Emerald Lies

[Track Info] [The Lyrics] [Explanation]

Emerald Lies - Track Info

01. Studio version (05:12)

02. Demo version (05:32)

03. Live (Montreal, Canada - "The Spectrum", June 19/20th '84) (05:26)

Notes: The demo 2) is from the Fugazi recording sessions. The most important differences between this demo and the album version:
- the instrumental opening before the verse "To be the prince..." is replaced by a brief and simple guitar introduction
- keyboard riffs throughout the song
- raw Fish vocals
- the central part after the verse "...and they're my dreams!" is completely different (different music and shuffled lyrics). The songs continues with the verses:
"Looking in shades of green (...) to mistrust you - Plundering your diaries (...) unearth your plot - Innocence, innocence...";
then an long instrumental part with a keyboard solo, then the verses:
"To don the robes of Torquemada (...) within questions - Through the silk cut haze (...) on a courtroom drama - Let the coffee stains gather (...) on the cold linoleum - This is innocence".
With the verses "And accusation moths that circle..." the song returns to the structure of the album version.
Live version follows studio version, with the inversion of some verses:
"Plundering your diares, unearth your plot - Ravaging your letters, I steal your thoughts"
instead of
"Plundering your diares, I steal your thoughts - Ravaging your letters, unearth your plot" of the studio version.
Live version has also the repetition of the starting drum pattern in the middle of the song.

Lyrics by Derek William Dick (Fish)
Performed Live for the first Time: October 27th 1983

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

Emerald Lies - The Lyrics

To be the prince of possession in the gallery of contempt
Suffering your indiscrete discretions and you ask me to relent
As you accumulate flirtations with the calculated calmness of the whore,
Of the whore.
I am the harlequin - diamonded costume dripping shades of green
I am the harlequin - sense strangers violate my sanctuary,
Prowl my dreams
My dreams, and they're my dreams, they're my dreams
Plundering your diaries, I'll steal your thoughts innocence,
Ravaging your letters, unearth your plots innocence, what a surprise, Innocence, what a
surprise, [Innocence]

To don the robes of Torquemada, resurrect the inquisition
In that tortured subtle manner inflict questions within questions,
Within questions,
Looking in shades of green through shades of blue,
I trust you trust in me to mistrust you.

Through the Silk Cut haze to the smeared mascara
A 40 watt sun on a courtroom drama.
And the coffee stains gather till the pale kimono
Set the wedding rings dancing on the cold linoleum, this is innocence

And accusations moths that circle on the light
They char their wings and spiral senseless suicidal flight
You packed your world within a suitcase, hot tears melt this icy palace
And dissolve a crystal swallowed by the night
Looking in shades of green through shades of blue,
Looking in shades of green through shades of blue,
These shades of blue, of blue

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


Simon Long: According to one of the books I have on Marillion, I seem to recall that Fish explains that it is about a relationship being destroyed by a lack of trust - guy goes to a party with his girlfriend and sees her flirting (innocently) with several men, repeatedly questins her and makes accusations of infidelity, and discovers that all along she has been telling the truth - but that his questions have destroyed the trust on which the relationship was based.
I guess the 'Emerald' of the title is green for jealousy. Torquemada was one of the Inquisitors (after whom the Spanish Inquisition was named) - it's a reference to a figure trying to extract a confession. 'To be the prince of posession' - desire to own the woman in question. 'Suffering your indiscreet discretions' - watching her flirt. 'You accumulate flirtations' - ditto. 'Looking in shades of green through shades of blue' - jealousy tinged with sadness. 'Ravaging your letters, unearth your plots' - going behind her back, snooping for clues to her infidelity. ' Innocence - what a surprise' - discovery that she had been faithful after all'. 'I trust you trust in me to mistrust you' (incredible lyric!) - I hope you'll believe that I don't trust you. 'Courtroom drama' - 'set the wedding rings dancing' - divorce, end of relationship. If you know what it is about, the lyrics all make sense...

'Looking in shades of green through shades of blue'
Berend Julsing: I think this is about jealousy, feeling blue?
If you look, through green glass, at something that`s blue the net result is black isn`t it?
Seems to me this has some meaning as well, maybe leading to 'dissolve a crystal swallowed by the night'

From: Claus Nygaard.: Amazing it is, as I've always found this the most obvious lyric on the Fugazi-album. In the recent issue#10 of The Company Scandinavia I wrote an article about that lyric. Scandinavian readers can check the homepage for a full Danish version: http://www.econ.cbs.dk/institutes/ioa/people/cn/tcs.htm

Exactly the music is the first grand expression we meet. The instrumental 6/8, with the high-hat leading the way for the heavy drum pattern, followed by a "psychotic" synthesizer choir and a punching bass is fantastic and pulsating. It's like taking off - when the plane drives through the highway and you're pressed into the seat. When the guitar cuts in, you almost feel the earth disappearing, the theme is intensified and you're airborne, going upwards. We've reached our cruising altitude, the pilot stabilizes the plane, switches off the "fasten seat belt"-sign, and we are able to sit back and enjoy the trip...

