Album: This Is My Truth - Tell Me Yours (1999)
Charted: 11
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about June and Jennifer Gibbons, the "silent twins" of Haverfordwest, Wales. Born April 11, 1963, the sisters were elective mutes. The Manic Street Preachers have been known to uncover unusual facts and create songs about them, and the story of the twins was right up their alley.

    The "tsunami" is probably from a reference in Jennifer's diary to the girls' habit of bathing in Broadhaven Bay: "I want to let the waves break over me. I want them to bruise me and beat me. I feel I'm living again with violent exhilaration."

    The twins were originally from Barbados, but lived in white-dominated Haverfordwest, Wales. They were social outcasts who suffered severe bullying in school. Their parents thought their mutism was due to shyness. They were pathologically close, in a love-hate relationship. "Can't speak, can't think, won't talk, won't walk" and other references to feeling paralyzed or tied came from June's behavior when the girls were forcibly separated in junior high; she became almost completely catatonic.

    In their early twenties, they wrote several novels each, mostly dealing with teenage alienation and communication breakdowns in families. After unsuccessful attempts at dating and friendships, they began committing petty burglary and arson. They were caught, tried, convicted and sentenced to Broadmoor, a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane.
  • "September under the weather" comes from June's "September Poems", written from prison. In general, Edwards' lyrics are a good imitation of June's style.

    "Disco dancing with the rapists" could be a reference to Jennifer's novel Discomania, in which a dance hall is the scene for insanely random acts of violence, or to the discos held in the hospital.

    "Sleep and breathe under our sheets" refers to the fact that both girls frequently experienced a feeling of suffocation in their sleep.

    Upon their release from Broadmoor in 1993, Jennifer abruptly died. An autopsy revealed severe viral myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, which could have been caused by any number of factors. In accordance with their childhood pact that if one twin died the other must begin to speak, June gave several interviews to British and American magazines. Marjorie Wallace, who had kept in touch with the twins after writing a book about them, revealed later that she'd visited the twins before their release, and Jennifer had predicted her own death. June now uses her middle name, Alison. She lives near Haverfordwest with her Lesbian partner. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ekristheh - Halath, for above 2
  • Nicky Wire commented to NME October 8, 2011: "To have the line 'disco dancing with the rapists' play listed on Radio 1. That's subversion."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Dean Pitchford

Dean PitchfordSongwriter Interviews

Dean wrote the screenplay and lyrics to all the songs in Footloose. His other hits include "Fame" and "All The Man That I Need."

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of WayneSongwriter Interviews

The guy who brought us "Stacy's Mom" also wrote the Jane Lynch Emmy song and Stephen Colbert's Christmas songs.

Petula Clark

Petula ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Petula talks about her hits "Downtown" and "Don't Sleep In The Subway," and explains her Michael Jackson connection.

Emilio Castillo from Tower of Power

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds

Roger McGuinn of The ByrdsSongwriter Interviews

Roger reveals the songwriting formula Clive Davis told him, and if "Eight Miles High" is really about drugs.

Producer Ron Nevison

Producer Ron NevisonSong Writing

Ron Nevison explains in very clear terms the Quadrophenia concept and how Heart staged their resurgence after being dropped by their record company.