Marquis Cha-Cha



Marquis Cha-Cha!

He can never go home
He can never go home




Comments (50)

  • 1. dannyno | 02/03/2014
Weirdly, this text misses out the very first line of the song. Just before "He can never go home", MES declaims "Marquis Cha-cha!"

  • 2. dannyno | 02/03/2014
And I'm hearing "Brit in a bar", not "the bar"

  • 3. dannyno | 02/03/2014
I'm also hearing (and despite the Orange lyrics book in some cases):

"Now, his show", not "Now here is his show"

"Hey, you people back over there", not "Hey you people over there"

"Has been theirs for years", not "It has been..."

"Heard talk about by chance" not "I heard"

"Educated kids know what they're on about" not "You educated kids know what you're on about", which changes the meaning somewhat.

"Hear rosso-rossos" or even "Hey rosso-rossos" not "I hear rosso-rosso". Should rosso-rossos be rosso-rosso's even. Like, he means "Rosso-rosso is over there"? or "Hello you rosso-rossos over there"? Anyway, it's definitely not "I hear".

And then, "and you have cha-cha clubs". I'm not so sure it sounds like "clubs". Could just be "And you have have cha-cha-chas". I've listened back several times and I'm not sure.

And then the next line, rendered here as "You should hear the rosso-rosso stuff". I don't think it's that at all. I can't make it out though.

Then around "There's a bayonet beside my head" the music goes darker and harder, and after "annex" there's an echo'd scream of "No!" which should be recorded here.

After the last "Marquis cha cha" here, you need the following:

"He can never go home
He can never go home
He can never go home
He can never go home
He can never go home
He can never go home
He can never go home
He can never go home

Marquis Cha-Cha

He can never go home

The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso
The scourge of rosso-rosso"

I can't hear "He never did go home" anywhere in the song.

  • 4. bzfgt | 11/03/2014
Yes to most of that. I wouldn't usually put a repeated line in that many times, but I'm tired and I just cut and pasted yours at the end. I hope you counted right...
  • 5. dannyno | 06/06/2014
The name "Hernandez Fiendish" has been bothering me for years, always felt I'd heard it somewhere before.

I finally figured it out.

It reminds me of Leo Baxendale's comic character Grimly Feendish.

I wouldn't be suprised if it's a deliberate call-back to that.
  • 6. dannyno | 06/06/2014
"And you have cha-cha clubs"

There was a Cha Cha Club in London, behind Charing Cross Station. It was very trendy.
  • 7. bzfgt | 15/06/2014
Got any info on that? I could only find it in a bio of an artist named Stephen Willats which implies that the club was only open for a few months, and doesn't say exactly when:

Willats later met the main protagonists of the Cha Cha Club, Scarlet and Michael, by chance in the studio of a friend he was also working with. They introduced him to the matt-black painted railway arches in Hungerford Lane below Charing Cross station where on one night per week they operated a club with a strict admission policy typified by Scarlet's question ‘Are you good enough for the Cha Cha?’. Willats recalls this as a particularly exciting moment in the punk movement's establishment of its own cultural boundaries. Several such clubs existed; the Cha Cha was among the most well known and its visitors included George O'Dowd (Boy George, the leader of the popular music group, Culture Club). The club was observed in operation over several months, virtually its whole life. Willats began fearfully, sitting in the corner and observing, continued by explaining and then photographing the participants and completed the work by collecting the debris from the floor and taking it back to his studio.
  • 8. Mark | 16/06/2014
"Cha-Cha" is a play on "Thatcher", too?
Adam O
  • 9. Adam O | 23/06/2014
Great site! I always heard the line in the second verse as follows: "The generals have many enemies/And they're my single out/What does this concern me about?" , implying that the generals are the only ones that can save him, but why should he worry? Foreshadowing, maybe?
Adam O
  • 10. Adam O | 23/06/2014
Sorry, should have been "What does it concern me about?" for the last line....
  • 11. bzfgt | 24/06/2014
Mark: Maybe, I gave it a mention up top.