Our passenger is again young Derek, who follows the storming drum intro by an open hearted declaration of his jealousy and his urge to posses another human. - To be the prince of possession, in the gallery of contempt -

It's fantastic to feel how the music changes as the vocal declaration begins, and the keyboard intensifies the fragile Derek. He doesn't want to possess his girlfriend because he's evil, but simply because he's hopelessly addicted to her. Every second they're not alone is like experiencing her endless flirtation with anybody around. He has to suffer her indiscrete discretions - suffering your indiscrete discretions, and you ask me to relent -

And the only answer he gets from her, when he tries to hold her tight, is that he has to pull himself together and stop fantasising. Her opinion is, he has no reason to be anxious, she's not flirting. But he's no doubt. And the fact that she's even able to keep cool and handle the situation, while his ongoing jealousy makes him crazy, is far too much. - As you accumulate flirtations, with the calculated calmness of the whore -

She's so calculative and cool as can only be a whore. Derek feels like the harlequin, and he is steaming from jealousy (symbolized by the reference to the sick green colour) - I am the harlequin, with diamonded costume dripping shades of green -

When he gets the feeling that strangers (every other males in the room / world?) trespass his territory (her), and prowl his dreams, he is at the same time feeling ridiculous. - I am the harlequin, sense strangers violate my sanctuary, prowl my dreams - The strangers are violating his sanctuary (her) and by doing so they enter his dreams of the perfect relationship to her (without him being jealous). - My dreams, and they are my dreams - and in desperation he screams into the emptiness - they are my dreams!

He wants her alone, by himself, by his side.

The fantastic are that he's able to express his jealousy so clearly, but he's not capable of removing it. He's certain that she has other lovers, and he shall find the clues, which leads him to reveal the ongoing plot. His desperate search for clues in their apartment is intensified by the drum-theme and the rolling bass-line. You can almost feel how he's furiously and sweating scrutinizing. - Plundering your diaries, I'll steal your thought's -

Oh, this is easy. She's of course written about her affairs in her diary. He plunders that, but no, he finds not what he thought he'd do. Of course, she's not guilty - innocence - and it doesn't surprise him, and to himself he mumbles with an ironic distance - what a surprise -

But despite that he keeps on scrutinizing, searching - Ravaging your letters, unearth your plots -

Her lovers have of course sent her letters, so with despair he tears open all her envelopes, but once again he doesn't find what he's looking for. Still, she's not proven guilty. - Innocence - what a surprise! Innocence - what a surprise - innocence, innocence, innocence -

But then, the front door tells its tale, and she's home. But she's innocence? She has to be innocence, really, since he - the perfect scrutinizer - didn't find a clue? Who in this world is really capable of hiding anything for him? No, wait a minute. Damn, she's not innocence. Outside this door is one million lovers waiting, and he'll soon have the name of every single one of them. This time she's no chance to hide her doings, and he takes on his lawyer's robe. - to don the robes of Torquemada - (listen to the guitar) and he resurrects the inquisition (a perfect play on the Spanish inquisition), he cross-examines her doings and beings - to resurrect the Inquisition -

And please note the brilliant use of the word "resurrect", cause this is a game that has been played several times before (and the game has just begun). He's asking her myriads of questions, and even if deep down he knows that she's innocence, he has to keep on cross examining her, in order not to compromise his own point of views, and all he's doing is torturing her, really. - And in that tortured subtle manner - (listen to the guitar) - inflict questions -

But he's just continuing with series of questions, which refers to each other on several levels, asking for details that are only parts of other details - within questions within questions -

Cause he's convinced that his perfect way of asking questions will soon make her break down, admit her faults, and confess. And mean- while he sees everything through the sick green colour, stemming from the jealousy. - looking in shades of green through shades of blue -

And deep inside he's feeling sorry for himself, and he sees the green through his own sorrow (blue) and desperation. Note how the play on innocent colours of green and blue expresses jealousy and sorrow. - I trust you trust in me to mistrust you -

This is a brilliant expression, which can be read in three tempi. - I trust you trust in me - He trusts that she's trusting him, and - you trust in me to mistrust you - while she trusts he's not trusting her (God, she's experienced that several times), while he knows that she don't really trust him - I trust you trust in me to mistrust you - This play on words is really marvellous, and the deconstruction nearly cannot stop. The sentence can be shuffled so many times.

