Papal Visit

Lyrics

(1)

Hosanna (2)
First impressions...
Hosanna
Papal did visit, human trash
Waste
Prostrate, yellow-white umbrellas
Roam around
Universal love..for them...for the....
Papal visit
Human trash roam the town
Woke up by hosanna
Helicopters strip the land
First impressions will be the last
Woke up at 2
The man from iron 
What happened to the man from iron (3)
Mediator one
Human trash
Come for the visit
Eating lay bread
From what they come to call it
Sound like a yokel
For the first time
First impression will be the last...

Peace resounds
Lay bread Is in the nose and mouth
For the first time In the assassin line
Papal visit In the town
For the first time
Understood the assassin line Is all around

Notes

1. In the spring of 1982, Pope John Paul II visited Britain. It was the first time a sitting Pope visited the UK, and the trip was almost cancelled due to the war over the Falkland Islands (as a compromise, the Pope also visited Argentina immediately afterward, and he did not meet with Margaret Thatcher while in Britain). Some of MES's patriotic views about the war in the Falklands are recorded under my entry for "Marquis Cha-Cha." As for his views about the Pope, The Story of the Fall reproduces the following quote:

"This Polish boy he really frightens - no - disgusts me. I mean he's reeking of socialist dictatorship, man, he's propogating populist myths. 'The People's Pope' - but he's really quite insidious. The guy stinks."

From Renegade (thanks to vegetables for finding it and typing it up):

 "I was living near Heaton Park. The Pope came to visit the park in 1982; that's where the song 'Papal Visit' on [i]Room to Live[/i] originated from. I was in the top flat for a couple of weeks before I moved on. I could see all these Jesuits in the gardens below, rooting through the trees for bombs and things. But the best part was when this Loyalist from Belfast ran at the Pope with this big butcher's knife. All these bishops and cardinals struggled him to the ground. He'd come flying out of The Ostrich pub, just over the road from the park. He was pissed out of his head, draped in a flag - I think he'd just swiped a rugby flag off the wall - Sedgley Park rugby! It's a big Catholic area, Prestwich. The last thing they wanted to see was this Geoff Capes type with a load of lager in his gut and a kitchen sword in his hand. It was a very sensitive period."

From the Room to Live press statement: "PAPAL VISIT was mostly recorded less than one quarter a mile away from same visit to Manchester during it, and the birds in the trees can be heard embracing their human equals."

Joe McKechnie suggests experimental composer Philip Johnson, whose work is sometimes described as "Industrial," may be an influence. MES mentions Johnson's Radio City in his 1981 contribution to the NME feature "Portait of the Artist as a Consumer." And Dan reports that Johnson's One Forty Three is on The Disparate Cogscienti, the compilation MES put out on Cog Sinister in 1988. See More Information for a reproduction of the NME feature.

^

2. Hosanna (sometimes spelled "Hosannah", Hebrew Hosha-nah) literally means "save (us)," but it is most often used in a liturgical setting as a term that connotes something like "praise the Lord." This usage is very old; for instance, in Mark 11:10, we find "Hosanna in the highest" (Hosanna en tois hupsystois), which wouldn't make much sense as the imperative form of "save."

^

3. From Russell: "Man of Iron was Andrzej Wajda's anti-Govt film from the Solidarity period (though dealing with a slightly earlier period) and seems a good match for a different (lay, anti-authoritarian) view of Poland and popes.

 

^

More Information

Comments (24)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 20/08/2013
Worth noting that one of the places the Pope visited was Heaton Park, close to where MES lives:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl22MdZqYJQ
http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/the-day-the-pope-came-to-town-1067219

Don't have the reference to hand, but I remember reading about MES complaining that the crowds squashed all the park's magic mushrooms.

