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BowieTalk
   >> Interpretation
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Strawman
(acolyte)
12/19/05 06:11 PM
Eight Line Poem  

The tactful cactus by your window
Surveys the prairie of your room
The mobile spins to its collision
Clara puts her head between her paws
They've opened shops down West side
Will all the cacti find a home
But the key to the city
Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky



What's it about?

I've a rough idea, but I feel it's only fair for others to have a bash with their interpretations first.


My Way

LadyGravedigger
(stardust savant)
12/20/05 12:17 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

I wish I had something really smart to say about this... But all I can say is that every time I hear the part "The mobile spins to its collision" I think of a mobile phone spinning on a table. I know they didn't even exist when Bowie wrote the song, but I just can't get rid of the image in my head.

But if you're gonna dine with them cannibals, sooner or later, darling, you're gonna get eaten

Shelle
(crash course raver)
12/20/05 02:07 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

It's "thoughtful", not "tactful", waxy ears.

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


Pablo-Picasso
(stardust savant)
12/20/05 02:08 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Shelle]  

Tactful.



to_dizzy
(electric tomato)
12/23/05 08:09 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

This song is about the evil of tearing down nature to build cities.

The tactful cactus by your window
Surveys the prairie of your room

Here we have the personification of a cactus; we now empathize with nature as if it had human traits. This cactus has a home, plenty of space, and is cared for.

The mobile spins to its collision
Clara puts her head between her paws

Here, a mobile, typically made of sheet metal and wire, symbolizes industrial machinery. As it crashes and bangs, it scares the natural animals in the environment.

They've opened shops down West side
Will all the cacti find a home

The cacti will lose their homes when the city goes up.

But the key to the city
Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky

Here, "key" symbolizes authority, that which has the power to open doors. Bowie is saying that although nature is seemingly conquered by the concrete, the real power remains with what is natural: the sun, the sky, the branches.

There is no room for other interpretation of this poem. What I have said is fact.






Strawman
(acolyte)
12/23/05 09:06 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: to_dizzy]  

In reply to:

This song is about the evil of tearing down nature to build cities.

The tactful cactus by your window
Surveys the prairie of your room

Here we have the personification of a cactus; we now empathize with nature as if it had human traits. This cactus has a home, plenty of space, and is cared for.

The mobile spins to its collision
Clara puts her head between her paws

Here, a mobile, typically made of sheet metal and wire, symbolizes industrial machinery. As it crashes and bangs, it scares the natural animals in the environment.

They've opened shops down West side
Will all the cacti find a home

The cacti will lose their homes when the city goes up.

But the key to the city
Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky

Here, "key" symbolizes authority, that which has the power to open doors. Bowie is saying that although nature is seemingly conquered by the concrete, the real power remains with what is natural: the sun, the sky, the branches.

There is no room for other interpretation of this poem. What I have said is fact.



Further enhancing the fact that the interpretation of Bowie numbers makes for great comedy.





um bongo

to_dizzy
(electric tomato)
12/25/05 11:38 AM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

In reply to:

Further enhancing the fact that the interpretation of Bowie numbers makes for great comedy


I did not mean this to be funny. Please notice the juxtaposition of:

cactus, prairie, home, sun, branches, sky

against

mobile, city, shops, collision

Answer these questions:
Why would Bowie personify cactus?

Why would Bowie contrast an image of a cactus surveying its home in a prairie, against cacti made homeless by the construction of shops?

Truly, the theme of this poem is that materialism and technology destroys what is natural and pure. The theme is continued in Five Years, Diamond Dogs, and Young Americans



Strawman
(acolyte)
12/26/05 02:32 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: to_dizzy]  



um bongo

zigbot
(stardust savant)
12/28/05 02:51 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: to_dizzy]  

In reply to:

Why would Bowie personify cactus?

Why would Bowie contrast an image of a cactus surveying its home in a prairie, against cacti made homeless by the construction of shops?


Um . . . maybe he was, like, really wasted and imagining what life would be like seen through the eyes of a cactus . . . well, if a cactus had eyes that is.

I like your interpretation, sam, but I think Bowie just may have been feeling a bit forelorn . . . and high . . . and there was a transference of emotions to the cactus.

