Forgotten Sons

Introduction: In an interview entitled Fishy Tales published in Melody Maker 27 Nov 1982 Fish said, "Northern Ireland didn't mean a shit to me - that's the same for most people in this country nowadays - but when my cousin went across there for a while, we'd watch the news on TV every night, expecting things like blood to come pouring through the screen, expecting to hear so-and-so had been shot!

"Then, when I went to Aylesbury, I was working in the employment office, and a lot of blokes would come in saying, 'I'm only actually signing on for two months because I'm joining the army soon and going on my first training stint.

"And I'd say, 'Why have you joined?' and they'd say, 'Because there's nothing else to do, we cannae get a job and it's a job innit?'

"And I ended up actually arguing with these blokes over the counter, saying, 'You're crazy! Think what you're getting yourselves into', and from that my ideas for Forgotten Sons evolved."

In an interview published in Melody Maker, Apr 9, 1983 entitled Planet Marillion, Fish said:

"Melody Maker: You're writing about Northern Ireland though. Have you been there?

"Fish: I've never been to Ireland. But the song's not written from the point of view of an Irish citizen, or from the pure soldier.

"It's written from the point of view of somebody who lives in Britain that's aware of people in in Britain that are fighting in Northern Ireland. It was affected by my cousin, who was in his last trip in Ireland and was hit by a brick during the riots and when we found out it had happened it was like the blood came through the TV set.

"Nobody gives a shit until Hyde Park, you know? The horses got more coverage than the bandsmen did, and I find that sick. It's like the whole thing about peace these days where its a laughable word.

"A lot of people are laughing at Greenham Common, but I mean, like, you know, nuclear weapons, a lot of people tend to sit back and ignore it."

"This is dedicated to all those who fell on a pavement outside Harrods last Christmas."
Intro Forgotten Sons - Real To Reel.
Harrods is an exclusive shop in Knightsbridge, London. On December 17, 1983, an IRA bomb exploded, killing six and wounding many others.

Armalite is an American arms company. They make the M16 - the standard American assault rifle. It is often called the Armalite. It is sometimes believed that they are the standard weapon used by the IRA. In fact, most of the IRA's weaponry used to come from deals with people like Libya’s Col. Gaddafi, and was therefore more often of Soviet (CIS) stock.
‘Boys baptised in wars’
Julien Gauthier said: "In World War II, when regiments were ready to go to war, they gathered together in front of a priest to get baptised." (I think that this alludes to the fact that many of the young men fighting in the conflict had been born in the earliest part of the Troubles and had never known peace. - Ed.)

Chris Charette said: "Soldiers tend to carry a few syringes of morphine with them, in case they get injured. They shoot it so they can endure the pain."

‘poison pen’
A poison pen letter is one which contains bad news, conveyed in an unsympathetic way or abuse often anonymously.

‘Saracen hull’
Saracens are armoured cars used by the British Army (see right). They were originally built in the 1950s, but were used in Ireland well into the 80s.

The Irish Tricolour. P. T. McNiff said:
"Green: Catholics (or, the people of the Republic of Eire)
Orange: Protestants (or, the people of Northern Ireland, often called Orangemen)
White: The unity and peace between the two."

Whitehall is a road off Trafalgar Square, but is a generic name for the civil service part of British Government, but the MoD - Ministry of Defence is actually based in Whitehall itself.

Minister is the title given to a Member of Parliament put in charge of a particular portfolio; e.g. Education, Industry, Scotland, Defence etc.; a nice pun on the religious meaning, which is not as obvious as may seem as most Christian religious leaders in Britain are not called Minister although Scotland has many more Ministers than England does.

‘emerald aisle’
The Emerald Isle is another name for Ireland, on account of the lush green grass that grows there.

Dolequeue is the British slang for the unemployed people queuing to receive their benefit payments from the Government.

‘Monday signings’
In the UK, when you are on the ‘dole’, you have to register at the Department of Social Security (DSS) - to get your payment called Social Security Benefit. Anyway, the act of registering is know as ‘signing on’ and takes place once a fortnight. (c.f. ‘Armed with Antisocial Insecurity’ from Market Square Heroes

‘Ring-a-ring-o-roses, they all fall down’
An old English nursery rhyme. It came about at the time of the Black Death in the 17th century. The rhyme is:
A pocketful of posies,
Atishoo! Atishoo!
They all fall down!’

The rhyme developed out of the fact that sneezing was the first sign that death by plague was imminent; those who sneezed died! The rhyme is rarely perceived to be as nasty as it really is; it’s about death!

However, Ian Munro's Ring A Ring A Roses FAQ adds a few things. "First, the rhyme's not old enough to be about the plague. Second, the early versions are clearly not about the plague.
The earliest printed source for the rhyme dates from 1881. A folklore book published in 1883 claims that versions of the rhyme were circulating in Massachusetts in 1790, but no printed evidence is available.

This earlier date is 125 years after the last major plague of the English-speaking world, and roughly 450 years after the Black Death, the 14th century plague most commonly associated with the poem.

Furthermore, as the variations page demonstrates, most early versions of the rhyme would be extremely difficult to interpret as references to the plague."

(Someone was kind enough to send me this info but I have been stupid enough to lose the details. If it was you, please get in contact so I can credit you! - Forgetful Ed)

‘Peace on earth... ...lost her child,’
The whole ‘Peace on earth and Mercy Mild’ is a paraphrase of the carol - Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Knees up Mother Brown is an old Cockney dancing/ drinking song - it is a quintessential English name! 

Where to get this song:

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