Dan
vegetables
  • 2. vegetables | 17/04/2015
mes talks about the song in Renegade, about seeing some unionist nut run at the pope (the assassin?), might be worth including:
"I was living near Heaton Park. The Pope came to visit the park in 1982; that's where the song 'Papal Visit' on Room to Live originated from.
I was in the top flat for a couple of weeks before I moved on. I could see all these Jesuits in the gardens below, rooting through the trees for bombs and things. But the best part was when this Loyalist from Belfast ran at the Pope with this big butcher's knife. All these bishops and cardinals struggled him to the ground. He'd come flying out of The Ostrich pub, just over the road from the park. He was pissed out of his head, draped in a flag - I think he'd just swiped a rugby flag off the wall - Sedgley Park rugby!
It's a big Catholic area, Prestwich. The last thing they wanted to see was this Geoff Capes type with a load of lager in his gut and a kitchen sword in his hand. It was a very sensitive period."
russell richardson
  • 3. russell richardson | 12/05/2015
'Man of Iron' was Andrzej Wajda's anti-Govt film fro the Solidarity period (though dealing with a slightly earlier period) and seems a good match for a different -mlay, ani-authoritarian - view of Poland and popes
Geuz
  • 4. Geuz (link) | 13/10/2015
"Where is the man of Iron" refers to Oliver Cromwell's Ironsides.
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 08/10/2017
From the "Room to Live" handout/press statement:


PAPAL VISIT was mostly recorded less than one quarter a mile away from same visit to Manchester during it, and the birds in the trees can be heard embracing their human equals.
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 28/03/2018
The magic mushrooms that were destroyed by the crowd in Heaton Park were reported by the local press at the time to have been eaten by them. This had the effect upon them off instilling a trance-like state of religious fervour hence the universal love line.

Dan
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 05/04/2018
Comment #6 is not me.
BreconBorn
  • 8. BreconBorn | 05/05/2019
If MES was writing about a Loyalist from Belfast (see point 2) then this could explain the line "man from iron". Northern Ireland is often rendered as 'Norn Iron' in a jokey manner by the locals there when speaking in heavy accents.
jensotto
  • 9. jensotto | 27/10/2019
Just got a hunch to search BBC Genome. First result was 28th May 1982 - same day has BBC Two showing the film IT (1927, Clara Bow, first airing) https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbctwo/england/1982-05-28#at-17.40
Looks like the Pope went to Manchester 30 May, then to York, Scotland, and Cardiff 2 June.

Room to Live - about Victorian housing late Nov 1931, or radio mid-Jan 1980? There were other rooms - like Simple Minds'.

Another "IT-girl" was Chili Bouchier. Chilinists may prefer the song Chili Bom-Bom, a radio-hit mid 20s (later by Temperance 7). Chili was first seen in the The Happy Hangman https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbctv/1939-08-30#at-22.00
Joe Mckechnie
  • 10. Joe Mckechnie (link) | 17/11/2019
The song Papal Visit is, to my mind, influenced by the work of Philip Johnson.
Mark E included Philip's Radio City release in his NME 'Portrait of the artist as a Consumer' chart.
https://a1000mistakes.wordpress.com/2018/12/04/portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-consumer-mark-e-smith/

My first group [The Transistors] was with Philip's brother John & so I met him a few times at his parents home in Norris Green, Liverpool.
Radio City was one of a number of his releases during the late 70's early 80's when people putting out DIY cassette recordings was a thing.
One method Philip used was to load rubber bands into one portable mono cassette deck, & record the sound they made with another deck.
Sounds like Smith's kind of thing eh?

More here https://dieordiy2.blogspot.com/2014/03/philip-johnson-radio-city-self-released.html
bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 23/11/2019
Yeah definitely seems possible:

https://soundcloud.com/greeninconline/philip-johnson-radio-city
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 23/11/2019
It's actually way more musical in a certain sense than Papal Visit! It's positively groovy in fact...but I can hear that it could be an influence
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 23/11/2019
Wow,,,this is awesome:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn4usYA7K6c
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 23/11/2019
No sorry that was something playing on a different tab, not that...but the Radio City one is cooll
Joe Mckechnie
  • 15. Joe Mckechnie (link) | 24/11/2019
Nice to see Philip has a presence online, cheers.
I wouldn't say Radio City fed into Papal Visit, it was one of Philip's other releases, he played it to me, no idea on titles etc.
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 27/11/2019
Oh I see...let me know if you nail it down, be interesting to compare and maybe have something more to go on, not that I doubt you
dannyno
  • 17. dannyno | 06/03/2020
Johnson's One Forthy Three is on The Disparate Cogscienti, the compilation MES put out on Cog Sinister in 1988.
Joe Mckechnie
  • 18. Joe Mckechnie (link) | 07/07/2020
Good point well made @dannyno
Mark
  • 19. Mark | 24/07/2020
Re: comment #1 - I seem to recall that the Paintwork book says that it was the Pope's helicopter that flattened the magic mushrooms.
Mark
  • 20. Mark | 24/07/2020
... which might explain the "Helicopters strip the land" line.
Don
  • 21. Don | 14/11/2020
On Papal Visit (Masterbag 1982)

