"Being Boring" as written by Neil Tennant and Christopher Lowe....
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
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

And 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


Lyrics submitted by Mina-dupe

"Being Boring" as written by Neil Tennant Christopher Lowe

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Being Boring song meanings
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  • +9
    My Interpretation@honestfi: "nothing in here about being gay" For the record, I heard this song as being about gay history long before I self-identified as queer, and before I even had heard PSB was thought of as a gay band. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but sometimes when other people keep seeing something other than a cigar, you might be missing a reference.

    Obviously any song can and should have multiple meanings. I'm glad this song speaks to lots of people about growing up; the artists stated that as their intention. I want to see 80 different "It's about"s. I'd rather never see "It's not about" or "It's only about" again.

    I didn't find out about the Zelda Fitzgerald quote and its context until last year, which changed my impression of the first verse from the Roaring 20s to the late 60s. I still love my 20s version of the first verse, where the singer finds a cache of his grandparents' letters and discovers that sexual exploration is not just a modern craze, but the glitz and the glamour and the free love runs in cycles. That version doesn't go away just because I learn more about the song.

    Here's the text from the beginning of the music video: "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."

    Here are the specific parts that support a queer interpretation for me:

    "Dress in white" -- White Parties are a collection of AIDS benefits, heavily associated with GLBT people. They started in 1988, two years before this song was released, and had their roots in a long history of style-focused social events. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    "Find inspiration in anyone who's ever gone and opened up a closing door" -- Coming out of the closet is a powerful metaphor because it implies not only becoming visible, but going from a claustrophobic space to an open one. Many GLBT people, including Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen, talk about young experiences of combing literature and history for queers and rebels, to know that someone else felt out of place and lived loudly.

    The second verse starts the 1970s with an ominous warning, but the narrator is young, has left home with a haversack, is dressed in fashionable shoes and has just "scored." (In either the sexual or drug sense, both were popular club pastimes and both have helped spread HIV.) Looking forward! All is hopeful!

    "Bolted through a closing door" -- especially with the haversack and the (train?) station, this suggests a coming-out to parents that wasn't pleasant. Again, lots of people's coming of age can match this, but getting kicked out of the house for being gay is a common story that, in context, comes quickly to mind.

    "All the people I was kissing / Some are here and some are missing in the 1990s"... This is the line that first made me go listen to the rest of the song as a possible gay history.

    I've heard the 1980s called 'the plague years' by gay men who survived the decade. In the gay club communities in big cities, sometimes it was multiple funerals a week. I cannot wrap my mind around losing that many friends and lovers, that young. This was not just one person's experience or the usual angst of college friends going their separate ways. This was the tragedy of a generation.

    "The creature I was always meant to be" -- Remember, the first two verses mentioned the door. This one doesn't. We're grownups, we're out of the closet in ways that were unimaginable in 1970, we're doing exciting stuff with our lives. It's amazing.

    "But I thought in spite of dreams / You'd be sitting somewhere here with me" -- Tragedy of a generation.

    In light of all that, this part of the chorus is full of joy and melancholy at the same time:
    "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"
    gementon February 02, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General Comment"This song is about the ideals that you have when you're young, and how they turn out." If you watch the clip (which is one of my favorites), you feel sad because you remember those times where all you cared about was having fun with your friends. This song is also about nostalgy, souvenirs, looking back to the past, and realizing you've become "the creature" you've always meant to be. The song is not depressing, it's beautifully sad and profound. Listen to it, and you'll remember your friends, your family members, your early loves, those people you'll never see again, and that you'll truly never forget. One of the best of 90's.
    badnitruson March 04, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe title is inspired by a quote from Zelda Fitzgerald ("… someone's wife, a famous writer in the 1920s…"). Who said something along the lines of 'she refused to be bored because she wasn't boring'. I also like the quote from a journo I can't remember at the moment who said, of this song, something along the lines of: 'You don't get to write a song like 'Being Boring' without being very talented'.
    mrdwigon August 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about the history of the gay community, emphasizing important times in history when gay people were openly expressing themselves in clubs and party venues. At first I thought it might be about one person but thats impossible, not even Ian McKellen has been hitting the club scene for that long (since the 20s).
    Kaguthon January 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment10yearsofbeingboring.com
    ca1290on April 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningFor my design history presentation i have to choose a song / video that means something to me. Anyhow i have chosen being boring.

    This is my take on it.

    For sure there are gay references in the lyrics and caughtyourrainbows is probably right about why the lyrics were written. However to me it says that through the 20th century things have been the same for the gay and straight community. Where inhibitions are thrown out of the door and without guilt or apology.

    I think Mr Tennant came out as a gay man quite late. I'm sure this must have been quite hard for him. Not being gay myself, I can only sympathise with someone who has difficulty in coming out to their parents or friends. I'm sure that the term "boring" is a metaphor for free thinking.

    As people have said the line "some are here and some are missing" is such a sad line that brings tears to my eyes. Pure poetry. It's not just aids that has taken the missing. It could be anything from suicide, aids or being married with kids. Whatever happened to them they are in his / my thoughts which keeps them alive. I say my life because if i could write one song this would be it.
    SpeedSailoron April 24, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is actually about three sections of Neil's life, he grew up and his friends and him threw a lot of parties when they were younger, the second stage is when he left for London for university and his parents drove him to the station and dropped him off, the third stage is him in the Pet Shop Boys but some of his friends have passed away, at least one of them being of aids (Your Funny Uncle is specifically about a certain friend.) and it's about how you're still there having a good time but you wouldn't realize that you would still be here without some of your friends, etc.
    turloughson November 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI totally agree with you, beautifully described. I love this song/video!!
    Non April 04, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have never seen the video but to be honest I think this song is quite depressing and sad. Not to mention the fact that it's specifically about AIDS and how it claimed so many talented lives in the gay community back in the 70s and 80s.
    Sozlukon January 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's wierd that noone has commented on the pet shop boys (or not many people.) I would have thought songs that suggested homosexuality would get a lot of posts (but that's generally in popular bands that haven't announced themselves as gay, I suppose)
    louisagiffardon February 10, 2006   Link

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