Making Every Word Count

Last  night as I listened to this, one of my favorite Billy Bragg songs, it occurred to me the song’s like a mini-YA.  Everything you need for a satisfying story, right here.  In just 267 words.


I’ll never forget the first day I met her
That September morning was clear and fresh
The way she spoke and laughed at my jokes
And the way she rubbed herself against the edge of my desk

She became a magic mystery to me
And we’d sit together in double History twice a week
And some days we’d walk the same way home
And it’s surprising how quick a little rain can clear the streets

We dreamed of her and compared our dreams
But that was all that I ever tasted
She lied to me with her body you see
And I lied to myself ’bout the chances I’d wasted

The times we were close were far and few between
In the darkness at the dances in the school canteen
Did she close her eyes like I did as we held each other tight
And la la la la la means I love you

She danced with me and I still hold that memory soft and sweet
And I stare up at her window as I walk down her street
But I never made the first team, I just made the first team laugh
And she never came to the phone, she was always in the bath

In the end it took me a dictionary
To find out the meaning of unrequited
While she was giving herself for free
At a party to which I was never invited

I never understood my failings then
And I hide my humble hopes now
Thinking back she made us want her
A girl not old enough to shave her legs

** This video ends before the song’s finished but it’s the best quality version I could find on YouTube.  Just a taste….

2 thoughts on “Making Every Word Count

  1. God, I love Billy (and I love that song). So much fun to see him on your site today. I’m going to watch him do an instore at HMV up here next week. Wasn’t sure I could make it because of a dentist appointment that day but they were able to do twice the work at today’s appointment so I don’t need to go back next week. Yay!


    • I meant to give a shout-out to you when I wrote this, C.K. Knew you’d appreciate it. I was bummed there wasn’t a good, complete version of the song available on YouTube, though. Maybe you can make a copy when you (lucky duck!!!) see him next week. Congrats on doubling up on the dental work (ouch!) to make that happen.


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