Birthday Song

Lyrics

(1)

And though, my darling,
There is another side you never see
Another side
And know, darling,
You know it’s there, on the right
I’m pointing to it now
While you, your fragrance drags
It conveys me to the country

And is...
this...
your birthday?

As if by flight, behold
I am sat in a leafy winding spiral ablaze
Clad stones
Stocked up with pebbles
Rumbling
Trying to, like you, navigate without pains
And in dreams I stumble towards you, (2)
Knees knocked, as you evaporate
Though I am teed up  (3)
I am in the next room with you always

Notes

1. From Reformation:

Julia Adamson on the track: "It was initially an instrumental I called it Birthday Song as it was 
my sister's birthday and I gave it to her on a CD for a present.
MES always liked it.  On a separate occasion I asked him to write a 
'love' poem and after a couple of goes was finished and fabulous I thought. 
MES decided to put the instrumental and poem together for The Marshall Suite."


A very short excerpt of this is heard at the end of "Ibis-Afro Man."  

2. Dan points out the allusion to Roy Orbison's "In dreams I walk with you." His entire comment below (comment 1) is outstanding, in fact; do not skip it.

^

3. "Teed up" can mean ready to go, as in a golf ball on a tee, or it can mean intoxicated.  

^

 

Comments (3)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 13/11/2016

Is this "love" song all it appears?

"There is another side you never see
Another side
And know, darling,
You know it’s there, on the right
I’m pointing to it now"

Those lines seem really funny. "There's another side you never see" can mean a quality of personality, maybe a romantic side not usually displayed. But here is seems to literally mean another side - "look, there, I'm pointing at it!" Very ambiguous.

"While you, your fragrance drags
It conveys me to the country"

To describe a fragrance (a perfume, or bodily odour?) as "dragging" seems a negative, and while being conveyed to the country could be taken to mean something fresh and natural, it could also mean smelling of manure.

"And is...
this...
your birthday?"

Has the narrator forgotten? Are they not sure?

"I am sat in a leafy winding spiral ablaze"

Did someone set fire to a hedge-maze? Or is this verse about the country to which the narrator has now been conveyed?

"Clad stones
Stocked up with pebbles
Rumbling"

Dry stone walls are often plugged with smaller rocks and pebbles. Does "rumbling" indicate the wall is falling down?

"Trying to, like you, navigate without pains"

Do we associate the narrator with MES, who suffered from broken hips and would presumably find navigation painful some of the time.

"And in dreams I stumble towards you"

Roy Orbison's song "In Dreams", has the line:

"In dreams I walk with you"

"Knees knocked, as you evaporate"

Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" has the lines:

"But just before the dawn
I awake and find you gone"

"Knees knocked" could mean bumping knees, or it might mean the involuntary fear-reaction. Or it's part of the "stumbling" image.

"I am in the next room with you always"

Always being in the next room is a phrase that would normally indicate something being always just out of reach. Here the narrator and the subject of the song seem to be together in the next room, which seems ambiguous. Not in "this" room?

bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 19/11/2016

Excellent comments, Dan, some of it is stuff I vaguely thought and some of it quite novel but very suggestive and at times very convincing in its way (I mean you're talking about ambiguities but it's very convincing that they are there). Really, a great commentary, in all, thanks for that.

dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 30/11/2016

Mark E Smith, reviewing the singles, NME, June 27 1992, "I'm a big fan of Roy Orbison..."

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