Adam: that would make sense, but two things keep me from adopting it: 1. I hear "them I single out" on repeated listens, although admittedly it could be hard to tell the difference with MES's accent; and 2. the orange lyrics book has the line as it is above. The lyrics books often vary from the words as sung, but these two factors, along with the fact that this line also makes sense--he singles them out on his program for criticism or whatever--makes me loath to change the transcription.
curtis e. winter
  • 12. curtis e. winter | 19/04/2015
I always thought that the line "You should hear the rosso-rosso stuff" was "you can hear a real rasta sound system". It doesn't seem to fit perfectly in the meaning of the song, but (knowing hardly anything about reggae etc) I initially heard those words without knowing what a "sound system" means in the Jamaican context...
  • 13. dannyno | 17/01/2016
"Red Rosso" was the nickname of the militant Rossington Colliery, South Yorkshire:

This may or may not be remotely relevant.
  • 14. Sumsiadad | 25/01/2016
You know your radio has been jammed
Heard talk about by chance
Educated kids know what they're on about

This is a reference to the then current BBC Radio 1 show, Talkabout, which travelled round the UK to schools and colleges allowing young people to discuss current affairs. But you should know all this because it's also mentioned in the song "Fortress"!
  • 15. bzfgt | 12/03/2016
Hey, do you have references or information? I can't find any real info on "Talkabout" via Google, and I'm American, I never heard of these type of things (the main reason I started this site).

Fortress: are you saying that's what went on in CH-101103340281? Talkabout was filmed there, or somewhere that this looks like it's alluding to anyway? I need more!
  • 16. bzfgt | 12/03/2016
Oops, sorry, I do already have that in the Fortress notes, I went and did CTRL-F but the page must not have been loaded yet, so I thought I didn't have it.
  • 17. cupboards | 01/03/2017
in the part about the bar, he says "briton at a bar" i say this without the song on
  • 18. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017
It's ambiguous whether he says that or stumbles a little but I put it in, it's as likely as not you're right. Definitely not "at" though.
  • 19. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017
I'd like to hear other opinions if anyone thinks this is important, for instance Dan with the concordance. My ears are less reliable than most and cupboards isn't even listening to it right now.
  • 20. dannyno | 04/03/2017
I've got it as "Brit in a bar" in my concordance at the moment. There is a catch in there though which could be heard as "Briton in a bar." I've listened to all the versions I have and he seems to sing it that way each time. So I don't know, it's unclear.
  • 21. bzfgt (link) | 19/03/2017
I'm not sure but I'm frightened of what cupboard may do if I cross him. Sorry about the concordance issues, I probably undercut you several times a month.
  • 22. dannyno | 19/03/2017
Sometimes we can have consensus, but at the end of the day we have to do what we each think is right.
  • 23. bzfgt (link) | 23/03/2017
Maybe but if you think you hear something different always point it out because my own ears are not in the upper tier of ears around here.
Dr X O'Skeleton
  • 24. Dr X O'Skeleton | 17/05/2017
I'm from a town called Mmm... Marquis Cha-Cha!
The Jam's Town Called Malice was topping the charts around the time RTL was released, iirc
  • 25. dannyno | 17/05/2017
Comment #24.

Incorrect. "Town Called Malice" was released on 29 January 1982 and was #1 for three weeks from February. "Room To Live" was released 27 September 1982, and this song debuted in Australia in July 1982.

I would think it's an avoidance of saying "Manchester", but it's not impossible there's a double reference.

