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Stranglers/Duchess

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Hi all,

this is a funny piece of lyrics in "Duchess" by the Stranglers:

"And the Rodney's are queuing up, god forbid"

What could that mean?

Complete lyrics:

http://www.xguitar.com/guitar-tabs/stranglers/raven/duchess.txt

X.

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Happy to oblige, as much as I possibly can, to shed some light on the somewhat mystifying lyrics to "Duchess". ( I haven't got the lyrics in front of me so apologies for any slight mis-quotes)

Ok , so here goes...

The "Duchess" in question "says she's an heiress", (i.e. she's from aristocratic stock) yet "lives on a terrace" (suggesting her aristocratic family have fallen on hard times) You'll notice that she "knows all the history in the family" and "says she's Henry's kid". This is a reference to King Henry 8th: she claims that her family is directly descended from royalty.

Where "the Rodneys" come in is linked to the earlier line "Needs a man, God Forbid".

"Rodney" symbolises the kind of nouveau-riche chancers with no "breeding" (You know the type...) who trail around marriageable aristocratic chicks, to try and buy into "class" / nobility. Why "Rodney"? Because, nobody with any class / breeding whatsoever would call their son "Rodney", hence Rodney represents the kind of plebby commoner, of whom her parents would strongly disapprove.

Hope nobody thinks I'm taking the pi$$ with this analysis, because, believe it or not, it's my honest interpretation of the lyrics. Without quoting it all, I think the rest of the lyric substantiates the themes I've mentioned of "class" "changing family circumstances", etc.

This debate's been around for years. I remember it being discussed in the Letters page of Smash Hits magazine about 26 years ago!

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It's possible that "Duchess" is completely delusional regarding her "aristocratic background" but the key thing is her perception of herself as a Duchess, a person of "class" rather than a member of the common herd, whatever her current living circumstances. In either case, the bit about "Rodneys" being unworthy chancers who don't meet up to her requirements still applies. I think.

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[quote"Rodney" symbolises the kind of nouveau-riche chancers with no "breeding" (You know the type...) who trail around marriageable aristocratic chicks, to try and buy into "class" / nobility. Why "Rodney"? Because, nobody with any class / breeding whatsoever would call their son "Rodney", hence Rodney represents the kind of plebby commoner, of whom her parents would strongly disapprove.

]

Edited by Guest

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So it's not a reference to Rodney from Only Fools and Horses then?...he would fit the bill in terms of the unsuitable nouveau riche, uppity commoner type profile....just an idea.

JG

I think not, johnnyg, as I've a feeling that the Duchess single pre-dates "Only Fools and Horses" by several years. A more dedicated researcher would provide concrete evidence revealing this to be absolute fact, but frankly, I'm fairly confident on this one, so let someone else do the donkey-work. ;)

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Might it not then be an 'egg and chicken' situation wherein the aforesaid Rodney is not, indeed, the inspiration for the television character Rodney, rather than the vice versa proposition I had proposed?

Someone somewhere must have done a thesis on the 'Influences of Strangler's Lyrics on the Development of 80's Televisual Comedy Scriptwriting'....or something. 'Cmon someone...Google it. :):)

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Might it not then be an 'egg and chicken' situation wherein the aforesaid Rodney is not, indeed, the inspiration for the television character Rodney, rather than the vice versa proposition I had proposed?

Your English teacher would top himself if he read this gobbledegook, johnny. Try and make some sense, boy! ;)

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A Rodney is someone with an exeptionally large penis, which pussies queue for, so should the duchess in question be a real or imaginary duchess, the stranglers would have not approved of such a duchess being with someone just for the size of his penis, the clue is in the video the stranglers are portrayed as clergy ie preaching God forbid, Amen 

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I'm afraid the real story is a bit mundane. Jj burnel explained it was about a lady on the street where they lived who thought she was a duchess hence the lived in our terrace lyric. The rodneys are the guys she hung about with and who the band poked fun at. God knows where the Princess Margaret rumour came from. Presumably re rodney llelywn.

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