"There Goes a Tenner" as written by and Kate / Bush....
Okay, remember
Okay, remember
That we have just allowed
Half an hour
To get in, do it, and get out

The sense of adventure
Is changing to danger
The signal has been given
I go in
The crime begins
My excitement
Turns into fright

All my words fade
What am I gonna say?
Mustn't give the game away

We're waiting
We're waiting
We're waiting

We got the job sussed
This shop's shut for business
The lookout has parked the car
But kept the engine running
Three beeps means trouble's coming

I hope you remember
To treat the gelignite tenderly for me
I'm having dreams about things
Not going right
Let's leave in plenty of time tonight

Both my partners
Act like actors
You are Bogart
He is George Raft
That leaves Cagney and me
(What about Edward G.?)

We're waiting
We're waiting
We're waiting

You blow the safe up
Then all I know is I wake up
Covered in rubble
One of the rabble needs mummy
(What's all this then?)
The government will never find the money
(What's all this then?)

I've been here all day
A star in strange ways
Apart from a photograph
They'll get nothing from me
Not until they let me see my solicitor

Oh, I remember
That rich, windy weather
When you would carry me
Pockets floating
In the breeze

Oh, there goes a tenner
Hey look! There's a fiver
There's a ten-shilling note
Remember them?
That's when we used to vote for him


Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"There Goes a Tenner" as written by Kate Bush

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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There Goes a Tenner song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is 'historical'; and the events take place long before the outbreak of the Troubles. Maybe these guys are just disaffected lads who turn to crime. But maybe they had been 'voting' against the mainstream UK government to effect democratic change vis-a-vis Ireland? ... 1916 saw the Easter Rising and execution of Pearse et al at. Then came the Old IRA; the Black and Tans; Michael Collins and the Irish Civil War; Mosley's defection; etc... If him/Mosley is correct, the song ends with the protagonist reflecting on his High Hopes/Great Expectations - his 'democratic' vote for Mosley was just another false hope in his "miserable life"!

    PS. In the 1930s, the anti-treaty IRA attempted a bombing campaign in Britain in an effort to end partition. The World War II period also saw attempts to gain financial and military support from Nazi Germany and German Intelligence (wiki).
    PPS. Ten Shilling Note (1928-1970).
    So maybe the 'vote for him' refers to Neville Chamblain?
    28th May 1937 - Neville Chamberlain succeeds Baldwin as Prime Minister.
    29th December 1937 - Irish Free State is abolished, and replaced by sovereign state of Eire.
    29th September, 1938 - Chamberlain, Adolf Hitler, Edouard Daladier and Benito Mussolini signed the Munich Agreement!
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon December 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot exactly sure what this one's all about. Some sort of robbery involving money and dodgy London accents? Haha. Still...
    Licion October 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics here are wrong, I've got:

    Okay remember, okay remember
    That we have just allowed
    Half an hour,
    To get in, do it and get out.
    The sense of adventure
    Is changing to danger
    The signal has been given,
    I go in,
    The crime begins

    My excitement
    Turns into fright
    All my words fade
    What am I gonna say?
    Mustn't give the game away

    We're waiting
    We're waiting
    We're waiting

    We got the job sussed
    This shops shut for business
    The look-out has parked the car
    But kept the engine running
    Three beeps means trouble's coming
    I hope you remember,
    To treat the gelignite tenderly for me
    I'm having dreams about things
    Not going right,
    Let's leave in plenty of time tonight

    Both my partners
    Act like actors,
    You are Bogart
    He is George Raft
    That leaves Cagney and me.

    We're waiting
    We're waiting
    We're waiting

    You blow the safe up
    Then all I know is I wake up,
    Covered in rubble,
    One of the Rabble,
    Needs Mummy,
    The Government will never find the money,
    I've been here all day,
    A star in strange ways
    Apart from a photograph
    They'll get nothing from me
    Not until they let me see
    My solicitor.
    Ooh I remember
    That rich windy weather
    When you would carry me,
    Pockets floating in the breeze
    There goes a tenner
    Hey look, there's a fiver
    There's a ten shilling note
    Remember them?
    That's when we used to vote for him.
    krn.on November 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIMHO... I think this song's about an IRA job (political, anti-UK government) by an over-enthused outfit who didn't have the gelignite sussed! ... The humour is great - act like actors; needs mummy; and the way the exasperated protagonist regards himself as a more authentic criminal over the "rabble" (yet the voice-over thinks he's also acting like an actor, E.G.!) ... The protagonist is arrested/questioned/imprisoned. When released, the money is obsolete.
    The mentioned actors and shilling notes suggest the robbery took place 30/40s (also the band sound and the cinematic Oh-Oh's?). So I think the 'remember him' refers to Sir Oswald Mosley (1896-1980):
    Google: By 1922, Mosley was ready to leave the Conservative Party over its Irish policy which had created the Black and Tans and supported the violent repression of Irish Nationalism. Mosley, of Irish descent himself, sat the next two years as an Independent, eventually joining Labour in 1924... - (If him/Mosley is correct, this brings even more humour to the song: In 1932 Mosley met Benito Mussolini in Italy and founded the British Union of Fascists; and in 1936 he married Diana Mitford in Goebbels's drawing room, with Adolf Hitler one of only six guests at the ceremony!) -

    NOTS was an Ireland-only single. So I guess KB is showing her love of Ireland in both these songs... C'mon and blow it a kiss now...
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon December 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWe're waiting
    We're waiting
    We're waiting...

