"Piccadilly Palare"


These words are transcribed without permission the way they appear in the "Bona Drag" album. Additions to the printed lyrics are in darker text while omissions are striken out.

Off the rails I was and
off the rails
I was happy to stay
on the rack I was
"easy meat"
but and a reasonably good buy
a reasonably good buy
the Piccadilly palare
was just silly slang
between me and the boys in my gang
"so bona to vada, OH YOU
your lovely eek and
your lovely riah" 1
We plied an ancient trade
where we threw all life's
instructions away
exchanging lies and digs (my way)
well, 'cause in a belted coat
oh I secretly knew
that I hadn't a clue
the Piccadilly palare 2
was just silly slang
between me and the boys in my gang
exchanging palare
you wouldn't understand
good sons like you
So why do you smile 3
when you think about Earls Court?
but you cry when you think of all
the battles you've fought (and lost)?
it may all end tomorrow
or, it could go on forever
(in which case: I'm doomed)
it could go on forever...
(in which case: I'm doomed)
No dad 4
No dad
No dad
No dad
[repeat until faded out]


1 Live, Morrissey has been known to change this line to "...your ugly riah".

2 The background voice before this line is Suggs saying something like "No, no, no - you can't go there... that way... follow me!"

3 Before this line, in a longer version of this song which has leaked onto the internet, Morrissey sings the following additional verse: "A cold water room / it's not much, I know / but for now it's where I belong / Am I really doing wrong? / Around the centre of town / is where I belong / Am I really doing wrong?"

4 When performing the song live in 1991, as heard on the "Live In Dallas" concert video, Morrissey sang at this point "No Dad, no Dad, I won't be home tomorrow". He also did that in the unreleased version of the song with extra verse which was leaked onto the internet. On one date near the end of the Kill Uncle tour, Morrissey actually sang "No Dad, I won't be home tomorrow, No Dad, I won't be home tonight". On the 1992 Your Arsenal tour, these lines were dropped altogether.



In an interview published in The Face in 1990, Morrissey said "'Palare' is gypsy slang that was adopted by the theatre and in the Seventies I heard it being used by male prostitutes (laughs). They have their own code words for sizing people up and talking among themselves. The song is about male prostitution in Piccadilly. It became a very big thing during the Seventies. Were you ever aware of documentaries like Johnny Go Home? In the North, among most people I know, there was something oddly romantic about the whole thing. It spelt 'freedom'. Catching a coach and spending a day in Piccadilly was extraordinary. It's very glitzy now because Soho's been cleaned up, but then it was quite... powerful."

In an interview published in Vox later the same year, he said "It's not a particularly strong record. It's not overwhelming, the subject is even slightly dated. 'Piccadilly Palare', which will receive blanket horrendous reviews, is a song about male prostitution. But I'm not running around in the street saying 'Look at me singing about male prostitution, isn't that incredibly unique!' I don't want plaudits for examining a new subject, but I will say that even coming across a pop record with a reasonably unique situation is in itself interesting."