Arctic Monkeys lyrics that mention real places
9 December 2018, 17:14 | Updated: 9 December 2018, 17:16
Your definitive guide to Alex Turner’s world - are they all real, or a figment of the singer's imagination?
“You're not from New York City, you're from Rotherham.”
In Fake Tales Of San Francisco, Turner slaps down the pretentious band playing in his local bar by reminding them they’re from a Yorkshire town, just North East of Sheffield.
“I said "It's High Green, mate / Via Hillsborough, please.”
Taxi business from Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured. Alex gets a cab back to his house in North Sheffield, stopping off in the Hillsborough district along the way. How much will that cost, mate?
“From The Ritz To The Rubble”
This tale of club bouncers and their ways would at first appear to be about Manchester’s legendary venue The Ritz, but let’s not forget about The Ritz Ballroom in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. Once a Northern Soul hangout, the venue had to change its name when London’s Ritz threatened legal action, boo. It’s now known as Venue 73.
“I know you've got the moves / ‘Cause I'm from High Green”
In All My Own Stunts, Alex Turner refers to the North Sheffield suburb where he grew up again.
“He's ridden the riddle, he'll do it again / He's going back to the Wirral where it all began.”
Little Illusion Machine (Wirral Riddler) is the b-side to The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala and is credited to Miles Kane and The Death Ramps. Miles, of course, is the Wirral Riddler in question, having been born “over the water” from Liverpool, in the Cheshire area.
“I’m going back to 505 / If it's a seven hour flight or a forty-five minute drive…”
As we’ve previously discussed here on Radio X, 505 is the number of a mysterious hotel room where Alex Turner holed up with his then-girlfriend Johanna Bennett after the fame and the fuss of the first Arctic Monkeys album. The track appeared as the final song on the band’s second LP Favourite Worst Nightmare.
“Tranquilty Base Hotel And Casino, Mark speaking…”
It gave name to the title of Arctic Monkeys’ sixth album, but Tranquility Base is an actual place - it’s the location on the moon where Apollo 11 touched down on 20 July 1969 and humans walked on another planet for the first time. A good location for a hotel, obviously.
“Around Clavius, it's all getting gentrified.”
Clavius is a crater on the moon and mentioned in a scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The character Dr Heywood Floyd makes a trip to Clavius Base, where a mysterious black monolith has been found.
“Mr. Bridge and Tunnel on the Starlight Express”
The “Bridge And Tunnel Crowd” refers to residents of New York who travelled to Manhattan to work and party (via road and rail bridges and tunnels) from the other four boroughs of the city: Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island. Starlight Express is a roller-skating musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
“I'm a puppet on a string / Tracy Island, time-traveling”
OK, this is actually NOT a real place, it’s the secret mountain island hideout of the Thunderbirds, the 1960s puppet TV series made by Gerry Anderson. It gained notoriety again in 1992 when BBC re-runs of the series caused a shortage of official toys of the island, meaning Blue Peter had to show kids how to make their own. How this fits in with R U Mine? is up to you to decide.