Don't know if the line was sung like that from the start: "Town Called Malice" refers to "Town Called Alice", which of course is Australian.
  • 26. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
Yeah, and there's "Town Called Crappy" too
  • 27. dannyno | 12/08/2017
Similarity to Iggy & The Stooges' "She Creatures of Hollywood Hills" noted in "The Biggest Library Yet", issue #18, January 2000, p6, article entitled "Notebooks Out", by Rob Waite.
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 16/09/2017
That's the riff, all right.
  • 29. dannyno | 08/10/2017
"Hernandez Fiendish"

The handout/press statement for "Room to Live" has a snippet of lyric which renders this as "Heranez Fiendish". So either we're mishearing, or "Heranez" is a misprint.
  • 30. dannyno | 08/10/2017
From the "Room to Live" handout/press statement:

Marquis CHA-CHA is The Falls' meagre contribution to the Atlantic war effort, but mainly the character here is the male equivalent of person in preceeding track [i.e Joker Hysterical Face - dannyno]. 'The U.K.'s fucked' they shout or hint painfully in Australian, Asian, London and Dutch drinking places and soulless houses everywhere. A Huge Black Dog bestrides their backs, to quote a psychic.
  • 31. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
I never heard the surname "Heranez" but it is one, apparently, from looking at Google.
It is unclear phonetically which it is.
The orange book has "Hernandez," and its being a more common name will have to tip it that way, at least for now.
Now there is a note so both are on the record.
  • 32. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
I zapped a "Danny," there can't be many of those left...
  • 33. Crow | 14/02/2018
I have often wondered if the ' scourge of Rosso Rosso' referred to Edmundo Ros, a Venezuelan/ Trinidadian band leader of the 1940s onwards,who made his career in Britain. His band specialised in traditional / saccharine ( delete according to taste) treatments of South American dance themes, of which the cha cha was of course one. His orchestra was omnipresent on Radio 2 in the 60s and 70s.I don't have the discography to hand, but at least one of his zillions of LPs had a cha cha title.

He rose from humble beginnings to ,among other things own The Coconut Grove Club on Regent Street,and he was a frequent beneficiary of royal patronage, thecsort of thing a young MES would have both raged against and found absurdly amusing.
  • 34. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
Very interesting, I am in no shape to evaluate it but I'm putting it in the notes!
  • 35. ROb | 24/11/2018
I was listening to the Sat Live version of this today, and MES clearly seems to say: "Good generals have many enemies"

This strikes me as a much more satisfying phrase - almost like an old saw, though it seems to be original to the song. It significantly changes the meaning, in that the narrator could be referring to himself (not some unspecified generals), implying that the fact he has many enemies means he is doing his job well; and then in the next line asking what distinguishes those that he gives specific attention to (singling out could, for instance, refer to specifically naming in his broadcasts).

It's less clear that he says "Good" in the recorded version - but it's not clear he says "the" either - the word is swallowed and stunted, so it could be either. I haven't listened to other live versions for comparison, but "good" improves the line so much that I would take it.

Of lesser consequence, I always heard "Although your radio has been jammed" (not "You know your radio has been jammed").
  • 36. dannyno | 29/11/2018
I've not listened again to see what I think about "the" vs "good" yet.

But do we think

"[The/good] generals have many enemies
And them I single out"

means that he singles out the generals, or that he singles out their enemies? And are the generals at home or in his adopted country?
  • 37. dannyno | 29/11/2018
It's not spelled out for us, but the most natural assumption would be that the key general in question is Galtieri, who was Argentinian president from December 1981 to June 1982 (i.e. the month before the first live performance of this song), when he was removed from power following Argentina's defeat in the Falklands War.

The line in questions perhaps indicates that, having thrown in his lot with the military regime, which has since been overthrown, the narrator now finds himself in a difficult position. Perhaps that's why there's a bayonet at his head and a guard in the annexe?

The song was only performed after the end of the war. I'm suggesting it was also written after the end of the war, and that the narrator's fate should be understood in a post-war context: this is a traitor in reflective mood, is it not?

Alternatively, in a House of Lords debate on 20 May 1982 (, Lord Thomas of Swynnerton (the historian Hugh Thomas) said:

"the present Government of Argentina has many enemies"

Since "the Generals" ruled Argentina at that point, it could be shorthand to say "The Generals have many enemies".

