I Spy (song)

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Strings recorded at Air Studios, London (22 July 1995) by Chris Thomas and David ‘Chipper’ Nicholas

  • Assistant: Andy Strange
  • Orchestra arranged and conducted by: Anne Dudley
  • Orchestra leader: Gavyn Wright
  • Violin Perry Montague-Mason
  • Violin Boguslav Kostecki
  • Violin Mark Berrow
  • Violin Timothy C Good
  • Violin Peter Oxer
  • Cello Anthony Pleeth
  • Violin Wilfred Gibson
  • Viola Peter Lale
  • Violin Michael McMenemy
  • Viola William Hawkins
  • Violin Maciej Antonj Rakowski
  • Violin Gavin Wright


I spy a boy
I spy a girl
I spy the worst place
in the world
In the whole world
Oh, you didn't do bad
You made it out
I'm still stuck here
Oh, but I'll get out
Oh yeah, I'll get out

Can't you see a giant walks among you, seeing through your petty lives
Do you think I do these things for real?
I do these things just so I survive
And you know, I will survive
It may look to the untrained eye
I'm sitting on my arse all day
I'm biding time until I take you all on
My lords and ladies
I will prevail
I cannot fail
'Cos I spy

Oh, I've got your number, taken notes
I know the ways your minds work out, I've studied
And your minds are just the same as mine
Except that you're clever swines
You never let your masks slip
You never admit to it
You're never hurried
Oh, no no no
And every night I hone my plan
How I'll get my satisfaction
How I will blow your paradise away
'Cos I spy

It's just like in the old days
I used to compose my own critical notices in my head
"The crowd gasps at Cocker's masterful control of the bicycle
Skilfully avoiding the dog turd outside the corner shop
Imagining a blue plaque above the place I first ever touched a girl's chest
But hold on
You've got to wait for the best"
You see you should take me seriously
Very seriously indeed
'Cos I've been sleeping with your wife for the past sixteen weeks
Smoking your cigarettes
Drinking your brandy
Messing up the bed you chose together
And in all that time
I just wanted you to come home unexpectedly one afternoon
And catch us at it in the front room

You see I spy for a living
and I specialise in revenge
On taking the things I know will cause you pain
I can't help it
I was dragged up
My favourite parks are car parks
Grass is something you smoke
Birds are something you shag
Take your Year in Provence
and shove it up your ass

Your Ladbroke Grove looks turn me on, oh yeah
With roach burns in designer dresses
Skin stretched tight over high cheekbones
And thousands of tiny dryness lines
Beating a path
Beating a path to the corners of your eyes
And every night I hatch my plan
It's not a case of woman v man
It's more a case of haves against haven'ts
And I just happen to have got what you need
Just exactly what you need, yeah

La la, la la la la la la la la
In the midnight hour
La la, la la la la la la la la

I will come to you
I will come to you
I will take you from this sickness
Dinner parties and champagne
I'll hold your body and make it sing again
Come on, sing again
Let's sing again
Oh yeah, 'cos I spy
Yes, I spy

I spy a boy
And I spy a girl
I spy a chance to change the world
To change your world


"Year In Provence" refers to a 1989 best-selling memoir by Peter Mayle about his first year in Provence, and the local events and customs which was adapted into a radio and television mini-series.

Ladbroke Grove is a North-west London road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Ladbroke Grove tube station is situated here.


First played live in October or November '95. I Spy was then a regular part of Pulp's live set until the end of the Different Class era touring in August '96. Thereafter it was dropped altogether until the 2011 reunion tour.

Probably the most notable performance was on Later With Jools Holland in November '95 accompanied by a full orchestra.

Alternative versions

I Spy (live on Later With Jools Holland: BBC2, 2 December 1995)


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Page last modified on April 14, 2017, at 03:47 PM