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zigbot
(wild eyed peoploid)
08/11/03 08:24 PM
Candidate (Demo)  

Has anyone done an in-depth interpretation of this beautiful song? I'll try to do one at some point, but haven't the time now.

I gather it's about sex and a repressive society where certain sex acts--as well as certain love acts--are forbidden. But I was wondering if the song is sung from the point of view of a hustler who sells himself or from the point of view of a john who buys sex. At times, I think the song is from the hustler's point of view, and then it switches to where I think it might be from the john's point of view.

Also, what exactly is a "candidate"? Is it a reference from 1984? I havent' read that since . . . geez, high school, which I graduated from 20 years ago (no, I won't be going to the 20-year reunion--went to the 10-year and noted that all the jocks and cheerleaders looked pudgy, balding, and sad--and although that made me smile for a bit, I don't want to see what TWENTY years has done to anyone).

Thanks to anyone with some insight on this. I ran a search, but did not find much discussion, other than the thread on "Tommy Tinkram's bed."

Peace,

Zigbot

EJSunday
(acolyte)
08/12/03 08:22 AM
Candidate (Bullshit) new [re: zigbot]  

"Inside every teenage girl there's a fountain
Inside every young pair of pants there's a mountain"

I don't tend to give more than one thought to a song that has opening lines like this.


And I want to believe
In the madness that calls 'now'


strangeDivine
(cracked actor)
08/12/03 07:03 PM
Cool-ass Bowie tune new [re: zigbot]  

Well, I personally think that Candidate (Demo) is one of the most fabulous things Bowie ever commited to tape. As far as the interpretation goes, I think it is one of the most directly 1984 inspired song that he recorded, other than We Are the Dead. I don't really feel that there is an independent Dimaond Dogs story. Diamond Dogs is really 1984 the Album, disguised behind oblique imagry and clever innuendo. On that note, I will take a crack at Candidate (Demo).

And I assume that the Tommy Tinkrem thread you refer to is mine, and we never reached a conclusive answer, as far as I am concerned. I was told that Tommy Tinkrem was a character from an English nursery rhyme who was always sleeping. I think the reference is probably in the same vein as the fascination that the character of Winston had with other nursery rhymes that were told to him by Mr. Charrington (whom I think inspired the creation of Algeria Touchshriek, but that's another old thread of mine) such as "oranges and lemons say the bellos of St. Clemonts. You owe me three farthings say the bells of St. Martins." It's a desperate attempt to make a connection with a lost, shared, past.


The candidate is Winston, and he is referring to himself as a candidate in response to the wishes of O'Brien, who claims to be a member of the Brotherhood. Winston considers himself as the perfect "candidate" to take on the job because he has nothing to loose, except Julia, but he knows that they are doomed anyway, so why not be a martyr?

Inside every teenage girl there's a fountain
Inside every young pair of pants there's a mountain
Inside every mother's eyes is Tommy Tinkrem's bed
Inside every candidate waits a grateful dead

This is just a lamentation on the lost potential of the young people in their grim world. Fountains and mountains not only rhyme, but suggest an inactive creative potential lying dormant inside them. They are also clever references to the sexual organs which are also not living up to their potential very often. "Inside every mother's eyes..." the party has still not completely crushed these maternal feelings. They still see their children the way mothers have always seen them, hence the archaic reference of olde tymes, even though the party has twisted them into little disgusting informant creatures. "Inside every candidate waits a greatful dead" all of these candidates are like Winston, doomed. But they are greatful to die taking a stand against the system, or so they think...

I make it a thing, when I'm on my own to relieve myself
I make it a thing, when I gazelle on stage to believe in myself
I make it a thing, to glance in window panes and look pleased with myself
Yeah, and pretend I'm walking home

Nothing obscure here. He's just trying to develop an individual and positive self-image, even though he has to pretend he is not doing so on the outside "pretend I'm walking home." In the book, he always formulates excuses in his mind concerning why he is in a certain area, in case he is questioned.

I took it so bad, I sat in the correction room
Took me a fag, and a kick in the moon
Well, I ain't gonna suck no radar wing
Because inside this tin is tin
Would you like to techno-plate 'cause I'm your candidate, oh yeah

Our protagonist is now in the Ministry of Love. He's having the shit beat out of him etc. He "ain't gonna suck no radar wing" or, allow them to see what really lies inside him, or so he thinks. A radar detects things that were impossible to detect in the past. They can see through attempts to hide. He "ain't gonna suck the wing," or, play the game.