Also, I never saw the building of shops as taking away the natural environment of the cacti--in part because I did not envision this scene of this room in a terrain hospitable to cacti. I just couldn't see Bowie in say, Arizona or New Mexico (well, not until TMWFTE, at least ;)). I pictured a place where cacti were NOT part of the natural environment. Yet, oddly, all these shops in the city were selling all sorts of odd shit--like cactci--and Bowie was wondering out loud if all the cacti (and perhaps all the other shit sold in these shops) will ever find a home. Is there a market out there for all the fucking cacti?


zigbot

PaisleyPinUp
(absolute beginner )
12/28/05 03:00 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: to_dizzy]  

I know, from growing up with musicians and songwriters, that sometimes people just use words that "sound nice", however stupid that may sound. Some songs were never meant to mean anything. Novels too. remember in high school when they'd make you find all the symbols in the books? The authors would kill you if they knew you were doing that. It's sort of like Dylan's song, The Hour that the Ship Comes in, a song about being denied a hotel room, and then people use it as a civil rights song....it works, but that's not what it was written for. sorry, I will stop talking and drag myself over to the Bob Dylan forum now...nice interpretation though, very thoughtfully argued.



carsten
(electric tomato)
01/03/06 10:28 AM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Shelle]  

It's "thoughtful", not "tactful", waxy ears.
Oops Shelle, I was under the impression that English is your mother tongue.

/Carsten



carsten
(electric tomato)
01/03/06 11:10 AM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

What's it about?

This song induces in me the picture of some guy sitting in someone's kitchen, wondering about the world, and then putting all his thoughts into a song. This guy has either a hangover, or is coming down from a drug trip. His head is a bit dull. The weather outside is dry, clouds in the sky, but still the kitchen is filled with daylight. The guys is smoking, and the remains of an unfinished breakfast are on the kitchen table. Some girl was with him in the kitchen moments ago, but has left for a reason unknown.

The window in the kitchen is to the left of the guy. When he looks over the table, he looks into the living room, with old fashioned furniture. A cat is lying on the sofa of the living room. Behind the sofa, there's a window with a curtain and a cactus on the ledge.

So this guy looks at the apartment wondering why this apartment is exactly like it is - you know, what happens to you when get down from a long high and then wonder if the world is real.

So he stares around and describes what he is seeing:
- the cactus at the window, which fits to the room
- the mobile spinning at the living room ceiling
- the cat that puts her head between her paws
- he looks out the window to see a new shop openend
- the girl who owns the apartment likes to give away her cacti, as she has too many off-shoots and no idea where to put them - will they all find a home?
- and then the sun comes out and he starts feeling a bit better, thinking that there's a secret message hidden

This guy should probably take less drugs.

/Carsten





zigbot
(stardust savant)
01/03/06 01:11 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: carsten]  

I can see that, carsten. Now you're opening up the age-old debate of whether Clara is a cat or dog. I've honestly ARGUED with people over that one. I don't have a strong feeling either way . . . but surprisingly, some Bowie fans are dead-set that Clara must be one, and not the other, animal.

Oh, and Strawman, when do we get your "rough idea" of what the song is about?

zigbot

carsten
(electric tomato)
01/04/06 05:30 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: zigbot]  

I can see that, carsten. Now you're opening up the age-old debate of whether Clara is a cat or dog.
No way - I said very clearly it's a cat 8^)

I've honestly ARGUED with people over that one.
Well, if you wanna fight about it...

I don't have a strong feeling either way . . . but surprisingly, some Bowie fans are dead-set that Clara must be one, and not the other, animal.

Na, I think we're all educated enough to not be dogmatic about this?

/Carsten




Atonalexpress
(acolyte)
01/04/06 07:57 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

it's a jaxtaposition of statements similar to how a movie switches easily from scene to scene. if you put a Burroughs spin to it, the poem could be like this:

Your tactful cactus surveys its prairie down by the city collision
The mobile spins your window to find the home key
Clara puts all the branches that is in her head between the paws
They've opened a West side room to the shops but the sun pins the sky to the cacti of her will


visit this page:
cut-up


A Toe Nail

Shelle
(crash course raver)
01/04/06 11:30 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: carsten]  

In reply to:

I was under the impression that English is your mother tongue.



My bad.

I completely forgot that irony is a foreign language to you Germans.


He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


carsten
(electric tomato)
01/05/06 03:47 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Shelle]  

I completely forgot that irony is a foreign language to you Germans.

Irony? I looked it up in the dictionary, but cannot find it. This is some housewife stuff isn't it? Like ironing your man's shirts, I guess?

/Carsten




Strawman
(acolyte)
01/06/06 07:30 AM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: zigbot]  

In reply to:

Oh, and Strawman, when do we get your "rough idea" of what the song is about?


Actually, I know exactly what this lyric is all about, but I'm not prepared to share it with anybody else because I believe that presuming to assume the workings of another mans mind, especially when it's within songwriting, is a ridiculous notion - doubly especially when it comes to Bowie's lyrics.

So there.



ghostlove
(crash course raver)
01/06/06 07:45 AM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

You are the master

crack



Strawman
(acolyte)
01/06/06 07:47 AM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: ghostlove]  

..'bater.



power2charm
(wild eyed peoploid)
01/08/06 01:32 PM
The Clara Question: Where's the litterbox??? new [re: zigbot]  

In reply to:

can see that, carsten. Now you're opening up the age-old debate of whether Clara is a cat or dog.


