Arnold Layne

"Arnold Layne had a strange hobby
Collecting clothes
Moonshine washing line
They suit him fine
On the wall hung a tall mirror
Distorted view, see through baby blue
Oh, Arnold Layne
It’s not the same, takes two to know
Two to know, two to know
Why can’t you see?
Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne

Now he’s caught - a nasty sort of person.
They gave him time
Doors bang - chain gang - he hates it
Oh, Arnold Layne
It’s not the same, takes two to know
Two to know, two to know
Why can’t you see?
Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne, Arnold Layne"

Don’t tell me they put him in the slammer just for stealing clothes off the line – what’s that “caught” business? Please, someone, help remedy my idiocy here.

I recall the popular interpretation being that ol’ Arnie was a transvestite. Don’t know if that was ever actually illegal in Britain.

No comment on what “See Emily Play” might be about.

I recall hearing/reading that AL was banned in Great Britain due to the innapropriate subject matter of tranvestites. Sorry, don’t remember where. Is this true ?

Oblio


A point in every direction is like no point at all

Doubt that cross-dressing was every illegal in England–poor Arnold is put in jail for the theft of the clothing, not for wearing them, although he indeed is supposed to be a transvestite.

The song was banned from radio airplay because of the subject matter but not banned from stores. It reached number 21 in the English charts.

By the way, the theft of the undergarments was based on a real incident related by Waters to Pink Floyd’s then singer-songwriter-guitarist Syd Barret. Barret invented the thief’s motivation and name. (All this info courtesy of Another Brick in the Wall by Cliff Jones)

There’s also a song by Madness with a similar theme… a newspaper vendor whose nights are filled with other people’s unmentionables:

But in the middle of the night
He steals through your garden,
Gives your hosiery a fright,
And doesn’t say pardon.

I can’t imagine that transvestitism was illegal in England, though. Wasn’t “Lola” re-recorded due to the mention of Coca Cola, as opposed to the subject matter?

Or was I being jerked around all those years ago?

Waste
Flick Lives!

[[Doubt that cross-dressing was every illegal in England–poor Arnold is put in jail for the theft of the clothing, not for wearing them, although he indeed is supposed to be a transvestite.]]
Sheesh! Hard time (on a chain gang, no less) for swiping undies off the clothesline. I bet he hates it! Pretty harsh justice. Doesn’t seem like THAT nasty a sort of person.

Of course, Syd was not known primarily as a journalist, historian, or legal scholar. :wink: