December 20, 2005

Horse 462 - Kiss St Rollox Adieu

I mentioned the Franz Ferdinand song The Fallen in my Top Albums of 2005. One thing puzzled me, I knew a little bit about St Rollox from a short spell in Glasgow (in fact you have to pass through the area on the way to Ibrox - it's deep in Rangers territory), but other than that it was more than a wee bit daft to have something vauguely named after me in a song*.

So what does kissing St Rollox Adieu actually mean?

Glasgow St. Rollox was a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1885 until 1950.

"St. Rollox Adieu" is both a combination of the idea of rejecting saintly figures and St Rollox being the name of the huge 24 hour Tesco near Dennistoun, where the character the song is based upon would go for steaks and other juicy consumables. The German is irrelevant, other than being funny and handy for the rhyme.

The actual area in Glasgow once boasted the tallest chimney in the world as well as the largest railway marshalling yard. St Rollox was not exactly a wealthy area at all. Apart from its industrial nature, it also happened to be the home of the Plague in Scotland and this is where it draws its name. St Rollox is a French derivation of St Roch who it is believed treated people who had the plague; as such St Rollox is the patron saint for those who have the plague.
No wonder someone would want to leave there.

*I'm so vain, I know that song was written about me.I'm so vain, I know that song was written about me, wasn't it, wasn't it?
Well it was.


Anonymous said...

By German, presumably you mean French. x

Rollo said...


Well spotted. ^_^

(hangs head in shame now)

veronica said...

I'm Veronica 20 Argentina
I still don't understand...

I really like Franz Ferdinand but my english is not So so so so so "complete"...
well, I guess every person in Scotland knows what you meant with that line (St. Rollox A (The Fallen)).

Why am I whinning?

Rollo said...

St Rollox is a suburb of Glasgow

Kissing something or someone adieu is a nice way of telling it goodbye.

Anonymous said...


This would have taken me forever to figure out.

Ziggy said...

My take on the irrelevancy of the “German”:

"And the Kunst won't talk to you
Because you kissed St. Rollox Adieu"

“Kunst” is the German word for “art”. I interpret the first line’s meaning (in context of second line’s meaning being “the rejection of saintly figures”) as the inability of the song’s protagonist to be inspired by art because of his rejection of religion. I would also add that Franz most likely meant this sarcastically in an attempt to mock the hypocrisy of religious dogma.

…and it’s a funny sounding word.

tsubaki said...

wow! I love the song and your post was very informative. thanks for sharing the knowledge! :)

Trevo said...

Thank you very much for the informative post, I had no idea what most of the second paragraph meant and now i do thanks to your blog.