Latin Quarter - Nothing Like Velvet

Lyrics

There's a mouth on the book she is reading
The lips are so red, they could almost be bleeding
As red as the shirt that she has to pull on
As the wind cools
By the big pool

She is asking advice of her mother
The woman in black she could not be another
As black as the look that she gives to the boys
Calls the, "Poor fools"
By the big pool

The big pool is frighteningly wide
It laps a town where the red and the black collide
Sometimes the waves even have to decide
The big pool stirs just outside…

At the edge of the square there's a meeting
The men are in black and their wave is no greeting
Black as the sockets of skulls in a cellar
Yeah, the new ghouls
By the big pool

Through the dust there's a cluster of young boys
Red neckerchiefs in the heat and the noise
Red as the past of Emilia-Romagna
Oh, by whose Rules?
By the big pool

The big pool is frighteningly wide
It laps a town where the red and the black collide
Sometimes the waves even have to decide
The big pool stirs just outside…

"Tell me again", said the young girl
The sun's setting red and my head's in a whirl
Red is the colour that killed Aldo Moro

While black uniforms lived by torture and sorrow
But there's no middle ground, not now or tomorrow
Still, I will choose

Song Description

This song tells the story of an occurrence during a holiday in Sabaúdia, on the coast of Italy south of Rome. The town was built in 1935 as a model for the “new era”. A statue of the dictator Mussolini still stands there today. The first two verses tell of a real situation: On a beach of the Mediterranean lies a girl in a red shirt. She’s reading a book with a lurid red mouth on the cover. Some young men walk past and the girl’s mother gives them angry looks. She’s dressed all in black, like many older women from the country. The two colours take on a symbolic meaning: Red, the colour of the socialists, and black, the colour of the Italian fascists.

The next two verses are a fantasy: Men in black meet in the town square and give each other the fascist salute. A group of young socialists draws near. Who will keep the upper hand in Italy? The red or the black? If it comes to a violent conflict, the holiday maker on the beach has no chance to flee, because the ocean is too wide. He has to decide on a colour, but doesn’t want to.

Emilia-Romagna: Province in the north, traditionally stronghold of the of the left, here used as a contrast to Sabaúdia. The prime minister Aldo Moro was murdered by the radical Red Brigade in 1978.

Versions

  • ALive (4:23)
  • BStudio Version (3:49)
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