The Land Of Cheese And Wine

I have been called many things in my time – “Mr Key” and “a Diogenesian recluse” are two that spring to mind – but the one I particularly treasure is “the anti-Capitalist Music journalist”. Alas, the tiny speck of Interwebshire where these words appeared has vanished. Let us hope it pops up again somewhere one day.

Capitalist Music were an endearingly preposterous band, based in Norwich, in those heady post-punk days circa 1979-1982. Their chief characteristic, as I recall, was an almost boundless self-importance. For the crime of having given them a so-so review in a local rag, I earned my immortal epithet. Not “an” anti-Capitalist Music journalist, note, but “the” (as if they were otherwise universally adored), and the implication that my opinion of them was the defining fact about me. I may have been scribbling reviews of other bands, and of films, and bashing out a cartoon strip, but what did that matter? Surely everybody knew me as “the anti-Capitalist Music journalist”.

But was I, truly? After all, here I am writing about them thirty years later. The reason for doing so is basically a plea for help. For me, the band’s finest work was the ludicrous “Jane’s Gone To France”, with its rousing lines “It’s the land of cheese and wine / It’s the land of Marshal Petain!” Yet no matter how efficiently I sluice out my ears with Dr Baxter’s Ear-Sluicing Preparation, I have never, ever been able to work out what on earth the great Steve Bloch is singing in the next line. So in a desperate attempt to solve this puzzle that has haunted me for three long decades, I am posting the song here. Have a listen, and when you have calmed down sufficiently, and stopped giggling, do let me know what you think that line is.

Jane’s gone to France

It’s the land of cheese and wine

And it’s the land of Marshal Petain

And it’s the land of [what, for God’s sake?]

She was a good girl

But now she’s gone for good

Capitalist Music – Jane’s Gone To France

from the 1981 compilation album “Welcome To Norwich A Fine City”


12 thoughts on “The Land Of Cheese And Wine

  1. Dear Frank

    What a marvelous song! Reminds me of Depress – a band with a Polish singer I heard in Norway – and who’s lyrics are equally indecipherable! I shall keep listening and let you know my conclusions; on first hearing sounds a it like something to do with Jean-Jacque Rousseau?

    Interestingly enough I was in Norwich at that time but sadly never encountered these people . . . maybe I was too enchanted by The Star (“no lager, no pool, no jukebox. . . not so much a pub, more a bucket” ) to notice?

    Excellent blog as usual 🙂

  2. No, can’t get it.
    In the meantime I’m inspired to give ‘Bad Review’ by Half Man Half Biscuit a spin.

    O.S.M. B:53

  3. Mr McLoughlin : I have pondered Rousseau, but the great Bloch is clearly singing neither “Jean Jacques” nor “Henri le Douanier”, so I remain stumped.

    I remember The Golden Star, and occasionally went there myself. We may well have trod the same sawdust.

  4. Brit : I think they must surely be human words, for the great Steve Bloch was a titanic intellectual presence, as the rest of the lyrics indicate. I doubt that the Bloch uberbrain could ever descend to bestial grunting. No, those are human, possibly superhuman words, and together we are going to damned well decipher them!

  5. Sounds like [something] soul to me. Indomitable soul? Something to do with De Gaulle? Or Petain at Verdun?

    Or perhaps “Indomitable Gauls” – as in “One small village of indomitable Gauls …”? Do you think Mr. Bloch was a fan of Asterix?

  6. Brit : “(I seem to be subscribed to this thread)” And there I was assuming you were making a routine daily check of all comments on all posts throughout the Hooting Yard archive.

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