Going For A Song: ‘For What Is Chatteris…’

Half Man Half Biscuit – For What Is Chatteris…

In the Quietus, Taylor Parkes calls ‘For What Is Chatteris…’ a ‘beautifully low-key tragedy, a modern “leaving town” ballad with a lyric of stunning economy and grace’. This is not hyperbole. It’s a love song of subtleness. It places the love song at the heart of a panegyric for one of the four market towns in the Fenland district of Cambridgeshire, England; and by doing so the panegyric is questioned – are the attributes it lists really the be all and all? The tragedy then becomes – though still low-key – all the more felt for being submerged.