"Ex Lion Tamer" as written by and G. Lewis B. Gilbert....
There's great danger (danger)
For the loneliest ranger in town
No silver bullets (bullets)
Tonto's split the scene

Next week will solve your problems
But now
Fish fingers all in a line
The milk bottles stand empty
Stay glued to your T.V. set (T.V.)

There's great danger
And most caped crusader of all
No cloak of justice
Robin's quit the scene

Next week will solve your problems
But now
Fish fingers all in a line
The milk bottles stand empty
Stay glued to your T.V. set (T.V.)
(T.V.) stay glued to your T.V. set (T.V.) oh, oh
(T.V.) stay glued to your T.V. set (T.V.) oh, oh
(T.V.) stay glued to your T.V. set (T.V.) oh, oh
(T.V.) stay glued to your T.V. set (T.V.) oh, oh
(T.V.) stay glued to your T.V. set (T.V.) oh, why don't ya, don't ya, don't ya
(T.V.) stay glued to your T.V. set (T.V.)
(T.V.) stay glued to your T.V. set (T.V.) oh, why don't ya, don't ya, don't ya
(T.V.) stay glued to that and your T.V. set (T.V.)


Lyrics submitted by exact, edited by jpaulo

"Ex Lion Tamer" as written by Robert Gotobed Bruce Gilbert

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, CARLIN AMERICA INC

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Ex Lion Tamer song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentIt's about people who live their lives through TV characters instead of going out and actually accomplishing what they want to accomplish. Living the life of comfort, dreaming about those who do great things, instead of putting yourself on the edge and doing great things.
    realitysoldieron November 20, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI suspect that this song is about some sort of disaster, probably being covered up by the government and with minimal details being fed to nervous people with "fish fingers all in a line" and "glued to their tv sets" to get the details on whether or not they're going to survive...The title might be a reference to someone who might once have been an adventurous, self-sufficient sort of individual, but is now reliant upon external sources for information about such crucial details as whether or not he or she will even be able to survive ("milk bottles all stand empty", "next week will solve your problems")...Seems to be a statement about the incompetence of modern people and their dependance upon some authoritative information source to guide them throughout even their most basic aspects of daily life (especially in times of strife).
    lovegoeson July 12, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General Commentall i know is that wire had very intelligent lyrics. they always throw in unexpected big words and distinguish themselves from the dead-end street punk scene
    themagnetcon December 01, 2007   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI always saw this song as being a commentary on the economic decay of the pre-Thatcherite England of the early-seventies that the members of Wire would have grown up in, and the gloom and depair it brought down on everyone but the lucky - and greedy and exclusionary - so-called upper classes. England had fallen into economic ruin and it was no surprise that the anger and resentment that people felt toward government and institutions of leadership and authority (who were responsible for the mess) gave birth to punk, which as we know changed everything. Within the context of the song, which is bleak and depressing, people can't even afford milk ("the milk bottles stand empty") and all they can afford to eat is cheap, mass produced junk ("fish fingers all in a line") like fishsticks, as we call them here in North America. The big line for me in this song is "Next week will solve your problems," which speaks to the cycle of lethargy and hopelessness that so many are caught up in, unable to take action or regain control of their lives because the economic reality is so dire (skyrocketing unemployment for example) and so, they try to just not think about it; ie, put off looking for work until "next week" because there's nothing out there right now anyway. And I have always seen that line as being spoken by those same upper classes: Don't worry people, everything will be fine next week; for now, you just keep on watching TV; we'll handle everything out here. And meanwhile, they pilfer and destroy the country's economic support structures that were there to help people avoid circumstances like this in the first place. Great, great song. A big message song and all in less than a hundred words. As as per everything Wire, it is musically awesome. I have lost count of how many people I have turned on to the album 'Pink Flag.' Here's hoping I helped the lads pick up a royalty cheque or two over the years, help keep them in milk anyway. PS: Absolutely no clue why it is called Ex Lion Tamer.
    madoalon May 07, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA song about TV heroes and the feeling of emptiness after a whole day spent watching TV.
    The 1st part makes reference to the cow boy character the Lone Rider & his pal Tonto.
    kaplanon August 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt was originally a song about a lion tamer, but the guitarist rewrote everything he didn't like. Which was nearly everything.
    Palemovieon April 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA great song, I believe it to be about the imaginary scenarios found on TV and wasting a bunch of time watching it bringing you nowhere. "Stay glued to your TV set" definitely means get the hell out of the house for once.
    windmills20on October 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think realitsoldier has it right. It's about people who live vicariously through television and don't do anything in there really lives.
    Aenema91on September 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI may have a more radical understanding of this song but I agree with what someone else stated.
    I think in the lyrics he is making it very clear that someone is in danger and alone left to fend for themselves. I also get that this person is in need of information and not getting it.
    *
    "For the loneliest ranger of all,
    No silver bullets,
    Tonto's split the scene."
    someone else like a trusty sidekick(Tonto/Robin or a parent/spouse) is no longer around.
    Something massive has happened , Perhaps a government cover up of a disaster, Perhaps anarchy is ready to take hold. There will be no easy fix
    *
    "And all the milk bottles stand empty" the meaning behind this is that basic services have stopped- perhaps food supply is low and obataining basic things too dangerous
    *
    "Next week will solve your problems,
    But now" maybe it's supposed to be Next week WE'LL as in We Will solve your problems, A reference to a government misinformation policy to convince people it will get better soon so "hold in there"
    *
    "Fish fingers all in a line,"
    I could be way off but i think he says "FIST FINGERS ALL IN LINE"
    as in the last line of defense is punching your way out of bad situation.
    *
    "Stay glued to your T.V. set"
    when your hold up alone in your apartment maybe your only warning will come by reading between the lines of of the only information you still have access to.
    angelo1060on August 24, 2015   Link

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