Coach and Horses


I looked through the 1860's window pane (1)
I see coaches and horses moving around in the slashing rain
No fun
Coaches and horses movin' around
Coaches and horses movin' around
I go down and swear in every Inn
I need the enter no service for you

I swear

The coaches and horses move around
I followed it into the lake for delivery
Coaches and horses had their plumes on again
They say you can't come in, your coat infused
I swear to you everything I enter refused
They say no chemicals have been invented yet
In the 1860's again (2)


1. These very simple lyrics seem to be a loose and suggestive time traveling fantasy. The song is as short and sweet as the lyrics need it to be; if the Fall were a jammier band there would be an extended coda, but as it is it clocks at under two minutes. It is typical of the wonderful but confounding Reformation Post TLC that one of the chordally most thought out, tightest (both instrumentally and compositionally), and most accessible songs on the album seems to be almost a throwaway, in terms of how short it is and how little interest MES seems to have in adding any other sections or allowing the band to explore, whereas the longest songs all consist of repetitions of a single hastily composed riff. 

There is a pub in Salford called the Coach and Horses which MES is said to have visited (thanks to dj hollerbusch); it was not built until 1913, so would not have literally been the setting of an 1860s tale. It seems to be a very common name, however, with numerous pubs called Coach and Horses in Greater Manchester, including Salford, Bury, Cadishead and Denton, and scads of them in northern England more generally. It's entirely possible that MES has one of these in mind, and it seems equally possible that the song is not making reference to a specific pub but has adopted a common name for a fictional location. And, of course, it could be that MES is talking about a real pub that is no longer in operation. Finally, since the lyrics seem to be referring to actual coaches and horses every time the phrase appears, it may be that no allusion to a pub is intended. 


2. Reader FVdd points out an echo of "Wings" here, in which the narrator "ended up in the eighteen sixties."


Comments (14)

dj hollerbusch
  • 1. dj hollerbusch (link) | 11/09/2013
hi mate! great blog! this may be of interest, this is also a pub in salford mes was heard of visiting...(no service for ya), cheers!
  • 2. dannyno | 07/08/2016
Is the narrator inside looking out, or outside looking in?

Also, nowhere is it clearly stated that the window belongs to a pub or inn. We are assuming so based on the mention of inns and the association of inns with coaches/horses.

".. and swear in every inn"

This could be literal, but perhaps it could also be a reference to this kind of tradition:
  • 3. dannyno | 07/08/2016
Phantom coaches and horses are a common thing:





Maybe there is a story of a coach and horses which enters a lake? Of course, the song might not have "real"-world sources.
  • 4. bzfgt | 03/09/2016
"Finally, since the lyrics seem to be referring to actual coaches and horses every time the phrase appears, no allusion to a pub of that name may be intended."

So you see, I never said he was talking about a pub...
  • 5. dannyno | 15/10/2016
"So you see, I never said he was talking about a pub..."

of that name, you said, so the explicit implication is nonetheless that he's talking about a pub. Ner.
  • 6. bzfgt | 15/10/2016
The implication to me is that he may not be talking about a pub at all. Why would it be about a pub of a different name, when the point is "Coach and Horses" may refer to actual coaches and horses?
  • 7. bzfgt | 15/10/2016
But I changed it. Better to be right than wrong but better to be clear than right.
  • 8. bzfgt | 15/10/2016
Note that none of those scenarios involve me being wrong. Urg, except the one in which I'm wrong. It all makes sense I think...
  • 9. FVdd | 31/07/2018
Could it be that the line "In the 1860's again" is a self-reference to 'Wings'? As that song also takes place in the 1860s.
  • 10. dannyno | 05/08/2018
Comment #9. The echo cannot be ignored, though it may not be either deliberate or significant. And just to point out that it's not correct to say that Wings "takes place in the 1860s". Part of it does, but the song features time travel.
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 06/08/2018
Good suggestion, FVdd!
  • 12. DJAsh (link) | 16/08/2020

Dates from 1830 , on the Prestwich / Whitefield border
  • 13. DJAsh | 16/08/2020
The article is dated October 2006, so it’s possible that MES read it at the time the group was working on RPTLC...?
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 23/08/2020
Seems like there's a lot of them

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