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Heart of Lothian

'Heart of Lothian'
From Jeroen Schipper's FAQ: "Lothian is the county/district in which Edinburgh is. Lothian is divided in three parts: East, West and Mid. Dalkeith and Edinburgh are in MidLothian. Saying you have a heart of Lothian is just saying where you come from.

However, there is also a 'real' Heart of Lothian: "The 'Heart of Lothian', full name 'Heart of Midlothian', is a mosaic heart inlaid into the pavement (i.e. sidewalk; see right) halfway up the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, the nearest city to Fish's hometown of Dalkeith. The heart is traditionally spat into when you walk past it, and is a symbol of local pride. One of the Edinburgh football (i.e. soccer) teams was named 'Heart of Midlothian' after it and Sir Walter Scott wrote a novel of the same name last century.

"Heart of Midlothian is also a professional football team ('soccer' to Americans!) in Edinburgh, commonly known as Hearts. Fish is a fan of one of Edinburgh's other teams, Hibernian, as you may have heard on the Electric Bear CD where he refers to one of their very rare successes.

"The Heart of Midlothian is a novel by Sir Walter Scott. He also wrote 'Ivanhoe.' Maybe you've seen the movie of that? It's very good, and the book is very good as well. In the book, Midlothian is the name of a prison. I don't know if this is or was an actual prison in Scotland. I think it's possible Fish was referring to the book when he wrote the song Heart of Lothian, but more likely he was only thinking of the heart of Lothian that was mentioned here earlier, which is some kind of heart embedded in the royal mile in Scotland.

"And more info on the Heart of Lothian, added later:

"1. The Heart of Midlothian was a real prison, pre-dating the book, heart in the street, football club and song. It is this prison that Walter Scott writes about, those as far as I know the events are fictitious. As they entered the prison, prisoners would spit on the door or door frame as they entered.

"2. Given the wide number of uses of the phrase (book, football, etc) (especially in that area of Scotland) I suspect Fish is merely using it as a form of joke - using a familiar phrase twisted to his own meaning.

"3. The Scots in general are very proud of their country and their home-town. 'I was born with a Heart of Lothian' is very much an echo of this pride, and the nationalism that Fish has supported and encouraged since going solo.

"4. Finally the phrase fits in well with the album's general theme (especially side one) of 'Happy Childhood, Unhappy Adulthood'. Fish spent most of his adult life (until quitting Marillion) outside Lothian, and the song is a reference to a more happy time. Perhaps in retrospect we can see it as the first signs of an unhappiness with Marillion?"

Lars Nord points out the lines in White Feather, 'I hit the street back in '81, Found a heart in the gutter and a poet's crown.' support the idea that it is the mosaic heart in Edinburgh.

'Wide Boys'
Wide boys are young men who rely on their cunning and confidence to get what they need. The term strictly implies an air of seediness or illegality; the sort of person who sells stuff from the back of a lorry. Here the term is used to note the blokes out on the beers and looking to find a bit of companionship for the night.

A type of dance found at a square dance; a dance for four couples who form the sides of the square.

These are the naturally occurring sexual attractant odours. They can be synthesised artificially and bought over the counter in sex shops.

Sam added the following information: "The biology of pheromones (at least in humans) occur greatly underneath the eyes, about where the cheek bones are located. It is the 'smelling' of the pheromones that some believed began the ritual of kissing. If I remember correctly, I believe I read this information in Diane Ackerman's book A Natural History of The Senses."

'Royal Mile'
From Jeroen Schipper's FAQ: "The Royal Mile, which is otherwise known as the High Street, is an, unsurprisingly, mile long road that leads from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. Holyrood House/Palace is the monarch's residence when he/she visits, and the site of the annual Edinburgh Royal Garden Party. The Royal Mile is no longer the main shopping street (that's now Princes' Street), but it is the heart of the city during the Edinburgh Festival, and is lined with singularly picturesque buildings."

'Watering holes'
Slang term for a pub.

Songs with a link have explanations.

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1 comment:

  1. Genesis, Gentle Giant, PFM (Italian), and Marillion gave my American ears what my soul needed. Classical Rock, counterpoint compositions, driving Bass lines. I was blessed to be born in the time when these accomplished musicians and their compositions filled my life with reasons I thank the authors of this site, adding background info.


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