Slip on your Barber jacket, jump in my old MG
We're off to the depths of Somerset to see what we can see see see
We don't wanna drink the cider, we don't wanna walk for miles
We just want to go to a stately home built in the Georgian style

I can't abide a horizontal life
It's time to rise, assume the perpendicular
Jump up and down, make complimentary sounds
And talk about nothing in particular

Crunch up the gravel driveway, gasp at the grand facade
Just for today we're lords and ladies, oh what a gay charade!
Lavinia loves the lintels - Anna, the architraves
Ben's impressed by the buttresses thrust up the chapel knave

I can't abide a horizontal life
It's time to rise, assume the perpendicular
Jump up and down, make funny little sounds
And talk about nothing in particular

We'll walk the grounds by Capability Brown
Get lost for days inside the manicured maze
We'll bump our heads jumping on a four-post bed
And we'll ride for free
On the ladders round the walls of the circular library

I can't abide a horizontal life
It's time to rise, assume the perpendicular
Jump up and down, make wild ecstatic sounds
And talk about nothing in particular
Nothing in particular

Lyrics submitted by Juanjo25

Assume the Perpendicular Lyrics as written by Neil Hannon

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Assume The Perpendicular song meanings
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  • +3
    Song MeaningIt's most likely about the class structure and rising through the ranks. All of the things that Neil is talking about are indicators of the upper class in England.

    Assuming the Perpendicular being the rising up through the ranks from lower or middle class to the world of Berber jackets, libraries with wheeled ladders and grand country seats with grounds as designed by Capability Brown.

    It makes me think of Evelyn Waugh and his bright young things idly playing around in a world of privilege with ridiculous names like Lavinia.
    nerdynurseon November 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about rejecting a stactic, TV based life-style and favouring the outdoors!?
    Horizontal lines being the lines of a TV!

    badgerdiscoon June 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOoh I like that theory, badgerdisco. I just assumed it meant lying in bed, and assuming the perpendicular was going out (to stately homes) and enjoying the outdoors and life in general. Very nice song, this. Always makes me smile and tap my toes.
    lazywolfeyeson July 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentis it Barbour Jacket?

    Adore this song, makes you almost want to get up and go do something - which is exactly its intended message! Just to do anything at all. Neil's lyrical genius truly shines here, can anyone shed some light on some of the obscure allusions?
    Skylarkinon September 14, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionThat should be "thrust up the chapel nave", not "knave". A knave with something thrust up him is something else altogether.
    karinleeon April 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningIf the narrator is indeed heading off to Somerset, here are some of the homes he might see:…

    Although only No. 1 Royal Crescent is strictly Georgian. Tyntesfield is newer, and Clevedon Court is much older, albeit with Georgian additions.

    Lancelot "Capability" Brown was an 18th c. landscape architect who designed over 170 parks. If you tour very many stately homes in England, you'll probably hear his name everywhere you go.…
    karinleeon April 22, 2011   Link

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