I say she's a dog. We have two bits of information about the animal: Her name, and her response to the spinning mobile.

To the name - it's a name I would associate with a dog and not a cat. Cats are generally given names like Whiskers or Mr. Boots or Mittens. Dogs are much more likely to receive out-of-fashion human names like Clara or Beuxregard or Carsten.

To the animal's action - cats never put their heads between their paws. That's what dogs do when they are in a state of fear. A cat, if afraid, will leap away and hide.

Okay, now that that issue is put to bed, I've read somewhere that the lyrics owe a lot to T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland. That's a long and complicated poem, so I have nothing to add in confirmation or exception. I think dizzy's interp is a fair place to start. Why do you think, td, that Bowie chose the cactus as his primary representation of nature? After all, it is a plant that thrives where no other plant can. It also would seem a strange choice given that the cactus is not a popular decorative plant in urban homes and apartments.

I rather think the point of the lyrics is to draw man's cities as desert places - devoid of verdancy. Forgive my heresy, Mr. Dizzy.

____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

Shelle
(crash course raver)
01/08/06 01:45 PM
Re: The Clara Question: Where's the litterbox??? new [re: power2charm]  

In reply to:

It also would seem a strange choice given that the cactus is not a popular decorative plant in urban homes and apartments



Bullhooey; it's long been popular with those of us with a touch of class.

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


Pablo-Picasso
(acolyte)
01/08/06 01:48 PM
Re: The Clara Question: Where's the litterbox??? new [re: Shelle]  

Especially in the 70s, Cacti were very popular in the UK.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Illustrated Discography
Bassman
Helden

Shelle
(crash course raver)
01/08/06 02:05 PM
Re: The Clara Question: Where's the litterbox??? new [re: Pablo-Picasso]  

In reply to:

Especially in the 70s, Cacti were very popular in the UK.



Shame I didn't realize that before I posted. I could really have convinced Anikin that I'm a Brit.

Figgers though that the Brits had that touch of class before it started to catch on in New England.

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


power2charm
(wild eyed peoploid)
01/08/06 10:00 PM
Where's Peter when you need him? new [re: Shelle]  

In reply to:

Figgers though that the Brits had that touch of class before it started to catch on in New England.


So now you're "researching" me, huh? I didn't even post my location in my profile so you must have have really rolled up your sleeves.

That's okay, of course, but I suppose this means I'm officially not boring anymore.

I realize that cacti are not unheard of as decorative plants. But this is EIGHT LINE Poem...meaning it only has eight lines, so if Bowie wanted to say something about a TYPICAL houseplant, he'd choose a fern or something you'd see in a TYPICAL home.

When I capitalize, Shelle, I'm not yelling at you - I'm just trying to guide a point through the very dense fog, if you know what I mean.

So why a cactus?

Tactful cactus - pleasing alliteration.

Prairie of your room - only certain scrubby plants live on the prairie.

My main point again - Bowie paints a sketch of our urban world as a barren place, both in our homes and in the public shops.

It's probably better for you to flirt with me in Coffee Shop, Shelle. Interpretation is a serious forum where weighty matters are discussed.

____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

Shelle
(crash course raver)
01/09/06 02:31 PM
Tied up with a pair of my panties in his mouth new [re: power2charm]  

In reply to:

So now you're "researching" me, huh? I didn't even post my location in my profile so you must have have really rolled up your sleeves.

That's okay, of course, but I suppose this means I'm officially not boring anymore.



Whahuh? Am I to take it from this outburst of completely unwarranted pride that you're from New England? Cuz if you are, it's news to me. I certainly wasn't asking. I thought I read somewhere you were from Texas or somewhere, but I might be confusing you with someone else dull.

I was merely making a metaphorical leap from Bowie's England (where cacti were in vogue) to New England. See how that works?

So sorry to piss on your parade, I suppose I should be more supportive since my approval clearly means so much to you. And although a therapist told me once my weakness for pathetic needy men was just that, a weakness, old habits die hard, so I will say this.

I got about quarter way thru that last post of yours, as far as where you shared the incredible insight that eight line poems have eight lines.

That's a new record.

So you're clearly improving in your desperate attempts to appeal to me.

Keep it up, snookums.

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


power2charm
(wild eyed peoploid)
01/09/06 08:01 PM
Surveying the prairie of Shelle's brain new [re: Shelle]  

In reply to:

I was merely making a metaphorical leap from Bowie's England (where cacti were in vogue) to New England. See how that works?


What I see is that you don't understand metaphors very well. You took poetic license, and it didn't work because, yes, I'm one of the 15 million people who reside in the region of the U.S. known as New England. And of course you knew that.

In reply to:

And although a therapist told me once my weakness for pathetic needy men was just that, a weakness, old habits die hard, so I will say this....


