Post by skywaywalker on Jul 16, 2020 14:04:04 GMT -5
More from the Ambassador thread (which is one post) that seems relevant here.
barelybreathing May 18, 2017 at 9:26a: The Swish
Here Finn tells us that the characters that make up his universe "look like" musicians (e.g. Beverly Sills, Patty Smythe) and also try to have people address them as musicians—most importantly, Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson of The Band. And, as is well known, Finn and his friends set out to start a band like The Band after watching The Last Waltz (the "funeral feast"?).
I think it's clear that Finn is telling us in The Swish that his characters should on some level be interpreted as musicians. Craig Finn was a music nerd (with 700+ records in his parents house); he was not a street tough. I think he's clearly telling us here that his stories of street toughs are on some level about music nerds and bands.
It almost sounds like Don McLean's American Pie.
barelybreathing, if you're out there and come across this, you have some interesting takes. I don't know how much I "agree" but find what you wrote to be captivating reading. I'd like to hear more.
Post by skywaywalker on Jul 16, 2020 14:31:59 GMT -5
Another possible reading of Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night:
Nelson Algren's most famous work was the novel The Man With the Golden Arm, about morphine addiction.
William Butler Yeats was famous for a lot of poems about swans (The Wild Swans of Coole, Leda and the Swan). "The White Swan" is a euphemism for cocaine.
Nelson Algren (morphine) makes Chicago Seem Tired Last Night. William Butler Yeats (swan/cocaine) makes the Irish seem wired last night.
William Blake is just a case of mistaken identity in the song (I thought you were William Blake at first) but his visions could be associated with psychedelics (even though there is no evidence that I can find that Blake's visions came from psychedelics. One website I found claimed this but gave no evidence to support the claim).
This whole post could possibly be labeled as "it's a stretch."
There are in fact several of blocks of storage facilities west of the Minneapolis airport; they're ranged along the Pleasant Avenue railroad, just east of the Southtown Shopping Center. Her residence there is symbolic of her faithfulness to Charlemagne
This is about the line about (Mary) sleeping in the storage space near the airport in The Only Thing.
This may be related:
skywaywalker Avatar Jul 15, 2020 19:02:54 GMT -5 skywaywalker said: A little more on the post above.
Nicollet & 66th street marks the boundary between Minneapolis and the suburb of Richfield. On one side of the street you are in Minneapolis, on the other, in Richfield.
Also this neighborhood is near the airport, which could have some sort of significance to the story, but I don't know what yet.
and also that Nicollet and 66th is sort of a null location:
Jul 14, 2020 15:44:08 GMT -5 skywaywalker said: ... But I was looking at the lyrics for Hornets! Hornets! a little while ago, and clicks and hisses points out that the only two things at the intersection of Nicollet & 66th is a catholic school and a small strip shopping mall (not even an indoor mall, I would call it a shopping center). link: clicksandhisses.com/details.html?ref=nic-and-66 Doing my own map inspection of the area shows the shopping center mainly has a Walgreens pharmacy and a craft store.
"Great Red Shark" and "White Whale" are the names of the two cars driven by the main characters of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (also referenced in C&N, and possibly in a few other songs).
This annotation isn't on genius (for Banging Camp) but needs to be!
Let's skip forward to The Weekenders for a bit, to that verse with the fantastic line about the train wreck:
... On the one hand this is a reference to Gideon's spiderweb gang tattoo, which is prominently referenced in the context of Holly's party ... The spiderweb symbolizes prison, among other things, as summarized nicely by the Hold Steady Wiki ( holdsteady.wikia.com/wiki/Spiderweb):
This is about the bugs in bars line in The Weekenders.
This reading just strikes me as very unsatisfactory.
Something about it seems forced and not accurate.
There are some possible alternate readings for this line.
One alternate reading for bugs is an STD.
Both Mary and Holly have possible connections to STDs.
Since the previous line is about crass propositions, jumping to a line about STDs would make sense.
Another alternate reading is for bugs is surveillance.
This could be actual surveillance or paranoia.
Certain drugs induce paranoia of course.
Also Charlemagne as a dealer is prone to this (ex. Charlemagne is Sweatpants: when he sees the streetlamps looking like spotlights and gets uptight).
("Bugs" is english slang for STDs as well as for surveillance, for those whose first language is not English).
If you want to connect it with the tiny bugs in Spinners, STDs is the most likely reading in the context.
Even the bugs in Joke About Jamaica could be STDs (soft, hot and pure ... to scarred and scratched up).
"Hot" and "pure" both can be sexually charged words ; and scratches (from itching rashes) and scars can both be STD symptoms.
