AFTER THE FLOOD
- MELODY MAKER, November 14th, 1987
"Where the voice you hold don't make no sound. Look, snow on the river and two by two, took a lot to live like you..."
We move from the droll subject of selective genocide to the plaintive
roar of "Driven Like The Snow". The humorist suddenly gags, when considering
his own near destruction that followed the demise of his one and only love affair.
"There's not a decent vocal on this because I could never get to the end
without having to stop. It's like the song on the first album, 'Nine While Nine'.
This is really 'Nine While Nine Part II'. Too close for comfort."
--It's strange Eldritch should use ancient metaphors like 'white as snow' to
illustrate such individual trauma.
"They're not familiar to me. I'm not familiar with them because I've never
really sorted nature - been at one with it. I find the outside perpetually
strange. It's not real, like indoors is real so, when I encounter it, it
feels like a fresh metaphor. I didn't really want to write or sing it, but I
think the song helped to explain very logically why we had to fall apart.
There's a logic to pain that you can't ignore."
--Besides singing "Driven Like The Snow" what else has made you cry this year?
"I don't really express myself even to myself well enough to really cry
over things. The songs do a better job than I can."
--Do you have recurring nightmares?
"Just two. One is about me struggling with some indefinable force like oblivion, but it's too difficult to describe.
The other is really much more like 'The Prisoner'. The sky is completely white and the land is completely white and there's no clear line between the two.
All there is besides that is a white pipeline suspended in the air, stretching as far as you can imagine in either direction
and I'm walking on it. I can never work out why I'm walking when it's perfectly obvious there's nothing in either direction, but I just keep on.
The only reason I know that there must be a land and a sky is that I'm there, therefore something like gravity must be keeping me there. I have to wake myself up from that one before I reach a state of instability."
The only epigram Eldritch remembers at all times is "Intimacy involves shame and is therefore precious".
"Mmm. Making records has always involved a great deal of personal grief to me."
"I had a face on the mirror. I had a hand on a gun..."
Our final stop, ladies and gentlemen, leads us to the fragment called "Neverland" -
a call of anguish and an echo of joy that this time defies gravity (in both senses).
"I had this vision. You know in the summer if you lay on the grass and stare
at the sky, you can almost see beyond the stars, but cannot quite get a grip
on what's there? Well, sometimes it's very difficult to work out exactly
what it is that keeps you pressed between the earth and the sky and why you
don't whoosh off into oblivion. 'Neverland' is coming about this the other
way: the entire population of the earth starting to travel from some
indefinable point in space toward the earth at increasing speed. It would
take an eternity to reach the earth - by which time you'd be reasonably
spiritualised - and even when you reached the destination, you wouldn't
actually hit the ground. You'd be going so fast you'd just go through and out
the other side, where there is another eternity of nothingness. I just tried
to write a song about these impressions."
It was soon after this that Eldritch stopped taking hallucinatory drugs.
"It felt very liberating at the time. Like the fifth day of playing 24 hour
Scrabble when you don't want to use any letters because each one means a
world to you because you're so deranged."
At this point I make a fascinating discovery. If I wear my mirror shades and
look into Eldritch's, all I can see is my reflection within his within mine
within his within...This is as close to oblivion as either of us wish to get
at four in the afternoon so we call a truce, remove the mirrors, and devise
promotional devices for the release of Floodland.
Eldritch still thinks a Sisters sword-stick would do fine, or a douche-bag (although he hasn't a clue
what a douche-bag actually is, he thinks it would be useful around the house). Failing that perhaps a
Sisters cattle-prod, or...
"Or a Sisters Of Mercy domestic flame thrower. Although I think a sword-stick would do the same job
more elegantly. I'm very rusty at fencing now though."
For those who may have got lost or waylaid on the journey through Floodland, here are some important fact
that might help you to savour the acute irony of the Sisters Of Mercy:
- Eldritch has never eaten Japanese food because he wants to save up the experience.
- His favourite smells are: Pears soap with hot water ("It's a very transcendental experience"),
Cornflakes with hot milk, Wrights Coal Tar soap with hot water ("the most pious smell in the universe"),
Josephine (see "Driven Like The Snow")[** see footnote], oblivion, and the BBC World Service ("very pungent, like cricket").
- Eldritch hates radishes, despite the fact that he has never tasted one in his life.
- Eldritch owns a collection of swords and sabres but refuses to possess a gun, mainly because he knows he'd use it.
- His first thought on waking up each morning is, "Where's the Marlboro?"
- Eldritch is the only person on earth who finds listening to Leonard Cohen an erotic experience.
This is largely because he spent his student days at Oxford listening to Cohen while visiting various beds in the nearby nursing college.
- He is as old as Michael Jackson.
- In a Spanish radio interview last week, the DJ asked Eldritch what his five favourite records were. After hearing just three the DJ
gave up. "The first was Elgar's Cello Concerto. Number Two was 'Je T'Aime' [** see footnote] and I was just about to get into the details of how Gary Glitter
must be an awesomely intelligent human being to create anything as ridiculous and fantastic as 'Didn't Know I Loved You Till I Saw You Rock'n'Roll'
when he pulled the plugs. I was serious about them though."
- If reincarnation exists, Eldritch would like to come back as a cat. His worst fear is returning as a Frenchman.
- His favourite book of the moment is an old Thirties guide to learning Chinese, written for ex-pats. 'The example phrases are amazing.
Like 'Tell my coolie to put the bags in the car'. Or 'Where's my pink gin?' It was completely useless for Chinese but a good guide for how
to run someone else's country."
Add these incidental facts together and what do you get? The world's greatest living Englishman.
** Josephine (Josie) Warden--of the band Vicious Pink, a/k/a Vicious Pink Phenomenon.
Check the link for info and lots of pictures (as well as an unexpected detail about Josie's affair with Eldritch).
** 'Je T'Aime'-- Eldritch is almost certainly referring to Vicious Pink's 1983 cover of this classic. The title is French for "I love you".
...return to Transcriptions page.