Discussion in 'Words and Music' started by Reverbeffect, Oct 17, 2007.
How about it guys and gals?
Is this misogynistic or does it honour women?
How can you even suggest that it's misogynistic? It's one of Roy's laments on the complexity of love. He loves the women he parts from, just can't handle those demands that conflict with his own need for "space". True, this complaint is more often heard from men than women but I don't think it is solely a male concern. I think it was Erica Jong who searched for a "zipless f***" (asterisks to spare Paul's blushes and moderatorial blue pen). His comment in the great book concentrates more on the symbolic act of "She loves me, she loves me not" petal plucking being an act of cruelty to nature. Strange bloke ...
Thanks for opening up a new Words and Music topic, Peter. I've been wanting to do it for ages but I'm quite busy
The "won't fight me but quietly follow" line has often unsettled me as it seems to represent a rather un-reconstructed view of a relationship. But if you look at the facts, I think it's fair to say from personal experience that Roy's partners (those I've met anyway) have definitely exhibited independent thought and the ability to be not quiet when circumstances require.
I think it's meant to be a little tongue in cheek; he knows in his heart that he doesn't want a totally subservient partner but there are times when he thinks it might make things simpler (he says, half asleep following the nights tug-o-war with the duvet...) and he's using the extreme wording to make the point.
My vaguish memory remembers somewhere that he sang he was 'above you' refering to some relationship (probably Jaqui?) at the time as though he was miles above her mentally in the sun or something, and then a subsequent album / song he sings 'not above you' as though rectifying his previous macho-superciliousness. I think it was BIAMV?
Well Bob in some ways I feel that Roy is as much a victim of the heart as someone who is cast aside, plucked and discarded. I was being controversial, a little red rag or maybe a little red rooster!
I love his comment in Passions where he decries the petal plucking and states "Perhaps I should be writing poems for trees to listen to..." But of course this is after the event.
From the first time I heard this song it struck a deep chord in my psyche. Thats the magic of the Harper wordcraft of course. IMHO its that self deprecation which is both compelling and revealing. And at the same time he gets inside your mind and toys with your comfort zone.
"The man in the mirror, the fool in the ideal"
When you're young and idealistic you build these notions about morality and perfection but mostly they're delusional. As I grew from childhood into adultery, I conveniently thought that to love someone necessitated both the physical carnal and emotional aspects. It wasn't until later that it becomes clear that deep affection is more and the physical is less important.
For a musician and poet, every time you set something down on paper, it takes something from way down inside yourself. The tragedy actually inspires the writing, the lost loves, the partings and even the unrequited. In some respects to not have to endure the pain would seem preferable. Here then is the dilemma which is driven from the need to have companionship without the commitment and controlling and the desire to being alone and free.
I feel that this great song which I have heard sung too many times than I'd care to admit to is a passionate plea against the possessiveness of love and the desire to be loved without constraint. In this respect it is also an admission that it could be a foolish ideal but what the heck, he's a poet and holds the license.
The non pc overtones are actually irrelevant in the context. The song comes from a place in time when many of us were searching for freedom and freedom to express without an overbearing responsibility to deal with the consequences and being honest about it, men and women frequently hold different views about relationships. Maybe its down to our genetic programming but men can be resistant to being 'tied down' and women can often fall for the loveable rogue? The joy in having a trusting relationship by mutual consent, a binding constraint that is exclusive and self fulfilling involves considerable effort and compromise at certain times. This is contrasted with the idea that you can have someone simply love you for who you are for a short while.
I think this was called The Tortured Artist Effect by the great Todd Rundgren. I don't aim to be judgemental about this song at all. At a certain point in my life it encapsulated thoughts and ideas which I needed to come to terms with. The fact that someone else can express it so well is fascinating to me. But in the end, I don't believe that Roy is stating categorically that he wants subservience, its just a simple lament for failed relationships and a recognition that we often fool ourselves with our idealistic notions about them, beautifully expressed.
Thats the Harper witchcraft! He acknowledges often heart rendingly that he is fallable and then holds a boody great mirror up to his listeners and points the finger at them. When people don't get Roy, its very often because they don't like being pointed at! The world would be a much sadder place without him though.
I hope my humble opinions don't offend anyone as I sit here relishing the Autumn... To paraphrase my partners view, "He's not the messiah. He's just a very naughty boy!"
Yeah sounds like BIAMV, but I doubt he was referring to Jaqui, I think that relationship was mid 80s to early 90s.
Aah the Life of Brian Is she given to quoting often from Monty Python? I would strongly discourage the habit, though, in this case, it is apposite. Regarding the bulk of your post, I think we're largely in agreement
Yikes no! She was never a great Python fan which isn't to say she hasn't got a sense of humour.
Her response to the likes of M. Harper is that he's was a bit of pretty boy who probably had more than his fair share of the 'fairer sex', ergo a naughty boy! The young John Martyn fell into a similar category and there were others.
I suspect that when you're in the fortunate position of enjoying the adulation and your grin makes your jaw hurt through a THC enhanced outlook, its hard to resist the more forward female approaches especially when you own a silver tongued command of the English language. Oh and spaniel eyes!
Most of the rest of us mere mortals are/were happy to get a date to go to the cinema. Not that I'm complaining.
In Clon this summer he did actually say that the yearning for physical love can actually increase with age.... perhaps why the Pan/KY jelly refs recently?
....without the need for Viagra or rhino horn aphrodisiacs for some poor souls who lose their vitality?
If he had just changed one word in the song from 'thirteen' [sic : years] to sixteen or eighteen or even twenty one then people would not have had such a jaundiced view of the song as though he's some sort of dirty old man. Then the 'steal away from mummy' reference would have had a completely different meaning in so much as it can be interpreted in the context of just as a mature woman leaving her mother's closeted ideals for her daughters future welfare protectively.
Thirteen anyway is the legal age of consent in some countries as we know and have discussed before...
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