Shelle, let me stop you here. I would be a bad person to the core if I got in the way of your therapy. Please heed your doctor's diagnosis and avoid me, the needy p2c, from this point forward. (FYI, the diagnosis was the talking the doctor did right before he fingered you).

So who's up for some Eight Line Poem? Shelle won't be interrupting anymore.

____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

Shelle
(crash course raver)
01/10/06 11:59 AM
The Laughing Gnome of Interpretation new [re: power2charm]  

In reply to:

Shelle won't be interrupting anymore.


Har, you really don't understand much about human nature, do you?

Also, you might want to take some time to ponder the difference between the phrase "metaphorical leap" and the simple concept of a metaphor before you start lecturing other more finely tuned minds who understand them better than you do.


He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


Marquis
(acolyte)
01/10/06 05:56 PM
Clara-fication new [re: power2charm]  

In reply to:

I say she's a dog.


Ooh, I thoroughly disagree. "Clara" seems much more cat-like to me. I'm also not convinced that putting her head between her paws is necessarily a fearful reaction to the spinning collision of the mobile.

bitch niggaz talk behind ya back like a catcher
either M-Y-O-B or B-Y-O stretcher


Pablo-Picasso
(acolyte)
01/10/06 06:04 PM
Re: Clara-fication new [re: Marquis]  

I always thought of it as the cat just relaxing.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Illustrated Discography
Bassman
Helden

power2charm
(wild eyed peoploid)
01/10/06 06:37 PM
Clara-ty and Prayer new [re: Marquis]  

In reply to:

"Clara" seems much more cat-like to me.


Okay, but I think Clara sounds too clumsy and big to be good cat name.

In reply to:

I'm also not convinced that putting her head between her paws is necessarily a fearful reaction to the spinning collision of the mobile.


Good argument! I'd sort of pondered this possibility myself while preparing my definitive interpretation. Maybe Bowie is, like the cactus, surveying the room and the mobile's spinning is not causative of Clara's behavior.

I decided against this interpretation because the word "collision" implied to me a certain harshness and perhaps a noisiness that might upset a timid mongrel.

I was wrong before on another matter, too - cat's *do* put their heads between their paws when they are sleeping - which could be further construed to support the non-relationship between mobile and beast.

Good work, 'quis.

Vinny Pablorino:

In reply to:

I always thought of it as the cat just relaxing.


Funny, I always thought of it as a dog frightened by the mobile. Pablo....have you stuffed and mummified your deceased mother, and is she upstairs in the attic right now looking down on the street for you to come home each evening. I know it's none of my business but, y'know, with that cat interp.....

Shelle:

In reply to:

Har, you really don't understand much about human nature, do you?


I really don't, Shelle. But I *did* figure if I wrote that sentence you would, without a doubt, come back and post some more here. How about that? Now the question is, why would I want that???

I'll bet this will drive you away for good: Please explain to me how your New England-for-US is a "metaphorical leap" (or a "simple metaphor" if that is what you maintain).

The reason I say it is not metaphorical in the least is because....why? Show me you've read and understand my argument by filling in the blank. That way we can figure out who has the finely tuned noggin around here, and who is the pinhead. <---Ann Robinson-ism! Clever!


____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

Shelle
(crash course raver)
01/11/06 01:41 PM
Remedial Reading with Mistress Shelle new [re: power2charm]  

In reply to:

Please explain to me how your New England-for-US is a "metaphorical leap" (or a "simple metaphor" if that is what you maintain).


Here's a serious question: do you have reading comprehension issues?

If not, please explain how you got from where I said I was making a metaphorical leap from England to New England to where you understood it as an attempted "New England-for-US" metaphor?

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


zigbot
(stardust savant)
01/11/06 04:44 PM
Re: Clara-fication new [re: Pablo-Picasso]  

I agree. Clara, whether a dog or cat, is just hanging out. I don't think she's reacting to the mobile or to anything. She is luxuriously oblivious . . . which makes me think she's a cat.

zigbot

power2charm
(wild eyed peoploid)
01/11/06 05:56 PM
Any activity involving Shelle is remedial new [re: Shelle]  

In reply to:

If not, please explain how you got from where I said I was making a metaphorical leap from England to New England to where you understood it as an attempted "New England-for-US" metaphor?


I quote you, Shelle, from your post dated 1/9/06: "I was merely making a metaphorical leap from Bowie's England (where cacti were in vogue) to New England," in explanation of your comment from one day earlier: "Figgers though that the Brits had that touch of class before it started to catch on in New England."

When you referred to New England you either:

1. Meant New England, which means there was no metaphorical leap, or

2. Meant something else - the U.S. I assumed, as it would make the most sense, though since New England isn't a metaphor for the U.S. it would not comprise a metaphorical leap.

You've now said my assumption was wrong. So you either meant New England to stand in for someplace or something else, or you meant New England, the six-state region east and north of New York.

