Emerald Lies

IntroductionSimon Long wrote: "According to one of the books I have on Marillion, I seem to recall that Fish explains that it is about a relationship being destroyed by a lack of trust - guy goes to a party with his girlfriend and sees her flirting (innocently) with several men, repeatedly questions her and makes accusations of infidelity, and discovers that all along she has been telling the truth - but that his questions have destroyed the trust on which the relationship was based.

"I guess the 'Emerald' of the title is green for jealousy. Torquemada was one of the Spanish Inquisitors: it's a reference to a figure trying to extract a confession. 'To be the prince of possession' - desire to own the woman in question. 'Suffering your indiscreet discretions' - watching her flirt. 'You accumulate flirtations' - ditto. 'Looking in shades of green through shades of blue' - jealousy tinged with sadness. 'Ravaging your letters, unearth your plots' - going behind her back, snooping for clues to her infidelity. ' Innocence - what a surprise' - discovery that she had been faithful after all'. 'I trust you trust in me to mistrust you' (incredible lyric!) - I hope you'll believe that I don't trust you. 'Courtroom drama' - 'set the wedding rings dancing' - divorce, end of relationship. If you know what it is about, the lyrics all make sense... "

Brewer's: "In British pantomime, a mischievous fellow, supposedly invisible to all eyes but those of his faithful Colombine. His function is to dance through the world and frustrate all the knavish attempts of the Clown, who is supposed to be in love with Colombine. He wears a tight fitting spangled or parti-coloured dress and is usually masked. He derives from Arlecchino, a stock character of Italian comedy, whose name was, in origin, probably that of a sprite or a hobgoblin. One of the demons in Dante is named Alichino, and another devil of medieval demonology was ‘Hennequin’."

'Shades of green... shades of blue'
Green being the colour associated with jealousy and blue with sadness.

Pears Cyclopedia: "Torquemada, Tomas de (1420-98), first Inquisitor General of Spain.

"The Inquisition was a ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic church, dealing with the prosecution of heresy. The punishment - excommunication (which in the eyes of the church barred entry to Heaven) - was considered terrible enough a punishment. In 1252, disturbed by the increase of disciples of Mani, a duality-based cult in the Languedoc region of France, Pope Innocent IV authorised the use of torture to break the will of suspects. Unrepentant heretics were punished by the secular authorities, usually death by the stake."

The Spanish Inquisition was formed in 1479. It was initially concerned with converts from Judaism and Islam. During Torquemada’s term of office, 2,000 heretics were burned to death. It was abolished in 1808 by Joseph Bonaparte. No one expected the Spanish Inquisition would be reformed in 1814, but it was. It was finally disbanded in 1834.

An excellent portrait of the Inquisition can be found in Umberto Eco’s superb Name of the Rose. The film’s pretty good too.

BTW, at about the time of Fugazi, there was a cartoon strip by a chap by the name of Pat Mills, one of Britain’s finest comic writers. It was called Nemesis, and featured the continuing battles between Nemesis and his arch enemy Torquemada. It was published in 2000 AD, better known as the home of Judge Dredd. Coincidence or deliberate? You are the judge!

'Silk Cut'
A medium-strength European cigarette. (Someone might not know! - Ed.)

'Smeared Mascara'
Ben Mimms said: "Maskharah is Arabic for buffoon. Smeared may be interpreted as defeated or as slandered." We know from what Steve Rothery said about Assassing that Fish had been listening to Arabic records at the time Fugazi was recorded, so this may be a deliberate pun. It's flippin' obscure though.

Where to get this song:



  1. I suspect the smeared Mascara is more likely a direct "image" of the woman under" a 40 Watt sun, in a courtroom drama" emotionally protesting her innocence, crying and trashing her make up. At least that's how I've always thought if it. I do like Ben Mimms' obscure reference though! Can't help thinking we might be over analyzing :>

    1. Over analysing? On this site? Wash your mouth out!


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