Lucifer Over Lancashire

Lyrics

["What I'm saying to you really, is that the training that you must have in discussion at your own level regarding the existence of God is far greater than everybody that's ringing you tonight."
"I have to disagree, I don't have any training at all of that sort..."
"So..."]  (1)

Sussex man
Under a tall tower
Break it to him
Like I'm breakin' it to you: gently
The nice people
Will remind you, oh yeah
Kicking, white, cheerleader
When the tired cheerleader... (2)

Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire

Lucifer over Lancashire (3)

The blackbirds
Shake the hedges
On this, 
The hottest day for ages
Was that monsoon
Doctor, doctor hit the needle
Can be discounted
No longer

Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire

Lucifer over Lancashire

I tell you no lies
Completely blind
Are the sentinel's eyes
At the back of his mind
This demon's hip (4)
The demon's grip
He took over everywhere
And his blitz
Now over here
And the sky moves on
His cock-eyed moon (5)
A useless priest
Under your power

Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire

Monstrous kiss
Wet dagger
...

 

Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire
Lucifer over Lancashire

Now I'm just flyin'
I'm flyin'
I'm typin'
I'm shinin'
I'm winnin'
I got this on
I'm a runnin shark
I'm winnin'
I'm shinin'...  (6)

 

 

Notes

1. This is from a radio call-in show, and the first voice is said to be that of Craig Scanlon (but see note 6 below). This segment appears on the single version of the song, which is the B-side of "Mr. Pharmacist," but is not included on the slightly different rendition on the 7" Vinyl Conflict 2.  

From the notes reproduced in the blue lyrics book:

Companion track 'LUCIFER OVER LANCASHIRE' would not fit onto [Handwritten: "Domesday Payoff"] but it is too good to store. The subject of much debate 'LUCIFER OVER LANCASHIRE' could refer to:

A. Recent Commie cloud and complaints of aching bones in the health-conscious Fall camp.  [Dan suggests this may be a reference to the April 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, which puts me in mind of the obvious pun on Domesday/Doomsday--BZFGT]

B. The Erasure of manners and good groups in that Holy county or:

C. A trailer for forthcoming Pashion Religious Whodunnit due December.

'I tell you no lies.

Completely blind/are the Sentinels
Eyes/At the back of his mind/

This demon's hip'.

Dan submits:

From On The Wire radio interview by Steve Barker, transcribed and reprinted in The Pseud Mag, issue 12, Oct/Nov 2006. pp.12-16: Steve Barker: That Lucifer Over Lancashire? - was that a kind of newspaper article thing that originated that? MES: No that newspaper article was a local story about a doctor.. but erm... I was stuck for a cover fro the back and this free newspaper came through the door and it was just perfect. SB: Free papers are wonderful things. MES: Yeah they're an exercise in trash writing... It's like find the news, innit? SB: You needn't actually read anything! 

(The cover of the single is a photo of the front page of a newspaper that reads "Former Mayor In 'Zombie' Casi[...]")

Also from Dan:

The origins of this song seem to go back well before 1986. In a letter to Tony Friel dated 2 August 1977, MES refers to various new songs, including one entitled "Lucifer Over Manchester". So it's possible some of the lyrics date back that far too.

[See the comments below for more.]

^

2. The cheerleader here is probably meant as a sort of stock horror movie victim. It is a typical MES stratagem to pen fragmentary lyrics like this, where we are forced to use our imagination to fill in the details. As usual when MES turns his attention to diabolical matters, the lyrics are somewhat humorous and draw on stereotypes.   

Mark hears "Shaking white cheerleader/Wan untanned cheerleader" ("wan" is then pronounces to rhyme with "tan").