I don't see any metaphorical leaps in this here chicken coop (do you recognize I've just made a metaphor?). I don't see any figurative leaps for that matter, which is what I suspect you meant.

School me, Shelle. Explain the metaphorical leap you made and prove what a finely tuned brain you have.

(I just hope to Christ you don't think England-to-New England is the metaphorical leap, cos that would make u a literal ignoramus.)

____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

Shelle
(crash course raver)
01/11/06 09:46 PM
Sensing real educational inadequacy issues here new [re: power2charm]  

So I'd better tread carefully. This latest post of yours is such a jumble of half-baked notions and misunderstood concepts I could probably write 5000 words deconstructing it, but who has that sort of time?

So you'll have to make do with this.

In reply to:

I don't see any metaphorical leaps in this here chicken coop (do you recognize I've just made a metaphor?). I don't see any figurative leaps for that matter, which is what I suspect you meant.


You seem to think you're talking about two different things here. You do realize that metaphorical and figurative are synonymous in this context?

And no figurative leap??? No? So you think I literally leaped from England to New England? I appreciate you consider me someone of many talents, but I can assure you the ability to jump across oceans breaking the world long jump record by thousands of miles is not one of them.

Nice attempt at a filibuster on the correct answer once it finally dawned on you though.

Your floundering attempts to be seen to continue the exchange long past the point it was clear to anyone with half a brain that you'd got your ass kicked suggests your pride won't allow you to admit defeat, so here's an alternative if you think having the last word makes you look better somehow. Now might be a good time to say something like "Oh, I refuse to argue with you any more, you don't understand". Bonus points if you allude to my gender or hair color.

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


power2charm
(wild eyed peoploid)
01/12/06 05:58 PM
No need to be rude, dear. new [re: Shelle]  

In reply to:

You seem to think you're talking about two different things here. You do realize that metaphorical and figurative are synonymous in this context?


I realize while metaphors are figurative language, they are only one kind. So the two words are not identical nor interchangeable, except that you may say a metaphor is a specific type of figurative speech.

I have mildly noted you didn't use a metaphor earlier (or make a metaphorical leap), and you have refused to acknowledge that you didn't. Can 'New England' be used figuratively for the 'United States'? Yes, but those of us who live in New England, the region, will naturally assume you are using the term literally unless you do a better job making your intent clear. I think 'the Colonies' would have worked better in this regard. But it's a non-issue since you earlier denied that that was the reference point of your "metaphorical leap." What were you talking about then? Who the hell knows (your good self included)!

In reply to:

And no figurative leap??? No? So you think I literally leaped from England to New England?


The word 'leap' is not the point of contention. The phrase of contention, once more: "Figgers though that the Brits had that touch of class before it started to catch on in New England." ~Shelle

Seems to me like you are either obfuscating or you've become confused.

As for your introductory and final paragraphs: All the bluster and bloviating you can muster will not "win" arguments with me. You seem to think it a point of import if one of us admits defeat. Why is that? If you make a rational case for your comment being metaphorical then I'll accept it, and I'd hope you would do the same. But my hope would be in vain, I see.

So no, I will not "stop arguing" with you, as you predict. You came on this thread to dispute a minor point, and you've since skipped around trying to save face. We apparently don't have the same reasons for being here.

If you toddle off this thread to make a new enemies list, Shelle, I'll completely understand. All of TW will.

____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

Shelle
(crash course raver)
01/13/06 02:13 PM
You think you've got the patent on rude, snookums? new [re: power2charm]  

In reply to:

I have mildly noted you didn't use a metaphor earlier (or make a metaphorical leap),



OK, lemme spell this out for you as simply as I can. I metaphorically leaped from England to New England. I did not literally leap, but by moving from considering that the cactus was a common house plant in England to that it was not in New England, I made a metaphorical leap. This is a correct usage of the phrase "metaphorical leap", and you can leap up and down, metaphorically or otherwise, shouting "Ignoramus!" as much as you like without altering this.

That said, you don't need to get all defensive about losing your place on my Enemies List. Your place there is quite secure for as long as you continue to exhibit less intelligence or ability to tickle me than Emil, or Anisette, or Marquis. Your use of the bewildered berating rant as a method of "flirtation" falls comfortably within the orbit of low level stupidity.

As for coming here for different reasons, surely you didn't just figure that out this very instant? I should have thought I made it abundantly clear I don't consider the best way to show how intelligent I am or am not to be to go to a Bowie board and post what I boast are definitive interpretations of Bowie's obscurantist lyrics while considering such meaty matters as whether Clara is a name better suited to a daughter of Tom or Jerry.

Now cheer up. I made it all the way thru that last post of yours which is a first you can celebrate for the rest of your days. I'm sure you'll agree that it's like getting laid, only much better.