Now he has caught her in the kitchen, where the 40 watt lamp is capable of turning the situation into a courtroom scene. He's smoking Silk Cut-cigarettes, and she's on the verge of a breakdown, sending her mascara down her chins. - through the silk-cut haze to the smeared mascara, a forty-watt sun (listen to the guitar) on a courtroom drama -

Suddenly she's had enough, and she cannot take it anymore. She throws her coffee mug and the wedding rings to the floor. The rhythmic shift is again brilliant, and the musical theme underpins the ongoing drama. (I don't know of any other band who's been able to integrate lyrical and musical expressions so fabulously well). - And the coffee stains gather to the pale kimono, set the wedding rings dancing on the cold linoleum -

The spiralling guitar figure here shows how tense the situation is now getting, when she takes the wedding rings and throws them to the floor. Fish is expressing this passage in a genius and hair raising way. The drama is so close, the rhythmic are wonderful, and you can almost feel the doors being shut as she leaves the kitchen, packs and leaves the apartment - and him.

And there he is - now is the first time he really knows, she was right, and that she did love him. If not, she'd never have reacted like that. She'd just have said - "well, no problem, I'm leaving you, for my lover number 999". But she's nothing but him, and that's exactly the reason why she has to react in that way to his disloyal treatment of her. - This is innocence - And he knows, but it's to late. The musical expression stabilizes, and he's alone, trying to get to terms with what it was all about. The way in which Fish describes the finalizing of the inquisition, is simply wonderful. I've yet to find a poet with a capacity of writing with such scenery, so epic and yet concrete.

- And accusation's moths that circle on the light - The accusations he threw at her, is now taken back (cause he knows she was right and he was wrong), and he uses the tiny moth as a metaphor. The accusations circled on the light, like the moth circles on the light (the 40-watt sun), and they got to close to the light, because he lost his temper and finally crossed her line of respect. And now they're burning, like he's burning inside, like the whole situation was burning from the beginning. - They char their wings in spiral senseless, suicidal flight -

It was kamikaze, from day one, just like Icarus, who headed out for the sun and burned to death (which we've recently been reminded on another album). - You packed your world within a suitcase -

He recites the event to himself, as you often do when you sit alone and recapitalizes the horror of your behaviour. By doing so, he sees the madness in it all, and starts to cry, warm tears, now melting his heart, as he looks into the emptiness of the night. - Hot tears melt this icy palace, and dissolve a crystal swallowed by the night -

The music gears down, again adding to the atmosphere, as he sits there. - Looking in shades of green through shades of blue, Looking in shades of green through shades of blue -

His jealousy is now overshadowed by his sadness, which is punched in his face (and ours), by the remarkable sad musical expression the band leaves us with. - These shades of blue, of blue - Left is only sad shades, and no need to be jealous anymore...

Brewer's: In British Pantomime, a mischievous fellow, supposedly invisible to all eyes but those of his faithful Colombine. His function is to dance through the world and frustrate all the knavish attempts of the Clown, who is supposed to be in love with Colombine. He wears a tight fitting spangled or parti-coloured dress and is usually masked. He derives from Arlecchino, a stock character of Italian comedy, whose name was, in origin, probably that of a sprite or a hobgoblin. One of the demons in Dante is named Alichino, and another devil of medieval demonology was ‘Hennequin’

Pears Cyclopedia: Torquemada, Tomas de (1420-98), first Inquisitor General of Spain.

The Inquisition was a ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic church, dealing with the prosecution of heresy. The punishment - excommunication (which in the eyes of the church barred entry to Heaven) - was considered terrible enough a punishment. In 1252, disturbed by the increase of disciples of Mani, a duality based cult in the Languedoc region of France, Pope Innocent IV authorised the use of torture to break the will of suspects. Unrepentant heretics were punished by the secular authorities, usually death by the stake.

The Spanish Inquisition was formed in 1479. It was initially concerned with converts from Judaism and Islam. During Torquemada’s term of office, 2,000 heretics were burned to death. It was abolished in 1808 by Joseph Bonaparte. No one expected the Spanish Inquisition would be reformed in 1814, but it was. It was finally disbanded in 1834.

An excellent portrait of the Inquisition can be found in Umberto Eco’s superb Name of the Rose. The film’s pretty good too.

BTW, at about the time of Fugazi, there was a cartoon strip by a chap by the name of Pat Mills, one of Britain’s Finest comic writers. It was called Nemesis, and featured the continuing battles between Nemesis and his arch enemy Torquemada. It was published in 2000 AD, better known as the home of Judge Dredd. Coincidental or Deliberate? You are the judge!

Silk Cut
A medium strength European cigarette. (Someone might not know! - Ed.)


Last Modified: 27 Jul 2000