^

3. Lancashire is a county in northwest England. Pendle Hill in Lancashire was the site of the famous 17th century Pendle witch trials, which resulted in 11 people being hanged for witchcraft, some of whom had freely confessed to selling their souls to the devil. In this period, Lancashire had a large number of witch trials relative to the rest of England. Today, Pendle's tourist industry is largely based around a witch motif. In the 1980s a local vicar attempted to have a large cross erected on Pendle Hill to stave off what he saw as an epidemic of devil worshipers there; he was denied a permit, but the episode was the basis of a 1987 BBC documentary called Lucifer Over Lancashire, names after the Fall song. The vicar, one Reverend Kevin Logan, claimed that there were around 30 covens of witches in the vicinity of Pendle Hill, and to this day many local Christians see the area as a hotbed of devil worship, perhaps influenced in part by an image that is embraced by local business as a source of tourist revenue.  ^

4. As befits a tourist attraction, Lucifer has an attractive veneer of modernity, which is perhaps calculated to influence his victims to let their guard down...  

^

5. Under the Cock-Eyed Moon is a movie from 1930, although I don't know anything else about it. Dan points out that the deviation of the moon's orbit from the line of the equator has caused it to sometimes be called "the cock-eyed moon." And he finds a use of the term in fiction, but the reference he gives is from 2008, and I haven't found evidence that it's a common phrase.

^

6. Captain's Log, Supplemental:

A pesky gentleman named supposedly named "Andy Yates" (clearly a pseudonym!) has helpfully pointed out that we don't really know that the interviewed voice is that of Scanlon (see note 1 above), and made some interesting speculative remarks in the process:

Some doubt has been cast on The Mighty Fall Facebook page as to whether the first voice is indeed that of Craig Scanlon. In the same thread, poster Andy Yates has this to say:

"So... why does no one know what the 'excerpt' is taken from? I am presuming it's not Mark, either? I was digging for a slant on the 'meanings' in the song itself. The lyrics are interesting, but unusually cryptic, in not necessarily relating to any specific 'theme.' Was it to do with...Lancashire council using the 'witches' theme as a marketing campaign in every possible scenario? - rail, bus routes, road names and glossy tourist shpeel[sic]? Was it to do with the bloke who failed in getting planning permission to erect a dobber great cross on the top of Pendle Hill? Was it to do with the programme made for BBC of same name ? - which explored the supposed 'highest volume of satanists in Europe' in East Lancashire ?'"

 

^

Comments (33)

Martin
  • 1. Martin | 28/01/2014

I think "black birds" should be one word, "blackbirds", as in the species of that animal. Evidently they often nest in hedges: one example given here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/expert/previous/hedges.aspx

bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 15/02/2014

Surely you are correct.

bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 15/02/2014

Any idea what he says after "Useless priest?" "Under your power" is not correct.

Also "When the tired cheerleader" seems to be wrong.

I found a whole section I didn't have before right before the last "Lucifer over Lancashire" refrain. I hear the first two lines of this section as "Monstrous kiss/Wet dagger..." Do you have any idea what the rest is?

Mark
  • 4. Mark | 02/07/2014

Using this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdiu3qzlH00) as a reference:

1)Think the "cheerleader" bit is "Shaking white cheerleader / Wan untanned cheerleader"
2) "Saw six men" or "Sussex man"?

dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 16/07/2014

I've been researching who the evangelist on the radio might be. Clearly an American, so if they were visiting the country that would have been still unusual at that time. I might be wrong, could be an American living in Britain. But it could have been Jim Wallis, who arrived in Britain in June for a month's tour. However, I don't know that he visited Manchester or Lancashire more broadly.

dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 13/09/2014

The "cock-eyed moon" is a thing: http://whassupinthemilkyway.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/cockeyed-moon-listing-earth-part-one.html

And I'm hearing "Sussex men" at the moment.

TamFrmGlsgw
  • 7. TamFrmGlsgw | 04/12/2014

I've just purchased an original copy of the Beggars Banquet 12" single of Mr. Pharmacist which is actually paired with Lucifer Over Lancashire as a double A-side, the B-side in fact being Auto Tech Pilot. Also, this version does indeed include the opening radio show extract.
Perhaps there have been other releases, but I'm based in the U.K.and I'm pretty sure this is the first appearance of this song as a single. The catalogue number for this single is BEG 168 (T).

Gus
  • 8. Gus (link) | 08/04/2015

I would understand blackbirds as papist priests, and the shaking of the hedges as papist priests stirring up armed men for some witch trials.

