Cheetham Hill

Lyrics

(1)

Mike Bennett: See the fleet of cruising cars
go past the stations and the bars.
Never stop to get out 
in case they choose to cruise about. (2)

MES: Well, I tell you, that boy,
he stopped up at the station.
He must be on a mission of passion
Couldn't make out whether he was from
Salford or...ah... Manchester.

And this London visitor had this to say: (3)

MB: Cheater
Cheetham Hill.

MES: Only way you stop is for passion at the station.
Why you cruising? To be unfaithful. 
You want to settle up, you want to settle down. 
And some man really hurt you. 
He isn't around in Cheetham.  
Cheat 'em. You cheated.

Well I tell you, 
That boy, he stopped up at the station.
He must be on a mission of passion.

MB: Cheater.
Cheetham Hill.

MES: Where you going, boy? Are you cheatin'?
Is that why you come from Cheetham Hill?
When you stopped up at the station 
was it an excuse to get away from your wife for the evening?

MES: Couldn't make out whether he was from
MB: Max or Mary...
MES: Salford or...ah...Manchester 
MB: Chutney ferret (4)
MES: And this London visitor had this to say
MB: customised, intentional 

MB: Cheater
Cheetham
Cheetham Hill

MB: there's no need to go berserk
you don't scratch my nice blue Merc (5)
I won't need to go berserk 
if you don't scratch my nice green Merc

MES:And the boy stopped up
At the passion wagon (6)
We couldn't make out where he was from
Salford or, uh, Manchester
And this London visitor had this to say

 

 

Notes

1. Much of this is sung by producer Mike Bennett. Cheetham Hill is an area between Manchester city and Prestwich. The theme, indicated by the pun on "Cheetham/Cheat 'Em," is people cruising the area looking for extra-marital sex; according to Martin, Cheetham Hill was a well known red light district at the time. In Renegade, by way of defending The Light User Syndrome which he acknowledges is in some respects "a whiskey rash of an album," MES mentions that he is often approached by fans who dig this song.  

^

2. This line always strikes me as funny, in its ominous tone.   

^

3.Who is this myserious visitor? Martin finds:

13 May 1997 Jilly's Rockworld, Manchester: [i]- "And this London visitor had this to say: his name was Simon Spencer."

So at least for that night, we have an answer. This doesn't necessarily mean that's who it was written for, or who MES thinks of every time he sings it, of course. Simon Spencer produced some songs with MES in this era, and is presumably the subject of "Spencer Must Die."

^

4. Chutney ferret is slang for a homosexual male; the ever-reliable Urban DIctionary helpfully adds that it can also mean a ferret that works at a chutney factory.  

^

5. A Mercedes Benz. From  Simon Wolstencroft's You Can Drum But You Can't Hide (thanks to Dan):

"A couple of weeks after the break, Mark rang me to ask if I would come over to his house later that afternoon to witness the signing of the band’s new record contract with Jet Records, a name I was familiar with from my sister's ELO collection. As Mark was putting the kettle on, our new record label boss pulled up outside the house in a huge blue Mercedes (referenced in the song ‘Cheetham Hill’), and on entering he introduced himself. His name was Frank Lea, he was briefly a second drummer in glam rock band Slade and had once run Trojan Records."

^

6. This can mean a motor vehicle, often a van, that is, or is intended to be, used as a venue for sexual relations.  

^

Comments (5)

npru
  • 1. npru | 26/01/2014

At the time this song was written parts of Cheetham Hill, were well known as a red light area, so the 'Cheater' was probably looking for a prostitute.

He would be cruising round in his Mercedes, not his Ford Mercury (which was not a UK model)

dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 04/12/2014

"nice blue Merc"

From Simon Wolstencroft's "You Can Drum But You Can't Hide":

"A couple of weeks after the break, Mark rang me to ask if I would come over to his house later that afternoon to witness the signing of the band’s new record contract with Jet Records, a name I was familiar with from my sister's ELO collection. As Mark was putting the kettle on, our new record label boss pulled up outside the house in a huge blue Mercedes (referenced in the song ‘Cheetham Hill’), and on entering he introduced himself. His name was Frank Lea, he was briefly a second drummer in glam rock band Slade and had once run Trojan Records."

Dan

Martin
  • 3. Martin | 03/03/2017

13 May 1997 Jilly's Rockworld, Manchester:

- "And this London visitor had this to say: his name was Simon Spencer." (amended lyrics to "Cheetham Hill")

Probably not about Simon Spencer at all, but it's always good to muddy the waters!

bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017

You're really digging out the live comments!

bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017

Zack, what was the song on which you wrote the DOSE information? I may have to fix a few notes, I can't remember what the upshot was--is the other guy DOSE?

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