the song
title : Cinderella’s downfall
written by : Eddi Reader
song copyright : © 1992 MCA Music Ltd

the performance
Eddi Reader vocal
Phil Steriopulos double bass
Roy Dodds drums
with :
Dominic Millar guitar
Huw Warren cello, piano, accordion
key : D major
time-signature : 6/8
tempo : MM 68 (dotted crochet)
form : V V C M C V N

provided for research and private study only (see above for copyright details):

Cinderella’s downfall

when I’m drinking you go from prince to king
when I’m steaming I’m shouting your name out loud
the drink I think it goes to my head
’cos drops of it fall from my eyes

too many stories of Snow White and sweet Cinderella
have twisted my thinking, I’ve never been one of their kind
but you’d like me to be sweet ’n’ small
but I swear like a soldier and I’m miles too tall

don’t waste your time
mmm, I may be a clown
one thing I’ve found
too many like me
believe all they read on those well-meaning knees


don’t waste your time
I may be a clown
one thing I’ve found
too many like me
believe all they read on those well-meaning knees

last order’s ringing, I throw myself down the stairs
this night air is colder than ice, but I really don’t care
November chills can’t freeze the heart

this girl

so I’m going round your house now
gonna kick the door down
I feel like Robert Mitchum and I’m…
spinning you around

ah, spin you around
and shake you down
shake you down

ah, where d’ya live? where d’ya live now?
gonna take you and spin you round

Cinderella is the heroine of the fairy-tale popularised in Europe at the very end of the 17th century by Charles Perrault (1628-1703). Kept as a drudge by her sisters, a fairy godmother enables her to attend the Prince’s ball, where he falls in love with her. Disappearing at midnight when the magic fails, she is found again by the glass slipper she leaves behind.

Snow White and the seven dwarves is a modern fairy-story, from the Disney Studios. I can’t summarise the plot because I’ve never seen the film (so there!).

Robert Mitchum – film actor – is this a reference to a particular film, please?

See also the commentary below for suggestions of other fairy tales alluded to in this lyric.

the recording
produced by : Kevin Moloney, Roy Dodds and Eddi Reader
recorded by : Kevin Moloney, Eddi Reader? and Roy Dodds? at Shabby Road Studio, Kilmarnock
mixed by : Terry Medhurst? at Helicon Mountain Studio?
remixed by : Phil Brown at ?
mastered by : ? at Townhouse?
track timing : 4:17
song timing : m:ss
released on
album : Mirmama track 8


A wonderfully allusive playing with fairy story elements to describe a relationship. I think this is the sort of songwriting that Eddi missed in Mark E. Nevin’s practical, one might almost say prosaic, work. One guesses that this was one of the factors which led to the break-up of Fairground Attraction when Mark wanted to be serious all the time!

In addition to the named Cinderella and Snow White, there are also references to: “prince to king” (any number of tales); “drink” (Alice in Wonderland?); soothsaying (…); the “soldier” (Hans Christian Andersen in particular); “miles too tall” (Alice in Wonderland again); a reference to putting a “spell on you” and finally “spinning you around” (the merest hint of Rumpelstiltskin?).

I’d really like to know where the verse about “throw[ing] myself down the stairs” and “this night air is colder than ice” and the subsequent reference to Robert Mitchum, fit in, so if you’ve any ideas please send them to me.

On a completely tangential note, if you are interested in modern re-interpretations of fairy tale elements, you can do a lot worse than track down a great novel by the comic fantasy writer Tom Holt. His Snow White and the seven samurai (London: Little Brown, 1999; paperback from Orbit, 2000, ISBN 1-85723-988-1) is an hilarious confusion of fairy stories, started by three human children who hack into the wicked witch’s computer operating system (Mirrors 3.1 of course!) and accidentally corrupt the fairy tales’ database. Highly recommended.

Adrian Dover