Shut Up

“This is a song about petty crime from the policeman’s perspective. It was a vaguely glamorous thing to be involved with as a kid. Then you thought of all the lives it affected and the coppers themselves. I thought about them chasing after petty criminals.”Suggs (288)

One Better Day

“This was written after a trip to America and returning to Camden Town. I remember feeling quite good but also a bit disturbed. Camden was a pretty dreary place then; it wasn’t anything as colourful as it is now, just a lot of homeless people. Arlington House had at least 2000 people staying there. At that point they were just like little cells. Come midday there’d be 2000 homeless people wandering the streets of Camden. It was interesting but also sad. The idea of the song was when you’d hear people say, “Oh, he’s seen better days,” like when you’d see a guy in a suit looking a bit tatty. I thought, “What was that one better day?” Then I had the idea that he would meet this other homeless person that happened to be a woman – and they fell in love. Between them they would engender one better day as people who had, supposedly, seen better days.”Suggs (288)

Rise And Fall

“This is an abstract memory of going back to Liverpool. It’s very ambiguous. They’d knocked a lot of the old Georgian streets down with the idea of redeveloping them, which they eventually did. I had a distant memory of a different kind of community, or the bits I remembered were just wasteland. I didn’t want to be totally dismissive of what they were trying to do, but I was also thinking, “It isn’t great the way it is now”.”Suggs (289)


“This is one Lee wrote. It wasn’t “have you got a fascist friend” it was “I’ve got someone racist in my family”.”Suggs (290)

The Liberty Of Norton Folgate

“I had this idea about immigration. My family was Scottish, Cathal’s were Irish. I found out about this thing called the Liberty of Norton Folgate. They had an area for two or three hundred years outside the city walls that newcomers would come and gather before they came into the city proper. Before that, Shoreditch itself was a point of entry to get into Bishopsgate, into the city. It was a rubbish tip originally. When the wall came down and the city expanded, Norton Folgate managed to keep its own liberty, as they called it, and that seemed a rather inspiring thing. We made this whole story of Shoreditch from then until now. I thought it was a great way of saying that without immigration there wouldn’t be such a thing as London.”Suggs (290)

Mrs Hutchinson

“This is about my mum. She was ill in hospital. The doctor pulled my brother and me into a room and said, “Your mum’s not going to make it.” Then he went to my mum, “Oooh hello, Mrs Barson, it’s going to be fine.” It was completely wrong. She had something else in the end. Talking about death then was a taboo. I wrote the song quite a bit later, once my mum got the green light.”Mike Barson (291)

Driving In My Car

“This song wasn’t a euphemism for sex. It was about the simple things like driving in your car. Ian Dury brought that quality, the enjoyment of the mundane.”Mike Barson (292)

Give Me A Reason

“That comes from the story of a young cousin of mine. His mum went off to live with this bloke who used to play really vicious games with the kid. He’d start off playing ‘Pat-a-cake Pat-a-cake’ and end up hitting the kid across the room. In the end the kid finished up half dressed and bruised, running across London to our place, and he stayed with us for a while.”Lee Thompson (253)


“‘Sarah’ is about Sarah Tisdall who got nicked and put in Holloway for leaking information.”Suggs (254)