"No - it's not anti-Catholic, fer Christ's sake! the rest of the band are all Catholics... "I was brought up a Methodist - they're the ones who wanted to burn down all the Catholic churches and used to encourage people to drop hot wax on priests' heads! ... I'm just strongly vibed by John Paul II. . . this Polish boy he really frightens me - no - disgusts. I mean he's reeking of socialist dictatorship man, he's propagating populist myths. . . 'The people's Pope' - but he's really quite insidious. The guy stinks. "I'll tell you a story about their precious Pope. . . Kay bought this book, a biography of Roman Polanski - you know, the film director - his family lived in a Warsaw ghetto during the war. His mother was shot by a German soldier and his father blamed him coz he'd been playing in an area that was restricted - no Jews allowed, and he'd attracted the Nazis to the house. So his Dad packed him off to the country...some Catholic families used to take in Jewish kids to hide them from the Nazis. Anyway Polanski got shunted off to Cracow - and guess whose family took him in? Yeah, JP's - he was the eldest son. Anyhow the family got real paranoid about the Nazis, jittery you know, so they finally chucked him out of the house to fend for himself, left him to his own devices - and their fucking son becomes Pope - preaches love thy neighbour, Christian charity, better love no man has than he who lays down his life for his friend, big fucking deal! Biggest fucking hypocrite in the world that guy is ... "
dannyno
  • 22. dannyno | 14/11/2020
The source of the quote in Don's comment #21 is online here: http://thefall.org/news/mbag.html

Over on the FOF back in 2017 (https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/thefall/the-mark-e-smith-book-club-t28033-s306.html), I pointed out that the Polanski biography Kay bought was probably Repulsion: the life and times of Roman Polanski, by Thomas Kiernan (Grove Press, (US) 1980/New English Library (UK), 1981). I have the UK edition.

But if so, MES isn't recalling the story correctly.

Here's a quote from p.24 of my UK edition:

In anticipation of the final round-up, Roman's uncle had collected his few remaining funds and offered them to a Catholic family in a Cracow suburb in exchange for their taking in his two children, Zbigniew and Josef, and protecting them from harm. Now, unknown to the family, Roman was added to the transaction. The name of the family was Koslewski.


And there's a footnote to that paragraph which reads:


It was an irony of Roman Polanski's life that the Koslewskis were related to another Catholic family in Cracow named Wojtyla. Among the Wojtyla family in 1941 was an eighteen-year-old youth who had given up his theatrical ambitions to study for the priesthood at a Cracow seminary. His name was Karol Wojtyla, and over the next thirty-eight years he would rise to become a Cardinal of the Church and Archbishop of Cracow before, in the fall of 1978, being elected Pope. In 1977, a year before his ascension to the Papal Throne as Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Wojtyla would receive a plea for help from Polanski, then languishing in a California prison.


To repeat (with a couple of amendments) what I noted over on the FOF:

The story is that Roman Polanski escorted his cousins to the Koslewskis, but they sent him away because they hadn't been expecting him. He could stay if he returned with payment from his own father. So Roman returned to the ghetto - to find that everyone had vanished. He went on the run, staying with a succession of families who would take him in. He went back to the Koslewskis, who sent him on to the Tomasialowicz family.

According to Polanski's version of events, Mrs Tomasialowicz was an alcoholic, who wasted the money and also boasted in public about taking in a Jewish boy on the run. German soldiers turned up, but Polanski managed to escape. He threw himself on the mercy of the Koslewskis again, who this time took him in temporarily before sending him off to another branch of the family, who didn't know Roman was Jewish, until a disastrous sexual incident leading to a barn fire led to his uncovering. But he was allowed to stay.

The story actually has nothing to do with the future pope.
Ben
  • 23. Ben | 15/11/2020
So Mark was just getting confused? Or was this some weird conspiracy theory going around in the 80s?
dannyno
  • 24. dannyno | 16/11/2020
I haven't found any other source. And MES clearly links the story to the book. So I think he and/or Kay misread it. But every so often I do check.

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