a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Lyrics & Music: Neil Hannon

Published by: Damaged Pop Music / BMG Music Publishing Ltd.

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy


To see the lyrics, click on the name of the version you are interested in (on the left).




This song used to be played in 1993, '94 and even '96 and then… nothing until 2001. Still it must be one of TDC's most appreciated songs.

Why? Maybe because it's a very good adaptation of Francis Scott Fitzgerald's short-story of the same title. Or maybe because of the famous "bababababa", that I've decided to include in the lyrics, not to show off, but because they remind me of R.E.M.'s "bababababa" in 'Near Wild Heaven' on Out Of Time.

The song tells the story of a girl, Bernice, who, during her holidays at her cousin's, Marjory, has declared in challenge that she'd have her hair cut. She doesn't cut it and after a while, she's reminded of it by her cousin. The scene takes place in America in the 1920s. At that time, women with bobbed hair were called flappers and weren't reputed for their virtue…

Within the theme of Liberation, this song actually seems to deal with oppression more than freedom, yet at the end Bernice takes her revenge. To synthesise, it deals with forcing people to do things that don't really want to do and how they'll end up taking their revenge and being freer than they were at the beginning. Could we apply this image to Neil's previous involvement within TDC? Is there any link between Bernice's bobbed hair and Neil's new haircut of the time?