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Qasr El Nil Bridge

The song:
This song is about the Egyptian revolution that started in January 2001 and was part of a wave of political changes in the Islamic world, the Arab Spring. After massive protests of a wide range of groups, from liberals and women's rights activists to nationalists and islamists, the military dictator Hosni Mubarak finally resigned in February 2001. The parliament was dissolved and the military ruled until elections were held in June. These were won by Islamist Mohamed Morsi. However, Morsi used his position to grant himself unlimited power, and critics also feared the rise of a very reactionary form of the Islamic faith. Again there were mass protests, and in July 2013 Morsi's government was overthrown by the military. Right now (November 2013) there are mass protests against the military, and nobody knows where all of this is heading. Justin Sullivan elaborates on different points in different interviews:

"I spent a bit of time in Egypt last year (my sister has lived in Cairo for 12 years) and of course the Arab Spring, perhaps especially in Egypt, was a remarkable and unexpected thing. Yes there is a lot going on and everywhere the waters are pretty dirty. There are so many players - obviously America (the Great Satan to blame for everything - sometimes fairly and sometimes not so fairly) but also Israel, Saudi, Iran and perhaps Turkey. There are national interests, religious divisions and rivalries and bloody oil at the root of a lot of it."
- Source: Justin Sullivan interview in November 2012 (when Morsi was still in power) -

"In a way I'm quite pleased when I look at the song, and it was written two years ago when I was in Egypt in 2011, but there isn't a line in the song which is wrong, because it's about the people, not the wrong and right, the goodies and the baddies, it was about people."
- Source: Justin Sullivan The Quietus in October 2013 (after Morsi was removed) -

"I spent a lot of time with young people, most of them musicians who had also demonstrated. We went boating on the Nile . . . . Anyway, I wrote down a lot in that time. The song celebrates the uprising but it also says 'every revolution devours its children' "
- Source: Justin Sullivan on Corso in September 2013. My translation back from German -

- Read more: Wikipedia on the 2011 Revolution and the 2013 Coup -

Qasr El Nil Bridge:
A popular bridge across the Nile in Cairo, Egypt's capital. It is close to the Tahrir Square and was a site of demonstrations during the 2011 Revolution.
- Read more: Wikipedia

Ibrahim and Ahmed seem to be real people, as the names are listed in the "Thank you also to" section of the Between Dog and Wolf CD, along with Francesca (Sullivan, the sister mentioned above, who works as belly dancer Yasmina in Cairo) and Azzedine, her son born in 2002.
- Source: Wikipedia -
Read more: Yasmina's (Francesca Sullivan's) official site -

The Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo was a central place in the 2011 Revolution.
- Source: Wikipedia -

The hottest and third-largest desert in the world. It covers almost the complete north of Africa. The white stone figures could be the natural chalk rock formations in the White Desert north of Farafra.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

The weakest and most numerous piece in a chess game. The term is used a a metaphor for insignificance.
- Source: Wikipedia -

Sacrifice their children:
'The revolution devours its children' is a proverb coined by a journalist in 1793, during the French Revolution.
- Source: Wikipedia -

Flame-fire trees:
I couldn't find 'flame-fire trees' on the internet, but there are several different species of flame trees, some of which grow in Northern Africa. One of them is the beautiful 'Delonix Regia', which, like the eucalyptus, is not native to Africa but apparently can be found in Cairo.
- Source: Wikipedia -

[ Back to Qasr El Nil Bridge ]

Queen of My Heart

The song:
A song about Justin's good friend Joolz Denby, the novelist, poet, tattooist and artist who did all of NMA's artwork.
- Source: Joolz Denby @ Facebook, 7th June 2017 -

Thanks to Christian for pointing this out!

