I never thought it would happen
With me and the girl from Clapham
Out on the windy common
That night I ain't forgotten
When she dealt out the rations
With some or other passions
I said "you are a lady"
"Perhaps" she said. "I may be"

We moved in to a basement
With thoughts of our engagement
We stayed in by the telly
Although the room was smelly
We spent our time just kissing
The Railway Arms we're missing
But love had got us hooked up
And all our time it took up

I got a job with Stanley
He said I'd come in handy
And started me on Monday
So I had a bath on Sunday
I worked eleven hours
And bought the girl some flowers
She said she'd seen a doctor
And nothing now could stop her

I worked all through the winter
The weather brass and bitter
I put away a tenner
Each week to make her better
And when the time was ready
We had to sell the telly
Late evenings by the fire
With little kicks inside her

This morning at four fifty
I took her rather nifty
Down to an incubator
Where thirty minutes later
She gave birth to a daughter
Within a year a walker
She looked just like her mother
If there could be another

And now she's two years older
Her mother's with a soldier
She left me when my drinking
Became a proper stinging
The devil came and took me
From bar to street to bookie
No more nights by the telly
No more nights nappies smelling

Alone here in the kitchen
I feel there's something missing
I'd beg for some forgiveness
But begging's not my business
And she won't write a letter
Although I always tell her
And so it's my assumption
I'm really up the junction

Lyrics submitted by sambo28

Up the Junction Lyrics as written by Glenn Martin Tilbrook Christopher Henry Difford

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Up The Junction song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI find the lyrics to this song endlessly fascinating. The story is clear; the song is musically quite unvaried - why does it work so well? I couldn't comment on the detail of the music, but I think that one of the reasons why the lyrics work so well is the way they use shifts of time and perspective. Just when you think you have settled into understanding what you think is now the end of the story (the romance; then the baby; then the birth; then the rupture), the lyrics plunge you into a new time and a new perspective that puts the last "chapter" into a new frame. Given that the music does NOT signal these shifts by moving from verse to chorus or introducing radically different forms or melodies, I think part of the reason for the song's genius is how the propulsive nature of the music acts as a misleading overlay to the time-shifting lyrics.
    jonathanpkon October 22, 2015   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThe "Railway Arms" is a common name for an English pub.

    It really helps to understand Squeeze songs if you understand English culture, especially working and middle class culture. Their songs are very English.

    The railway arms we're missing means that he is no longer hanging out at the pub, because he's spending his time with his new love. Sadly, his behavior reverts to his old drinking habits, and it costs him his happiness in life--he loses his wife and daughter because he refuses to grow up and out of his adolescent behavior. He comes to understand this, but it's hard-earned knowledge.

    I love how this song paints a picture of a life with a couple of simple verses. One minute, he's experiencing the joy of his daughter's birth. A couple of lines later, his daughter's two years older and he's lost his wife and child to another man, a solider who will provide.

    He's really up the creek w/out a paddle.
    rbraxleyon July 13, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe ultimate kitchen-sink drama set to music. Love and reality in Sarf London...
    bearhunteron March 21, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'm pretty sure the lady doesn't leave the baby with the guy. 'No more nights nappies smelling' tells me that she takes the kid with her leaving him with absolutely nothing. Great song tho'
    maisieon September 28, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentesie32, I don't think this song has anything to do with advocating abortion. The song isn't saying the couple would have been better off without their baby. It actually seems that the daughter is a *happy* event for them, as evidenced by their happily selling the tv and the father gladly working hard to support his new little family. Also I don't see any indication that the couple are teenagers.

    I think what actually drives them apart is the man's drinking:

    "She left me when my drinking
    Became a proper stinging
    The devil came and took me
    From bar to street to bookie"

    The missus left with the baby when his drinking got so out of hand it was hurting the family.

    Anyway I find this song really depressing, because it starts so hopefully and ends with the singer in ruins thanks to his choosing drink over his family. To me, this song is about being your own worst enemy. The guy realises he has ruined their happy life and lost his wife and child, but "Begging's not my business"- he's still too proud to change his habits and beg them to come back, but just the same he knows deep inside what he is missing.

    isabell428on November 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIts a great tune but the lyrics arent that happy are they?
    I love lyrics that are so straight forward.
    Achterbahnen2on June 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFor people not familiar with South London, Clapham Junction is a well-known / important railway transport hub. Locally it’s known as ‘The Junction’ and is a clever call back when the singer says he’s up the junction after his relationship with the girl from Clapham ends. The windy common he mentions in the first verse is most likely Clapham Common. It does have some local infamy as place where people can meet for liaisons – just Google Ron Davis Clapham Common.
    TheoCupieron January 20, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe lyrics are the self told tale of a love affair, a wanted pregnancy and child, and destroying what you have by being your own worst enemy. They are down to earth, plain spoken and direct and written as a normal person would speak. The lack of histrionics is part of what makes it so moving, it tells the tale and lets the listeners brain finish painting the picture and summon up an emotional response.
    It's also a very upbeat and engagingly pretty tune that suits the happy first verses the overlays some melancholic strings(?) near the rather sorrowful end.
    I particularly like the short train like drum fills at the beginning, a subtle scene setting suggestion to the listener of living near the railway lines around Clapham
    junction i think.
    bobsto12on December 05, 2020   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so depressing.
    Kraliaon March 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI absolutely love this song...it seems like it will be a "love conquers all" song, but it leaves the narrator saying "well, i'm fucked!" hahaha
    TheSyndicate88on July 21, 2005   Link

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