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


power2charm
(wild eyed peoploid)
01/13/06 06:22 PM
Yes, you're being rude, dear! new [re: Shelle]  

In reply to:

I metaphorically leaped from England to New England. I did not literally leap, but by moving from considering that the cactus was a common house plant in England to that it was not in New England, I made a metaphorical leap. (emphasis mine)


Firstly, you employed the phrase when I assumed you'd "researched" my posts or profile to determine my general whereabouts. I thought you had tailored your insult, but you said, no, "I was merely making a metaphorical leap from Bowie's England (where cacti were in vogue) to New England." So the issue was, in what sense were you using the term New England. This renders your quoted (bolded) explanation above non-sensical.

You keep speaking about literal versus figurative leaps - as if I'd questioned your use of the word leap. The word leap is not at issue. What is at issue is whether the New England comment was a metaphorical leap, or even a figurative one.

Furthermore, The movement of fads or fashion from one country to another is never figurative. It either happens or it doesn't. Also note, fads are incorporeal, so when they literally travel, or leap - as you are so fixated upon repeating - they do not do so by packing their bags and booking passage on the QE2. This simple notion seems to perplex you, as you apparently believe it makes any reference to their migration metaphorical (when, in fact, it is *not* metaphorical or figurative).

I suspect you don't care about any of this but are using it as a pretext to bait me into a bickerfest, hence your final three paragraphs. I think it's more fun, however, to observe you exposing what a silly fool you are again and again, so I'll demur on scattering petulant, attention-seeking insults about the boards. That's really more your style than mine.

In reply to:

I made it all the way thru that last post of yours which is a first.


This explains why our discussion is not progressing. Well, that and the fact you don't know what the hell a metaphor is.

____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

Shelle
(cracked actor)
01/13/06 06:29 PM
No, I'm just telling it like it is new [re: power2charm]  

Are you really this dumb?

In reply to:

Firstly, you employed the phrase when I assumed you'd "researched" my posts or profile to determine my general whereabouts. I thought you had tailored your insult, but you said, no, "I was merely making a metaphorical leap from Bowie's England (where cacti were in vogue) to New England." So the issue was, in what sense were you using the term New England.


Don't be retarded. In the phrase "making a metaphorical leap from place X to place Y", "metaphorical" relates to the leap, not to place Y. All that other context stuff is in your own illogical mind, not mine.

If I said "I had a nice walk from the park to the train station", would you immediately start arguing about whether the train station was nice or not?

Then again, you probably would.

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


power2charm
(wild eyed peoploid)
01/13/06 06:58 PM
Even though it's complicated, I've got time.... new [re: Shelle]  

In reply to:

"making a metaphorical leap from place X to place Y", "metaphorical" relates to the leap, not to place Y. All that other context stuff is in your own illogical mind, not mine.


1) Too bad for you, Shelle - the "context stuff" is actually in plain view on this thread for everyone to see. Why did you make the "leap" comment? Because I said that you must have been researching my posts to know I lived in NE.
2) Yes, metaphorical modifies leap, and *you* put the two words together to describe the comment I questioned. You simply do not understand how to use the phrase or what it even means. Thanks for clarifying your ignorance.
3) Even if you meant that the meta-leap was in reference to the movement of the cacti fad to New England, I previously explained that fads don't make metaphorical leaps. Perhaps you should go back and read my entire post, as tiresome as that might be.

In reply to:

If I said "I had a nice walk from the park to the train station", would you immediately start arguing about whether the train station was nice or not?


There's no metaphor in that sentence either. If you claimed there was, we'd have a little chat about it, yes.


____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

Shelle
(cracked actor)
01/14/06 04:16 PM
The ungainfully unemployed usually do new [re: power2charm]  

In reply to:

Why did you make the "leap" comment? Because I said that you must have been researching my posts to know I lived in NE.



Yes, and I explained that the reason I used New England originally was because I was linking England to New England, thereby metaphorically leaping from the UK to the US. Rather than because I knew you were from New England, which quite honestly I didn't at the time.

Now, if you still think you managed to expose my foolishness or whatever it is that was your stated aim, we can call it quits. Better still, it's a win-win situation. Cuz I'm just as certain that I kicked your ass in this argument.

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


guiltpuppy
(cracked actor)
01/16/06 02:38 AM
Re: The ungainfully unemployed usually do new [re: Shelle]  

I would like now to contest your use of the word leapt, as it was neither preceded by you nor followed by into my pants. Baby.

To be equal you have to add or subtract and I have never liked math.

Shelle
(cracked actor)
01/16/06 01:03 PM
On to more meaty matters new [re: guiltpuppy]  

Before I address your meaty substantive question, perhaps you can confirm or deny an assumption about Your Good Self that I've been questioning lately.

Are you one of the 99.5% of TW males who are as gay as May, or one of the other 0.5% who are straight?