But I am not from the UK myself, Blackbirds could also be Anglican Priests. And I don't know whether you acknowledge Anglican priests as papists, although the King James translation is a sometimes very papist translation compared to Dutch Bible translations.

Lucifer leads romanism, or said otherwise, the churches that do not follow the scripture, but commit to papist Sunday worship.
But I am not sure that MES would mean that, because he doesn't know these things, I suppose.

The lyrics make perfect sense to me, Lucifer over Lancashire tells me about, what I just said, papist Blackbirds stirring op hedges of armed men for witch trails. The hypocrisy of the churches is Luciferian.

Only question I have, how does MES know this?
Is is from poetry and playing with the words?
It will be like that.

dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 19/02/2016

From On The Wire radio interview by Steve Barker, transcribed and reprinted in The Pseud Mag, issue 12, Oct/Nov 2006. pp.12-16:


Steve Barker: That Lucifer Over Lancashire? - was that a kind of newspaper article thing that originated that?

MES: No that newspaper article was a local story about a doctor.. but erm... I was stuck for a cover fro the back and this free newspaper came through the door and it was just perfect.

SB: Free papers are wonderful things.

ES: Yeah they're an exercise in trash writing... It's like find the news, innit?

SB: You needn't actually read anything!

Joseph Holt
  • 10. Joseph Holt | 08/03/2016

'Saw six men' surely? Some kind of covern/ gathering.

bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 19/03/2016

Could be, but maybe not. Hard to adjudicate this one.

dannyno
  • 12. dannyno | 25/03/2016

"Under the cock-eyed moon", 1930 film:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0830690/

The Tree of Life: A Novel about Life in the Lodz Ghetto
Chawa Rosenfarb.
1985


Above hung the clownish face of the cock-eyed moon, with a slice of cloud over it...

dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 13/05/2016

From note 1:

"Recent Commie cloud"

presumably refers to Chernobyl disaster of April 1986: i.e. cloud of radioactivity.

dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 17/08/2016

The origins of this song seem to go back well before 1986.

In a letter to Tony Friel dated 2 August 1977 [several letters were briefly available on Friel's website], MES refers to various new songs, including one entitled "Lucifer Over Manchester". So it's possible some of the lyrics date back that far too.

dannyno
  • 15. dannyno | 17/08/2016

Sorry, forgot to link to a copy of the letter:
http://dangerousminds.net/comments/becoming_a_hermit_solves_nothing_the_falls_mark_e._smith_writes_tony_friel

dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 17/08/2016

In a previous letter, dated 28 October 1976, MES mentions having read "The Omen", which he says made him read The Bible, specifically Revelation. The film was released in the summer of 1976, and the first novel, by David Seltzer, was published shortly beforehand - i.e. it was a movie tie-in rather than the film being an adaptation of the novel.

Given this, perhaps "Lucifer Over Manchester/Lancashire" is based on, or inspired by, The Omen (or i suppose The Bible/Revelation).

If so, then perhaps the lines

"Sussex man
Under a tall tower"

.. although questioned in the comments, could actually be "Sussex man", because bits of The Omen were filmed at Guildford Cathedral, in Surrey...

dannyno
  • 17. dannyno | 17/08/2016

Here's the scene at Guildford Cathedral
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO3KlIShoHo

dannyno
  • 18. dannyno | 17/08/2016

I mean, obviously Surrey is not Sussex. I'm not saying that. Although MES could have got the county wrong. The point is it's a tower.

