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

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

Gary Louris of The Jayhawks

Gary Louris of The JayhawksSongwriter Interviews

The Jayhawks' song "Big Star" has special meaning to Gary, who explains how longevity and inspiration have trumped adulation.

Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)

Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)Songwriter Interviews

The Brazilian rocker sees pictures in his riffs. When he came up with one of his gnarliest songs, there was a riot going on.

Jethro Tull

Jethro TullFact or Fiction

Stage urinals, flute devices, and the real Aqualung in this Fact or Fiction.

Best Band Logos

Best Band LogosSong Writing

Queen, Phish and The Stones are among our picks for the best band logos. Here are their histories and a design analysis from an expert.

History Of Rock

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.

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.