[ Back to Queen of My Heart ]


The song:
[. . .] there was actually a lot of political angst written for Eight. In the end, though, most of it was compressed into "R&R" - each verse of that song contains enough ideas and fury for half an album.
- Source: Official NMA Site -

blissed out:
Be in "a state of perfect happiness, especially so as to be oblivious of everything else".
- Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English -

Large, powerful and destructive force or institution.
- Source: Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English -

Time signature in music that is most common in western popular music.

Wake me in a thousand years:
Is it just me, or does the "Sleeping Beauty" motif of many fairy tales generally come to mind? A very well known version, for instance, (at least in Germany) is that of the 'Little Briar-Rose', a beautiful princess who has been cursed to fall asleep for 100 years when she pricks herself with a spindle. This happens, many princes die at the attempt of rescuing her, and when the 100 years are over one handsome prince finally wakes her up with a kiss and marries her (which is a bit unfair, I think, as the 100 years were over and she would have woken up by herself anyway).
- Source: Brothers Grimm, 'Little Briar-Rose' - Read more: Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts -

A modern variation of this motif - don't you think? - is the type of films where people get deepfrozen and wake up after a long while, e.g. 'Forever Young' with Mel Gibson as sleeping beauty (hysteric giggle).

4 billion:
I believe, the number of people living in "third world countries".

Trademark. One of the most recently developed antidepressants. Unlike other antidepressants it does not calm you down (which would be more appropriate in this song, I think), but causes nervousness.

[ Back to R&R ]


The song:
This was a very personal song. We didn't handle our brief early encounter with 'fame' and 'pressure' any better than anyone else, probably worse than most. It left a very bitter taste. In November 1985 we found ourselves marooned in a London cellar trying to come to terms with what we'd messed up. At the end of the song Robert throws his sticks down in a gesture of utter frustration.
- Source: B-Sides and Abandoned Tracks booklet -

Lust For Power is about a similar topic.

Latin: Requiescat In Pace; Rest In Peace; frequently written on tombstones.

Thunder in our hearts:
It occured to Sonja that this might refer to Kate Bush's "Running Up that Hill". The song is not remotely similar in subject matter, but it was released three months earlier than R.I.P., and Justin has mentioned repeatedly that he admires Kate Bush.

"If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.
If I only could, I'd be running up that hill."

It doesn't hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know that it doesn't hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I'm making?
You, it's you and me.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
If I only could, oh...

You don't want to hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware I'm tearing you asunder.
Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts.

Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don't we?
You, it's you and me.
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building,
Say, if I only could, oh...

It's you and me,
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

"C'mon, baby, c'mon darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C'mon, angel, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let's exchange the experience, oh..."

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

If I only could
Be running up that hill
With no problems...

"If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.
If I only could, I'd be running up that hill."

Bite the hand that feeds you:
English proverb meaning to "deliberately hurt or offend a benefactor".
- Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English -

Figuratively to "provide someone with so much help or information that they do not need to think for themselves".
- Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English -

[ Back to R.I.P. ]


1872 (?) - 1916; real name: Grigory Yefimovich Novykh. Siberian peasant and mystic. His reputation for licentiousness earned him the surname Rasputin, Russian for "debauched one." His ability to heal their son made him an influential favourite at the court of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra, even though he openly carried on his promiscuous life style. He finally became the victim of conspirators who wanted to save the monarchy from further scandal; he was poisoned, shot twice and then drowned.
- Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica - Read more: Wikipedia -

German for: wonderful.

"A person who engages in commercial or political scheeming".
- Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English -

[ Back to Rasputin ]

Red Earth

The song:
"Typically for [New Model Army], at the very moment where everybody gets sentimental because of the G8 conference and Live 8, to write the most politically incorrect song about Africa. Last year we played a few concerts in South Africa, and the whole situation we found there was - to put it in a friendly way - difficult".
- Source: Justin Sullivan interview with Westzeit in October 2005; my translation -