But I don't know (I might check) how much coverage the comment got at the time.
  • 38. dannyno | 29/11/2018
And so, my interpretation (and it is only an interpretation) perhaps differs from the line in note 1: "The story of the Marquis is set in Argentina during the Falklands (Malvinas) War in 1982."
  • 39. dannyno | 29/11/2018
By the way, the "Marquis Cha Cha"/Lord Haw Haw connection is particularly apposite, because the Lord Haw Haw most people have in mind was William Joyce, whose second wife Margaret was born in Manchester. Some of Joyce's broadcasts around the time of the Manchester blitz gave a lot of local detail.

See for example:

In a German propaganda radio broadcast, 'Lord Haw Haw' William Joyce has tauntingly declared: "The Manchester people have bought their turkeys for Christmas, but they won't be cooking them."
  • 40. Rob | 30/11/2018
My proposal was that there are no specific generals referred to here at all. 'Good generals have many enemies' would be an aphorism, like 'many hands make light work'. The meaning, in the mouth of the narrator, would be: 'I have many enemies and this means that I am leading a good offensive'. It's specific enemies that are singled out, not generals.

It's the Saturday Live recording where the line most clearly seems to be sung this way. Other times, not much or at even all. Then again, MES is not generally precious about rendering his best lines right.
  • 41. dannyno | 01/12/2018
Rob: I get what you mean. The problem I have with interpreting "[good/the] generals have many enemies" aphoristically is that it's not actually an aphorism. Granted that it possibly sounds like one, but it isn't - so I don't think we have textual permission to treat it like one.
  • 42. Rob | 02/12/2018
An aphorism can be an original observation - it's not the same as a cliche (unless it catches on). MES throws out many such nuggets: you don't have to be weird to be weird.

Anyway, just sharing, as this new facet made a much more interesting line for me, and because there's a prominent version on which it seems to be sung this way - the Saturday Live version (29 Sep 1984) e.g. on non-Peel session comp 'On The Wireless' :
  • 43. dannyno | 03/12/2018
I take your point.

But "you don't have to be weird to be weird" comes from Captain Beefheart, of course.
  • 44. Rob | 04/12/2018
Of course! (I had forgotten - evidently not reading annotated fall footnotes to totally wired regularly enough.)
  • 45. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
Dan, I think you're confusing "aphorism" with "proverb."

All these ideas are really good. But it does seem like the country being ruled by a junta of generals would be significant, and make a metaphorical reading of "generals" less likely.

Dan, if it's post-war, would he still be broadcasting? I guess right after makes sense, the guard and bayonet just came in...
  • 46. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
OK, I think I've done all I can do with this for now. I don't personally know shit about this stuff, but I'm not sure researching it right now is fruitful, the indicated directions are there, and that's probably sufficient unless a smoking pistol falls in our lap.
  • 47. bzfgt (link) | 15/12/2018
What the fuck...the site classed my own comment as spam and I had to go release it....obviously a flawed system.
  • 48. dannyno | 07/03/2020
Coming back after a couple of years to my post-war interpretation (above), I don't now think it stand up. Not that anyone thought it did! The lyric itself seems clearly enough set during the war. However, I think the fact the song seems to have been written post-war gives the lyric a layer of irony that shouldn't be ignored.
  • 49. SRH | 23/02/2021
Note that the phrase "THE SCOURGE OF 'ROSSO-Rosso'" appears on the press release for Hex Enduction Hour dated March '82, below the line "IST: HEXEN-BILE, HEXEN CURSES". The Falklands War started on 2 April '82 so the phrase predated the conflict as well as this song.
  • 50. Ivan | 24/08/2021
Love the 'cha-cha' = 'Thatcher' idea.

Why not take it further?

'Marquis Cha-Cha' sounds very like 'Maggie Thatcher'.

In everyday conversation she was never called 'Margaret'. It was always 'Maggie' or 'Thatcher' or 'that woman' or worse.

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