"Lazy Line Painter Jane" as written by and Martin/queen/murdoch/colburn/cooke/geddes/jackson/....
Working the village shop
Putting a poster up
Dreaming of anything
Dreaming of the time when you're free
From all the trouble you're in

In the mud, on your knees
Trying hard not to please
Anyone, all the time
Being a rebel is fine
But you go all the way to being brutal

You will have a boy tonight
You will have a boy tonight
On the first bus out of town
On the first bus out of town

Let's see your kit for games
All the girls look the same
You are challenging style for running miles
You're running miles in some boy's jumper

Boo to the business world!
You know a girl who's tax free
On her back and making plenty cash
While you are working for the joy of giving

You will have a boy tonight
You will have a boy tonight
On the last bus out of town
On the last bus out of town
You will have a boy tonight
You will have a girl tonight
And you hope that they will see
And you hope that they will see

You are in two minds
Tossing a coin to decide
Whether you should tell your folks
About a dose of thrush you got
When were licking railings

But you read in a book
That you got free in Boots
There are lotions, there are potions
You can take to hide your shame
From all those prying eyes

Lazy Jane, all the time
Painting lines
You are sleeping at bus stops
Wondering how you got your name
And what you're going to do about it

You will have a boy tonight
You will have a boy tonight
On the last bus out of town
On the last bus out of town
You will have a boy tonight
Maybe you will have a girl tonight
And you hope that she will see
And you hope that she will see

Lyrics submitted by michaelbondy

"Lazy Line Painter Jane" as written by Isobel Campbell Christopher Geddes

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Lazy Line Painter Jane song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentThe first time I ever heard this song I thought it was pretty good, cool guitar part, but then Monica Queen's part comes in... I just about jumped out of my skin. I was blown away by her voice and the power she had in the song. This is hands down my favorite Belle and Sebastian song. Did anyone else have the same sort of reaction to the song?
    rocklobster407on August 01, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationLet me see if I can assemble the pieces here.

    Jane works in a shop in a small town. She wants to get out.

    She has been having sex with strangers while riding on intercity buses. - "You will have a boy tonight" means you will "possess" him sexually.

    OR she has been having sex with the first man she meets ("the first bus out of town"), i.e. the first person who will take her away from her parents, the first person who will give her a place to stay or some money.

    But in contrast to some other girl she knows, Jane is doing this for free. The other girl is "tax free, on her back", i.e. having sex for cash. But Jane is doing it "for the joy of giving".

    "And you hope that she will see" seems to refer to this other girl. Maybe Jane is competing with her, or maybe trying to prove that she (Jane) is totally suicidal in terms of being willing to "do" any guy anonymously and for free. (Competing with the other girl in terms of who is most desperate, who is the most tragic.)

    In the recorded version this line mutates into "you hope that they will see" - which could refer to the whole world - teenagers often regard the whole world as their stage - if they make a suicide attempt for example they might think "I'll show them." (And teenage prostitution can be kind of similar to a suicide attempt or self-harm of some kind.)

    "Let's see your kit for games, all the girls look the same" - this sounds like a line some boy might say to her if he wanted her to take off her clothes. "Your kit" - could be her tits (as in "rack"), or could be the other kit down below.

    "You're running miles in some boy's jumper" could refer to having vigorous sex, e.g. expending the same effort as if she was running miles, but while remaining stationary. For instance she could be standing in the street, having slipped under the boy's jumper so they can be skin-to-skin.

    Jane got a dose of thrush (oral yeast infection) from sucking d**k ("licking railings"), and she is debating telling her mother about this. But she got a free booklet at the chain drugstore "Boots" that says there are pharmaceutical products she can buy that would get rid of the rash, and that way nobody would know.

    Another dirty/innocent ballad from Belle and Sebastian. What are we to make of the social reality behind this charming but degenerate song?
    ormuzsauveuron May 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have a couple of points: 1) Why am I the first person to comment on this, when it's one of the best songs ever recorded. 2) I think I get the meaning of almost every word in the song, about a mixed up girl with a bad reputation. But why the hell is she 'painting lines'?
    Reiveron December 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Painting lines" refers to lines in the road: She is often founding sleeping in the street, in the gutter, or "sleeping at bus stops". Instead of trying to help her, people joke about her being a "lazy line painter", because it's easier to make light of her situation than actually become engaged in it.
    JonRon April 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment'You know a girl who's tax free on her back and making plenty cash
    While you are working for the joy of giving", ah classic b&s lyrics.
    So, our Lazy Jane is rebelling against the world by dressing differently , running away from home and acting skanky...nice song.
    Just one thing, I'm aussie and don't get the most importent slang lol. What's "Painting lines" (is that like "doing lines"??? is she on drugs?) and what's "licking railings" (im guessing she wasn't actually licking railings lol....something sexual?)
    ~blackrose~on December 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a smutty rank song. Licking railings reminds me of being a drunk teenager in the park, being stupid and slutty, feeling exhilerated by it. Dunno if painting lines is the same as snorting them. That reminds me of the painted lines in the middle of roads.
    _ellieon January 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with the first person who posted, this is an amazing song. I completely die at the line "So let's see your kit..." Ah! I love her voice! I played this for my friend and she said she didn't like it when the girl came in singing. I just gawked at her. How can you not fall in love with this song? Anyway. To the point. Let's do this.
    I read the little blurb on Jane in the liner notes of this CD, but I think I'm going to leave them out of this because they confuse me even more.
    Okay, so Jane is an overly rebellious girl who is obviously lazy, and she is pregnant? I think that's why she's wearing a boy's jumper. And I think she's not a prositute, but just willing to have sex at any time..."working for the joy of giving"? I think the line before that is blatantly referring to prostitutes, while Jane just likes making the boys happy. Licking railings: sexual. Mostly pretty self-explanatory. Doesn't live with her parents...wishes she weren't pregnant, to "hide her shame" and to be "out of all the trouble" she's in. Painting lines? Not sure. Why is she wondering how she got her name? And why the change between first bus and last bus?
    words&trickson March 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Dose of Thrush" is slang for a fungal infection that can be gotten from.....licking railings. Giving head, of course.
    HadjiQueston March 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm confused about the bus line. is she actually giving birth to a boy or girl on a bus or is she just having sex? the pregnancy thing would explain why she's wearing a boy's jumper.
    dictionarygirlon April 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"have a boy/girl" is a sexual reference

    "dose of thrush" is a VD

    "licking railings" is giving head

    Whit0685on April 14, 2006   Link

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