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A s hard as it sometimes might be, one can understand people dismissing Pet Shop Boys’ songs for the music with its pop/disco origin. But there’s hardly anyone heard criticizing the other part of the song—words.

Ranging from historical and political manifestos through gay anthems to very intimate, personal confessions, all of Neil Tennant’s lyrics can be described using no other word than “brilliant.” (What’s surprising, it was Tennant who once said “lyrics are important, but they shouldn’t stand in the way.”)

It is hard to find a song by Pet Shop Boys whose lyrics leave listener cold. They’re always touching, accurate, intelligent, timeless and thought-provoking. Even 1986’s Paninaro, which at the first listen seems just a loose collection of spoken words, turns out to be thorough observation of the most approved and most deprecated values of modern times.

And Being boring is no exception. In fact, the whole Behaviour album is regarded one of the highest points in Tennant’s writing history. You can practically pick any pair of verses from the song and turn it into a stand-alone quote. And on the whole it becomes a thoughtful reflection of youth and maturity, plans and outcomes, achievements and losses, triumphs and failures.



T he introductory text appearing at the beginning of video tells the short story about what Being boring is about:

    I came from Newcastle in the North of England. We used to have lots of parties where everyone got dressed up. And on one party invitation was the quote “she was never bored because she was never boring.” The song is about growing up—the ideals that you have when you’re young and how they turn out.

The idea for the song came when Neil read in a paper about Pet Shop Boys “being boring.” That reminded him of a party invitation back from his youth, which used the Zelda Fitzgerald’s quote from 1922:

    [She] bobbed her hair, put on her choicest pair of earrings and a great deal of audacity and rouge and went into battle. She flirted because it was fun to flirt... she covered her face with powder and paint because she didn’t need it and she refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring. She was conscious that the things she did were the things she had always wanted to do.

and brought a lot of memories—of growing up, confronting dreams with reality, making choices... All affected by the sad fact that Neil’s old-time friend from Newcastle wasn’s so fortunate to see where his dreams would lead him, having just died from AIDS.

Neil tried to convey all this in Being boring, and in result, it became his first (but definitely not last) autobiographical song.



H ere are the full lyrics of the original, album version of Being boring:

    I came across a cache of old photos
    and invitations to teenage parties.
    “Dress in white,” one said with quotations
    from someone’s wife, a famous writer
    in the nineteen-twenties.

    When you’re young you find inspiration
    in anyone who’s ever gone
    and opened up a closing door.
    She said we were never feeling bored.

      ‘Cause we were never being boring,
      we had too much time to find for ourselves.
      And we were never being boring,
      we dressed up and fought, then thought “make amends.”
      And we were never holding back, or worried that
      time would come to an end.

    When I went, I left from the station
    with a haversack and some trepidation.
    Someone said “If you’re not careful,
    you’ll have nothing left and nothing to care for
    in the nineteen-seventies.”

    But I sat back, and looking forward,
    my shoes were high, and I had scored.
    I’d bolted through a closing door,
    and I would never find myself feeling bored.

      ‘Cause we were never being boring,
      we had too much time to find for ourselves.
      And we were never being boring,
      we dressed up and fought, then thought “make amends.”
      And we were never holding back, or worried that
      time would come to an end.
      We were always hoping that, looking back
      you could always rely on a friend.

    Now I sit with different faces
    in rented rooms and foreign places.
    All the people I was kissing,
    some are here and some are missing
    in the nineteen-nineties.

    I never dreamt that I would get to be
    the creature that I always meant to be.
    But I thought, in spite of dreams,
    you’d be sitting somewhere here with me.

      ‘Cause we were never being boring,
      we had too much time to find for ourselves.
      And we were never being boring,
      we dressed up and fought, then thought “make amends.”
      And we were never holding back, or worried that
      time would come to an end.
      We were always hoping that, looking back
      you could always rely on a friend.

      ‘Cause we were never being boring,
      we had too much time to find for ourselves.
      And we were never being boring,
      we dressed up and fought, then thought “make amends.”
      And we were never being boring,
      we were never being bored,
      ‘cause we were never being boring,
      we were never being bored.



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Information about Zelda Fitzgerald.



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