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Bitter Suite

Introduction: Bitter Suite is Marillion's first multipart song, comprising a series of vignettes that would appear to be about the aftermath of the break up with Kaylegh. The sub-parts of the songs take their names from films from the first half of the 20th century. The films' plots and themes don't seem to have any particularly strong connection to the subsections bearing the titles.

a) Brief Encounter

'Brief Encounter'
A British masterpiece of an ill-fated love affair, David Lean's Brief Encounter (1945) is one of the greatest romantic tearjerkers of all time. Narrated through flashbacks, it is the story of two married middle-class people, who meet at a train station not long before WWII. He helps her to remove a piece of grit from her eye. Over time the continue to meet, at first accidentally, then deliberately. Their British restraint and formality forbids them from committing adultery. The famous parting scene follows:
Alec (confesses): I do love you so very much. I love you with all my heart and soul.
Laura: I want to die. If only I could die.
Alec: If you die, you'd forget me. I want to be remembered.
Laura: Yes, I do too.
He goes abroad, and she returns to her husband. Sniff.

'Not the regal creature of border caves'
Robert the Bruce, (1274-1329) contemporary of William Wallace, crowned himself king of Scotland in 1306 in direct contravention of Edward 1 of England's claim to Scotland. The coronation marked the beginning of his battle against the English and his fight to capture the hearts and minds of the Scottish people and once more bring back pride and independence to the beleaguered Scots.

Edward was enraged by the Bruce's actions and sent a strong force north of the border which crushed the weaker Scottish army sent to oppose it, aided by the treachery of some Scottish lairds. Bruce and his followers took refuge in the wild mountainous areas of Athol and Argyll (NW Scotland) Edward sent many forces to find the Bruce and his small band. They were unable to bring the Bruce to captivity despite many close encounters where, through sheer guts and determination, the Bruce was able to avoid detection and capture.

One story tells of a demoralised Bruce hiding in a cave. A spider is trying to spin a web but fails several times. Each time it fails, it tries again. This perseverance gave hope to the Bruce and is also the root of the well-known phrase, 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.'

The Bruce goes on to defeat the English at Bannock Burn, and be recognised as the rightful heir to the Scottish throne.

b) Lost Weekend

'The Lost Weekend'
Directed by Billy Wilder, the 1945 movie The Lost Weekend concerns Don Birnam, played by Ray Milland, who believes that he is two people, Don the writer and Don the alcoholic. Birnam embarks on a weekend of drinking that nearly results in the loss of life, sanity and relationship.

A person who from shyness or unpopularity remains on the sidelines at a social function (often applied to dances).

c) Blue Angel

'Blue Angel'
Blue Angel was a 1930 German film, in which Emil Jennings, as a puritanical school master is destroyed by his passion for Marlene Deitrich.

According to
Pear's Cyclopedia, 'this performance remains the greatest monument to male sexual humiliation in cinema history'!

d) Misplaced Rendezvous

'The Weekend Career Girl never boarded the plane'
Fish said: "The weekend career girl was from Scotland. She was a model, albeit part time, and after an all passionate and consuming electric encounter in a bar in Edinburgh her promise of coming down to Aylesbury one weekend - to accompany me to Pete's wedding if I remember right, set me up with a dream. The rest is self explanatory."

'It was bible black in Lyon'
Starless and Bible Black was the sixth album by King Crimson, the title is taken from the opening lines of Dylan Thomas' play Under Milk Wood.

'When I met the Magdalene'
Fish says: "The 'Magdalene' was in Lyon and if truth be told wasn't a prostitute. That was a compounding of events made under poetic license."

Additionally, see the entry for Fugazi for more information concerning the term 'Magdalene' for prostitute.

e) Windswept Thumb

'The habit of the windswept thumb'
Essentially, the practice of thumbing a lift or 'hitch-hiking', achieved by gesticulating with closed fist with a thumb extended in the desired direction of travel.

Songs with a link have explanations.

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