"String Bean Jean" as written by and Murdoch....
I got my fingers dirty at the school of rock
Yeah I got my fingers dirty so I took a walk
I went up to the country park and hung around till after dark
Till the girls got home
Till the girls got home

Did I tell you 'bout the one I know, she's on the rag
She spent the summer day inside her sleeping bag
Yeah she spent the summer day inside until it's time to work
And she works all night
Cause the girl's all right

The girls have got a house that's like a caravan
And it's like your holidays whenever you go round
And we always have a laugh and then we all get in the bath
To save on the leccy bill
Me & Jo & Phil'

I had to leave them in the morning
I left the keys around the way
I had to go to work
I had to leave them in the morning
I left the keys down in the caf'
I had to catch a bus

And when Jo was short of cash I had to give her some
But I didn't really mind cause I was fit for once
So she paid the leccy bill and got the shopping and she still had
Some for the cinema
So we all went out

She asked me "Do I need to lose a bit of weight?"
And I told her "Don't be stupid 'cause you're looking great"
And I call her String Bean Jean because the label on her jeans says
Seven to eight years old, well that's pretty small
Seven to eight years old, that's pretty small
Seven to eight years old, that's pretty small
Seven to eight years old

I had to leave them in the morning
I left the keys around the way
I had to go to work
I had to leave them in the morning
I left the keys down in the caf'
I had to catch a bus


Lyrics submitted by Putingrad, edited by emilierein

"String Bean Jean" as written by

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String Bean Jean song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is a fab early Stuart Murdoch classic. The Jo in the song is a one time girlfriend of Stuart's who lived in a flat above the pub/venue Nice 'n' Sleazy's ("the caf"in the lyrics) in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. It paints a picture of the time, the friendships and feelings of the moment. By the way, Jo did apparently have a pair of jeans as small as that.
    Curious Boyon May 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's nice being the first comment, because then I can refer to the lyrics without having to scroll up every five seconds. Heh.
    Alright. I think this boy is living a nice, lazy life where he just hangs out with these girls and has a gay old time, and it seems that everything is just wonderful. The incorporation of Jo is shrouded by this apparent joyfulness. In reality, Jo is depressed...she spent the summer day inside a sleeping bag, she obviously has an eating disorder. I think the song sort of shows how they are all blind to the fact that she is so screwed up because of how nicely everything is going. I mean, the whole time they are talking about the label on her jeans they say it in a joking and light sort of manner. It's interesting how work interferes with everything in the song...Jo spends the day inside until she has to work, and that's when she has to go outside. The tone of the song changes when the lead has to leave his friends in order to go to work. Still kind of shaky on the overall message of the song, though...all comments open to debate!
    words&trickson March 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentProbably, my FAVORITE Belle & Sebastian song.
    I love how he says "Seven to eight years old...and that's pretty small". It sounds amazing in concert as well.

    I know some songs are just "words". Take the New Pornographers...Even some of B/S's songs are just silly rhymes. But this song sounds soo emotional to me that I am just sure that there is a cryptic meaning in it. I just can't begin to figure it out. :-/
    bcontraton April 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentProbably, my FAVORITE Belle & Sebastian song.
    I love how he says "Seven to eight years old...and that's pretty small". It sounds amazing in concert as well.

    I know some songs are just "words". Take the New Pornographers...Even some of B/S's songs are just silly rhymes. But this song sounds soo emotional to me that I am just sure that there is a cryptic meaning in it. I just can't begin to figure it out. :-/
    bcontraton April 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah and she has her period too, that always makes me depressed as hell and i sleep all day.
    dictionarygirlon April 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthow do you know she has her period? or are you joking?
    words&trickson August 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDid I tell you 'bout the one I know, she's on the rag

    (To the comment above)
    ClickForthon September 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I had to leave them in the morning
    I left the keys around the way
    I had to catch a bus
    I had to leave them in the morning
    I left the keys down in the caf'
    I had to go to work"

    I always intepreted this as he's feeling guilty over him not beeing there and that she killed herself and trying to tell himself it's not his fault because he had to go to work.

    It's in his tone of his voice but i might be wrong.

    I probably am.
    k0rkadon May 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentanorexia
    the scenic worldon January 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentanorectics can't menstruate, but Jo obviously does have a problem with body- image-- because she IS 'pretty small' but needs affirmation that she's skinny.

    Furthermore, I don't think an anorectic would consent to take a bath with others.

    I like this song because it's so easy to listen to, but also is serious.
    It reminds me very much of some one I once knew, also called Jo.

    I also love the rare treat of hearing Stuart Murdoch's Scottish accent peek out on 'leccy bill' !
    anopeon March 17, 2009   Link

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