Lyric Analysis – An Essay
by Paul Tarvydas
I’ve always viewed the lyrics of Thick as a Brick (TAAB) to be a series of vignettes which swirl about a central theme. It would seem to me that Gerald Bostock was invented for the album cover, i.e. after the lyrics and music were written and, hence, Bostock did not affect the perspective of the original lyrics themselves. The main themes are an elaboration of the themes in Aqualung and are repeated in Roots to Branches. They are:
•A young man, full of vigour and not yet beaten down by the system, “sees” what’s wrong with society and can’t believe that the elders don’t see “it” also. I believe that Ian is this young man and that these ideas are illustrations of his opinions of what’s wrong with the world.
•In Aqualung, the album just before TAAB, Ian attacks organized religion. He also examines the loveless, godless dregs of society.
•In Chateau D’Isaster, the “lost” album just after TAAB, Ian attacks the Rat Race – the business people whom he charicatures as various types of animals. He also comments on Free Will vs. God-driven pre-destiny by likening Life to a stage upon which the sole actor (you, me, us) goes out onto without a script and has to improvise.
•In TAAB and Roots to Branches, Ian examines how society and organized religion spread (by imprinting children before they become old enough to think for themselves).
•In general, I feel that Ian believes in free will and in the humanitarian aspects of modern religions – we can determine our own actions and we are charged with the responsibility to act with compassion towards ourselves, other people, animals and nature. He believes that it is wrong to rely on a personified deity (“God”) – a god who will come riding in like the Great White Knight to “save” us from our own stupid actions. You can see this belief expressed throughout Aqualung, e.g. “He is the god of nothing, if that’s all that you can see, You are the god of everything, he’s inside you and me”.
Ian feels that basic religion is good, but that abuse of Religion leads to many of the evils in our society. The major failure mode of organized religions is that they allow a class structure to form, with a personified deity at the top – a pyramid structure. This structure allows average people to abdicate their responsibility towards each other and towards nature, by “passing the buck” up the pyramid. This structure allows the opportunists to assume power by feigning to have connections which mere mortals don’t have and by absolving the sins of the lower classes, thereby gaining their gratitude and loyalty. When one of these opportunists “goes bad”, they can take a large “army” of believers with them to do their bidding. I believe that Ian was exploring these same themes in TAAB. In the following, I’ll try to show how the lyrics fit these themes.
Thick as a Brick
A lesser writer might have called this song “Stupid” – for that is just what this phrase means. Who is it that he’s calling stupid?
Really don’t mind if you sit this one out.
My word’s but a whisper — your deafness a SHOUT.
At’a boy Ian! Let’s just start right off with an insult. I disagree with others (including Ian) who have postulated that this insult is aimed at the concert audience members who can’t sit through a performance of quiet songs.
This insult is intended for a much wider audience – for all of society’s leaders and elders. Vietnam was still daily news when TAAB was written. TAAB is just another 60’s protest song (albeit, masterfully done). Right off the bat, Ian dismisses the whole bunch of them, the Elders – he presumes that they won’t listen to what he’s got to say. His voice (of self-righteousness) is just one, pitted against many.
I may make you feel but I can’t make you think.
Your sperm’s in the gutter — your love’s in the sink.
He says: ‘You (society, et al) are driven by lust. The only way I can make an impression on you is to appeal to your basic senses. Your morals have sunk to the lowest point possible (the gutter) and your ability to think and to love has disappeared (gone down the sink).’
So you ride yourselves over the fields
and you make all your animal deals
‘You move through life without stopping to think, no better than mere animals.’
and your wise men don’t know how it feels
to be thick as a brick.
‘And those “wise men” you worship aren’t so wise and all-knowing. Just to prove it, here’s a question which they can’t possibly answer – what does it feel like to be stupid?’ ‘I.e. don’t let others do the thinking for you. You’re responsible for that.’
And the sand-castle virtues are all swept away
in the tidal destruction
the moral melee.
The elastic retreat rings the close of the play
as the last wave uncovers
the newfangled way.
Beautiful metaphor. Ian describes society’s fickle virtues and morals by likening them to sand-castles – they easily crumble whenever a new fad (wave) hits. As each wave recedes (in elastic-band fashion) nothing of the old fad is left in its wake (the close of the play) and a completely new moral fad is rebuilt. An irony is revealed to the listener – we, the listeners, know that waves repeat and knock down every sandcastle which is built. The subjects of this song – the elders, the unthinking public – just don’t see this irony. Note the usual craftsmanship in Ian’s choice of words – the word “elastic” describes the motion of the waves, yet at the same time alludes to the malleable (plastic/elastic) nature of fickle morals and religious beliefs. We also observe the first sighting of the concept of “The Play” (the Muse, etc.) theme which Ian develops in later albums.