It's a matter of life
And the way you walk, you've got a BrylCream queen
It's a matter of tact
In the things you talk, that keeps his passport clean
A matter of fact
That a cock ain't a cock on a twelve inch screen
So I'll pretend I'm walking home

Now he's ruminating on his previous ideas. "It's all about the way you walk," the way you present yourself to the world that keeps you safe. If you pretend, they will never catch you. He realizes how wrong he was. The "BrylCream queen" is Julia. BrylCream reminds me of those slicked-back hairstyles of the 40's 50's and 60's of which BrylCream was often a necessary ingredient. It suggests the bland American conformist image that many of us have of people at the time. She is a "queen" or an expert at convincing people that she is a conformist. "You couldn't have converted her. You've got a BrylCream queen there. She can convince you of anything, fools." And a cock really ain't a cock on a twelve-inch screen. It looks like a cock, but it is an illusion - just an image. It's not like having the real thing around. Their world is a world of illusions. Illusion is necessary for their world to function, and ironically, it is Winston's ability to see through illusion that has landed him in this prediciment.

You don't have to scream a lot to keep an age in tune
You don't have to scream a lot to predict monsoons
You don't have to paint my contact black
Now I've hustled a pair of jeans
Do I have to give your money back when I'm the Fuhrerling?

"You don't have to scream a lot to keep an age in tune." That's one of the most clever lines in the song. To keep their age in order, to keep the gears of their society running, brutality is necessary. Screams are needed from the populace. But Winston doesn't want a society where that is necessary. Or, it could be the establishment who is screaming, and commanding the peoples to stay in place. "Do I have to give your money back when I'm the Fuhrerling?" This is a remark on his previous hubris in which he began fancying himself as some sort of martyr who could, to some degree, save mankind. The tone is now ironic and almost mocking. He realizes that he was willing to create brutality for his cause, and wasn't really any better than his oppressors, (he even admitted that he would be willing to throw acid in the face of a child if the movement called for it, very poignant for our times, I think). He's no better than some old "fuhrerling."

I'll make you a deal
I'll say I came from Earth and my tongue is taped
I'll make you a deal
You can get your kicks on the candidate
I'll make you a deal
For your future's sake, I'm the candidate
Lets pretend we're walking home

Now he's willing to deal with them. His ideals have flown out of the window. He's is willing to do anything that they call on him to. He is now their candidate. He's the man for the job, once again, in a very different situation, doing something that he never thought he would do.

uh-huh, uhhh
I'm the candidate
Make way for the candidate
Vote now for the candidate

More mocking, self-loathing comments ringing in his mind. He is a parody of his former ideals.


And Henry Hudson knows not where
The lady's standing


zigbot
(kook)
08/12/03 08:23 PM
Re: Cool-ass Bowie tune new [re: strangeDivine]  

Wow! StrangeDivine, you ROCK!

Eww! EJSunday, you KIDDIN'? It's an amazing song. I can't believe he didn't include it in the album. I would have rather seen a less inspired song, like Rebel, Rebel, lay in the vaults all those years until Ryko finally released it.

Candidate (Demo) is hauntingly beautiful, and thanks for the additional interpretation and imagery, StrangeDivine. I also think the sexual metaphors in the song give it another dimension, though. In addition to the 1984 references, it seems it can almost stand alone as a commentary on repressive politcal and societal regimes. In 1984, too, much of what was repressed involved love and sex. If you stifle political--or sexual--expression, you create a number of perhaps unintended side effects, such as revolutionary thinking to overthrow the very repressors, and a focus on the "negative" aspects of sexuality (prostitution, sexual violence, abuse, etc.).

What a lovely song. EJSunday, go listen to it again.

Last, I should have put this thread in Interpretation, so others can more easily find your analysis StrangeDivine.

Zigbot

AdamModerator
(crash course raver)
08/12/03 09:06 PM
Re: Cool-ass Bowie tune new [re: zigbot]  

StrangeDivine has done some remarkable interpretations, but this is one of the best ever...... well explained and with close consideration of 1984 (always a good thing when interpreting Diamond Dogs).

In reply to:

I should have put this thread in Interpretation


Done.


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zigbot
(kook)
08/13/03 03:42 AM
Re: Cool-ass Bowie tune new [re: Adam]  

Damn, Adam. That was nice. Now, let's see what I'd like next . . . how about I wake up tomorrow and Iman and I have switched lives? Can you do THAT?

