"Bang Goes The Knighthood" as written by and Neil Hannon....
Out of the station
And through the arcade
Past the antique shops
Of Regent's Parade
To an innocuous London address
A quick glance around, and then down the wet steps

God only knows what keeps bringing me here
Gambling with everything that I hold dear
One careless word, in establishment ears
And bang goes the knighthood, the wife and career

You make me feel, you make me feel something
And feeling something, beats feeling nothing at all
And nothing at all is what I feel
All the rest of the time
If someone sees, If someone hears something
I know it's coming
The fear is making me ill
But then, the fear
Is part of the thrill

They taught me discipline at boarding school
The consequences of breaking the rules
They said "we're just being cruel to be kind"
As they beat me to within an inch of my life

So chain me, restrain me and teach me to kneel
Bind me and grind me beneath your high heels
Crack goes the whip and if someone should tell
Bang goes the knighthood, as well

Lyrics submitted by DeLuca

"Bang Goes the Knighthood" as written by Neil Hannon

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Bang Goes The Knighthood song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationLiterally, this is about a heterosexual white carnivorous male narrator who holds a career in high office or something, like a lawyer, wall street, MP or judge, but who has a fetish for S&M, and is worried that his outlet for his feelings (his fetish, which is the result of his upbringing in a somewhat totalitarian boarding school) will ruin his life if it were revealed to the public. He questions why he takes the risk of losing everything, including his heteronormative ideals such as his wife and career, but also his social recognition of a knighthood, in favour of his real desires/therapy of being disciplined.

    Metaphorically, I think everyone can secretly relate to this, especially in an age where every fantasy is accessible over the internet. However, there is the more pressing issue of LGBTQ rights being contrary to glamourised celebrity 'public relations' in the public eye. Also, much as it happened after this song was written, the phone hacking scandal in the UK adds its own unintentional meaning to this song.

    As the song is from the fetishist's point of view, and asserts the narrator's own disagreement with his actions, we can assume that the narrator is a sort of hero/antihero as far as the story goes if this were a novel of film. The lyrics focus on the narrator's attempts to explain himself; that he regrets doing it and knows the consequences, that he also thinks it's the only thing that makes him feel, and that he was perhaps abused at school. This love/hate relationship to his actions is akin to addiction.

    The narrator's position in society can be assumed from the fact he feels he is in line for a knighthood, went to boarding school, travels a lot ('out of the station', he just got off a train, but seems used to doing this. 'And though the arcade' seems to suggest repetition, reinforcing that the narrator does the travelling and also this movement to the discreet fetish parlour often), and can afford this lifestyle (which is inferred from the narrator's unfamiliarity or discomfort with the location of the fetish club 'A quick glance around'). 'Innocuous London address' also suggests secretism and implyed anonymity, although identified to an extent through 'Regent's Parade' and 'London'.

    The most improtant thing that can be taken from this song is that the narrator is unhappy with this secretism. He wants to be himself, but is aware of the public judgement that will be assumed of him if he 'comes out'. The song, and album, is called 'Bang Goes the Knighthood' which, although to the narrator is a risky consequence, I think Neil is saying it is the right thing to do.

    I think that it is not only clear that the Neil thinks the narrator is miserable in his current state of restricted secrecy, but the whole album has a story of doing what you want and enjoying yourself. Some songs encourage liberalism, like this one, others encourage taking action, whilst being about visiting stately homes, 'Assume the Perpendicular' falls in here, some are about not being afraid of trying what you want, like 'Can You Stand Upon One Leg' etc etc.
    xaulon April 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbsolutely brilliant, one of my favorite divine comedy tracks.
    Just a small correction: in the last stanza, it's "so chain me", not "so choke me".
    barelyaudibleon June 29, 2010   Link

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