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


power2charm
(wild eyed peoploid)
01/16/06 06:22 PM
Together Again. new [re: Shelle]  

In reply to:

Yes, and I explained that the reason I used New England originally was because I was linking England to New England, thereby metaphorically leaping from the UK to the US. Rather than because I knew you were from New England, which quite honestly I didn't at the time.


This was exactly the way I read your remark and my subsequent criticism was based upon the reading: New England-for-U.S. was your attempted metaphor. If you check back three or four "rounds" into this discussion perhaps you will see that.

In reply to:

Now, if you still think you managed to expose my foolishness or whatever it is that was your stated aim, we can call it quits.


You were ignorant on the topic of metaphors, but I'll bet you'll do a lot better in the future. No thanks necessary.

Now, on the matter of cacti-as-houseplant originating in England....do you not see any weaknesses with this assertion? (Hint: do cacti grow naturally in England? Or the US?)

____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

Bamboo7
(kook)
01/16/06 07:48 PM
Re: The ungainfully unemployed usually do new [re: guiltpuppy]  

Guppy, now you're starting to scare me. If I can't trust my internet boyfriend, then who can I trust?

Don't dream it, be it.

guiltpuppy
(cracked actor)
01/17/06 03:27 AM
Re: The ungainfully unemployed usually do new [re: Bamboo7]  

Don't worry, Booze, you are my one and only. One just has to make the obligatory nod to Shelle's status as TW's Icon of Desire every now and then. It's a religious thing, I guess you could say.

To be equal you have to add or subtract and I have never liked math.

NomDePlume
(electric tomato)
01/17/06 10:53 AM
And the Great NomDePlume makes three new [re: power2charm]  

Good God man, you've no shame and no brain. I always suspected there was quite a high degree of stupidity behind your pseudo-intellectual facade but I never thought it was this deep. Shelle's right: you are TW's village idiot!

Shelle, what you have to understand here is that just because old p2c misuses long words and constructs tortuous long sentences, this doesn't mean he can understand them! This is one of many areas where he promises much more than he can ever deliver. You have to keep it short and simple as far as he's concerned.

Allow me to show you how it's done:
Leap from England to New England = metaphorical (not literal) leap
England = part of UK (literally, not metaphorically)
New England = part of US (literally, not metaphorically)

It's the leap that is metaphorical, not the use of England or New England.

Then again, my use of algebraic notation probably just lost the hapless hopeless one.

Now, p2c, back to you.

You lost this point several dozen posts ago. Get over it and move on. This is the final decision of the TW Court.

Permission to appeal denied!

""Looking for love, not sex" -- the tagline of many a troll who doesn't believe they are worthy or capable of sex in its own right, but god, the thought of carrying that sort of middling self-esteem all the way to 36 is disturbing."

guiltpuppy
(cracked actor)
01/17/06 11:25 PM
Re: And the Great NomDePlume makes three new [re: NomDePlume]  

Than you, Mr. Buckley. Now if you don't mind, would you make a judgment on my issue? I've forgotten what it was about, but I believe it involved pants.

I must possess all, or I possess nothing.

Marquis
(fetch a priest)
02/27/06 11:25 AM
Pg. 186 new [re: guiltpuppy]  

A: There's the shock of the day!

From the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable
Guns salute life rapidly, that's the ritual


theidiot2
(absolute beginner )
03/01/06 07:54 AM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

What's it about?

The trouble with (and, I suppose, beauty of) Interpretation is that you really can't anticipate what others will see in something, so weighing up arguments and analysing the evidence is pointless to some extent. That said, I'll just say what I think is most likely, with scant reference to the other points above.

The tactful cactus by your window

Whatever differences of opinion there are it seems obvious to everyone that the setting of the song is (sub)urban, far from the native habitat of cacti. The writer singles the cactus out because of this: a very distinctive plant most of us on this side of the Pond know mainly from Westerns and Road Runner cartoons, that seems so exotic and yet here it is in a drab plant-pot in a dull old flat. The writer can't help but sardonically mention it. The word "tactful" is used because of the consonance and maybe for the way the cactus doesn't stick out as much as one would expect it to.

Surveys the prairie of your room

Here the writer draws out the irony of the exotic plant in such a mundane environs by calling the room a prairie. (Now THAT is a metaphor.)

The mobile spins to its collision

He notices the mobile overhead - thankfully I didn't have a mobile phone when I first heard this song or I suspect this line would have been ruined for me also. The collision isn't necessarily harsh or an evil portent or whatever - to me the mobile is a homely touch (not unlike windchimes), the sort of decorative comfort that females seem to do better than males (think back to your student days). Perhaps this is why the writer notices it.

Clara puts her head between her paws

I don't know if Clara is a cat, dog or human girl, and it really doesn't matter to me. But this line does hint at the homeliness-combined-with-world-weariness that I find throughout the song. I certainly don't believe the animal/person is startled by the mobile.

