a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version


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).




A classic Divine Comedy dance tune. It’s actually a very old song, dating back to 1991/1992 and sung first by John Allen on the Europop EP. In 1993, Neil decided to re-record it for Liberation.

It was probably played live in 1992, though we know nothing of it for sure. If you have any information, please contact us. It was played again in 1998-1999, a recording of that time features on the Gin Soaked Boy single. It was then played in a ‘chanson’ style in 2008; a half-French version of it was recorded at Cité de la Musique. Finally, it came back to it’s eletro form during the Office Politics tour in 2019.

The song is a parody of early 1990s dance music from France, Germany, Italy etc… The parody is maybe more obvious on Liberation than on the EP, because when Neil re-recorded it, he added drum-machines. However, he said at the time, he preferred the original version [1].

The verse lyrics are very silly. The choir and the bridge insist on the commercial side of this type of music. The very last verse was added for the new recording of the song for Liberation. It is a reference to a Velvet Underground song called ‘Heroin’: “Then thank God that I’m as good as dead/Then thank your God that I’m not aware/And thank God that I just don’t care/And I guess I just don’t know/And I guess I just don’t know”. By the way, reduction science is also called holism (the theory of everything in Greek and NOT wholism), hence the pun “digging a hole”. Apart from that, the lyrics are the same in the EP and in Liberation, only the order changes.

Have you noted what the choirs say in the background? In the verses, they say “Hello!” on the EP version, and “-self Hello!” on the other versions, though some people claim to hear “Maryjuana” which has never been confirmed. In the choir, they only repeat “Europop, pop” except on the 3rd one, where they say “Frère Jacques”.
It is said that during the recording of the EP with Edwins Collins (on production), he started singing those two words of the French nursery rhyme. We don’t know whether it’s him or John Allen or Neil Hannon singing them on the EP, yet it’s more likely to be John or Neil. In 1993, Neil kept it for Liberation, singing it himself this time. The 1998/1999 live version is very faithful to the lyrics, which means that Bryan Mills sings it too.

According to Neil Hannon [2] or Bryan Mills [3], Blur was inspired by the song for their single ‘Girls And Boys’, so on the live version he steals them their bass-line. But that is just poetic justice, since for Liberation Neil got the idea of wearing a suit (and so creating his identity) thanks to Blur. [4]

[1] Magic Mushroom 10/1993
[2] Radio Alligator 1994
[3] MusicOMH interview, 06/ 1999
[4] Vinyle & Audio 11/2020