Ivanhoe's Two Pence

Lyrics

 

(My name is Ivanhoe
Ivanhoe? There was a time when I used to know a boy called Ivanhoe
That was many years ago. A fine lad.
Are you speaking of Ivanhoe the Norman?
That's the one, yes.) (1)

Dropped some money down there
And it's only two pence
If you are a light and dark knight
How can you turn from your happy plight

You cannot feel
Look there doctor
Any time of night
Any time of day

And you disown
One thousand three hundred and four
Two pence
It's only
Two pence

And its only
Two pence
Two pence

In the gut of Mammon
You used patient's credit card (2)
To steal one billion
How can I return
In happy plight
When I'm debarred
The benefit of rest (3)

And look over
It's only
Two pence
It's only 
Two pence

It's only
Two pence

Got from 
Got yourself
Former
Got yourself into the former battle
Got yourself into the former battle
The happy passes

And the standing cup fills (4)

You dropped some money down there
You could pay to
Smitten in two
Only two fucking pence
You used patient's credit card 
To steal one thousand three one million credit
Ivanhoe
You little

It's only two pence

 

Notes

1. Ivanhoe is an 1820 novel by Sir Walter Scott, set in 1194 when much of the English nobility was Norman; Wilfred of Ivanhoe, however, was a Saxon rather than a Norman. The book was made into a movie several times, and Dan, after an extensive search, was able to identify the source:

"It's from, I'm confident, an Italian film entitled "La spada normanna", and the dialogue we hear must be the English dubbed version ("Ivanhoe, the Norman Swordsman"). This leaves some questions unanswered, i.e. whose voices do we hear? But at least now we know the source."

The story of Ivanhoe (which is, apparently, a bit different from La Spada Normanna, mentioned above) runs about as follows: King Richard the Lionheart is kidnapped when returning from the Crusades, and Ivanhoe, a knight, searches for him and finally finds him being held for ransom by Leopold of Austria. He eventually saves the king (and Elizabeth Taylor into the bargain, whom he loves with the doomy love of a mortally wounded knight). Beyond its connection to the movie, which is thematically limited, the story seems to involve a dishonest doctor and sums of money both large and small. In typical Fall fashion, we are presented with the skeleton of a story that could be fleshed out any number of ways.

In a recent interview, Hanley points out that this is his 100th, and final, songwriting credit on a Fall track (thanks to Dan).

^

2. From Dan:

In May 1996, Lucy McLauchlan - a nurse at King's Cross Hospital, Dundee - was sacked for gross misconduct following allegations of credit card fraud. Her parents claimed she left because the AIDS unit in which she worked closed down, but it seemed Lucy lied to them - she was due in court for using a credit card stolen from a patient (plus 10 other charges) in January 1997.  

In December 1996, an Australian nurse - Yvonne Gilford - was murdered in Saudi Arabia. She was stabbed to death at the King Fahad Medical Military Centre in Dhahran. It was rumoured (and denied) that she acted as a loan shark and that several nurses owed her money. One Lucy McLauchlan was charged with her murder, along with Deborah Parry. 

McLauchlan's Scottish trial was duly postponed.  

Both nurses were found guilty. Parry confessed. McLaughlan faced 8 years in prison and 500 lashes but was released by the Saudi King after 18 months and spared the lash. She returned home in May 1998, maintaining her innocence.

In July 1998 it was reported that McLauchlan was suspected of having forged references to secure her Saudi job.

Her fraud trial recommenced in the Autumn of 1998. Camera footage of her using a cash machine was produced to undermine her alibi. She was convicted and served a community sentence and was also struck off the nursing register.

In 2011, McLauchlan (by now going under her married name Lucille Ferrie, although separated from the fiancee she married after her release from Saudi prison) was again convicted to credit card fraud, receiving two years probation after the judge accepted reports that her experiences in Saudi Arabia and affected her.  

In January 2014, McLauchlan suffered a brain haemorrhage - she died after her life support machine was turned off.

The whole story is a tragic one, but I feel like the early bits found their way into some of the lyrics of this song.

^

 

3. This is almost a direct quote of Shakespeare's 28th sonnet, which reads "How can I then return in happy plight, that am debarred the benefit of rest."

^

4. A standing-cup was a tall decorative cup used in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Dan has found some information on the customs surrounding the standing-cup, for instance:

Far back along the ages it was the custom to pass a large cup round the company, each in turn drinking to one or more of the others present. The man who drank stood up and held the cup with both hands. By so doing he exposed himself to a dagger thrust. To protect him from treachery the man next to him also stood, to be his pledge or as we would say, be responsible for his safety, indicating his willingness to pledge the other by raising his sword to defend him while drinking. It is this custom that is observed in modified form at the passing of the ceremonial cup to the present time.

At important dinners held in the halls of Livery Companies, after the dinner and grace is said, the master and the wardens of the Company drink to their guests; then the cup is passed round the table, each guest drinking from the cup, wiping the rim with his napkin and passing it to his neighbor.

