In The Park


Night though I do not sleep
I dream of the park up the road
I open the bushes, a couple of lovers
Trying to be lust-rockers
And although my spouse is in the other room
I think we can do it here
Yes, uh, and she makes me pay
For every girl I have the guts to look at
Anyway here, quiet here
You thought it'd be great
You thought it'd be great
But a good mind does not a good fuck make (1)

I take you to the park up the road
But here is the rain
Rain makes policemen no threat
Turns cars into little specks
Muffles the shouts of your neighbour
And we will have sex here
Here, here
Couch, shagged out
There's no hard-ons
It's just come and it's gone

I'm becoming everything I used to hate
But I can't go back there
Not back there, I can't go back there
Not back to the park
The brown monk ghost'll catch us
And make us lust-rockers
Make us wear huckleberry masks and, uh, huckleberry masks (2)
You sing you don't believe in [couples]
But I can't believe that
Especially the crap about the huckleberry masks



1. A refreshingly self-deprecating reversal of the ordinary, and cheap, imprecations one finds in contemporary punk lyrical efforts (compare the Anti-Nowhere league: "Your tits are big but your brains are small/Sometimes I wonder if you've brains at all/Woman/Ah stuff yourself"). The song seems to continually confuse the couch in the living room with the bushes in the park; it is possible that the action takes place in the living room while the protagonist fantaiszes he's in the park. In general, MES seems a little grossed out by what he's describing here, as the narrator goes on to declare "I'm becoming everything I used to hate."   


2. Reformation reproduces a helpful suggestion ("sic" throughout): 

According to Steve "Acton High Street", referring to the phrase Huckleberry masks, "in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Audrey Hepburn's character steals and later wears a mask of the Huckleberry Hound cartoon character. I would imagine that the contrast between the romantic ideas in the film and the darker ideas of both MES' lyric and Truman Capote's original story was in Smith's mind when he used this image." 

From BreconBorn:

40 minutes into the 1965 film Life at the Top, the main character puts on a Huckleberry Hound mask and goes upstairs to hear his wife having sex with a family friend. Shortly after this,we see the other man "open the bushes" looking for his dogs which have been let loose.


As for the "brown monk ghost," this could be a personification of the narrator's superego. Several orders of monks wear brown, and there are numerous legends of ghost monks--at least one from MES's neighborhood, as it happens (thanks to DJAsh at the Fall online forum):


Location: Manchester - Church Inn, Prestwich
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Mid twentieth century
Further Comments: The phantom monk who haunts the cellar under this public house occasionally cries out 'Hello!' in an attempt to gain attention.

Martin points out that there are several parks in this neighborhood.


Comments (16)

  • 1. Martin | 12/04/2017
The idea that the ghost mentioned is the one claimed to haunt the Church Inn seems to have quite some basis, given that there are parks nearby. It's also about a one-minute walk from the Church of St Mary the Virgin, which just might be the one referred to in Hexen Definitive.
  • 2. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017
Wow, this one hasn't been edited since 2013....pretty untouched by Annotated Fall standards.
  • 3. balddb1 | 30/01/2018
No opportunity to attach this to "Black Monk Theme II" (as THAT was a cover version), but the refrain of "Do it here" in that song seems to be a backward reference to this lyric.
Raging Ostler
  • 4. Raging Ostler | 18/02/2018
There's an interview somewhere in which MES talks about having seen the ghost of a monk in Heaton Park (can't find a link cos I can't remember which interview it was). His ghost-sniffing days were early on - certainly pre-Grotesque - so this seems likely to be the source of the monk in this song.
  • 5. bzfgt (link) | 19/02/2018
Yeah, if you can find that, or if anyone can, that would be very helpful.
  • 6. BreconBorn | 05/04/2018
40 minutes into the 1965 film 'Life at the Top', the main character puts on a Huckleberry Hound mask and goes upstairs to hear his wife having sex with a family friend. Shortly after this,we see the other man "open the bushes" looking for his dogs which have been let loose. Did MES ever mention this film in interviews?
  • 7. dannyno | 05/04/2018
BreconBorn, comment #6: no, he never mentioned Life at the Top as far as I know. Interesting to add another film to the list of those where Huckleberry masks feature - Breakfast at Tiffany's being the other one so far recorded in the notes.
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 07/04/2018
Really, Dan? You don't even know if it was on TV the week he wrote it...
  • 9. dannyno | 11/04/2018
That sounds like a challenge.

Breakfast at Tiffany's was shown on BBC2 on 1st March 1979. But The Fall were playing The Nashville Room, London, that night. There was a preview of the film the night before, however, so there would have been clips.

I can't find any records of Life at the Top being shown at all from about 1975-1980.

Obviously this doesn't prove whether or not MES saw either film around 1980. And he could have remembered the films, or seen them some other way.
  • 10. dannyno | 11/04/2018
Here's the Breakfast at Tiffany's scene:
  • 11. dannyno | 11/04/2018
The Life at the Top scene:
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 22/04/2018
Talk about burying the lede, this is a stunning concession:

" And he could have remembered the films,"
  • 13. George | 08/07/2020
This song is such a great rejoinder to these bloody awful celebrations by middle aged macho bores shamelessly lying about their “first time” cf. Bobby Goldsboro, Neil Diamond. Bob Seger tries to sneak one past with a bit of phoney gritty “realism” but he doesn’t fool me. “There's no hard-ons/ It's just come and it's gone” is a lot more honest than any number of soft porn crashing waves sequences!
Palmer Eldritch
  • 14. Palmer Eldritch | 07/08/2023
In a letter written to a friend in 1931, George Orwell recounts a meeting with what he thought was the ghost of a monk. No idea if Smith had read Orwell's letters, of course, but the line reminded me of this:

"I wasn’t looking directly at it and so couldn’t make out more than that it was a man’s figure, small and stooping, and dressed in lightish brown; I should have said a workman. I had the impression that it glanced towards me in passing, but I made out nothing of the features. At the moment of its passing I thought nothing, but a few seconds later it struck me that the figure had made no noise, and I followed it out into the churchyard. There was no one in the churchyard, and no one within possible distance along the road—this was about 20 seconds after I had seen it; and in any case there were only two people in the road, and neither at all resembled the figure."
  • 15. dannyno | 09/08/2023
Comment #14, Palmer Eldritch.

We don't really need Orwell because there is a local Prestwich ghost-monk legend which is clearly the reference.

However, let me just evaluate your comment for the sake of argument and thoroughness.

MES could certainly have read this letter (which was written to Dennis Collings, dated 16 August 1931). It was available in volume 1 of the Sonia Orwell edited four-volume collection The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell (1968). Anyway the story of Orwell's Walberswick "ghost" is well known and widely reprinted.

However, you say that in the letter "Orwell recounts a meeting with what he thought was the ghost of a monk."

This is false.

There is nothing in the passage quoted that indicates that, although the incident occurred in a churchyard, Orwell thought the "ghost" was that of a monk. In fact he specifically says "I should have said a workman".

I looked up the the full text of the letter, just in case. There is no mention of a monk in it at all.

So if MES had read Orwell's letter, he would not have derived the idea of a ghostly monk from it.
Neil Anderson
  • 16. Neil Anderson | 26/08/2023
You say you don't believe in....'kobolds'?

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