Hilary (1)
Where's the sixty quid you borrowed off me for the gas? 
I won't give you a kiss
Hey Hilary

'New Faces' on Saturday at six (2)
Brought you back to me


I'm sure it was you in the new Audi
Outside Sainsbury's  (3)


Remember when you needed three caps of speed (4)
To get out of bed
And now you're on ecstasy


With your daft African pop
And that wine you call bull's blood (5)


I thank the lord that you still don't live next to me



1. Reformation has the following:

As for the identity of Hilary, general opinion seems to be that the lyrics refer to one of Tony Wilson's previous wives, Hilary Lorraine Moss, who directed the Shiftwork and Holidays video and is also namechecked on The Post Nearly Man and Pander Panda Panzer.

However, Hilary Moss seems not to have been married to Tony Wilson. Here's what we have:

From Julia in the comments: "I went to college with Hilary Moss and she was indeed the subject of the song. She was a mature student (certainly in her forties) at Salford College of Technology doing Media Studies 1989-1991. It was on this course that she did the video for 'Shiftwork' as one of her projects. Hilary directed, other students did all the camera work, lighting, editing, etc. And The Fall got a free video. As I recall she was all cowboy boots, skinny black jeans and leopard print jackets. A heavy smoker with a wicked tongue/temper. She was also a gigging DJ under the name 'DJ Lorraine.' Didn't know she was Tony Wilsons ex-wife, though?"

Toni Goodwin says she used to look after Hilary Moss's dogs, and Moss had the handwritten lyrics of this song.

Dan: "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography names Wilson's second wife as 'Hilary J. Sherlock,' born 1955. It says the relationship began in 'early 1984,' and that they married in 'a New York courtroom rather than a British register office.'" 

So Hilary Sherlock and Hilary Moss are different people, and the song is almost certainly about Moss., who was not married to Wilson

As for the music, Martin Bramah must be quoted at length; make of it what you will:

As unhip as it was, the first piece of vinyl I remember was my dad’s copy of America’s attempt to write a Neil Young song, ‘A Horse With No Name.’ It was played a lot around the house.

Interestingly, it was a massive influence on Mark E Smith, the lead singer of my first real band, The Fall. You can hear its impact in the sprechstimme style of Mark’s voice. He doesn’t really sing or hold a melody. A lot of what he does comes out like that one long line—’in the desert you can remember your name, ‘cause they’re ain’t no one for to give you no pain,’ which barely has any melody. It’s perfect for the tone-deaf, I think that’s why it was a hit. I still hear America’s nearly tuneless ‘la la la la la la…’ in nearly every Fall song.

One day, Mark came to me with the lyrics for ‘Hilary’…’Hilary, where’s the sixty quid you borrowed off me?’ He asked me to turn what he was singing into music, so I gave it a bit more melody, but not too much.

I didn’t get writing credit for the tune, but that’s fair, because the whole thing is basically ripped off America!


2. New Faces was a talent show on British television.  


3. Sainsbury's is a British supermarket chain.


4. The blue lyrics book replaces this with "three cups of tea."


5. Egri Bikavér, which means "Bull's Blood of Eger," is a Hungarian wine. Wikipedia gives an interesting, but uncredited, account of the origin of the name:

According to legend, the name originates from the invasion of Suleiman the Magnificent around 1552.

"To motivate and support the small group of soldiers during the Siege of Eger castle they were served delicious food and a lot of red wine. Among the Turkish soldiers it was rumored that bull's blood was mixed into the red wine, as otherwise the strength and firm resistance of the town and castle of Eger could not be explained. Finally the enemy gave up."

There is also a Spanish wine called Sangre de Toro ("Bull's Blood"). The "bull" in the name is meant to refer to Bacchus, the god of wine, who was often depicted with bull's horns.