Apr 14, 2016 0:44:02 GMT -5 skepticatfirst said:
Holly's contagion ...line at the end of The Swish implies that Holly picked up an STD blowing gangsters for money. I didn't realize until recently that there are actually three references to contracting STDs on AKM...
I'm a bit less convinced about the UPC bit. Given the circuit city reference, I'm tempted to read it as the most common use of UPC, the barcodes that get scanned at stores. On this reading, it's simply just a continuation of the image like the 'drive around to the window' bit. Circuit city might be a reference to stereos etc as you've mentioned but I wonder if 'well connected' is just along the lines of what you've said earlier: "Holly, Charlemagne, and the Narrator all take the spotlight at different times, but the whole narrative revolves around Mary. Already in the "first night" party of Swish and Barfruit Blues, we see that she's the one who brings them all together".
I would have to agree with Spencer on this. For anything more than the standard usage of UPC, it seems like there would need to be some kind of other clue or indicator to let the listener know that the first reading isn't the one meant.
As for the response:
Jan 29, 2016 22:25:54 GMT -5 skepticatfirst said:
1) I think Mary's "business" is literally just getting high and having sex; that's "her business" in the general sense, not a business for profit
Also, scanning a barcode doesn't have to be a sale.
It can be checking an item into inventory and other things.
So the double entendre could be she gets "scanned" a lot and is connected to the system (as in an inventory).
(There may be possible readings that aren't sexual as well).
In any case, to make any another reading for UPC besides "universal product code," you have to move heaven and earth to try and get around it; and such explanations don't seem grounded.
The answer is that they are bleeding, not from self-inflicted wounds, but from stigmata.
(Have a look at the cover of Heaven is Whenever, too. That picture has a particular meaning in the context of the sequence of liner photos, but when you hold it up against these lines from Almost Everything, the suggestion of stigmata is really hard to escape.) ... So Mary is mapped to all Three Marys *and* to all three female Doctors of the Church:
Mary, mother of Jesus
Queen of Heaven (and more to come)
unfulfilled love of Christ, red hair (and more to come)
Mary of Bethany
St. Theresa of Avila
visions, ecstasy of transverberation
St. Catherine of Siena
St. Therese of Lisieux
There are of course a number of ways in which these actual Church figures overlap, especially in their ecstasies and mystic union with Christ; check out "Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy" and the "Transverberation of Saint Theresa" below (throwing in "The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena" and "Saint Catherine of Siena Receiving the Stigmata" for good measure; all these images are from their Wikipedia articles). But this is still kind of insane. Craig's bringing some serious skills to the table.
St. Catherine of Siena said something like "all the way to heaven is also heaven" (alternately, could be translated: "the whole way to heaven is heaven"). In other words Heaven is Whenever.
As an aside, that Marys/saints correspondence list would make a great genius annotation(s).
When we were trying to figure out who the precog girl is, we noted that girls with hand/wrist bandages show up in a lot of songs:
What's this all about? There's a constant suggestion of suicide attempts, or assault, or some other violent reason for the bandages. Yet we never see a hint of the violence itself, or even a motivation for it.
The answer hit me one night when I was listening to Almost Everything. (That song is one of my favorites; I like the full sound of Teeth Dreams generally, but Almost Everything in particular has those round, ringing, liquid notes that manage somehow to suspend all the weight and the sadness that are in the story at that point in a deeply convincing way. Truly great.) So what is it about her hands, stretched upward toward the lights, that could make them the centerpiece of this scene of holy wonder?
The answer is that they are bleeding, not from self-inflicted wounds, but from stigmata.
(Have a look at the cover of Heaven is Whenever, too. That picture has a particular meaning in the context of the sequence of liner photos, but when you hold it up against these lines from Almost Everything, the suggestion of stigmata is really hard to escape.)
Going through this thread, the stigmata was one of those things I believed the first time reading, and have taken it for granted since then.
Reading how you pieced this together, I have real appreciation for how you were able to figure it out.
Charlemagne in Sweatpants ------------------------- ... She's Alice in Wonderland, an innocent in this world of drug exaltation, getting high and then coming down again too soon. For now.
These two details put together remind me of the Jefferson Airplane song White Rabbit:
"White Rabbit" is one of Grace Slick's earliest songs... It uses imagery found in the fantasy works of Lewis Carroll—1865's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass—such as changing size after taking pills or drinking an unknown liquid... Slick reportedly wrote the song after an acid trip." (Wikipedia)
Slick makes the connection between psychedelics and other drugs and Alice's use of pills and liquids to alter her reality.
