- 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:

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.