THIS CHARMING MAN

Punctured bicycle
On a hillside desolate
Will nature make a man of me yet ?

When in this charming car
This charming man

Why pamper life's complexity
When the leather runs smooth
On the passenger seat ?

I would go out tonight
But I haven't got a stitch to wear
This man said "it's gruesome
That someone so handsome should care"

Ah ! A jumped-up pantry boy
Who never knew his place
He said "return the ring"
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things

I would go out tonight
But I haven't got a stitch to wear
This man said "it's gruesome
That someone so handsome should care"

La, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man ...
Oh, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man ...

Ah ! A jumped-up pantry boy
Who never knew his place
He said "return the ring"
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things

New York version adds :

I would go out tonight
But I haven't got a stitch to wear

I would go out tonight
But I haven't got a stitch to wear
Oh, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man ...
Oh, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man ...

Ah ! A jumped-up pantry boy
Who never knew his place
He said "return the ring"
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things


Probably The Smiths' second most famous song (after How Soon Is Now ?), this whimsical tune is enchanting in its flowery lyrics and complex guitar part. This song really did quite a lot to fuel the critic's fire when it came to Morrissey being effete and inconsequential.
Stuart James says of this song :

"The punctured bicycle is our protagonist's bisexuality. It is punctured because his attraction to men has been repressed up to now. The desolate hillside represents the general unhappiness of his life at this moment. He is confused and asks 'Will nature make a man of me yet?' because he wishes to fit into our society's popular perception of what it is to be a 'man' (macho, heterosexual etc) but knows deep down that he cannot.
The charming man in the charming car is the sexual breakthrough our protagonist has been hoping for. The driver is the ultimate gay icon (Ed: shades of James Dean in his Mini Cooper ?) and comforts our protagonist by telling him not to 'pamper life's complexities' and to join him in the exiting bisexual lifestyle he should be leading. Immediately on entering the world of liberated sexuality, our protagonist feels free to dicuss his worries about appearance ('I would go out tonight...') and flurts openly with the driver of the car. The driver suggests his passenger forgets about the previously punctured side of his sexuality ('return the ring') and our protagonist is confident in the wisdom of this ultimate gay man ('he knows so much about these things').
The overall impression is that of hope for the triumph of human sexuality over the repression of our culture."

Several mixes of this song have been released. These are the lyrics for the Manchester, New York Vocal and original single mixes.


 Visit New York instrumental version of this song

 Visit London and single remix version of this song

 Visit BBC version of this song

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