eil Tennant is better known as the vocal half of the
British pop/disco band Pet Shop Boys. The song Being boring
was released in 1990, although it is unknown when the lyrics
were actually written. The song is about a man who looks
into his past and reflects upon the roads he has traveled.
This song begins when the author stumbles across a box of photos, party invitations, and ticket stubs. The song paints the scene of an older man sitting in attic, sifting through this memorabilia, and reminiscing about his almost-forgotten past.
He talks about how he once found inspiration in those people who create opportunities. These people opened new dimensions for the author that he was not aware even existed.
He quotes a “famous writer in the nineteen-twenties” as saying “We were never feeling bored because we were never being boring.”
This statement is the heart of the song, hence the title Being boring. As he looks back, he realizes that he never had time to stop and think about what he was doing or what consequences his behaviour may have had. He was relentlessly exploring the world and himself, making new discoveries along the way.
This song is about youth and invulnerability. Early in life, the author never really stopped to analyze his life or goals. He was discovering himself and molding this person into a unique individual. He felt invulnerable—as if nothing could stop him or his dreams.
The following line, “And we were never holding back or worried that time would come to an end” conveys that sense of invulnerability.
In the next verse, the author writes about making his entry into the world. He appears to be leaving on a trip—perhaps becoming self-supportive for the first time. He takes his warnings from well-meaning friends and relatives, but he still has a sense of power. He still feels confident that he can achieve whatever it is he dares to accomplish. The author now feels that he is more in control of his own destiny. He used to be inspired by those who are able to establish their identity and accomplish their dreams; now it is he that is “bolt(ing) through a closing door. I would never find myself feeling bored.”
Before, he avoided boredom by discovering himself; now he is using what he has learned about himself to chase his dreams.
In the final verse, the author returns to the present. He is sitting in “rented rooms in foreign places”. His life has headed in its own direction, and he has traveled far away from his past. He thinks about his past loves and how “some are here and some are missing.”
He writes that: “I never dreamt that I would get to be the creature that I always meant to be.”
This is one of the more powerful and introspective statements of the song. It indicates that the author feels that he has achieved the goals that he set for himself. It is just at that moment that he realizes he really has accomplished a great deal in hislifetime. It is almost a frightening thought to him that his achievements are so great.
He also thinks about some of the goals he didn’t accomplish, or at least the ones that have changed. He indicates that at one time in his life he thought (or truly did) find the love of his life, and thought that they would always be together. However, that person is not with him. It is unclear whether this is because his lover died or because their lives moved in different directions.
In the end, the repetition of the chorus gives the feeling that the reader is leaving the author sitting in the attic, surrounded by the tokens of his adolescence, thinking about everything that has happened in his life, and covering thousands of “what ifs.”
t some time or another, everyone has stumbled across an old
high school yearbook or other reminder of our formative years.
Inevitably it leads to memories of people and events from the
past, and a treasure hunt for other reminders that were long
forgotten. This song is about youth, lost innocence, and self-discovery.
The author reflects upon his life, realizing that his dreams
and pursuits have filled his life, leaving no time to “be bored.”
Eldon C. Brown.
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