully.
Session 10: Blood Flower
Unbelievably, another Tilly and the Wall swipe (and almost, simultaneously, a Cure steal too, via their 2000 LP Bloodflowers).
Until very late in the day, all of the chapters beginning with the word Session, and there are six of these, were simply named Session #2, Session #4 etc.
That got tiresome, and they needed a lift. So they were subsequently accompanied with, and supplemented by, a regular chapter title.
Just like Falling Without Knowing, Blood Flower is another track from the LP O. It’s a curious song. One that’s loaded with menace and provided a great fit for this short chapter’s content.
You'd better watch where you're walking There might be somebody's blood flower growing
Session #12: Don’t Make Fun Of Me Later
Another late addition, this title, which also appears in the text of the minuscule chapter 57 itself, is nicked from Lost, one of Morrissey’s very finest b-sides. In fact, one of his best songs full-stop.
Somewhat inevitably, the luscious Lost provided the flip to arguably one of Mozzer’s least-revered tracks, the 1997 single Roy’s Keen.
Graceful and statuesque, Lost would have significantly embellished the Maladjusted LP of that same year. But Morrissey’s baffling and well-established tendency for burying gems on the rear of singles popped up again.
The counter-argument, of course, is that it’s a sublime sensation to discover an absolute zinger of a b-side. Tellingly, though, when Maladjusted was reissued and repackaged in 2009, Lost had been promoted to the first team, whilst Roy’s Keen didn’t even make the squad.
Fellow b-sides from that era were also elevated via this new Maladjusted release: Heir Apparent, The Edges Are No Longer Parallel, This Is Not Your Country, I Can Have Both and Now I Am a Was.
Joining The Dots
In 2004 a comprehensive box set of music by The Cure was released. Join the Dots was its name, and it gathered b-sides and rarities recorded by the band between 1978 and 2001.
The set features a number of tracks that helped the Neverland in Shadow story along. The atmosphere and content of songs like Breathe, Sugar Girl, Snow in Summer, This Twilight Garden and Halo were important to the writing, both in terms of tone and feel, and in giving me a prod to not give up (the theory being that Neverland in Shadow is kind of like an LP or a song that a singer or band records in the hope that it might click with even one person).
So, from Join the Dots came Joining the Dots. A fitting title for a chapter that’s all about assembling connections.
As an aside, and complicating things further, Snow in Summer was, for the longest time, the title of chapter 61. A rewrite of that chapter, however, removed some content and meant that Snow in Summer was no longer a relevant title.
But not to worry, another song by another band, came swiftly to the rescue of chapter 61 and is dealt with a bit further down this post.
Just A Girl, She Said
One of the best tracks on Dubstar’s excellent Disgraceful album (1995), sarcasm abounds in what I read to be singer Sarah Blackwood’s response to patriarchy and, well, men (one can assume it’s men) who act like morons around women.
"It's alright, I'm just a girl", she said "Talk down to me and take me to bed, I don't think, I don't feel And I don't really matter at all I'm a person who speaks and a person who thinks But you hope I'll forget as you ply me with drink, You cannot buy me and you cannot use me But I know that you’ll want to try
The song’s title inspired a line in the chapter, although it was used in a different, more direct way.
Angel in the Snow
This chapter title flew to the rescue when original title (and Cure b-side) Snow in Summer was banished post-rewrite.
Angel in the Snow honours Marine Research, a band from the long line of groups featuring the indomitable Amelia Fletcher.
The track was recorded for the John Peel show, and the session it was a part of went out on May 18 1999. A couple of months later Angel in the Snow was included as a b-side on the single Parallel Horizontal.
No great story regarding its appearance as a chapter title: there’s a reference to snow angels within it, so it was a logical choice, if perhaps one not loaded with sophistication.
Suggested by a line from the Smiths song The Queen is Dead:
We can go for a walk where it's quiet and dry And talk about precious things, But when you're tied to your mother's apron No-one talks about castration
The idea of being tied to your mother’s apron – more commonly its strings – and consequently of not fully growing up or making your way in the world, is generally said of men in relation to both their mother and/or wife.
Here, it refers to a mother/daughter relationship. And why on earth not?
Epilogue: The Lost Girl
Let’s call this, appropriately, a hidden track. Lost Girls is another song from Tilly and the Wall. This time from the band’s second LP Bottoms of Barrels (2006).
Closing Neverland in Shadow under this banner (albeit via the definite article and the singular girl) seemed perfect. The Tilly track, meanwhile, is a beezer: epic but tiny, gentle but ominous.
As an aside, the notion of inverting the celebrated Peter Pan fixture of the Lost Boys isn’t new. Lost Girls, a 2006 graphic novel, created by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie, gathered Wendy, Alice (of Wonderland fame) and Dorothy (the Oz series) for erotic adventures.
And on that bombshell, we have our Chapters & Verses – side 2 completed:
Fifth in Line to the Throne - Camera Obscura
Ambitious Outsiders - Morrissey
White Riot - The Clash
Falling Without Knowing - Tilly and the Wall
Blood Flower - Tilly and the Wall
Lost - Morrissey
This Twilight Garden - Cure*
Just a Girl, She Said - Dubstar
Angel in the Snow - Marine Research**
The Queen is Dead - The Smiths
Lost Girls - Tilly and the Wall
* As Join the Dots is a box-set name, rather than a song title on the Spotify playlist, This Twilight Garden, from the release, represents The Cure.
** Angel may be in the Snow. But sadly s/he’s not on Spotify. So instead you'll find Marine Research’s Parallel Horizontal, the lead single from the band's only LP Songs From the Gulf Stream.