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Tales of the Road

The song:
One of many songs that uses driving as subject matter or metaphor, like
After Something, Happy to be Here, Headlights, 125 MPH, Orange Tree Roads, The Price, Stormclouds, Sunrise, Vagabonds, or Wipeout. Justin says about "the Road":
"I was too young to be a hippy, but as a result of having older brothers and sisters and a vivid imagination, I took in much of the wild romance of that era. My mum says if she was ever going anywhere in the car I wanted to be going too. I started hitch-hiking when I was about 15 and, at 19, spent four months alone on the road in America having a predictably bizarre set of adventures. A few years later I drove a van to in a convoy to Pakistan - through Iran, Afghanistan etc working for some Bradford Mafiosi gang and I've gone on craving and having road adventures ever since. Even after thirty years on the road with the band, I still think it's romantic to eat rubbish food in some godforsaken roadhouse at 3am by the side of an empty motorway in the back end of Poland with truckers and prostitutes. Really. Honestly I do. I hate being in any one place for more than a couple of weeks at a time. I once gave a ride to a hobo in the wilds of a Canadian winter who told me that he was finally thinking of 'settling down'. He then told me he was 74. So I guess I have at least another 20 years of this addiction to play out."
- Source: Justin Sullivan on the official NMA Site -

Prodigal son:
One of Jesus' parables in the bible is called 'The Prodigal Son'. It is about a young man who leaves his father and wastes his inheritance. Poor and hungry he decides to go back home and ask his father to forgive him. The father is overjoyed to see his son again and arranges a large feast. The elder brother gets angry, because he has always worked hard for his father and never been treated so generously in return. But the father answers him: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found". The point of the story is that God will always forgive a repentant sinner, and that one repentant sinner makes God happier than many just persons. It is typical for Justin's treatment of biblical stories to change their content and meaning into the opposite: his "prodigal son is not coming home". Similarly, the idea of being lost and found again is turned around in Gigabyte Wars; however, a positive, though not Christian, presentation of the same idea can be found in Orange Tree Roads.
- Source: The Bible. Luke, 15.11-32 - Read more: King James Bible -

A village in the north of England, west of Leeds. The junction is probably the place where the M62 and A1 cross. The M62 leads from Bradford to Kingston-upon-Hull, from where ferries leave to mainland Europe. The A1 leads to London in the south and Newcastle in the north (from where also ferries leave to mainland Europe). The cooling towers belong to the Ferrybridge Power Station that dominates the skyline around the village.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

An idea in European folklore describing wells where it is thought that any spoken wish would be granted if you throw coins into the water.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

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Ten Commandments

The song:
We recorded this for 'The Ghost of Cain' but the producer Glyn Johns never liked it and it ended up as a B-side. In the end we think he was probably right . . . [I don't . . . SF]
-Source: B-Sides and Abandoned Tracks booklet -

An early Hebrew religious leader. The first five books of the Torah as well as the Bible are attributed to him. He was born by a Hebrew mother in Egypt and was commanded by God to deliver the Israelites from slavery and lead them through the desert to the Promised Land.
In the bible God meets Moses on the Mountain Sinai in the desert and gives him two tables with the ten commandments written on them. The people of Israel that Moses leads meanwhile build a golden calf that they worship. The whole first verse of 'Ten Commandments' is based on Exodus, 32.15-20:
"[15] And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. [16] And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. [17] And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.[18] And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. [19] And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. [20] And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it."
- Source: The Bible. Exodus, 19.1-32.20 - Read more: King James Bible - Wikipedia -

Ten Commandments:
The set of rules written by God on the two tablets he gave to Moses on the Mount Sinai (see Moses above). Jews and Christians today still consider these rules to be a guideline for moral behaviour. Here they are: 1. I am the LORD your God; you shall have no other gods before me. 2. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God. 3. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 4. Honour your father and your mother. 5. You shall not murder. 6. You shall not commit adultery. 7. You shall not steal. 8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. 10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
- Source: The Bible. Exodus, 20.2-17 - Read more: King James Bible - Wikipedia -

Book of Revelation:
By Jesus's disciple(?) John. The last book of the Bible, in which the end of the world, the apocalypse, and the Last Judgment are prophesied, when God will send all those to hell who don't believe in him.
- Read more: King James Bible -

So in Christianity, it's the book that's written sometime afterwards, Revelations, that is the "sting in the tail" of Christianity. Christianity is all about love and truth and light and beauty, and blah-blah-blah, and then there's the sting in the tail: if you don't join us, you're in trouble.
- Source: Allan MacInnis: "New Model Army: Tribal Warfare and Western Civilization. Telephone interview on May 18th, 2008 -

