If you look at the lyrics of 'Rent' by the Pet Shop Boys, there's a duality at play.  On the surface, it's a song about a man (or it could be a woman) in a relationship with another man/woman who is rich.  The rich partner is paying for everything – including rent – and everything is, ostensibly, fine.  But there's a sadness, too.  The refrain, on paper, reads:

"But look at my hopes, look at my dreams
The currency we've spent"

And if you take the definite article to refer to the dreams, and the hopes, rather than the actual money, it is these hopes and dreams that the poor partner has spent, in order to have the comfortable life and live with the rich partner who buys the narrator "whatever I need".  I guess the key is the word 'but' – which people don't notice – but which hinges the lyric.  It demands an inference, because there's there's no automatic link between the two lines – no grammatical link anyway.

But wherever you go, and whatever you do, you'll be spending something.  I guess the key is to make sure it isn't your hopes and your dreams that you are using as currency in pursuit of the Brave New World that, surely, must be just around the corner.  Just one more text, one more talk, one more drink, one more chat, one more email.

But –

Published by gurdeepmattu

I’m an author and publisher. I live and work in London and am the author of “Sons and Fascination” (2011, Paperbooks). It's available here:

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