Home from work, our Juliet
Clears her morning meal
She dabs her skin with pretty smells
Concealing to appeal
I will make my bed
She said, but turned to go
Can she be late for her cinema show?
Cinema show

Romeo locks his basement flat
And scurries up the stair
With head held high and floral tie
A weekend millionaire
I will make my bed
With her tonight, he cries
Can he fail armed with his chocolate surprise?

Take a little trip back with father Tiresias
Listen to the old one speak of all he has lived through
I have crossed between the poles, for me there's no mystery
Once a man, like the sea I raged
Once a woman, like the earth I gave
But there is in fact more earth than sea

Take a little trip back with father Tiresias
Listen to the old one speak of all he has lived through
I have crossed between the poles, for me there's no mystery
Once a man, like the sea I raged
Once a woman, like the earth I gave
But there is in fact more earth than sea


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

The Cinema Show [New Stereo Mix] Lyrics as written by Michael Rutherford Anthony Banks

Lyrics © CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Cinema Show song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +10
    General Comment

    Pardon the arrogance, but pity you folks do not get around or read more. Tiresias was the "Seer of Thebes". The gods were once arguing about who enjoyed sex more, men or women. To settle the question, they employed a wise human. Being absolute believers in empiricism, they sent the usually male Tiresias to earth as a newly minted female in order to gain the experieces to settle the argument. When he returned to Olympus with his results, the gods quizzed him with the question: Who enjoys sex more? Tiresias answered "were I to divide the pleasure humans experience into a portion of 10, men enjoy sex a value of 3, and women a value of 7". The proud male gods, very angry, struck Tiresias blind on the spot. If I remember correctly, they also gave him the power of prognostication but withheld any ability to convince anyone else of his visions (like Cassandra). About 70% of the earth's surface is covered by the sea. But [in fact] THAT IS ONLY THE EARTH'S SURFACE! Truly among the most brilliant lyrics in popular music and tremendous wisdom from such young lads. Do not miss that the final synthesizer riff (of Cinema Show) comes back (full circle) to become the acoustic guitar opening of the album (Dancing with the Moonlit Knight). Truly brilliant music from a group at the pinnacle of their inspiration.

    Malwurfon April 17, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    Actually the "rant at the end" is a song in itself, isn't it? They skipped it when they did the song live (check "Seconds Out"). The final lines about Tiresias do seem fuzzy...

    Does seem to be a song by Tony, he was always into the mythological stuff, and it's piano/mellotron-based right through til the stunning six-minute solo, but that's also a spot where you hear Phil shining as a great drummer: funky, swinging, subtly shifting the emphasis like kites spinning in the wind.

    tinderboxon March 10, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Tiresias was a priest of Zeus, and as a young man he encountered two snakes mating and hit them with a stick. He was then transformed into a woman. As a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera, married and had children, including Manto. According to some versions of the tale, Lady Tiresias was a prostitute of great renown. After seven years as a woman, Tiresias again found mating snakes, struck them with her staff, and became a man once more. As a result of his experiences, Zeus and Hera asked him to settle the question of which sex, male or female, experienced more pleasure during intercourse. Zeus claimed it was women; Hera claimed it was men. Tiresias sided with Zeus, saying that on a scale of one to ten, women enjoy sex nine times to men's one. Hera struck him blind. Since Zeus could not undo what she had done, he gave him the gift of prophecy. An alternative story in Callimachus' poem "The Bathing of Pallas" has it that Tiresias was blinded by Athena after he stumbled onto her bathing naked. His mother, Chariclo, begged her to undo her curse, but Athena couldn't; she took the serpent from her aegis and commanded it to lick his ears, giving him prophecy instead.

    Stripped of its narrative and anecdotal and causal connections, the mythic figure of Tireisias combines several archaic elements: the blind seer; the impious interruption of a natural rite (whether of a bathing goddess or coupling serpents); serpents and staff (Caduceus); a holy man's double gender (shaman); and competition between deities.

    Tiresias's background was important, both for his prophecy and his experiences. Greek mythology contained many hermaphroditic figures (including Hermaphroditus), but Tiresias was fully male and then fully female. Also, prophecy was a gift given only to the priests and priestesses. Therefore, Tiresias offered Zeus and Hera evidence and gained the gift of male and female priestly prophecy.