A god made in the image of man:
According to the bible, man was created in the image of god: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness".
- Source: The Bible. Genesis, 1.26 - Read more: King James Bible -

First and most important prophet of the Islam.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Holy war:
Holy wars appear in all religions (e.g. the Crusades in Christianity). In Islam, the Holy War or Jihad means "to strive or struggle in the way of God", i.e. to lead a good muslim life. The term is not meant to include violence, but is often misinterpreted and used as justification for martial or terrorist actions by fanatics.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Heresy is the denial by a professed, baptized Christian of a revealed truth or that which the (Roman Catholic) Church has proposed as a revealed truth. Heretics were persecuted by the Inquisition.

Dead Sea Scrolls:
Ancient manuscripts (of leather, papyrus, and copper) discovered in desert caves and ancient ruins in the wilderness of Judaea. They are among the more important discoveries in the history of modern archaeology. Their recovery has enabled scholars to push back the date of a stabilized Hebrew Bible to no later than AD 70, to reconstruct the history of Palestine from the 4th century BC to AD 135, and to cast new light on the emergence of Christianity and of rabbinic Judaism and on the relationship between early Christianity and Jewish religious traditions.
- Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica - Read more: Wikipedia -

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Till the End of the Day

The song:
This was the first single Justin ever bought, probably back in 1966.
- Source: Justin Sullivan in an interview with Chris Benn in February 1997 -

[ Back to Till the End of the Day ]

Today Is a Good Day

The song:
"Everybody keeps saying to me about the terrific irony of the song 'Today Is A Good Day,' but it's not, it's an absolute celebration [. . . .] The day after Lehman Brothers collapsed [. . .] you must have had a toast. You must have enjoyed the moment, no? I enjoyed it hugely! Not because - 'oh, the bankers are going to fall.' The bankers are going to be fine; they've been bailed out by the rest of us. It's not that. It's just that you get sick of being lectured - particularly since the fall of communism - that 'market economics are the only game in town, and bankers have to pay themselves because they're intelligent people; we have to get the best people to be bankers, because they really are amazing people who create this wealth.' You got sick of being lectured like this - because we all knew it was a fucking lie! So when the whole thing is exposed as a lie [. . .] there's a moment of fucking great joy, because those tosspots can never come and lecture us again! [. . . .] the crash should be particularly educational to the 'wannabe-at-the-top' class of people, who bought into this idea that you could pluck wealth out of the sky, and it's inevitable that it would go on growing. Your house that was worth 20,000 pounds last year, would be worth 25,000 this year, and et cetera. Well, actually, most common people never bought into this. Most people have an ancestral memory that you have good harvests and bad harvests. And the nature of nature is, some things go well for awhile, and then they don't."
- Source: Justin Sullivan interview with Allan MacInnis -

The collapse of the Lehman Brothers, one of the oldest and largest banks in the USA, was one of the major events in the 2008 financial crisis. This crisis began with the bursting of real estate bubbles in the USA and other countries in 2007, spread to the stock exchanges and investment banks all over the world and from there to the real economy, which wasn't provided with capital any longer. In other words, when all the fictional money that bankers produce turned out to be fictional, it was real people who lost real jobs, while the banks everywhere were saved with taxpayers' real money.
-Read more: Wikipedia -

Ashes in their mouths:
(Turn to) ashes in one's mouth means "(become) something that is bitterly disappointing or worthless."
- Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English -

This phrase might have its source in the "Apple of Sodom", a fruit that looks tasty but is extremely bitter and was historically described as turning into ashes in one's hand or mouth.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Stepford Wives:
"We were all like Stepford Wives running around the supermarket, wondering what we could buy, and now - that's kind of over, isn't it? So today is a good day, because that stops us from becoming that horrible creature that we were all becoming."
- Source: Justin Sullivan interview with Allan MacInnis -

'Stepford Wife' is a satirical expression for a submissive housewife or, more generally, a blindly submissive person. The term comes from a novel of the same title by Ira Levin (some of you might know his even more famous novel Rosemary's Baby) that was adapted to the screen in 1975 and again in 2004. The women in the fictional small town of Stepford are too beautiful, cheerful and obedient to be true, and indeed it turns out they were turned into robots by their husbands.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

