"Wickerman" as written by Jarvis Branson Cocker, Stephen Patrick Mackey, Nick Banks, Candida Doyle, Mark Andrew Webber and Paul Giovanni....
Just behind the station, before you reach the traffic island, a river runs through' a concrete channel.
I took you there once; I think it was after the Leadmill.
The water was dirty & smelt of industrialisation
Little mesters coughing their lungs up & globules the colour of tomato ketchup.
But it flows. Yeah, it flows.
Underneath the city through' dirty brickwork conduits
Connecting white witches on the Moor with pre-raphaelites down in Broomhall.
Beneath the old Trebor factory that burnt down in the early seventies.
Leaving an antiquated sweet-shop smell & caverns of nougat & caramel.
Nougat. Yeah, nougat & caramel.
And the river flows on.
Yeah, the river flows on beneath pudgy fifteen-year olds addicted to coffee whitener
And it finally comes above ground again at Forge Dam: the place where we first met.

I went there again for old time's sake
Hoping to find the child's toy horse ride that played such a ridiculously tragic tune.
It was still there - but none of the kids seemed interested in riding on it.
And the cafe was still there too
The same press-in plastic letters on the price list & scuffed formica-top tables.
I sat as close as possible to the seat where I'd met you that autumn afternoon.
And then, after what seemed like hours of thinking about it
I finally took your face in my hands & I kissed you for the first time
And a feeling like electricity flowed through' my whole body.
And I immediately knew that I'd entered a completely different world.
And all the time, in the background, the sound of that ridiculously heartbreaking child's ride outside.

At the other end of town the river flows underneath an old railway viaduct
I went there with you once - except you were somebody else -
And we gazed down at the sludgy brown surface of the water together.
Then a passer-by told us that it used to be a local custom to jump off the viaduct into the river
When coming home from the pub on a Saturday night.
But that this custom had died out when someone jumped
Landed too near to the riverbank
Had sunk in the mud there & drowned before anyone could reach them.
I don't know if he'd just made the whole story up, but there's no way you'd get me to jump off that bridge.
No chance. Never in a million years.

Yeah, a river flows underneath this city
I'd like to go there with you now my pretty & follow it on for miles & miles, below other people's ordinary lives.
Occasionally catching a glimpse of the moon, through' man-hole covers along the route.
Yeah, it's dark sometimes but if you hold my hand, I think I know the way.
Oh, this is as far as we got last time
But if we go just another mile we will surface surrounded by grass & trees & the fly-over that takes the cars to cities.
Buds that explode at the slightest touch, nettles that sting - but not too much.
I've never been past this point, what lies ahead I really could not say.
I used to live just by the river, in a dis-used factory just off the Wicker
The river flowed by day after day
"One day" I thought, "One day I will follow it" but that day never came
I moved away & lost track but tonight I am thinking about making my way back.
I may find you there & float on wherever the river may take me.
Wherever the river may take me.
Wherever the river may take us.
Wherever it wants us to go.
Wherever it wants us to go.


Lyrics submitted by sunlaugh786

"Wickerman" as written by Stephen Patrick Mackey Jarvis Branson Cocker

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

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Wickerman song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentmy favorite too - not an expert but the song is about a river that runs through Sheffield, a grim South Yorkshire steel town which has seen better days. Right next to Sheffield is the fantastic countryside of the Peak National Park. To me this song is a about escape from the grim city but also from a grim past. The river flows from the city into the surrounding countryside as a sign of there being an escape. My wife comes from near Sheffield and there was indeed a sweet factory that burnt down. Like so many of Pulp's songs this seems very factual - it paints a grim picture of urban decay, which sums up Sheffield well, but there is always the glimmer of hope just off in the distance
    barflyon June 24, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe Wicker is a small district of Sheffield in the city centre, which explains the title, although it isn't obvious to people who aren't familiar with the city.

    Great song, my favourite by Pulp.
    Snapmanon May 20, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is one of my favourite songs ever, I could see most of the places talked about from my old flat on Parkhill (which is mentioned in the song Sheffield Sex City by Pulp).
    The River is mostly the Porter Brook, which runs from the Peak District down to the city centre (it then meets the River Sheaf and that the Don). The Porter Brook goes past the cafe at forge dam (open everyday except christmas day). The description of the cafe is spot on, especially the tragically sad melody played on the childs ride. In fact The Porter Brook come above ground again by the back of the Norwich Union building near Waitrose spermarket, but hey, that's artistic licence.

