What’s up with the first two verses? They don’t seem to gel at all with the second two verses. Then again, it is exactly what it says on the tin, because the third verse does warn you that they’re going to “change the mood a little”.
But still, the second two verses are filled with wordplay and I can’t find a single example in the first two. Most noticable for me is the play on the title itself: the third verse uses the title to mean “nice to be a man”, and the fourth verse uses it as a direct reference to the eponymous dance show. But both of the first two verses seem to use it as a general statment meaning something like “it’s all good”, unless I’m missing something here.
I wonder if the two parts were written by different people.
I think it gels perfectly well. The song ends with the observation “But it’s not like that on the TV When it’s cool for cats” and the first two verses are about TV shows. The point of the song is that real life, even when things go rather well (he picks up and shags a girl in the last verse) isn’t nearly as cool as it seems to be for TV heroes. It is a song about disappointment and disillusionment.
The “change in mood”, so far as I can see, is simply the move from talking about TV shows to talking about reality. I do not think he is talking about any “dance show”.
While I did find out that The Sweeney was a show, I did not make the connection that the first verse could also be about a (possibly imaginary?) cowboys and indians show, so thanks for pointing that out.
However, as a hijack, it’s my opinion that the speaker does get laid in the third verse as well as the fourth, since he gets a “nasty little rash”. But, the wordplay makes it ambiguous, since if the “bitter” that he gets refers only to the drink and not the attitude, then I guess the rash might come from just sitting on his butt all night. It’s my opinion that he refers to both the drink and the attitude, so he drank bitter, and got laid which made him bitter because it wasn’t a lasting or memorable experience and he got an STD in the bargain.
The song is about an ordinary, bored, working class British bloke. Some nights, he sits around the house just watching the telly (in the first verse, he seems to be watching an old Western, in the next, either an old heist movie or some “true crime” TV program). Other nights, he goes out to a pub or disco, and tries to pick up girls (with mixed success). When he DOES manage to take home a girl, she’s usually no more classy or glamorous than he is, and the sex usually isn’t that great or that memorable. On a lot of nights, he spends a lot of money on some girl he thinks will sleep with him, and either gets nothing for it or (worse yet!) picks up crab lice or some disease (hence, the “nasty little rash”).
In the end, he’s left wondering why his own love life isn’t as wonderful as the telly has always led him to believe a swinging, single stud’s life is supposed to be.
It COULD be a prostitute, certainly, but it could also be a girl he met in a bar, and has bought a lot of drinks for. Either way, he had to spend a lot of money to get some mediocre sex (the next day, when he’s sobered up, he barely remembers it).
If it strikes you as mean, even cruel, well, it’s SUPPOSED to be. The narrator of the song isn’t an admirable or sensitive guy. He’s out to get laid, and isn’t that particular. He finally manages to talk his way into some unattractive girl’s pants, then leaves at the first possible moment.
“Giving the dog a bone” is a slang expression that refers to engaging in sexual intercourse itself. If the lyrics had meant to refer to the woman in question as being unattractive, then this expression alone would not suffice.
Yes, it’s possible that, as a Yank, I wrongly interpreted “dog” as meaning the girl was unattractive.
Regardless, I don’t think the narrator is EVIL- he’s just jaded, and has no expectations of finding real romance or love. His everyday life is a bit of a drag, and so is his sex life. He’s having cheap, meaningless sex that he doesn’t even much enjoy!