They've opened shops down West Side

The writer's thoughts have left the room/flat/house as he thinks about the city he lives in. It's a nice line because it sounds so specific but it could be anywhere he's describing.

Will all the cacti find a home?

A gently sarcastic question which expresses the writer's continued consternation about this token of exotica in such drab surrounds as well as a slight jab at the attitudes which lead people to fill their homes with bric-a-brac and clutter in order to "brighten the place up" or give it some "character". The writer has a cynical (though entirely reasonable in my opinion) outlook - "Surely there must be something more to life than this?" He wonders why someone would bring this exotic item into their home rather than actually experiencing it firsthand in its native environment. It seems pointless to have a potted cactus in the window of your semi-detached house in Bromley. Or wherever.

But the key to the city

And the key to the lyric: the writer isn't all doom-and-gloom and at this point his attitude shifts and he starts to think a little more positively.

Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky.

This is probably one of the most poetic lines David's ever written. It seems the writer just suddenly thinks, "It's a sunny day, and life isn't all that bad after all." There's a lot to suggest that this is an "early morning" song, the weary sound of the singing/music for a start. The writer has woken up in someone's room and looks around. He may be hungover or coming down, but not necessarily. He does, however, feel a bit cynical about the mundanities of life until he looks out the window, sees the sun and with a yawn thinks, "What a nice day."

So I don't believe there's any grand statement in the song about man versus nature or dogs versus mobiles but it's a lovely lyric all the same. I'm so glad I read this thread, it just makes me wanna go back and listen to Hunky Dory again...


power2charm
(kook)
03/01/06 07:38 PM
Eight loaded, impenetrable lines new [re: theidiot2]  

Good stuff, i2.

In reply to:

The collision isn't necessarily harsh or an evil portent or whatever - to me the mobile is a homely touch (not unlike windchimes)


I understand mobiles aren't necessarily windchimes, but I always took this one to be, partly because of Clara's response. However, I think Bowie's use of the word collision does suggest a certain harshness. That's why I tend to think Clara is responding to it with the head-'neath-paws maneuver.

In reply to:

Will all the cacti find a home?


The way you formatted your interp brought this line into focus for me just now - Bowie is commenting on the cacti for sale in these shops. Will they find a home = will they be purchased. This line never made much sense to me previously.

In reply to:

But the key to the city is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky


Bowie's delivery of this song has never seemed to ask that I listen too closely, but again, seeing the lyrics parsed and commented upon, it's clear that Bowie is contrasting the sun to the cacti, and in some regards is rejecting the cacti for the sun. Bowie's employment of the phrase "key to the city" becomes more interesting now as it is awarded to the sun over the cacti.

I don't think I agree with your summation of this song as a "Fill Your Heart" trifle, but you've certainly expanded my horizons as to possible meanings. Thanks, i2, and keep on posting.

____
Kid, you've paid your dues...dues and dues. ~J. Tweedy

AdamAdministrator
(eden but no sham)
03/01/06 10:26 PM
We lost Bob's poems but we found David's new [re: theidiot2]  

In reply to:

Will all the cacti find a home?
The writer has a cynical (though entirely reasonable in my opinion) outlook - "Surely there must be something more to life than this?"


Similar to the girl experiencing boredom in the cinema asking - "is there life on Mars?". This is such a good bridging song between track 2 and 4 - one of the best ever.

In reply to:

But the key to the city
Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky.

This is probably one of the most poetic lines David's ever written. It seems the writer just suddenly thinks, "It's a sunny day, and life isn't all that bad after all."


Given the descriptions of domestic scenes, I always see it translating to something like....."it's a sunny day..........and the answer is outside your window". Great interpretation, by the way. I've sometimes felt there's something of a theme running through this album.


BOWIE DOWNUNDER

theidiot2
(absolute beginner )
03/02/06 04:55 AM
Eight loaded, penetrable lines new [re: power2charm]  

"I don't think I agree with your summation of this song as a "Fill Your Heart" trifle"

I don't think there's anything trifling about Eight Line Poem, and to me it's more sophisticated than Fill Your Heart because it doesn't present a one-sided case. It isn't just "life is beautiful", it's "life is boring and drab and tedious but heck it's a lot of fun too". And that's much more powerful because it's rooted in real life, not some grand abstract idea. I seem to remember reading an essay by Aldous Huxley where he comments on Brave New World years later and decides that freedom doesn't lie in grand ideas or philosophies but in idiosyncratic practices like collecting coins or building model railways. And then there's Ulysses, a collossal monument to ordinary life, and no less urgent reading because of that. Eight Line Poem certainly reacts against life's mundanities, but that doesn't make it any less grounded in reality. It seems to express the writer's aspirations (cue Rent-A-Quote Wilde's "gutter and stars" quip) and, ultimately, his positive outlook.




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