But your new shoes are worn at the heels
and your suntan does rapidly peel
Whatever is shiny and new (i.e. a new moral/religious fad) quickly becomes dull and worn, just like a suntan which looks good on you, but only for a short while.
and your wise men don’t know how it feels
to be thick as a brick.
Remember – don’t let your wise men do the thinking for you, they can’t know everything.
Ian discusses the mechanism by which society/religion imprints its morals on all citizens. The subject of this piece is no longer “Ian” – it is someone else, Jack, let’s say, who has succumbed to integration into society.
And the love that I feel is so far away:
I’m a bad dream that I just had today —
and you shake your head
and say it’s a shame.
They’ve managed to brain-wash Jack. He used to feel “love”, but thankfully, he’s rid himself of any sense of conscience. He complains about some sense of loss, but those around him say “Gee, that’s too bad, but don’t worry about it”.
Spin me back down the years
and the days of my youth.
Draw the lace and black curtains
and shut out the whole truth.
Spin me down the long ages: let them sing the song.
Jack digs down to see how he’s managed to lose his conscience. It happened way back when he was still a child – he was told lies, he wasn’t allowed to look at reality and to form his own opinions of it. Another sighting of ideas-to-come! 25 years after writing “Draw the lace and black curtains”, Ian wrote the song “Dangerous Veils” which expresses a similar theme using a similar metaphor. Jack “floats” back through time. In fact, I get the distinct impression that he’s being led by the Ghost of Christmas Past – he’s floating and looking down on his life. I get this impression because of the music associated with the “Spin me back” verse – I perceive it as a bit laid-back, floating (echo-y) and a segue to the next section of music. Your mileage may vary.
See there! A son is born —
Jack has spotted himself, right at the beginning of his own life. He’s following his own life-line to see where he became brain-washed. and we pronounce him fit to fight. Right from the beginning, society imprints Jack as being a “man”, a son who will fight for Right (no explanation of what that is).
There are black-heads on his shoulders,
and he pees himself in the night.
He hasn’t even made it through puberty yet (he still pees himself like a child, but he is getting zits like a teenager).
We’ll make a man of him
put him to a trade
teach him to play Monopoly and
to sing in the rain.
Above is the list of all things which Jack, a Good Citizen, must know. He must become a “man”, he must be put to useful work, he must learn to play at Business (Monopoly) and he must love all of the things which define the current culture (Monopoly, the game, the classic films (“Singing in the Rain”), etc).
We leave Jack, but continue discussing the same theme from a different perspective. Here, the subject (not Ian, not Jack) is going to try to assert his independence. Let’s see what happens…
The Poet and the painter casting shadows on the water —
as the sun plays on the infantry returning from the sea.
The do-er and the thinker: no allowance for the other —
as the failing light illuminates the mercenary’s creed.
This verse casts a sense of foreboding on things to come. It is sunset at the “beach”. The latest moral sandcastle has just been swept away. The Poet and the Painter – the embodiment of thinking, caring people – are there at the seaside. You can tell that they are nearby, because their shadows fall on the water. Yet, the setting sun illuminates more brightly the war-mongers – they were swept away, but they’re returning again (from the sea). Despair – why can’t society make allowance for, both, do-er’s and thinkers? In the end, only one wins out, and as the sun sets, we see that the victor is the Mercenary (the do’er) – the Mercenary’s, not the Thinker’s, creed is illuminated for all to see and to follow.
The home fire burning: the kettle almost boiling —
but the master of the house is far away.
The horses stamping — their warm breath clouding
in the sharp and frosty morning of the day.
Life goes on. The Master, father, who should be at home tending matters – doing the thinking and teaching – has gone off somewhere. Likely, he’s gone off to war, like an upstanding citizen. Or, metaphorically, the child is reaching the stage of being able to think for himself – the home fire is burning, the child’s mind is almost ready (boiling with ideas). Yet, the father, the one who should be teaching the child to stand on his own, who should be stirring the pot and making sure that it cooks evenly, is effectively missing. If not physically, then he’s mentally missing. He’s feeding dogma to the child instead of challenging the child to think on his own.
And the poet lifts his pen while the soldier sheaths his sword.
And, after long thought, the poet is about ready to commence, whereas the soldier has just finished his slaughter (acting before thinking). These are the role-models for the child. Which one will he choose?
And the youngest of the family is moving with authority.
Building castles by the sea, he dares the tardy tide
To wash them all aside.
The child is trying out and thinking through a number of moral/religious issues. Being young, he still thinks that he can beat the system and repeatedly challenges the tide (of society) to break down his strong will.
