Chelsea Monday

Introduction: During an interview with Radio Forth in Scotland on 14th September 1982, Fish said, "Chelsea Monday was written roundabout January or February this year. The lyric idea was spun by seeing a number of people walking about Chelsea on a very, very early Monday morning. And it was this sort of actors that you don't know their names... And they were going down buying the morning Daily Expresses, it was a ritual, and they were looking at themselves in the window, as if to buy the paper was actually a take, it was part of some formal play they were in.

"It was also about young ladies, who often, sort of like me, live in their bedsit apartments, and they've got their Marks & Spencer's duvets and their collections of books and things. We put the two ideas together and confirmed that with the dreamers that you often get down in London that think that the paths are actually paved with gold. And we came up with this, again typical Marillion depressive vibe thing, where you've got the girl in the bedsit. She'd love to be an actress, but she's never got the guts to sort of make that jump from standard 9-5 into the great big world of entertainment industry. And rather than face the prospect of failure she decides that she's going to commit suicide and go out in a blaze of fame. It's one of those nice, sad, depressing vibes."

(Interview quote found in this SfaJT-related blog post by Jim Murdoch.)


Martijn Buijs said: "Tinsel:
  • formerly, a cloth interwoven with glittering threads of gold, silver etc.
  • thin sheets, strips or threads of tin, metal foil etc., used for inexpensive decoration
  • something that glitters like precious metal but has little real worth
  • Tinsel: (adj.):
    • of or decorated with tinsel
    • showy, gaudy"
Pears Cyclopedia: "District London, England: Fashionable residential district. Chelsea was the centre of the fashion world in the 1960’s when models, actors and actresses and footballers all lived and played in the area. Although much of the zeitgeist has worn away, it remains a fashionable area in which to live."

‘Evening Standard’
The Evening Standard is a London-based newspaper. It is pretty right wing and comes out in several editions throughout the day. The first edition actually appears about midday. This might explain why the voice asks ‘John’ if he’s seen the standard about four hours ago. The final edition hits the streets at about 4. 30 and may frequently be very different than the midday edition.

A Capri was a European Ford of the 1970s and early 80s. It was a mid-price range car, and looked sleek and sporty. In reality, the looks disguised an average small saloon, comparable to the Ford Escort. It was widely regarded in Britain as being a ‘poor man’s sports car’ and a bit naff.

‘St. Tropez’
Pears Cyclopedia: "Town in the Var Department (County) of South East France on the French Riviera; popular tourist resort; marina."

A Londoner might use ‘John’ as a friendly way of addressing a man they did not know. It would be interchangeable with the word ‘mate’. Lars Nordstrom wrote in to add, "It just struck me that the name 'John' also is a term used to denote a prostitute's customer."

A pretty English girl of fair hair, and pink complexion, would commonly be referred to as an English Rose. Thus it is a pun on ‘To be rose’ in addition to its actual literal meaning.

‘The Old Father’
The River Thames. He is often depicted as an old man with a flowing white beard. Much of the imagery in this song is similar to Dancing with the Moonlit Knight from Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound.

Where to get this song:

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