More Information

Comments (46)

  • 1. Martin | 26/01/2014
The lyrics for the song are included in Dave Luff's second Fall lyrics book but the line "three caps of speed" are replaced by "three cups of tea".
  • 2. Mark | 15/05/2014
It's six caps of speed in the Peel session version.
  • 3. dannyno | 18/06/2015
"New Faces' on Saturday at six
Brought you back to me"

The thing is, in the revived series, which ran 1986-1988 (I take the revived series as being the one referred to, since the song was first performed in 1989), "New Faces" wasn't - strictly speaking - on at Saturday at 6pm. Well, alright, in 1988 it was on Saturdays but it began at 5:45pm, not 6pm. You could argue MES should be allowed to get away with that in a song lyric. The show was broadcast as follows:

1986: Fridays 7:30pm, September-December; Grand Final, Saturday 13 December 7:45pm
1987: Fridays 7:30pm, Sept-Nov; Grand Final, Saturday, 28 November 7:30pm
1988: Saturdays 5:45pm (normally, I found at least one beginning 10 minutes earlier), Sept-Nov; Grand Final, Saturday 3 December 7:50pm.
  • 4. Martin | 29/03/2016
Some of the lyrics in this song remind me of Zandra, with references to money (both females are accused of liking it too much) and drugs (speed in Hilary, dope in Zandra). Hilary was first played live in October 1989 and Zandra (never played live) was released in March 1990, so it's possible that Mark E Smith either conciously or unconsciously had similar themes in mind for the two songs.
  • 5. Martin | 15/04/2016
The Sainsbury's mentioned in the lyrics could be the one on Bury New Road in Prestwich, referred to (negatively) in this interview:


(Around 1' 36" in..."made a right mess of the town...")
  • 6. julia | 25/01/2018
I went to college with Hilary Moss and she was indeed the subject of the song. She was a mature student (certainly in her forties) at Salford College of Technology doing Media Studies 1989-1991. It was on this course that she did the video for Shiftwork as one of her projects. Hilary directed, other students did all the camera work, lighting, editing etc. And The Fall got a free video. As I recall she was all cowboy boots, skinny black jeans and leopard print jackets. A heavy smoker with a wicked tongue/temper.
She was also a gigging DJ under the name 'DJ Lorraine'
Didn't know she was Tony Wilsons ex-wife though?
  • 7. bzfgt (link) | 04/02/2018
Julia, see my note--did she have a scar on her cheek?
  • 8. dannyno | 04/02/2018
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography names Wilson's second wife as "Hilary J. Sherlock", born 1955. It says the relationship began in "early 1984), and that they married in "a New York courtroom rather than a British register office".
  • 9. dannyno | 04/02/2018
... could be the same person, of course.
  • 10. dannyno | 05/02/2018
I've confirmed the DNB's information that Wilson's second wife - the mother of his children - was indeed Hilary Sherlock.

Hilary Lorraine Moss is a different person.
  • 11. dannyno | 05/02/2018
DJ Lorraine at Band on the Wall:

  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
Julia? Please come back and help us straighten this out...
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
How do you know they're different people?
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
It seems like the current note is the best we can do with what we currently have. I hope we get more, though. Martin, what about your sources? Any further info or evidence than what's been posted?
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
We should try to contact Lorraine Moss.
  • 16. dannyno | 08/03/2018
How do I know that Hilary Sherlock and Hilary Moss are different people?

So in official records, Hilary J Sherlock was born in 1955 in Manchester, married Stewart M Parker in Manchester in 1974, and married Tony Wilson in New York in 1984. She was then known as Hilary Wilson.

