No-one knows what it's like behind our own eyes

Jun 30th, 2007 | By | Category: Personal Columns

The Who played Marlay Park last night. I don’t know how many were there, Wikipedia says it will hold 30,000.  The Irish rain stopped for a couple of hours and we were transported through decades of music. Amidst the casual concert goers like myself, there were real aficionados.  Maybe ten rows in front of us, there was a guy who was a real fan. Dressed in a parka and khaki cap with 1960s haircut and sideburns, he sat on a friend’s shoulders for much of the concert, singing along with every word.

When it came to the song “Behind blue eyes” he turned to everyone around him and joined in the words animatedly.  One of my friends joked that maybe he wouldn’t be singing if he knew what the words were about.  The song by Pete Townshend was intended as a lament filled with anger and angst:

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

No one knows what it’s like
To be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies

But my dreams
They aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free

No one knows what it’s like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you

No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through

But my dreams
They aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool

If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

Maybe he did understand the lyrics; maybe that’s why he sang with such force. No-one knows what it’s like to be behind any of our eyes.

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