The Group of Eight (G8) is an international forum for the governments of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group's activities include year-round conferences and policy research, culminating with an annual meeting attended by the heads of government of the member states. The conference Justin mentions took place in Scotland from 6-8 July 2005.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Live 8:
A series of concurrent benefit concerts that took place on 2 July 2005, in the G8 states and in South Africa.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Armies that grow out of the earth:
Perhaps a reference to Greek mythology, according to which a dragon's teeth sown into earth would grow into fully armed warriors.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Give back what was taken:
[. . .] the situation in Africa where white farmers are driven away by black people.
- Source: Powermetal Interview with Justin Sullivan - Translated back into English by me -

Several African countries executed land reforms where the farm land held by the descendants of the white colonia rulers was given back to native Africans, often with little or no compensation.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Short for Automatic Kalashnikov, a famous Russian rifle.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Deliverance from evil:
Quotation from the Lord's Prayer, the most important Christian prayer: "And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil."
- Read more: Wikipedia -

[ Back to Red Earth | Back to Sentry ]


The song:
Other songs dealing with refugees or immigration are Another Imperial Day, Die Trying, Higher Wall, and Part the Waters.

[ Back to Refugee ]


The song:
A song about getting old which - take it from me - is OK . . .
- Source: Justin Sullivan live -

[ Back to Rivers ]

Rockin' in the Free World

Red, white and blue:
Colours of the US American national flag.

Another name for the devil in Christian mythology.

Here: "a dose of a narcotic drug".
- Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English -

A thousand points of light:
Quotation from a speech by George Bush, accepting his presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention on 18th August 1988 (Bush later became the 41st President of the USA, from 1989-1993). With "a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky" he refered to citizens who did volunteer work and turned America into "a kinder, gentler nation". Neil Young ironically contrasts these quotes with the unpleasant realities of homelessness and gun violence.
- Source: Wikiquote -

Ozone layer:
Region in the upper Earth atmosphere. It absorbs solar energy and this way prevents the earth from getting too hot. It also blocks solar radiation, which would injure or kill most living things, from reaching the Earth's surface. The amount of ozone in the atmosphere is significantly reduced by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), widely employed as propellants in aerosol spray cans and also used in the production of styrofoam. (Protecting the ozon layer also was one of the aims of the Kyoto treaties of 2001, which the USA in their never-ceasing care about the state of the world refused to sign)
- Read more: Wikipedia -

[ Back to Rockin' in the Free World ]

Rumour and Rapture

The song:
This song was written for the live performance of Rev Hammer's concept album "Freeborn John" at the Beautiful Days Festival from 19-21 August 2005. The album tells the story of John Lilburne, called Freeborn John, a famous agitator during the English Civil War 1642-1650 between Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarians and supporters of King Charles I (the period that New Model Army and the Levellers got their names from). On the album (as well as at the festival) Rev is joint by a host of musicians who take over different roles. Justin Sullivan appears as Nehemiah Wharton, a parliament soldier. "Rumour and Rapture" is played after John Lilburne has been put on trial by Oliver Cromwell. According to the "Freeborn John" booklet "the country is a hotbed of misinformation and hearsay as John Lilburne mounts his greatest defence yet. He is found 'Not Guilty' of any crime worthy of death. The crowds are ecstatic and London celebrates. It was his last great stand".
- Read more: Wikipedia entries on John Lilburne and English Civil War -

General Ireton:
Henry Ireton (1611-1651) was a General of the Parliament Army during the English Civil War.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

A district of south-west London, site of the Putney Debates in 1647 about the constitutional future of England.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Assembly of Saints:
Perhaps Barebone's Parliament that came into being in 1653 and was the last attempt of establishing a parliament before Oliver Cromwell became England's Lord Protector (i.e. dictator).
- Read more: Wikipedia -

[ Back to Rumour & Rapture | Back to Still Here ]

Running in the Rain

The song:
Just a love song, a relationship song.
- Source: Sonic Abuse interview with Justin Sullivan -

[ Back to Running in the Rain ]

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15/12/13; last update 17/06/17