Hilary L Moss has her own official records trail - different person. I'll try and nail this even more definitely, but I'm quite certain of my facts here.
  • 17. bzfgt (link) | 10/03/2018
Dan I'm not sure you need to go to all that trouble, it seems evident that Moss and Sherlock are different people, and if the song is about one of them it's likely Moss.
Paul G
  • 18. Paul G | 01/10/2018
As well as Martin Brahma's America link with the music, the intro and a piece very near the end of the song are indisinguishable from the later cover 'I can hear the grass grow' to these ears.
  • 19. bzfgt (link) | 13/10/2018
Interesting, I will listen to those back to back and check it out.
  • 20. Johnny | 18/10/2018
On Bull's Blood - it was a cheap corner shop wine sold in the north of England in the 1980s.
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 21/10/2018
Johnny, are you saying it's not one of the two wines mentioned above? Was it officially called "Bull's Blood"? If not, what?
  • 22. Jem | 01/11/2019
Here's some evidence to Johnny's line about Bull's Blood wine being a popular (and not very good) wine in the 1980s


The idea of Mark E Smith of all people being down on someone for taking speed has always tickled me.
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 09/11/2019
OK yeah that's a 2016 wine and it mentions what we already have above as inspiration
  • 24. Anon | 10/11/2019
Bulks Blood is a red wine fron Hungary.
  • 25. egg | 04/04/2021
is the "daft African pop" the then popular African-themed fruit drink Um Bongo? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Um_Bongo) Not sure if MES would call that type of drink "pop" but it is next to another line about a drink.
  • 26. bzfgt (link) | 10/04/2021
Yeah good question. Do English people ever call soda "pop"?
Toni Goodwin
  • 27. Toni Goodwin | 01/05/2021
Hi my name is Toni and I looked after Hilary's chihuahuas Blondie and Chico. Hillary was a tyrant until the day she died. Every one would know her once she had visited a place. She even got barred from the doctors surgery. They just could not handle her, but she had a good heart and we got along very well.

Hillary showed me the hand written song lyrics and on the adjacent page was a picture of Hillary in a bowler hat. I don't know if when she passed her records, lyrics or artwork were saved. I hope so.

After she passed I looked after chicco for a further 7 years. She was in contact with Mark until the end. Infact I think he paid her dog boarding fees on occasion.

Hillary was a mad cow demanding annoying brilliant loving. I told her off and loved her to bits. RIP Hillary you mad cow!
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 08/05/2021
Toni, which Hilary was it? See my PM to you, feel free to answer here or there
For the Record
  • 29. For the Record | 17/05/2021
re comment 26
yes, absolutely - pop, or fizzy pop. "Panda Pop" was a brand of dark green chemical liquid for kids. Back in the days of public ownership of utilities (pay your water rates!) tap water was known (in South Yorkshire anyway) as "corporation pop". Um bongo was flat though not fizzy
  • 30. dannyno | 17/05/2021
Here's a news story from 1999, concerning one of Hilary Moss's chihuahuas going missing.


  • 31. Robert | 20/05/2021
Re: comments 25 and 26

Yes some people in England use the word "pop" for carbonated drinks, particularly in parts of the north. However, as subsequently mentioned, Um Bongo is not such a drink (it's a "juice drink" in a carton) and no-one would call it pop.
Perry Roberts
  • 32. Perry Roberts | 21/05/2021
I'm so sorry to hear of Hilarys passing.
Could someone please tell me when, how ? And if she was buried or cremated
  • 33. dannyno | 24/05/2021
Comment #32. Toni may reply. Must have been many years ago, since Toni refers to looking after one of Hilary's dogs for 7 years after she died.
Perry Roberts
  • 34. Perry Roberts | 24/05/2021
Yes I know, I thought this had happened, as there's no trace of her online. Knowing her as I did, I know she would of been all over social media.
  • 35. dannyno | 03/07/2021
Any of those who knew Hilary, if you have any more details about her if would be useful to know to help in tracking down what happened to her. Was Lorraine her middle name, was she ever married, where was she born, that kind of thing?
  • 36. gary. | 04/07/2021
Daft African pop music.
Sad to hear Hil passed away.
Why is there this need to delve into the minutea of private lives.
John Lennon said roughly I write the songs and other people find their own meanings.
  • 37. dannyno | 04/07/2021
Someone asked, is all.
  • 38. gary | 04/07/2021
No offence intended.
It makes me wonder if we knew the identity of the Mona Lisa would it change the picture.
Perry Robert
  • 39. Perry Robert | 06/07/2021
Lorraine was her middle name, I think she was born in Pretwich around 46/49. Her Dad was called Les, he was a band leader, her Mother Anna, she had a brother called David. She was raised Jewish.
  • 40. dannyno | 11/08/2021
Gary, comment #38.