The cattle quietly grazing at the grass down by the river
where the swelling mountain water moves onward to the sea:
While life goes on…
the builder of the castles renews the age-old purpose
and contemplates the milking girl whose offer is his need.
and the builder (a man with a trade) succumbs to lust…
The young men of the household have
all gone into service and
are not to be expected for a year.
The newest recruits to Society have all been shipped off to do Society’s bidding…
The innocent young master — thoughts moving ever faster —
has formed the plan to change the man he seems.
And all the while the child sees where this is all headed and still thinks that he’s going to escape from the pattern.
And the poet sheaths his pen while the soldier lifts his sword.
These are the choices which the child has. Use the pen and the mind or use the sword and brawn. The poet has just finished a masterpiece, whereas the soldier is frothed up and ready to begin the slaughter again. This one-liner is a great example of Ian’s ability to invert a phrase and make it fit the scene. I get a strong mental image from this one line. The poet (a monk in my case, for some reason ? ) has a wry and satisfied smile on his face as he holds his pen before him ready to sheath it at his side – a final drop of black blood (ink) about to drip off. He has made his “killing”; he has produced a masterpiece with just a pen and his thoughts. The soldier, envious of the poet’s accomplishment is preparing to wage war to show off his own greatness. Your mileage may vary.
And the oldest of the family is moving with authority.
Coming from across the sea, he challenges the son who puts him to the run.
The child has chosen brain over brawn, which infuriates the father (a good citizen, having come back from the sea with the military). One on one, brain wins over brawn, youthful vigour wins over middle-age complacency. Let’s name this child, arbitrarily, John. He re-appears later.
A question to the listener:
What do you do when
the old man’s gone — do you want to be him? And
your real self sings the song.
Do you want to free him?
When it’s your turn to take responsibility, do you fall back on tradition and repeat the mistakes of the past? Do you try to think for yourself?
No one to help you get up steam —
and the whirlpool turns you `way off-beam.
Or, do you rely on others to help you think? If so, you’ll become brainwashed with the rest of the masses (the whirlpool which sucks you down to the lowest moral level) and you’ll fall off of the beam. The balance beam – life is a balancing act, if you let greed and lust get the better of you, you’ll lose that balance. Cecil the Sealion has entered the building…
The following is a discourse between John and his father.
I’ve come down from the upper class to mend your rotten ways.
My father was a man-of-power whom everyone obeyed.
John’s father is an upper-class citizen (likely a Businessman from the Rat Race) who has learned everything about how Society should be from his father. I.e. society’s ills feed and grow on themselves.
So come on all you criminals!
I’ve got to put you straight just like I did with my old man —
twenty years too late.
Everybody thinks that they’re the ones who are right – we’ll straighten out our parents, and then we’ll straighten out our kids. I wonder if Ian regrets writing this line, now that he’s 50? I certainly find myself sounding like my father did, but I know that he was wrong – and I’m sure that my kids are wrong? . By the time we’re ready to straighten out our kids, we’ve lost that “fire in the belly”, have started to conform to society and are sure that our kids should not be allowed to think differently than we do. Hmmm. History repeats itself.
Your bread and water’s going cold.
Your hair is short and neat.
Father to John: ‘Bread and water is good for you. Don’t ask for anything else. Don’t think outside the box’. In the 60’s, short and neat hair was considered a sign of conformity (just in case you had to ask).
I’ll judge you all and make damn sure that no-one judges me.
Power is the ability to judge others. When you lose the will to judge yourself, you’ve lost the battle for balance and get sucked down the moral whirlpool.
You curl your toes in fun as you smile at everyone — you meet the stares.
You’re unaware that your doings aren’t done.
John, talking back to his father (John is probably one of those long-haired, anti-social criminals, alluded to above): ‘Can’t you see that you’re so full of yourself, you are so self-confident that you have stopped accomplishing things with your life?’
And you laugh most ruthlessly as you tell us what not to be.
But how are we supposed to see where we should run?
‘You judge us, tell us how not to act, but you don’t give us an example to live by.’ Here, Ian picks up where John left off and continues the tirade. Your mileage may vary, but I see this as the sort of “fade” between scenes and characters, which happens only in dreams. While the “conversation” is civil, it is possible to see John arguing with his father, but when the intensity rises, I see Ian’s opinions poking through and taking over John’s character – Ian drops his guard and drops the pretense of telling a story. He resorts to raw sarcasm and satire, straight from the heart. When Ian claims that these lyrics don’t make a whole lot of sense, he’s obviously commenting on the fact that he didn’t try to keep to a single coherent story line. What he did do, though (and maybe he didn’t even notice) was that he kept focus on the main point of the piece.