Peace,

Zigbot

RabbitFighter
(stardust savant)
08/13/03 05:36 AM
Re: Candidate (Bullshit) new [re: EJSunday]  

Ah, somebody else recognizes Candidate (demo) as the piece of steaming dung it is!
There is a reason why it didnt go to the album...

First girl I ever loved I dont recognize
her face is smashed her brain is bent
shes covered in flies



Velvet_angel
(absolute beginner )
08/13/03 06:22 PM
Re: Candidate (Bullshit) new [re: RabbitFighter]  

Where can I download this...I can't find it anywhere :(



skellaway
(electric tomato)
08/13/03 06:33 PM
Re: Candidate (Bullshit) new [re: Velvet_angel]  

Have you tried Kazaa?

"The sex is in the rhythm"

poorsoul
(crash course raver)
08/13/03 11:47 PM
EJ'Silly new [re: strangeDivine]  

In reply to:

Inside every teenage girl there's a fountain
Inside every young pair of pants there's a mountain



It also reminds me of a line from Bachelorette by Bjrk - "I'm a fountain of blood / In the shape of a girl". There was another connection I came up with but I can't recall what it was at the moment.

In reply to:

Inside every mother's eyes is Tommy Tinkrem's bed



I think you missed a very obvious connection here between the nursery rhyme and the idea of sexual dormancy, which could be taken two ways. Firstly, there's the idea of teenage sexual rebellion ( la Rebel Rebel), that parents don't want to see their children grow up, in a sense, and take a nave view as towards their sexual activity come puberty. Alternately, it could refer to the concept of (female) Party members being conditioned to become completely passive and unresponsive (or, in other words, dormant) while having sex so that it becomes a means of procreation alone and not one of pleasure.

In reply to:

Inside every candidate waits a grateful dead



I disagree that this refers to Party members "taking a stand against the system". Rather, I think it's in reference to the brainwashing that Winston (and other rebels) were subjected to in order to make them love Big Brother. Supposedly, some time after this process, they would be assassinated but, because of their conditioning, would accept it as the natural thing (and even be grateful for it).

In reply to:

More mocking, self-loathing comments ringing in his mind. He is a parody of his former ideals.



I think you're forgetting that he was brainwashed to reject his old self, yet also became at peace with himself because he'd completely given up control of his life. Therefore, I don't think he was capable of self-loathing, especially with regards to who he became. I think it's still fair to say that it's a parody, just not one he's conscious of.

Research has pierced all extremes of my sex

strangeDivine
(cracked actor)
08/14/03 00:59 AM
This is good stuff poorsoul new [re: poorsoul]  

Nice job on the Tommy Tinkrem bit especially.

In reply to:

I disagree that this refers to Party members "taking a stand against the system". Rather, I think it's in reference to the brainwashing that Winston (and other rebels) were subjected to in order to make them love Big Brother. Supposedly, some time after this process, they would be assassinated but, because of their conditioning, would accept it as the natural thing (and even be grateful for it).


It's interesting that it can apply to two (or more) situations in the story. He was greatful, or willing, to die for this imaginary cause at one point. Then, as you pointed out, after his conversion, he was more than happy to accept a bullet to the brain. This is definitely ironic.

In reply to:

think you're forgetting that he was brainwashed to reject his old self, yet also became at peace with himself because he'd completely given up control of his life. Therefore, I don't think he was capable of self-loathing, especially with regards to who he became. I think it's still fair to say that it's a parody, just not one he's conscious of.


That's very true. Though, it could also be a statement on his former self, as being inferior, rather than the current one. Though I really can't decide which he meant, if either. The song seems to have the paradoxical quality of being both first-person and omnimpotent, so I guess this narrator can comment on any aspect of the story objectively while still putting himself into the action.


Don't go near the audience. Leon, can you hear?

poorsoul
(cracked actor)
08/14/03 06:47 AM
Re: This is good stuff poorsoul new [re: strangeDivine]  

Thanks. I'm no LaughingGnoome but I like to try when I can, especially when it comes to things like 1984.

Research has pierced all extremes of my sex

th0mas
(acolyte)
01/13/11 12:08 PM
Re: EJ'Silly new [re: poorsoul]  

Is that nursery rhyme this one?

Little Tommy Tinker
Sat on a clinker
And he began to cry,

"Oh Ma!

Oh Ma!"

Poor little innocent guy!"


Among all these wolves...



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