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Secondary Modern Lyrics

Artist: Elvis Costello
Album: Get Happy!!

This must be the place
Second place in the human race
Down in the basement
Now I know what he meant
Secondary modern
But there won't be a problem till the girls go home

This is the hand that you never shook
You never gave me the chance that I took
Secondary modern
But there won't be a problem till the girls go home

Is it out of the question
Between you and me
Is it pleasure or business
Or a beg and a plea?

Nobody makes me sad like you
Now my whole world goes from blue to blue
Secondary modern
But there won't be a problem till the girls go home...

Comments/Interpretations

by dave turajski on 8/7/2009 4:37pm
A young man from England told me nearly 30 years ago when this song first came out that a "Secondary Modern" is a public school in England. This song is about a young man--who has finished with school--who looks back on his days there as a student with regret and not a little (bitterness?)
The persona informing the song remembers that he was the type of person, whilst in school, who got invited to the "second string" school dances--typically held in a "basement," rather than in a pub, or ballroom, or living room.
He longs for the pretty girl who he cannot have; she's stuck in the same social place he is, but she doesn't know it.








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