"Rusholme Ruffians" as written by Johnny Marr and Steven Patrick Morrissey....
The last night of the fair
By the big wheel generator
A boy is stabbed
And his money is grabbed
And the air hangs heavy like a dulling wine

She is famous
She is funny
An engagement ring
Doesn't mean a thing
To a mind consumed by brass (money)


And though I walk home alone
I might walk home alone...
...But my faith in love is still devout

The last night of the fair
From a seat on a whirling waltzer
Her skirt ascends for a watching eye
It's a hideous trait (on her mother's side)
From a seat on a whirling waltzer
Her skirt ascends for a watching eye
It's a hideous trait (on her mother's side)

And though I walk home alone
I might walk home alone...
...But my faith in love is still devout

Then someone falls in love
And someone's beaten up
Someone's beaten up
And the senses being dulled are mine
And someone falls in love
And someone's beaten up
And the senses being dulled are mine

And though I walk home alone
I might walk home alone ...
...But my faith in love is still devout

This is the last night of the fair
And the grease in the hair
Of a speedway operator
Is all a tremulous heart requires
A schoolgirl is denied
She said : "How quickly would I die
If I jumped from the top of the parachutes?"
La...

This is the last night of the fair
And the grease in the hair
Of a speedway operator
Is all a tremulous heart requires
A schoolgirl is denied
She said : "How quickly would I die
If I jumped from the top of the parachutes?"
La...

So...scratch my name on your arm with a fountain pen
(This means you really love me)
Scratch my name on your arm with a fountain pen
(This means you really love me)
Oh...

And though I walk home alone
I just might walk home alone
But my faith in love is still devout
I might walk home alone
But my faith in love is still devout
I might walk home alone
But my faith in love is still devout
La...


Lyrics submitted by Idan

"Rusholme Ruffians" as written by Johnny Marr Steven Morrissey

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Rusholme Ruffians song meanings
Add your thoughts

22 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +7
    General CommentVictoria Wood's "Fourteen Again" seems to have been a major inspiration for this song:

    I want to be fourteen again,
    When sex was just called number ten,

    And I was up to seven and a half.

    Boys were for love, girls were for fun.
    You burst out laughing if you saw a nun.

    Sophistication was a sports car and a chiffon scarf.

    I want to be fourteen again,
    Tattoo my self with a fountain pen,

    Pretend to like the taste of rum and Coke,

    Chuck my school hat in a bush,
    Spit on my mascara brush,

    Buy Consulate and teach myself to smoke.

    I want to be fourteen again,
    Free rides on the waltzer off the fairground men

    For a promise of a snog the last night of the fair—

    French kissing as the kiosks shut
    Behind the generators with your coconut,

    The coloured lights reflected in the Brylcream on his hair.

    I want to be fourteen again,
    For all the things I didn't know then.

    When I was funny, I was famous, I was never ignored,

    I was a crazy girl, I had to laugh.
    I had Ilya Kuriakin's autograph.

    I had no idea you could wake up feeling bored.
    crocomanceron August 23, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think it's just about the innocence of childhood and things. Although he sees all these horrible things around him, and an engaged woman flashing everyone etc. he still believes in love, and thinks that writing his name on a girl's arm is shows they love each other.

    It's actually a bit knopfler-esque in that way
    Guerillabaabaaon August 22, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentFrom Johnny Rogan's book on The Smiths songs (this is one of those where every song is discussed):
    "Morrissey borrowed freely from the pen of comedienne Victoria Wood and hijacked her song 'Fourteen Again' for his own satiris purposes. What emerges is a striking adaptation in which Wood's humorously affectioante reminiscences are subverted into a threatening landcsape where casual violence and the threat of romantic suicide are menacingly present."
    "As Marr points out, the primary idea was to create a song that captured the raw excitement of youths visiting a Manchester fairground. (...) Morrissey also travelled back to his earlier memories in dramatising the dazzling unpredictability of faiground life. 'As a child, I was literally educated on fairgrounds', he claimed. 'It was the big event. It was why everybody was alive. On threadbare Manchester council estates once a year fairs would come around. It was a period of tremendous violence, hate, distress, high romance and all the truly vital things in life...In Rushholme, it was the only thing people had."
    "
    nightanddayon December 31, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMoz's voice is extra awesome in this one :D
    mediocremurphyon December 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA great Smiths song, and not yet commented on!

    Oh the shock and horror of it all...

    As i said on the badly named 'Marie's the name' thread...i feel its morrissey, that awkward Manchester (Rusholme is in Manchester [home to the famous curry mile]) boy going to a fair. He doesn't belong there in that vulgar place, but oh gosh doesn't he get a secret thrill from it. That sort of feeling crops up regularly in Morrissey's solo work, with his love of the ruffian/teddy boy etc.

    Reminds me of a friend of mine

    xo
    Libertweenon January 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits the greediness of society: a boy is stabbed
    and his money is grabbed
    the boy, refferring probably to a child, someone innocent and society taking advantage of him.

    "she is famous she is funny, and an engagement ring doesnt mean a thing"
    she doesnt care for a personal love.. only the love of the general public maybe and money.. whoever she may be.
    thatisall
    clarapalmeron May 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentslap yourself with a monkey weiner clarapalmer,Morrissey dosent give two shits about the world.It May Be reffering to all the bad crap that happens over there in Britian.("Ruffian")
    z0MbiEon June 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHooray! The fair's in town! A colourful, exciting and potentially violent place as boys from the neighbouring towns come to visit. Mozza conjures up the old style fairground perfectly from the girl flashing her knickers to the guy being beaten up in the background.
    Boss Manon July 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think maybe Victoria Wood was inspired by this song, not the other way around. I'm not sure how far her career goes but this song was written around 1984/5.

    It was mentioned somewhere on the morrissey-solo webiste that the "scratch my name on your arm.." part is supposed to be literally taken as scratching, i.e. tattooing, as schoolkids back in the day would (apparently) try and woo the one they loved my permanently inking their name into their arm.

    ..albeit in a rather clumsy, messy and no doubt, dangerous manner.

    I'm not quite sure how true this is, but I find it interesting.
    Midxcoreon October 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe inspiration for this song came from an olde 45 owned by Michael Marr's parents. '(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame' was an Elvis Presley chart-topper the year before John Maher married Frances Doyle. Written by the great Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman partnership, the song contained a memorable riff which Marr liberally adapted and aligned to a rockbilly rythm. "The real idea was to do something from the fairground," he explained. "I'd spend a lot of time at the fair in Wythenshawe Park and I worked at a speedway in a place down in Cheshire. I still maintain that the best place to hear music is at the fairground. If you get your records played at the fair you're a great pop group. I used to go there al the time, not necessarily to go on the rides, but to look at girls. I had this really romantic feeling when I was at the fair."

    -Morrissey & Marr-The Severed Alliance, written by Johnny Rogan



    Morissey once joked about marrying Victoria Wood, to which Victoria responded pubicly with the witty announcement, "Morrissey and I have been married for 11 months, though due to touring commitments, we have yet to meet."
    marquiceriseon January 13, 2006   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain