Work in progress...
Well it happened years ago
when you lived on
We listened to your sister
when you came from school
'Cos she was two years older
and she had boys in her room
I listened outside, I heard her
The Stanhope Road mentioned in the lyrics refers to road in the Intake suburb of Sheffield where Jarvis grew up.
At the side of Intake [Primary] School is Stanhope Road, which turned up in a Pulp song years later called Babies, and it was funny, because I was out in Sheffield the other night and I got talking to these two girls and one of them said they'd moved on to Stanhope Road - which isn't a very long road - because it was mentioned in the song Babies, and I said, "Oh, that's a shame".
And she came home round four
and she was with some kid called David
The garage up the road was possibly also a real location on Mansfield Road in Intake.
"Let's all meet up in the year 2000
Won't it be strange when we're all fully grown
Be there 2 o'clock by the "
"The fountain down the road" refers to the Goodwin Fountain which stood at the Town Hall Square end of Fargate in the centre of Sheffield. Anyone hoping to meet up there in the year 2000 would have been disappointed because it was demolished by the City Council in 1998. A new fountain with the same name was subsequently built in the Peace Gardens.
Intake, Manor Park, The Wicker, Norton, Frechville, Hackenthorpe, Shalesmoor, Wombwell, Catcliffe, Brincliffe, Attercliffe, Ecclesall, Woodhouse, Wybourn, Pitsmoor, Badger, Wincobank, Crookes, Walkley, Broomhill
We finally made it... on a hilltop at 4 AM. The whole city is your jewellery box. A million twinkling yellow street lights. Reach out and take what you want. You can have it all. Jesus, it took a long time. I didn't think we were going to make it. So bad during the day, but now snug and warm under an eiderdown sky. All the things we saw: everyone on Park Hill came in unison at 4.13 AM and the whole block fell down. The tobacconist caught fire and everyone in the street died of lung cancer. We heard groans from a T-reg Chevette: You bet, you bet, yeah. Yeah...(all I wanna do) And tomorrow... you're gonna... you're gonna... you're gonna... That's all I wanna do.
Just behind the station
before you reach the traffic island
a river runs though a concrete channel
I took you there once; I think it was after the Leadmill
The river mentioned here is the Porter Brook. It flows through a series of underground tunnels as it passes through the centre of Sheffield, before joining the River Sheaf underneath Sheffield railway station. The location referred to in the lyric is an 80-metre section of river that briefly emerges above ground south of the station's main entrance. It runs alongside the station's multi-story car park. For most of the time, the volume of water is low, allowing it to sit in a narrow concrete channel (see the photo, right).
The traffic island mentioned no longer exists. The Leadmill, a well-known nightclub and live music venue, is less than 100 metres away on Leadmill Road.
Yeah, underneath the city
through dirty brickwork conduits
connecting white witches on the Moor
with Pre-Raphaelites down in Broomhall
This again must refer to the Porter Brook. Today The Moor is one of Sheffield's main pedestrianised shopping streets. It sits fairly close to the Porter, which at this point does indeed run through one of the 'dirty brickwork conduits'. The Porter also passes just south of Broomhall, a residential district, immediately west of the city centre. It is a diverse neighbourhood with relatively affluent leafy streets alongside more down at heel areas. There also has a large student population owing to its close proximity to the University of Sheffield.
Beneath the old Trebor factory
that burnt down in the early seventies
Leaving an antiquated sweet-shop smell
and caverns of nougat and caramel
Yeah, nougat and caramel
Yeah, the river flows on beneath pudgy fifteen-year-olds addicted to coffee whitener, courting couples naked on Northern Upholstery and pensioners gathering dust like bowls of plastic tulips. And it finally comes above ground again at Forge Dam: the place where we first met.
I went there again for old time's sake, hoping to find the child's toy horse ride that played such a ridiculously tragic tune. It was still there - but none of the kids seemed interested in riding on it. And the cafe was still there too; the same press-in plastic letters on the price list and scuffed formica-top tables. I sat as close as possible to the seat where I'd met you that autumn afternoon. And then, after what seemed like hours of thinking about it, I finally took your face in my hands and I kissed you for the first time and a feeling like electricity flowed through my whole body. And I immediately knew I'd entered a completely different world. And all the time, in the background, the sound of that ridiculously heartbreaking child's ride outside.
At the other end of town the river flows underneath an old railway viaduct; I went there with you once - except you were somebody else - and we gazed down at the sludgy brown surface of the water together. Then a passer-by told us that it used to be a local custom to jump off the viaduct into the river, when coming home from the pub on a Saturday night. But that this custom had died out when someone jumped and landed too near to the riverbank and had sunk in the mud there and drowned before anyone could reach them. Maybe he'd just made the whole story up. You'd never get me to jump off that bridge. No chance. Never in a million years.
Oh, this is as far as we got last time
but if we go just another mile
we will surface surrounded by grass and trees
and the fly-over that takes the cars to cities
And I used to live just by the river
in a disused factory just off the Wicker
And the river flowed by day after day
And "one day" I thought
"One day I will follow it"
That day never came; I moved away and lost track
but tonight I am thinking about making my way back
I may find you there
and float on
wherever the river may take me
The photo above looks along Division Street towards the junction with Rockingham Street. The building in front is Flockton Court where Russell Senior used to rent a housing association flat above a sex shop (now 'Private Shops UK', then 'Svens Books').
It was from one of the double windows shown that Jarvis accidentally fell in November 1985, while trying to impress a girl with a spiderman impression after a party. Jarvis: "I said, 'Do you want to see something quite interesting?', and she begged me not to do it but I was in the mood [...] It was just senseless bravado, which is quite out of character. I realised I didn't have the strength to do it, or climb back in, so I had to count to three and just let go.'. He landed on the pavement fracturing his pelvis and breaking bones including his wrist and ankle. An ambulance took him to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital where he spent the next six weeks recuperating, forcing the cancellation of shows and other promotion for the Little Girl (With Blue Eyes) EP.
[...] I think I'd been to a party the week before where I'd seen somebody do, to me, this very impressive stunt of going out on to one window ledge and then coming in back through another window. You know, by walking around the outside of the building from one window ledge to another, which was great in this party where they had sash windows, but then in her flat which was kind of modern and which had the kind of windows that hinged in the middle - so to open them the window went out into the street - so I thought, oh yeah well, I would hang from the window ledge and swing across to the next window ledge. Not really realising the feebleness of myself, and all that ended up was I was hanging from the window ledge [...] it was higher than a double-decker bus because one went past. You always kind of think there is going to be a guardian angel or that I will find that last ounce of strength that will help me pull myself back into the window in this life-threatening situation. Suddenly, I realised that wasn't the case, and I let go and fell and fractured my pelvis and me ankle. I ended up in a wheelchair [...] but I could have easily killed myself if I had fallen in a different way. And it would have been such a pathetic, meaningless death.