All right here it is, again
And it's called
1-2-X-U!

Saw you in a mag, kissing a man
Saw you in a mag, kissing a man
Saw you in a mag, kissing a man
Saw you in a mag, kissing a man, yeah!

Saw you in a mag, kissing a man
Saw you in a mag, kissing a man
Smoking a fag, kissing a man
Saw you in a mag, kissing a man, yeah!

I've got you in a corner, I've got you in a corner
I've got you in a corner, I've got you in a corner
I've got you in a fuckin', I've got you in a corner
I've got you in a corner, oh, no-no-no!

1-2-X-U!


Lyrics submitted by BrownBabu84, edited by ryanmaffei, julieocean

"12XU" as written by Colin Newman Bruce Clifford Gilbert

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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12XU song meanings
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28 Comments

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  • +4
    My InterpretationThis song is an example of Wire's very wry sense of humor. It refers to the pop culture media ("saw you in a mag"), and how they deliver the trashy content we all want ("kissing a man, smoking a fag"). But we as a society like to pretend we're above it, and won't allow the use of curse words in mainstream media (hence the self-censorship--1, 2, "X" you).

    For such a blazing punk song that goes by so quick, it leaves you with plenty to think about. That's why it's a classic that has endured.
    leamancon November 19, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe X in 12XU is self-censorship... as in 1, 2, **** you!
    ygfpersonon January 02, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentit would make sense then that "x" means fuck because 1-2-x-u would then be "want to fuck you". And who cares if it's a man or woman.
    distantfingerson October 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually "smoking a fag" is British slang for smoking a cigarette, and most liekly not a reference to "gay porn". I don't know how much meaning should be interpreted from this song, but my guess would be its about a guy who caught his girlfriend cheating. The "XU" part of the title suggests to me that he's tryign to get rid of something, since I guessed that X=get rid of and U= you.
    a10dency2askon May 19, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy first exposure to this was the Minor Threat cover and I couldn't make any sense of it at all.

    It's clearly about someone being caught by the press (in a mag) doing dirty things (specifically kissing a man and smoking a fag). Whether it's a man seeing his girlfriend cheating or someone involved in a homosexual affair or anything else is unclear. It's a cool song.
    damnrealbon October 13, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentan excelllent song ...... im seriously not seeing the gay thing! i dont think anyone here an the excellent isle would ever say "smoking a fag" in reference to some oral pleasures. i think it means what it says..... smoking a fag .... having a cigarette.... i get the impression its talking about a model or someone in a vogue-ish kind of pose but who knows
    tomistdaffyon April 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlots of early punk bands used "x" in place of "fuck" because it wasn't record companies risked government intervention if they had profanity. and there's no evidence to suggest the sex of the subject the band is singing about, so everyone should quit their homophobic reactions.
    BlackLungFeveron June 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Link(s)From "Wire on Wire", The Guardian, March 2017, Wire songwriters discussing their music:

    "The original lyric was: “Life’s a drag, give me a fag.” Not great, but Bruce [Gilbert, guitar] picked up on the word “fag” and used it as the American slang for gay. In those repressive times, it was a song about ambiguous sexuality that isn’t delivered like one. Someone in a dressing room asked me what the X stood for and I said, “What do you think?” We censored ourselves, but if it had been 1, 2, Fuck You, it would have cheapened it. It would have become Oi! So it’s actually very smart."
    theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2017/mar/27/…
    chris11437on September 20, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am very confused as to what these lyrics mean. It could ne about gay porn
    JohnPowellon June 20, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGay porn? err...can't see it myself..
    Any idea what 1-2-X-U means? What does it stand for?
    Cherub Rockon May 02, 2004   Link

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