    Little mesters are the traditional individually employed skilled cutlers (makers of knives) in Sheffield. In the 18th cent they earnt fantastic wages but died young due to dust inhaled from the millstone wheels they sharpened the knives on.

    Northern Upholstery is now known as DFS, a furniture retailer.

    The "old railway viaduct" is over the Wicker at the site of the old Sheffield Victoria Station. The river is far too shallow to survive jumping from the 20m high viaduct, but I guess the passer-by was fibbing a bit. The contemporary Spider Bridge under the viaduct is stunning though.

    From this point the river can be followed down the Five Weirs Walk, to and beyond the "flyover" (M1 motorway). The Don in summer on this stretch is verdent and beautiful in a post industrial way (although you can still smell melted steel en-route).

    You can see the point mentioned at the very beginning of the song on google earth at 53deg22'36.00"n 1deg27'52.46"w. The Leadmill is marked accurately on the community layer.
    matthewsheffieldon August 05, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJarvis' comments:
    The kind of start point for The Wickerman was I got asked to write a piece for an English magazine called The World of Interiors, and they asked you for three things that had provided you with inspiration. And, of course, I was panic stricken 'cos I couldn't think of anything. And I was trying to think of things that had done that, and y'know, although obviously since the events that are described in [Wickerman] happened I've done a lot of things, and I've travelled around the world and all that kind of stuff. But for some reason [what occurred to me was] this time when I went on [..] an inflatable boat, and I went on a trip down the River Don, which is one of the rivers that runs through Sheffield. And it was really quite a magical day, because it was travelling through the city that I've lived in all my life, but seeing it from a different angle. And when you travel along the river and you're going with the current you feel like you're being taken somewhere, and I saw quite a lot of strange events.
    One event that doesn't get mentioned in the song was this guy - stood at the side of the river - with an air rifle [..] and he was shooting it into the water, trying to shoot fish. And as he did it, he was going "stitch that, y'bastards". And it was just things like that, y'know, and that's always something that has really fascinated me: when you can find extraordinary events in very everyday circumstances. So I just got the idea of this river running through the city and the stories that had happened at various times, happening along the course of it. And also the river kind of providing a sense of continuity: a thread that runs through something.
    [The] song has also got a sample in it which is from the film The Wicker Man, and I used to live on The Wicker, which is a kind of shitty street in Sheffield. So I thought: "Yeah, it's all coming together." [..] It all seemed to kind of mean something so I just made it into a story.

    The demo version contains an interesting lyrical adjustment to the final version. "The flyover that takes the cars to cities" is instead: "The fly-over that takes the cars to Leeds".
    thateuandgelookon October 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is my favourite pulp song its so wonderful, can somebody tell me what it's all about?
    see im not a native speaker by the way..
    pulp000on March 31, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy favorite too - not an expert but the song is about a river that runs through Sheffield, a grim South Yorkshire steel town which has seen better days. Right next to Sheffield is the fantastic countryside of the Peak National Park. To me this song is a about escape from the grim city but also from a grim past. The river flows from the city into the surrounding countryside as a sign of there being an escape. My wife comes from near Sheffield and there was indeed a sweet factory that burnt down. Like so many of Pulp's songs this seems very factual - it paints a grim picture of urban decay, which sums up Sheffield well, but there is always the glimmer of hope just off in the distance
    barflyon June 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like the sample of the song from "The Wicker Man" in the middle of the song.

    I'm not sure of the name of the song, but it's the one Britt eckland sangs when she's dancing around nekkid trying to seduce Edward Woodward.
    amy darlingon March 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is just amazing. He's following the river through the passage of his life. There's a certain amount of child-like fascination that the river is even there. It's so beautifu; and life-affirming.
    teapoton April 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"After the Leadmill."

    The Leadmill is a music venue in Sheffield which Pulp have probably played loads of times.
    michaelwoodon June 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI looked at this song as not only about a relationship but also telling something about the enviroment.
    bear_hug20on March 08, 2010   Link

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