Bitter Suite

[Track Info] [The Lyrics] [Explanation]


Bitter Suite - Track Info

  1. Album version (07:13) [Misplaced Childhood (1985)]
  2. Live (London, England - "Hammersmith Odeon", January 9/10th '86) (07:38) [The Thieving Magpie - La Gazza Ladra (1988)]
  3. Live (St. Goar, Germany - "Freilichtbuhne Loreley", July 18th '87) (07:04) [Live At Loreley (1987)]

    Notes: This song is joined to Lavender (which comes before) and Heart Of Lothian (which comes after). Bitter Suite is divided into five parts: i) Brief Encounter, ii) Lost Weekend, iii) Blue Angel, iv) Misplaced Rendevous, v) Windswept Thumb. In Misplaced Childhood CD, Misplaced Rendevous and Windswept Thumb are included in the Heart of Lothian track (in The Thieving Magpie only Windswept Thumb), but we consider them as a part of Bitter Suite, as reported in the sleeve lyrics of Misplaced Childhood, so songs lenght are calculated in accordance with this decision. Live versions follow studio version, with longer instrumental passages and some lyrics additions. In the video "Live At Loreley", although present, Bitter Suite isn’t reported in the cover (in this version: additional backing vocals by Cori Josias).

    Lyrics by Derek William Dick (Fish)
    Performed Live for the first Time: Novenber 3rd 1984

    Published by Marillion Music, Charisma Music Publishing Co. Ltd., Chappell Music Ltd.

Bitter Suite - The Lyrics

a) Brief Encounter

A spider wanders aimlessly within the warmth of a shadow,
Not the regal creature of border caves,
But the poor, misguided, directionless familiar
of some obscure Scottish poet.

The mist crawls from the canal
Like some primordial phantom of romance
To curl, under a cascade of neon pollen.
While I sit tied to the phone like an expectant father.
Your carnation will rot in a vase.

b) Lost Weekend

A train sleeps in a siding,
The driver guzzles another can of lager, lager.
To wash away the memories of a Friday night down at the club.

She was a wallflower at sixteen,
she'll be a wallflower at thirty four.
Her mother called her beautiful.
Her daddy said, "A whore".

c) Blue Angel

The sky was Bible black in Lyon,
when I met the Magdalene.
She was paralyzed in a streetlight.
She refused to give her name.

And a ring of violet bruises,
They were pinned upon her arm.
Two hundred francs for sanctuary and she led me by the hand,
to a room of dancing shadows where all the heartache disappears
And from glowing tongues of candles I heard her whisper in my ear.
'J'entend ton coeur',
'J'entend ton coeur',
I can hear your heart, I can hear your heart, I can hear your heart.
Hear your heart.
I hear your heart.

d) Misplaced Rendezvous

It's getting late, for scribbling and scratching on the paper.
Something's gonna give under this pressure,
and the cracks are already beginning to show,
It's too late.
The weekend career girl never boarded the plane.
They said this could never happen again.
Oh, so wrong, so wrong.

This time it seems to be another misplaced rendezvous.
This time, it's looking like another misplaced rendezvous,
With you,
The parallel of you, you.

e) Windswept Thumb

On the outskirts of nowhere,
On the ringroad to somewhere,
On the verge of indecision,
I'll always take the roundabout way,
Waiting on the rain.
For I was born with a habit, from a sign.
The habit of a windswept thumb.
And the sign of the rain,
{rain on me, rain}

It's started raining, It's started raining, It's started raining, It's started raining.
It's started raining, It's started raining, It's started raining.

Copyright 1997 Fraser Marshall, Matthew Anderson & Bert ter Steege.

Bitter Suite

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 tof two ordinary, married middle-class people, who meet at a train station. 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 and he leaves for Africa. 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 'Braveheart' Wallace, crowned himself king of Scotland in 1306 in direct contravention of Edward 1 of England's cliam 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 independance to the beleagured 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 trechery 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 avaid 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 perseverence 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
A movie (1945) Directed by Billy Wilder

A person who from shyness or unpopularity remains on the sidelines at a social funcion (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 humilliation 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, all be it 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...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


Last Modified: 27 Jul 2000