There is in fact a plausible identification of the sitter for the Mona Lisa.
  • 41. dannyno | 12/08/2021
I pressed enter too soon there.

Gary, you raise an issue which would take more space than I realistically have here to unpack.

First of all, it's not obvious to me that discovering biographical information about the apparent subject of the song need be intended to "change" anything. It may be something we are curious about for its own sake, or something that is amusing as unimportant trivia. But equally, perhaps it could change our interpretation of the song, or contribute to the promotion or dismissal of particular theories about the song. Without having the information, I don't think it's necessarily possible to know in advance whether or not it is "important" in that sense.

There may also be challenge and value in the research itself. The activity of trying to find things out can be enjoyable and interesting, either because you learn by doing it (including improving research skills or learning about particular sources, but also about what information is available and where and how it can best be retrieved), or because you find out other things along the way that are interesting. So in this case for example, I'm learning a bit about the Les Moss jazz orchestra which I didn't otherwise know.

I mentioned that there is a plausible identification for the sitter of the Mona Lisa: someone called Lisa del Giocondo.


Does that change the picture? Perhaps not. But it does change what we know about the picture. It supports other evidence about the dating of the picture, thereby enabling us to place and understand it more precisely in the chronological context of da Vinci's work. And it arguably undermines certain theories as to the meaning of the portrait - it has been suggested that it was not based on anyone in particular, but was a fictionalised depiction of an ideal woman, as the link notes.
  • 42. NewFallFan | 19/11/2021
Sigh...some folks on this blog are entirely too literal, pedantic, and humorless. I have an overwhelming gut feeling that MES would have rolled his eyes in derision at this place and the way his lyrics are pored over and hyper-analyzed with such haughty confidence. That was never his bag (thus I'm sure why he could care less about his albums containing a lyric sheet.) I remember reading somewhere that for the most part he was just "taking the piss" and he wanted people to remember the humor in his songs more than anything.
  • 43. NewFallFan | 19/11/2021
Why does 'Bull's Blood' have to necessarily refer to an actual brand somewhere? I can totally envision someone calling their favorite red wine "bull"s blood" as just a silly name to call some cheapo 5 Buck Chuck they always have on hand. She called it bull's blood...if Bull's Blood was an actual brand or everybody knew it as that I don't think MES would have fashioned the lyric as "that wine you call bull's blood." It's as if that was Hilary's pet name for her drink of choice. Okay so how's that for pedantic...?
  • 44. Gary | 21/11/2021
Dannyno. I largely agree with your comments I draw a different boundary on intrusion I guess.
Newfallfan. Bulls Blood was/is a Hungarian red wine. Simple as that.
  • 45. dannyno | 05/12/2021
NewFallFan. It's not obvious to me why we should care what MES might have thought.
  • 46. dannyno | 07/12/2021
Comment #43, NewFallFan.

"And that wine you call bull's blood"

There are at least two wines that are called "bull's blood". It's entirely fine for this site to point that out. Must the line be referring to a particular brand? No. But the existence of brands with that name should be noted. It's an entirely plausible reading of the line to suggest that "you call" should be read as "you call", i.e. "the wine that you personally like to call..."

In fact, I think it probably should be read like that. If it was a brand, MES might have said "that wine they call..." But he didn't. On the other hand, maybe "you" and "they" just got altered.

Since we can't at this point adjudicate, and either reading makes sense, all we can do is note the possibilities and their implications. I can't see any grounds to object to being thorough in that way.

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