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Tomorrow Came

The song:
"Do you remember the song A Liberal Education? That is a kind of a slag off of the sixties, that way of looking at the world, and I think Tomorrow Came is a criticism of my own generation. We are the ones that knew everything and still we did nothing, we harvested the land and planted nothing [quoted from Ballad], it's kind of a continuation of that. Rock and Roll was the idea of 'I want it now I want everything'. The youth phenomenon of the fifties and sixties - at a time of growth and plenty - was then enshrined - partly by rock and roll - into a kind of way of life of 'I want this now, why can't I have it'. And I think eighteen year olds looking up at their parents and grandparents today are entitled to say, 'fucking hell you spent it all, you spent my future', and that's pretty much what that song's about."
- Source: Justin Sullivan in The Yorkshire Times

Born in the spring:
Justin Sullivan was born on the 8th of April 1956. I guess, for the song it is also significant that spring is the time of the year where nature begins to bloom and grow again and where we sow and plant for the harvest in summer or autumn.

Almost the same words are used in Bad Harvest.

Freedom '91 also states that 'songs of freedom' have lost their meaning.

Tomorrow never comes:
"Live for today, for tomorrow never comes" is a proverb.

[ Back to Tomorrow Came ]

Too Close to the Sun

A frequently occurring name in the bible; it was the name of the mother of Jesus and several women he knew. Accordingly, the mountain could be Calvary Hill, where Jesus was crucified.

Warrior monks:
Probably a Chinese monk (or someone influenced by this idea) from the Shaolin Monastery, that is famous for its association with Zen Buddhism and the martial arts.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

Melting wax and feathers falling:
In Greek mythology, Icarus and his father Daedalus were imprisoned by King Minos. They managed to escape by flying away with wings made out of feathers stuck together with wax. Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted, the wings broke and the boy fell into the sea and drowned.
- Read more: Wikipedia -

[ Back to Too Close to the Sun ]


The song:
The song is about New Model Army's first bass player, Stuart Morrow. [I still think he was their best bass player ever, though].
- Source: Justin Sullivan in an interview with Chris Benn in February 1997 -

Stuart, we see each other about every other night, him and his girlfriend who is one of my oldest friends in Bradford, so me and Stuart make music all the time up in the attic. We are very close. When he left the band it was very suddenly, he said 'right, I'm off' and it was right at the point were we were commercially having a great deal of success and he left without any explanation and he wouldn't talk to us for about three years and after about three years, it was like this is a waste of time, let's be friends. And we have been friends ever since. You know, Justin has a different feeling over that and he was with Justin before I joined the band, but we are very close.
- Source: Robert Heaton in an interview with Chris Benn in May 1997 -

The song Curse is about the same subject and person.

[ Back to Trust ]

Turn Away

The song:
There's a lot of different things to be addicted to, but the hardest thing is to live with someone that's addicted to something. It's always the friends and the family of the person that get it in their neck.
- Source: Justin Sullivan on the Big Guitars in Little Europe CD -

[ Back to Turn Away ]

Twilight Home

The song:
Obviously a combination of Justin's favourite subjects, family/home (compare BD3, Dawn, Family, Family Life, Home, Inheritance,
March in September, My People, No Mirror, No Shadow), and the sea (see Big Blue, Happy to be Here, Marry the Sea, North Star, Ocean Rising, Southwest, Sun On Water, Wipeout).

Justin himself likes to surf (although he is not very good at it) and supports a Cornwall based environmental activity group, "Surfers against Sewage" (SAS).
- Read more: SAS official site -

[ Back to Twilight Home ]


The song:
It's about saving the world again, and against technology, the fact that everybody is forced to use technology. It's supposedly good for us, but I don't think it is. We didn't ask for any of it, but we have to use computers, we have to use this, we have to use that; as if somewhere else someone has decided that we have to use all this stuff, 'cause somebody is inventing it. If some clever person tomorrow invents some amazing device that enables you that you don't have to walk anywhere, we now have to feel we have to use this device because it's good for us. And it's nonsense, it's all nonsense.
- Source: Robert Heaton in an interview with German radio station Radio Bremen 4 in February 1989 -

White Coats is about a similar topic.

225 beats per minute, that's the tempo of the song - which nobody does, except for speed metal bands. No rock band does it, it's all like Bon Jovie speed and stuff.
- Source: Robert Heaton in an interview with German radio station Radio Bremen 4 in February 1989 -

Without rhyme, without reason:
Withour logical explanation.
- Source: The New Oxford Dictionary of English -

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16/11/14; last update 17/06/17