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Is Walking 500 Miles (And Then 500 Miles More) Really Romantic?

A Very Soft (humorous) Analysis of I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers

By Paul StewartPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 3 min read
Top Story - February 2023
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Michiel1972, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

I love The Proclaimers. Really, I do. Craig and Charlie Reid. They are Scottish. They are twins. They are fantastic singers, write beautiful pop songs, often with very pointed socio-political lyrics and have at least one bonafide end-of-party singalong anthem in "I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)".

Whether The Proclaimers are good or not is not up for debate.

However, I was thinking about the song recently and I’ve always been under the impression that it sounds quite romantic. And for the most part, that’s true.

It’s the chorus I feel is not quite as romantic as we are led to believe.

The Problem with "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

The suggestion is that walking 500 miles and then another 500 miles more is an amazing display of love for that special person in your life.

1000 miles is a good solid number and it would take a fair amount of effort, time, motivation, and of course, love to want to walk that distance.

My main problem with it is that it is finite. The Proclaimers are only really interested in stomping (in time, obviously) for 500 miles and potentially 500 miles more. That’s it. What if their true love was not there 1000 miles away from where they started? Reading between the lines, The Proclaimers have more or less said that the only possibility is 500 miles + 500 miles more. There is no contingency plan in place.

Sounds less romantic now, doesn’t it?

So really, instead of being oh-so romantic, it’s kind of practically romantic. Feasible romance to the proper degree that they could be arsed with.

If you really love someone, enough to write a song…

Shouldn’t you be willing to do much more than just cover 1000 miles for them? I am not trying to be naïve or unrealistic here. Most people who are fully committed to their partner would like to do more than just walk 1000 miles. Many would fly from one end of the world to the other, donate organs, and go to a film they weren’t particularly interested in or bothered about. They would give up their job, if necessary, move location, and do any number of amazing things that I’ve not even mentioned.

But…The Proclaimers will just walk 500 miles and then 500 miles more.

Why Set Restrictions On Your Love?

Even…and I can’t believe I am saying this, Christina Perri has a better view of what she might be willing to do for true love – wait 1000 years. Not only that though, but she is willing to also wait 1000 years more.

As romantic as it may sound, the moment you start working with finite numbers, you are already putting a limit on your love. That’s just not romantic.

What if, you followed the advice of The Proclaimers, hypothetically following it to the letter, and walked 500 miles? You couldn’t find your love anywhere. So, you do whatever good, drunk, hard-working, havering Scotsman would do and you walk another 500 miles.

What if, though, you still don’t find your love? The Proclaimers are only working within 1000 miles. So would you simply give up, go to the pub and forget about your love? What if your love happened to be just a few miles further than the 1000 miles? Would you consider that worth it?

Always Walk More Than 500 or 1000 Miles For Your Love

The reality is, of course, that I am being incredibly facetious and taking the Brothers Reid far too literally. I have every faith that they would not limit themselves to only walking 1000 miles if they had to. I get that feeling about those gents. I absolutely love the song and it always brings a smile to my face, and a tap to my feet and I can't help but sing along.

All joking aside, it does make me think though of the kind of people, that will do the bare minimum for their partners in the name of love. Obviously, the thought behind anything you do for your partner is the main thing, but doing more should always be a goal.

*

Here is the song for all to enjoy.

Here is a different version.

Thank you for reading this piece. I absolutely love The Proclaimers and was merely having a little bit of fun. I hope you enjoyed the read. If you did, please click the heart, drop a comment or both. I'd love to hear your take on the song and its seeming restrictiveness.

You may also enjoy reading these other pieces:

You can also check out the rest of my work here.

80s musictravelsong reviewssatirepop culturehumanityfeaturefact or fictionbands90s music
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About the Creator

Paul Stewart

Scottish-Italian poet/writer from Glasgow.

Overflowing in English language torture and word abuse.

"Every man has a sane spot somewhere" R.L Stevenson

The Accidental Poet - Poetry Collection is now available!

https://paulspoeticprints.etsy.com

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Comments (19)

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  • Mackenzie Davis5 months ago

    Lol, this is pure silliness! I've had similar thoughts, ngl, but none that were serious, as it is a fantastic song (HIMYM always comes to mind, though!). Definitely there are more romantic love songs out there, but I think paired with the verses, the chorus is actually quite sweet. It's the thought that counts, right? And really, isn't waiting for your love for 1000 years kinda creepy and potentially pathetic? Hehe, you can skew anything the "wrong" way! Interesting choice for TS, I see your point there. But a fun one for the Beat community imo!

  • Nice one❤️👍

  • Erica Wagnerabout a year ago

    This made me smile. Love the song too and never thought about it this way!

  • Esther Amiabout a year ago

    I think love should be without set restrictions; for the most part, we discover more of who we are as we love truly and genuinely and that's the beautiful part; to not know where love is gonna take you but to enjoy the journey still! Definitely worth the read, glad I did😊

  • Lauraabout a year ago

    I really enjoyed reading your perspective on "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers. It's interesting to see how a song that is often seen as a romantic anthem can be viewed from a different angle. Your point about setting restrictions on love by working with finite numbers is particularly thought-provoking. I also appreciate the way you approached this topic with humor and lightness, making it an enjoyable read. It's clear that you have a deep appreciation for The Proclaimers and their music, even if you were poking a little bit of fun at them in this piece. I think your article is a great reminder to always strive to do more for the people we love, rather than settling for the bare minimum. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this classic song.

  • This was hilarious! I too love to question things. Great minds think alike!

  • Gina C.about a year ago

    Congrats on Top Story, Paul! This was a really fun read!

  • JBazabout a year ago

    Wife’s favourite song. So I will have to stick with the fact it IS a romantic otherwise I’ll be walking 500 plus another 500 the other way. Lol Congratulations

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Fantastic and Top Story too!!! Congratulations 💕😊💖

  • Dana Stewartabout a year ago

    Fun article, I love that darn song. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    Awesome Top Story!!! Congratulations :)

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    This was so funny! Cracking up at the part about organ donation being followed by going to a movie you aren’t interested in 🤣. It’s so true though! The things we do for love!

  • Cathy holmesabout a year ago

    yay! Congrats on the Top Story

  • Congratulations on your Top Story

  • C. H. Richardabout a year ago

    Lol 500 is alot of miles then 500 more is alot more miles. That would be enough for me. If your significant other kept asking you to walk more miles, I would have to say, "Wtf send a car please 😊" Just kidding ! Great piece and I love that song, blast it when it comes on the radio while I driving (not walking 😊)

  • Cathy holmesabout a year ago

    Great piece. Thanks for the giggle, and of course thanks for the earworm.

  • Lea Waske about a year ago

    Love the second version--so much joyful energy--after a wee dram or more probably? And yes, your assertion the the lyrics put limits on love is true but in practical reality, sadly too true... Very entertaining! Looking forward to more.

  • Allie Bickertonabout a year ago

    Hi Paul! Da det da (da dat da) Da det da (da dat da) That was a very entertaining read, thought provoking and hilarious.

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    Ahh, you crack me up! I love your detailed sense of humor and this piece was filled with it. Great stuff! I enjoyed playing the song at the end. Keep it up, you crazy Scot!

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