Post by skywaywalker on Jul 23, 2020 13:14:40 GMT -5
Considering Kerouac and On the Road as a known THS influence, I think the the extent to which travel and references to other places have been considered just "metaphorical" has been vastly overstated in this thread.
The very first lyrics of Boys and Girls of America reference Sal Paradise of On the Road; as well as OtR providing the albums title.
I'm also considering how certain song lyrics parallel travel passages in On the Road (mentioned in the post above).
There are places where places may be used in a metaphorical way, but even in such cases the places have a literal counterpart for instance "Hostile Mass."- the characters are also "literally" from Massachusets.
Jan 5, 2016 13:24:10 GMT -5 skepticatfirst said:
If "Massachusetts" can mean "the state of hostility," then all the itinerary problems disappear. The characters can come and go from there (ha) without ever leaving the Twin Cities.
Craig went to university in Boston and probably traveled back and forth home.
Also, as a musician, he has been no stranger to travels.
In university, I felt like I traveled considerably less than most of my peers but still managed a few cross country trips.
It seemed like any time I talked to a friend, they had been to some place or another.
When I spent a lot of time with people in the midwest, they traveled constantly state to state going to see live music and such (Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana).
People in the actual, real world do travel and travel quite a lot.
While it certainly makes making a timeline for the songs easier to constrain the action to one place, I don't think the songs were written for the convenience of annotators making timelines.
What you should consider in making timelines is a timeline for the essential action anyway, not for every small sidetrip.
Besides, even with travels, it's possible to make a timeline (shmoop has a timeline for On the Road, which has way more travels than the THS canon).
If you consider Positive Jam as setting out some of the themes explored in the songs, it seems strange to mention making love with the interstates without there actually being any traveling on said interstates inter state.
Mary saw her first vision of Charlemagne at seventeen [SN], and loved him [HM], but was soon disillusioned and gave up on her faith (the 80's were bad for her principally in this way). Gideon chides her for this in A Slight Discomfort... So she gave up hope, and abandoned herself to a downward spiral ... and then her cousin walked into the party with Charlemagne, her Christ, in the flesh.
A Slight Discomfort reads to me like it could possibly be about Jessie instead of Mary.
There's a call out to New York City. The bougie guys remind me of the social climbers in Ascension Blues.
The lines about trying Jesus, but finding him too inconvenient, in ASD remind me of heaven being hypothetical in Hurricane J.
And the lines in ASD about praying and not thinking anybody is there don't seem like Mary, but like someone who would argue that heaven is hypothetical as well (i.e. Jessie).
Also, the lines about being a princess, but he doesn't believe her, in ASD mirror the lines about not being named for a saint, but a storm, in Hurricane J.
In both cases, "princess" and "saint" are qualities associated with Mary; and in both lines, these qualities are denied.
The narrator (possibly Charlemagne in both songs) seems to try and undercut the ways that Jessie tries to rival Mary.
Also as a side note to ASD (not about Jessie or Mary) "moisturize" has a funny connotation considering how Lifter Puller used imagery of skin lotions, usually as a euphemism for some kind of drug use.
Post by skywaywalker on Jul 24, 2020 23:37:28 GMT -5
In On with the Business, Craig elegantly presents drugs as working just like any other american big business based on the ideology of consumerism, all leading to the american sadness of being unfulfilled by the great expectations of these false american dreams. There are other THS songs that make the link between american big business and drugs as well, such as the futures trading images in Eureka (as just one example I can think of off the top of my head).
There is the consumerist image of beautiful kitchens in OwtB -- which also has the meaning of "meth lab".
There is an elegant weaving of the THS narrative plot lines as well as these themes I've mentioned in this song.
But the main thing is that Gideon has a magic trick to play, an alternative to violence, that convinced Charlemagne, and then the Narrator, to turn from vengeful thoughts and get back together in a newly Unified Scene
In a lot of the posts in this thread (the above quote and in several other places) Gideon is associated with non-violence.
It seems like a strange progression that Gideon is first presented as someone "soft" who can't get anyone to take him seriously; then to someone who committed cold-blooded murders Holly; and then an inexplicable jump to being an avatar of non-violence?
Post by skywaywalker on Jul 28, 2020 17:04:50 GMT -5
Jun 17, 2020 15:18:47 GMT -5 skywaywalker said:
The lines in DH that it wasn't a date, not sure what to call it are perhaps the FUNNIEST lines in THS canon.
Reminds me of the only comment that James Joyce made about the initial critical reception to Ulysses, that he only wished that amongst all the critics, someone would have commented that the book is really goddamn funny.