    As a seer, Tiresias was "a common title for soothsayers throughout Greek legendary history" (Graves 1960, 105.5). In Greek literature, Tiresias's pronouncements are always gnomic but never wrong. He is generally extremely reluctant to offer his visions like most oracles. Often when his name is attached to a mythic prophecy, it is introduced simply to supply a personality to the generic example of a seer, not by any inherent connection of Tiresias with the myth: thus it is Tiresias who warns the mother of Narcissus that the boy will thrive as long as he never knows himself. This is his emblemmatic role in tragedy (see below).

    Surferdaveon February 12, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    An above comment called this Genesis' most intelligent lyrics, which seems a hard claim to justify...

    But that just might be a factor of the inclusion of the "chocolate surprise" line. Still the lyrics are very good.

    The opening part of the song talks about two people destined to fall in love, using the familiar example of Romeo and Juliet. Juliet is the typical woman, cleaning around the house, and Romeo is a poor man (living in a basement flat). However, because of his love, he feels like a "weekend millionaire."

    The Tiresias part is based on the legend that Tiresias spent time as both a man and a woman to see who got more pleasure out of sex. Out of a total of 10, he said women got 7 and men got 3 (adding up to 10). This outraged the Gods, and some stuff happened (I'm not sure what).

    Anyway, Gabriel compares man's tendency to change from calm to rage instantly to the same tendency of the sea, and woman to the earth. He then concluded with "there is in fact more earth than sea." This is true. In terms of surface area, there is twice as much sea. However, in terms of actual volume (a.k.a. substance), the earth is 70% earth and 30% water. Thus, there is, in fact, more earth than sea. And notice the 7 to 3 ratio. Thus, women get more enjoyment from sex than men.

    And that's the excellent song, "The Cinema Show."

    The album itself is about the decline of the British Empire, on which the sun will finally set.

    inpraiseoffollyon November 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Supposedly the most intelligent Genesis lyric! Until Gabriel's rant at the end. Lyrics by Banks (Obviously!) not the end bit though! Is about the battle of the sexes. Is another mythological song which is where all the refeances come from.

    timbo.hon January 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Me too I think it's about the war between the sexes. "more earth than sea" means that the woman's pleasure is at last bigger than the man's one. There IS a mythologcal cotext, but I cannot remember it.

    Tschiggnon March 14, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The 'rant' at the end is not part of The Cinema Show but is the concluding song of Selling Enlgand... and is called Aisle of Plenty

    K-nuxXxon June 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Wow Malwurf - spot on - nice one - but it does stop others from adding!! lol - Great obversation & thought - I should be commenting on the song but I find myself commenting on the comments from someone else - Malwurf, you have caught the essence of this site - spot on

    nagromnaion October 28, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Thanks Malwurf. Really perfect interpretation, enjoyed reading it. I had this surface-thing in mind, too. :) This world needs more bands like genesis and more listeners like you!!

    Tschiggnon December 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Tiresias and Thebes During the Seven Against Thebes, Megareus killed himself because Tiresias prophesied that a voluntary death from a Theban would save Thebes. Afterwards Tiresias appears in the tales associated with Oedipus. In Oedipus the King, by Sophocles, Oedipus calls upon Tiresias to aid in the investigation of the killing of Laius. Tiresias refuses to give a direct answer and instead hints that the killer is someone Oedipus really does not wish to find. After Oedipus blinds himself and wanders, Tiresias appears in Antigone, also by Sophocles. King Creon of Thebes refuses to allow Polynices to be buried. His sister, Antigone, defies the order and is caught; Creon decrees that she is to be buried alive. The gods express their disapproval of Creon's decision through Tiresias. However, Antigone has already hanged herself rather than be buried alive. When Creon arrives at the tomb where she is to be interred, his son, Haemon, attacks him and then kills himself. When Creon's wife, Eurydice, is informed of their death she, too, takes her own life. He and his prophesy are also involved in the story of the Epigoni.

    Death Tiresias died after drinking the water from the spring Tilphussa, struck by an arrow of Apollo. After his death he was visited in the underworld by Odysseus, to whom he gave valuable advice concerning the rest of his voyage, specifically concerning the cattle of Helios, which Odysseus' men did not follow.

    You can learn alot from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Alot of times if I do not understand what an artist is saying, I can look up key terms. For example I found that some of the lyrics were inspired by T.S. Eliot's poem "The Waste Land".

    Surferdaveon February 12, 2006   Link

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