Alright, so it's a bit thin.

dannyno
  • 19. dannyno | 17/08/2016

Or even, while I'm on my search for increasingly desperate connections "Sussex man", if that's what it is, could also refer to the occultist Alex Sanders. He lived in Manchester in the 1960s before moving to London in 1968 and to Hastings, Sussex in the mid 1970s. He died I think in 1988.

http://www.controverscial.com/Alex%20Sanders.htm

dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 17/08/2016

"Completely blind
Are the sentinel's eyes"

Could be a reference to the Michael Winner film "The Sentinel", released in early 1977.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sentinel_(1977_film)


Alison learns that the building is owned by a secret society of excommunicated Catholic priests and is a gateway to Hell. The blind priest is the guardian who ensures that the demons do not escape. The priest is nearing the end of his life, and a new guardian is needed. The society has chosen Alison because her two suicide attempts qualify her as the perfect candidate. She is told that she must pay for her sins by becoming the next Sentinel, and only by doing so she will be allowed into Heaven.

dannyno
  • 21. dannyno | 20/02/2017

Comment #9. I realise that people may not necessarily understand the newspaper article reference. What Steve Barker is talking about the cover art for the Mr Pharmacist/Lucifer Over Lancashire single:

Image

Martin
  • 22. Martin | 27/02/2017

Some doubt has been cast on The Mighty Fall Facebook page as to whether the first voice is indeed that of Craig Scanlon.

In the same thread, poster Andy Yates has this to say:

"So... why does no one know what the 'excerpt' is taken from?
I am presuming it's not Mark either ?
I was digging for a slant on the 'meanings' in the song itself.
The lyrics are interesting, but unusually cryptic, in not necessarily relating to any specific 'theme' .
Was it to do with ...
. Lancashire council using the 'witches' theme as a marketing campaign in every possible scenario? - rail, bus routes, road names and glossy tourist shpeel?
. Was it to do with the bloke who failed in getting planning permission to erect a dobber great cross on the top of Pendle Hill ?
. Was it to do with the programme made for BBC of same name ? - which explored the supposed
' highest volume of satanists in Europe' in East Lancashire ?"

bzfgt
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017

Has this Andy Yates said something else useful recently, it seems familiar. Anyway the bastard's right, isn't he? We don't know for sure. And why isn't he one of us, if he's taken this kind of interest in Fall lyrics? You'd almost have to be in an alternate reality to ask these kind of questions and not find our little universe.

bzfgt
  • 24. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017

Regulars will note that I shamelessly edit their comments when quoting them, but since Andy Yates is not here I felt I had to reproduce it almost verbatim. Although I edited the worst of the punctuation, some of what I left in is giving me fits, and I even had to "sic" him once.

Nevertheless he should be found and recruited.

dannyno
  • 25. dannyno | 03/03/2017

My note 5: I found out today that Jim Wallis does seem to have visited Manchester during his 1986 tour of the UK. His visit was certainly newsworthy, with articles in several newspapers and appearances on national TV and radio.

I have attempted to contact Wallis to see if he can confirm whether or not it is his voice. Wish me luck.

dannyno
  • 26. dannyno | 03/03/2017

Comment #5, not note #5. Doh.

dannyno
  • 27. dannyno | 03/03/2017

I got a response from the guy who looks after Jim Wallis's email.

He says:


I'm sorry, I can tell by listening to the clip that this is not Rev. Wallis' voice. Good luck on your search to find who it might be!


Well, the search continues!

bzfgt
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017

Wow, bummer. Even worse if maybe the guy's only been there for 10 years and doesn't realize Wallis sounded like that in the 90s...I think that would be a worst-case type of scenario.

dannyno
  • 29. dannyno | 04/03/2017

That did occur to me. But nothing to be done.

He was the best candidate so far discovered; was in the country at the right time, got lots of coverage, seems to have visited Manchester. So at least we've got him in the comments just in case.

Alan
  • 30. Alan | 17/03/2017

I think the single version DOES have the radio clip and the Vinyl Conflict 2 version doesn't. The latter was also on Backdrop.

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

Thank you, Alan. The only version I have is not marked, it's on a compilation someone made for me. So I switched it, I trust you or someone else will let me know if this turns out to be wrong.

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

It's on the 234003i9i4w9u B-Sides version, which logic suggests would be the single.

dannyno
  • 33. dannyno | 27/04/2017

Re: versions. The Vinyl Conflict version - which I don't have - is included on the Backdrop compilation - which I do have: it doesn't have the radio snippet. And yes, 458489 B's would be the single version, which does have the radio snippet.

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