"The Good Old Days" as written by and Peter/barat Doherty....
Queen Boadicea is long dead and gone
Still the spirit
In her children's children's children
It lives on

If you've lost your faith in love of music
Oh the end won't be long
Because if it's gone for you then I too may lose it
And that would be wrong

You know I've tried so hard to keep myself from falling
Back into my bad old ways
And it chars my heart to always hear you calling
Calling for the good old days
Because there were no good old days
These are the good old days

It's not about, tenements and needles
And all the evils in their eyes
And the backs of their minds
Daisy chains and school yard games
And a list of things we said we'd do tomorrow
A list of things we said we'd do tomorrow

The Arcadian dream has all fallen through
But the Albion sails on course
So man the decks and hoist the rigging
Because the pig mans found the source
And there's twelve rude boys on the oars

Lyrics submitted by minkydave

"The Good Old Days" as written by Peter Doherty Carl Barat

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Good Old Days song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentTo me this is about people who have given up on modern life and see instead a call for the "good old days" or the times when things were simpler, easier, the music was better or love was more pleasant. I think the song is an answer to someone like that, telling them that if they've lost their faith in love and music, if they are calling for these "good old days" then the end won't be long, they'll be doomed to see everything as worse than before. I think it's an important song and a good one. The idea that there "weren't no good old days" is also important. To remember that in times where some things might have been better there were other problems, and that we have no more problems now than we had in the past. It's a call for people to live in the moment and quit looking into the past in reminiscence, and instead make today what you can. Because the past, "the good old days" aren't as good as you dream they were.
    BuckWilderon March 14, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song like half of the Libertines songs foreshadows things to come.
    billboneson November 23, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentArcadia is not a place made up by Carl and Pete, besides being the name of a place in Greece, the word "Arcadia" has become interchangeable with "Utopia". They mean almost the same thing, but a Utopia is man-made. Arcadia is a natural paradise unblemished by Civilization. It is sourced from Greek Mythology, and is where Pan and various other spirits lived.

    "Albion" is from Mythology, being the God of Britain, son of Poseidon and brother of Atlas, but has come to mean Britain itself in a poetic and Archaic sense. Someone has correctly stated above that it is also the name of Pete and Carl's ship that they're sailing to Arcadia.

    Anyways, this is a great song.
    lambo2409on May 21, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentYeah, I think this song is 50% personal song about lost friendships and 50% Libertines setting out their idea of albionism. Pete's always had a very strong belief in the ideal of leading the good ship Albion (Britain) to the utopia of Arcadia (paradise). They're both very, very old Celtic ideas that predate Christianity in Britain (albion is the oldest known term for Britain), and so they kind of represent that kind of ancient paradise based in nature that the Celts believed in. Hence namechecking Bodicea- what they're singing about is exactly what she was fighting for. Of course, she lost and so will they- and that's why the Arcadian dream has fallen through. But the idea of the Albion sailing on course is really suggesting that it's an inevitable journey, and in a metaphorical way the Libertines will bring it about.
    Appers66on September 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe albion is not their dream. the 'albion' is the roman name for great britian and arcadia is an imaginary lawless land pete and carl invented. this parts means england or 'albion' is slowing moving turning into a lawless ideal land for pete ad carl
    AlbionSalesOnCourseon December 23, 2005   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning"Queen Boadicea is long dead and gone.
    Still now the spirit in her children's children's children lives on."

    Queen Boadicea is a symbol of fighting for dreams, her dream was to save the Brits from the Roman Empire. Although she failed to win, she became a legend and that's why in the next generations her "spirit still lives on" - spirit to fight for our dreams.

    "And if you've lost your faith in love and music oh the end wont be long.
    Because if its come then I too may lose it and that would be wrong."

    The word music can't be replaced here by things important to us like poetry, art etc. things that have a high impact on our lives - Pete used word "music" because he's a musician. Love, highest emotion, without that we are nothing.

    "I've tried so hard to keep myself from falling back to my bad old ways"

    This is a fight with our bad habits - Quenn Bodicea was fighting for freedom againts the Romans. We also have to fight for freedom, sometimes with ourselves.

    "and it chars my heart to always hear you calling,
    calling for the good old days,
    'cos there were no good old days,
    these are the good old days."

    People always reminiscence the "good old days", but actually they weren't better then these that we live now. It's because "The good old days" in the future we create here and now.

    "It's not about tenements and needles,
    or all the evils in the eyes and the backs of their minds

    Daisy chains and schoolyard games, and a list of things we said we'd do tomorrow, a list of things we said we'd do tomorrow."

    Life isn't about our past, it's about our future. Here Pete brings us his personal memories - living in tenement, drugs, being surrounded by people that are "evil" - these are the most recent. The part from "Daisy chains..." it's the earliest life memories when we were little. But all that is not important. That's why he sang "List of things we'd do tomorrow" twice - to emphasise that we all had plans, but life turned out different than our dreams and that's why...

    "The Arcadian dream, so fallen through
    But the Albion sails on course"

    Arcadia refers to place of our dreams, our goal here on earth.
    Albion refers to England, but it can also refer to a community that has more or less similar goals, like let's say "our" civilization.
    We are all sailing in one ship, we are trying to reach Arcadia because we believe we can manage it, but when we realise that Arcadia doesn't exist the ship still goes on and is sailing on course.
    Our dreams which were the meaning of our existence, our Arcadia - has fallen. Bodicea comited suicide after loosing her dream, but in our case it's different - we are on the ship together, we are a part of something bigger, that's why we cannot hold back even if we lost our dreams - that's why Albion is still sailing...

    "Let's man the decks and hoist the rigging.
    Because the pig mans found the source,"

    So after losing what we fought for our whole lives - our dreams, it occured that we wanted to reach heaven here on earth what was delusional and impossible. That's why we were called "pig mans", because we were to greedy. But we found the source, that's why after failing of reaching our dream we are reorganising our life ("man the decks and hoist the rigging") because we know purpose from now...

    "And there's twelve rude boys on the oars.
    They're singing "row row row""

    That's a reference to 12 apostles from Bible. Faith is our motor to keep on going although we lost the our dream which was the meaning of our life. "The boys" are "rude", because they're taking us somewhere, although we don't know exactly where we are going, but We have to believe that the direction is right and that's why no matter what "we are sailing on course". After that we finally understand that every day is a "good old day".

    simonsorcon August 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song absolutely kills me. I've never felt so much crying after I saw the struggling silly Peter singing it on his own, and then Carlos singing it on his own. They both looked so lost, singing about the good old days that they maybe both want back. It's such a beautiful song, and means so much to me. It contains one of my favourite lines ever
    "if you've lost your faith in love and music, oh the end won't be long". A motto of sorts.
    merrygoroundon November 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQueen Boadicea was a Celtic chieftain who led the Iceni and a number of other Celtic tribes, including the neighbouring Trinovantes, in a major uprising against the occupying Roman forces in Britain in AD 61.
    JeffKaos71on November 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQueen Boadice was as ancient British queen; upon annexation of her kingdom by Rome, led ferocious revolt before finally being crushed by Roman army
    JeffKaos71on November 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe arcadian dream, so fallen through
    But the Albion sails on course
    Let's man the decks and hoist the rigging.
    Because the pig mans found the source,
    And there’s twelve rude boys on the oars.
    They’re singing "row row row"
    pig man is pete, the albion is like their journy together, and The arcadian dream is their dream for doing what they want int he future enjoying life etc. really personal song.
    Sheon December 28, 2004   Link

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