^

 

Comments (14)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 22/07/2014
Note 1: "the dialogue here is recorded from the 1952 version"-

No it isn't. I've just watched the entire film from beginning to end, and can definitively report that it is not the source of the dialogue.
dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 21/09/2014
I think I found the source of the dialogue at the beginning of the song:
http://z1.invisionfree.com/thefall/index.php?showtopic=37501&view=findpost&p=22401911

It's from, I'm confident, an Italian film entitled "La spada normanna", and the dialogue we hear must be the English dubbed version ("Ivanhoe, the Norman Swordsman").

This leaves some questions unanswered, i.e. whose voices do we hear?

But at least now we know the source.
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 22/09/2014
Note 1: the plot of La spada normanna is not the same as the plot of any of the versions of Ivanhoe.
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 22/09/2014
"If you are a light and dark knight"

Chess pieces?

Batman?
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 22/09/2014
"And the standing cup fills"

Standing cups are medieval drinking vessels with various ceremonial and other associations:
http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/english-standing-cups/
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 18/03/2015
According to Hanley, in a recent podcast (https://soundcloud.com/pope-on-a-rope/podcast-steve-hanley-the-fall), this was both his hundredth and final Fall song credit.
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 22/06/2015
New youtube video clip for "Ivanhoe the Norman swordsman" since the old one is inaccessible now:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf3hbE6gaoY&feature=youtu.be&t=19m00s
dannyno
  • 8. dannyno | 24/12/2015
"You used patient's credit card"

In May 1996, Lucy McLauchlan - a nurse at King's Cross Hospital, Dundee - was sacked for gross misconduct following allegations of credit card fraud. Her parents claimed she left because the AIDS unit in which she worked closed down, but it seemed Lucy lied to them - she was due in court for using a credit card stolen from a patient (plus 10 other charges) in January 1997.

In December 1996, an Australian nurse - Yvonne Gilford - was murdered in Saudi Arabia. She was stabbed to death at the King Fahad Medical Military Centre in Dhahran. It was rumoured (denied) she acted as a loan shark and that several nurses owed her money. One Lucy McLauchlan was charged with her murder along with Deborah Parry.

McLaughlan's Scottish trial was duly postponed.

Both nurses were found guilty. Parry confessed. McLaughlan faced 8 years in prison and 500 lashes but was released by the Saudi King after 18 months and spared the lash. She returned home in May 1998, maintaining her innocence.

In July 1998 it was reported that McLaughlan was suspected of having forged references to secure her Saudi job.

Her fraud trial recommenced in the Autumn of 1998. Camera footage of her using a cash machine was produced to undermine her alibi. She was convicted and served a community sentence and was also struck off the nursing register.

In 2011, McLaughlan (by now going under her married name Lucille Ferrie, although separated from the fiancee she married after her release from Saudi prison) was again convicted to credit card fraud, receiving two years probation after the judge accepted reports that her experiences in Saudi Arabia and affected her.

In January 2014, McLaughlan suffered a brain haemorrhage - she died after her life support machine was turned off.

The whole story is a tragic one, but I feel like the early bits found their way into some of the lyrics of this song.
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 27/12/2015
Wow, a billion on a credit card is hardly realistic, although there must have been a pile as her partner paid 750,000 pounds to get out of a death sentence...anyway I didn't read much about it, I'm assuming your whole comment is relevant and I stuck it up there entire. Not sure if I should have but it's too late and I'm too loopy now to do anything about it. Anyway let me know if anything else matches up, the lyrics are still enigmatic.

If you are a light and dark knight
How can you turn from your happy plight

is somehow great. And a good example in the next stanza of how he turns phrases around, and very much, in general, exemplary of the way he uses words here:

How can I return
In happy plight
When I'm debarred
The benefit of rest

I feel like there is another source or another key that lets more of this out into the light but I have no clue where to look for it.
dannyno
  • 10. dannyno | 28/12/2015
"Happy plight" is a peculiar phrase.
dannyno
  • 11. dannyno | 28/12/2015
... obviously I know it comes from Shakespeare. But it's still very Fallesque, isn't it?
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt | 05/01/2016
I forgot it was Shakespeare (I had to control-F my own notes when you said that!). But it is in keeping with the duality of "light and dark knight," and isn't conceptually incoherent due to what we think we know of human psychology...

Actually it's amazing how much of the stuff in my notes I have no idea about, I find when you get that much information up in 3 years time you can't really remember much of it...
Edward Cooper
  • 13. Edward Cooper | 14/04/2016
But why the 'two pence'? There is no mention of any two pence in the novel - unless I missed it
dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 19/02/2017
No idea.

Well, in the lyric the "two pence" just seems to have been dropped by somebody. It may just be that the title conflates different elements of the lyric that are not in fact connected.

We don't actually know the significance of "Ivanhoe" to the lyric at all, other than the film sample at the beginning.

p.s. in relation to "light and dark night", seems like a corruption of the 28th sonnet:

"When day's oppression is not eas'd by night,
But day by night and night by day oppressed,"

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