"Europa and the Pirate Twins" as written by and Thomas Dolby....
I was fourteen
She Was Twelve
Father travelled - hers as well
Europa
Down the beaches
Hand in hand
Twelfth of never on the sand
Then war took her away
We swore a vow that day:
We'll be the Pirate Twins again, Europa
Oh my country, Europa
I'll stand beside you in the rain, Europa
Ta republique...

Nine years after, who'd I see
On the cover of a magazine?
Europa
Buy her singles and see all her films
Paste her pictures on my windowsill
But that's not quite the same - It isn't, is it?
Europa my old friend...

We'll be the Pirate Twins again
Europa
Oh my country.
Europa
I'll stand beside you in the rain
Europa
Ta republique...

Blew in from the hoverport
She was back in London
Pushed past the papermen
Calling her name
She smiled for the cameras
As a bodyguard grabbed me
Then here eyes were gone forever
As they drove her away...
We'll be the Pirate Twins again, Europa
Oh my country, Europa
I'll stand beside you in the rain Europa
Ta republique


Lyrics submitted by Kato

Europa and the Pirate Twins song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentCool song. One of my all time favorites.
    The lyrics are pretty self explanitory. A young boy and girl who are in love are separated and 9 years later he finds out she's a big star. Sadly he never gets to reunite with her.
    This is a pioneering synth-pop song from Thomas Dolby. His album The Golden Age Of Wireless is probably one of the greatest debut albums of all time. There isn't one dud on the album. An electronic classic.
    MrLongroveon February 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSure, the song is self explanatory but I once heard an interview w/ Thomas Dolby in which he stated the song was autobiographical. So who is the female to whom this song refers?
    shubooon March 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTwo teen sweethearts are forced by circumstances to part. Flash forward to adulthood, and Our Hero finds that his former sweetheart is a celebrated actress and tries to contact her, but the bodyguard assumes he's just some nutjob stalker so he never gets the chance to reclaim her heart.
    CuteSparkinaon March 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbeing a giant xtc fan, that is how i found thomas dolby, as the lead of xtc, andy partridge, played harmonica and drums in many of the songs. cant believe 'urges' by thomas dolby isnt on here!
    shellywebsteron April 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    MemoryHello, Leia Taylor at Port Dickson beach...
    exexpat93on October 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs Dolby has said, the whole album is about the "sense of a relationship that's going on as being overwhelmed by something on a grander scale", but that fits each song in a different way. He's also said the song has "a very strong wartime atmosphere to it", and that it's in part about how strange it is to grow up only one generation away from WWII.

    It's not a coincidence that the girl is named Europa, or that she's French. In late 1972 (9 years before Thomas Dolby wrote this song, when he was 14 years old), the UK was in negotiations to join the European Community. Even if you missed all the "my
    country, ta république" on the news, you couldn't miss the references in everything from Doctor Who to the Wombles.

    Of course to 14-year-old Thomas, major geopolitical events like that are just unimportant backdrop to what really matters: him and his Pirate Twin.

    Meanwhile, "war took her away" is phrasing from WWII-set romances, but obviously she's not being shipped off to fight the Nazis, she's just going off with her French diplomat father to Tokyo to try to arbitrate between the US and North Vietnam, and he's romanticizing based on movies he's seen on telly. (Especially since most of the French girls he's seen on telly have been in those movies.)

    To 14-year-old Thomas, summer 1972 isn't about the EEC and Vietnam negotiations, it's about him and Europa. To 23-year-old Thomas—he knows there were momentous things going on, and putting them unnoticed in the background is a way to remind us of what it felt like to be 14.

    And the great thing is that it works even for people who don't get any of the connections. You don't have to know why the girl is named Europa, you can even mishear "ta république" as some nonsense phrase in English, and the feeling still comes across.
    falcotronon December 16, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn a magazine interview somewhere around 1982-3, Dolby talks about how the instrumentation in this song parallels the lyrics in combining past (pre-rock R&B) and present (synthpop) sounds—the harmonica alternating with the synth lead; the blatantly synthetic drum machine sounds playing a classic Bo Diddley beat, and also alternating with real handclaps; etc.
    falcotronon December 16, 2017   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationOne option that no one mentions, and which seems very likely to me, is that the entire story is a delusion on the part of the narrator. For a long time I considered this a lovely story of interrupted childhood romance, and then I took another look at the video, as well as some of his others (I was on a Utube nostalgia kick, as sometimes happens).

    I noticed that in many of the videos where Dolby "plays" the narrator (as opposed to simple concert footage) the narrator is portrayed as being mentally off balance, if not outright crazy. Specifically in the E&TPT video the use of the white veil to bind and blind him, and his extreme twitchiness and intense glares throughout, would seem to show that the character Dolby portrays is less than stable. For me the clincher is during the line "some bodyguard grabed me..." In the video, it is NOT bodyguards who grab him, but rather two guys in white medical coats. And, after dragging him away, he apparently gets tossed back into his beachside illusion.

    Given this, as well as the way Dolby has portrayed other less than sane characters (She Blinded Me With Science, for example) really puts the truthfulness of the narrators' story into doubt. And if you think about it, it does sound like the kind of story that a crazed stalker fan might make up to justify his/her actions.

    Dolby said that the song is kinda/sorta autobiographical, but this doesn't mean the details are true. He could have based the story on a relationship from his childhood, but then embellished it to create the songs' narrative.

    Is this the true interpretation? I don't know. But I think we have to admit that it COULD be. And frankly, not knowing for sure makes the song even more awesome.
    bennett115on February 28, 2019   Link

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