a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version


Lyrics & Music: Neil Hannon

Published by: Damaged Pop Music / BMG Music Publishing Ltd.

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy

Covered by: The Divine Comedy & Duke Special


To see the lyrics, click on the name of the version you are interested in (on the left).




It's been played more than you could think. Except between 1998 and 2001, it's been regularly played since 1996.

When asked how low he could go, Neil said: "This low. This is about as low as I'll ever get. Savour the moment, folks." And indeed it's hard to find a more sexual song, yet it's wittier than it seems.

Of course, this isn't a song on warfare. Here, it's just a metaphor. Neil has replaced the word fuck by fight. The whole song is full of references to war events. However, although it is quite dense, it is one of the last songs to have been written for Casanova.

First, Ladysmith was the site of a battle which took place on February 27th 1900 during the Boer war. France isn't only the country which must have waged the greatest number of wars against England, it's also reputed for its sexual pleasures. Booby-traps here of course allude to bras. "Don't shoot till you see the whites of the eyes" was a phrase declared during the Boer war.

In the chorus, "cannon to the left and cannon to the right" as well as "the valley of death" echo Lord Alfred Tennyson's "The Charge Of The Light Brigade".

The second verse is a parody of Wiston Churchill's speech during the Second World War: "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender".

The third verse (the dialogue) is a fake dialogue between Barry White and Prince. "I have in my hand a piece of paper, signed by Mr. Hitler, in which he assures us that there will be no war in Europe" was stated by Neville Chamberlain. To go over the top seems to be an expression used during the First World War to say soldiers were leaving the trenches and charging over no-man's-land to the enemy. ""Walk into my parlour" said a spider to a fly" is a quote from "The Spider And The Fly" by Mary Howitt which Neil adapts for the song.

More at the end of the song, after "there'll be a cannon to the right" comes a sample from the musical The Sound Of Music ("The hills are alive with the sound of"). The sample at the very end comes from the film Waterloo.