    'That's when we used to vote for him' - Note the emphasis on 'him' - I think this line is saying "Remember when we waited for the democratic process to effect change! The politicians didn't listen! ... So now there's the Troubles, the Dirty Protest, Thatcher, Bobby Sands, etc. etc."
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon December 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKATE BUSH: A star in strange ways...

    There Goes A Tenner: Petty crooks with IRA sympathies?

    KB: "It's about amateur robbers who have only done small things, and this is quite a big robbery that they've been planning for months, and when it actually starts happening, they start freaking out. They're really scared, and they're so aware of the fact that something could go wrong that they just freaked out, and paranoid and want to go home."
    1982, Picture Disk, The Dreaming Interview

    The song opens in the act of remembering, and we are transported back in time to the start of a crime... We're waiting... Are they waiting for the safe to blow? Are they waiting for political change vis-a-vis Ireland (as perhaps suggested by the video pendulum)? Are we back in the present, with them 'doing time' and waiting for their heavy prison sentence to end?

    KB: "One of the bits in the song is all about waiting, and how the first time they're just waiting for something to go wrong, and the second time they're just waiting for the guy to blow the safe up, because when he blows it up, there is so much that could go wrong. It's a dance routine that's based on waiting. - It's just all these ideas of people waiting. And the rest of the dancers are all acting out what the story says, really. It's not so much a dance at all."
    1982, Picture Disk, The Dreaming Interview

    Three beeps means trouble's coming... 'The Troubles' consisted of about thirty years of recurring acts of intense violence between elements of Northern Ireland's nationalist community (principally Roman Catholic) and unionist community (principally Protestant). The years 1970-1972 saw an explosion of political violence in Northern Ireland, peaking in 1972, when nearly 500 people lost their lives.

    I hope you remember To treat the gelignite tenderly for me... Gelignite, also known as blasting gelatin, is one of the cheapest explosives. Gelignite was used by the Irish Republican Army in Ireland's fight for sovereignty during the Irish War of Independence. Years later it was also used by the Provisional IRA during the early years of their revolutionary campaign against British forces and Loyalist Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. (wiki)

    Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and George Raft played mobsters, gangsters, crooks and tough guys wise to the ways of prison. In their flicks, heroes were criminals. In Shake Hands with the Devil (1959), James Cagney played Sean Lenihan, an Irish Republican Army commander.

    The government will never find the money... In your typical robbery, the police do the investigating. So KaTe's use of the word "government" (and her later use of "vote") is clearly a strong, loaded political reference. Responding to the 1981 Irish hunger strike, Thatcher famously declared "Crime is crime is crime; it is not political." But in TGaT, KaTe very much links the crime with politics through the use of "government" and "vote". Indeed, the final line, "That's when we used to vote for him", might also reference Thatcher; i.e. That's when we used to vote for him and not her! . . .

    I've been here all day, A star in strange ways... Strangeways and the IRA: The Black and Tan War began in January 1919; within months, the British had captured a number of what they considered to be 'diehard' Republicans, and decided that it would be safer for them to hold those prisoners in England. Thirteen IRA prisoners, under the command of Austin Stack, found themselves incarcerated in Strangeways Prison. Maybe the protagonist became a notable inmate, a la Austin Stack or Bobby Sands?

    They'll get nothing from me... Interrogation; intelligence about other operations/activists?

    Strangeways Prison has a central dodecagonal hall, with wings A to F radiating off from it. So the "A1, A2,..." whisperings on TGaT could count 'A' Wing cells?

    Ooh, I remember That rich, windy weather... There Goes A Tenner is a remembrance of things past and present; and these lines might suggest a childhood memory of "home", i.e. Southern Ireland/Eire...

    There's a ten-shilling note...

    The Famous 'Lavery' 10 Shilling (10/) Note (10/9/28-6/6/68)

    In 1921 the Irish Free State was established. After several years it was decided to reform the currency issued in Ireland. A portrait of Lady Lavery’s head and shoulders appears on the 10-shilling, 1- and 5-pound notes.

    Remember them? ... The 'Lavery' 10 Shilling (10/) note? And could the line also refer to forgotten 'heroes' of the Irish cause? KaTe could be subverting the "Ode of Remembrance". Or she could even be quoting Patrick Pearse's The Mother.

    That's when we used to vote for him... Mosley? Chamberlain? ... or "and not Thatcher! . . . " Does KaTe conceal her intent behind comic treatment?

    There Goes a Tenner was only issued in the UK and Night of the Swallow was an Ireland-only single; again suggesting a political subtext of a divided/violated Ireland to The Dreaming. TGaT became the only song by Bush not to chart in the UK. If TGaT is really a tale about an IRA job prior to The Troubles, imagine seeing Maggie Thatcher's face had it reached Number One . . .
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon July 14, 2008   Link

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