a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

National Express – UK / Ireland

National Express

  • Formats
    CD1 (Setanta / Vital, 25/01/1999):
    5 033281 620693 (SET CDA 069)
    CD2 (Setanta / Vital, 25/01/1999):
    5 033281 920694 (SET CDB 069)
    MC (Setanta / Vital, 25/01/1999):
    5 033281 420699 (SET MC 069)
    Promo CD (Setanta):
    5 033281 620693 (SET CDA 069)
    CD-R (Setanta):
    SET CDA 069
    Promo VHS (Vanderquest):
    Letterbox: PAL
  • Items
    In-store ad.
This is a nice item because its packaging is unusual: both discs go into a bigger card sleeve. This card sleeve is available only with CD1. On the front, we can see a photo of Neil Hannon with The Divine Comedy written in red and National Express in blue, the colours of the National Express. At the back are the tracklist for the two CDs (in red for the CD1, in blue for the CD2), but only the credits for CD1 (all in red).

It’s important to know the existence of this outer sleeve and that is was only with CD1, as some shops sell CD1 without this extra sleeve. So be careful!

The CDs are dated “℗1998 Setanta Records Ltd. ©1999 Setanta Records Ltd.” because though the songs were released in 1999, they were compiled in 1998.

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The red CD came in a card sleeve with a photo of Neil’s face (the same shot with a larger frame than on the outer sleeve). Everything is written in red, even the tracklist and credits at the back.

Around the centre of the CD, we can read:
13671 01907 SETCDA069 SP FT
113098 (an ifPi logo)LD81


The blue CD came in a card sleeve with another photo of Neil. The text (name, title, tracklist and credits) is written in blue.

Around the centre of the CD, we can read:
13672 01908 SETCDB069 SP FT
113098 (an ifPi logo)LD81



The tape of National Express takes back the red and blue colours of the 2 CDs. The title colours are the bigger card sleeve ones while the photo is the CD1 one, which is drawn out on the back next to the credits. On the other and the track version is the album version of ‘National Express’ as on CD2. Additionally, as on the bigger card sleeve, the side is printed in red. What is on the left is also in red, whereas the credits on the back are in blue.

The two faces of the tape are unchanged concerning the inscriptions as well as the magnetic tape: indeed, it says plays same both sides. This is the reason why the titles are numbered 1 and 2 instead of A and B like on a 7”. On the tape are printed:
  • The titles on the top
  • The serial number on the left
  • A Setanta logo on the right
  • The tracklisting on the bottom
  • Unlike the The Certainty Of Chance one, there are copyrights mentions.

Promo CD

This CD is similar to CD1, except that it comes in a plastic sleeve. Some were given away to radios by Alan James PR and features a sticker. It says: “Released on January 18th, this is the third single to be taken from the Divine Comedy’s ‘Fin de Siècle’ album which has just gone gold. The band play Brixton Academy on January 16th prior to joining Robbie Williams on his UK arena tour throughout February. For More Information Call Allan, Nigel or Richard at AJPR.”
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A more regular AJPR ‘promo’ is the regular CD1 within its cardsleeve and with a slightly different sticker (but still with the original planned release date) on the front: “Prior to joining Robbie Williams on his UK arena tour in February, The Divine Comedy release their poppiest song to date on January 18th. An all-out anthem with funny lyrics, this could be the band’s own ‘Common People’. Added to Radio 1’s B List five weeks upfront. Express Yourself: Nigel & Richard at AJPR.”



In addition to the AJPR promo CD (which is actually the same as CD1), it seems that a CD-R version of CD1 also exists. It’s actually a simple Hi-Space CD-R (made in France by MPO) with a handwritten title on it. It comes in a standard jewel box with the Hi-Space insert. The front cover is also handwritten. And both the front cover and the disc have a Setanta sticker with their contact information.

Promo VHS


The VHS features the video of ‘National Express’.

The Trade Advert (12”x12” poster)