I see you shuffle in the courtroom with
your rings upon your fingers and
your downy little sidies and
your silver-buckle shoes.
Playing at the hard case, you follow the example of the comic-paper idol
who lets you bend the rules.
Satire. This is the personification of the societal rituals, which Ian denounces – organized religion, over-bearing Law, silliness in parliament, etc. I “see” a fat, pompous, rich judge waddling into a Victorian courtroom and proceeding to enact a series of redundant ritual motions, in an almost comical fashion.
Come on ye childhood heroes!
Won’t you rise up from the pages of your comic-books
your super crooks
and show us all the way.
Well! Make your will and testament. Won’t you?
Join your local government.
We’ll have Superman for president
let Robin save the day.
Sarcasm. Why don’t you just let your 2-dimensional comic book super heroes lead you through life? If you don’t think for yourself, then that just might happen – you’ll let politicians/clergy with hollow promises make your decisions for you. If you choose to personify the concept of God, instead of taking God-ness into your own hands, then that’s just what you’re doing – going through life with the hope that some 2-d character is going to rescue you in the end.
You put your bet on number one and it comes up every time.
The other kids have all backed down and they put you first in line.
And so you finally ask yourself just how big you are —
and take your place in a wiser world of bigger motor cars.
And you wonder who to call on.
So! Where the hell was Biggles when you needed him last Saturday?
And where were all the sportsmen who always pulled you though?
They’re all resting down in Cornwall —
writing up their memoirs for a paper-back edition of the Boy Scout Manual.
You have risen to the top of the heap. What are you going to do now?! The temptation of abusing power is there (the wiser (sarcastically) world of bigger motor cars). Now, after all these years of self-assurance, you find that for the first time, you’re not sure what to do. It’s now time to think for yourself. The cheap crutches (Biggles, sportsmen, comic-book heroes) who you used in the past are no longer there – it’s your turn to think. So, now that it’s your turn to think, what are you going to do? Are you going to fall into the rut, or are you going to think outside of the box? Are you going to accept responsibility for your actions or are you going to pass the buck?
John is born into adulthood. He had intended to rebel against society.
See there! A man born — and we pronounce him fit for peace.
There’s a load lifted from his shoulders with the discovery of his disease.
John’s disease is that he wants peace, he wants to fight the Establishment. As John’s generation slowly becomes the Establishment, John becomes part of the Establishment. It is a relief to him that he doesn’t have to be an activist for all of his life, that his ideas are being accepted without struggle. The responsibility (load) of being ever-vigilant against the Establishment is lifted from his shoulders. He drops his guard and gets sucked into becoming a part of the Establishment.
We’ll take the child from him
put it to the test
teach it to be a wise man
how to fool the rest.
The Establishment takes the “child” out of John – his sense of rebellion. As John becomes older, his intellect gains him respect, he becomes a “wise man” who other people look up to. He eventually learns to abuse this power (he fools – lies to – his constituents).
We will be geared to the average rather than the exceptional
This is the sign of our times. TV, our educational systems, our political systems and our religious systems aim to please the lowest common denominator.
God is an overwhelming responsibility
This line just about summarizes the theme of TAAB. Ian claims that a personified God doesn’t exist. There is no old man with white hair and a beard sitting just beyond the reach of our satellites and telescopes. If you choose to believe that God exists then it becomes your responsibility to prove that God exists. If you can’t prove it, yet choose to continue believing, then it becomes your responsibility to rationalize His existence through other means. Worse, if you convince anyone else to go along with your belief in the existence of God, without proof, then you must perpetuate that “white-lie”. Just like a liar, albeit well intentioned, you get deeper and deeper into trouble. You must start inventing Miracles and other mechanisms that indicate the existence of an all-powerful, personified being. And, most importantly, you will have to avoid the temptation to abuse your power, your connection with that God and the trust that other “believers” put in you. That, indeed, is an overwhelming responsibility, which only a few people (the true saints) can carry off. (Note: This argument doesn’t state that God is Dead. It only states that God is not a single entity with the power to save you from your own stupidity. It leaves room for the existence of God and religion. It just denounces the abuse of these concepts).
we walked through the maternity ward and saw 218 babies wearing nylons
cats are on the upgrade
upgrade? Hipgrave. Oh, Mac.
I dunno. Maybe this is a reference to babies being born straight into societal conformity. Or, maybe it’s just gibberish.
John describes his surroundings (with disdain)…
In the clear white circles of morning wonder,
I take my place with the lord of the hills.
‘I’ve become a part of the Establishment, a Wise Man.’
And the blue-eyed soldiers stand slightly discoloured (in neat little rows)
sporting canvas frills.
‘And the masses below me, are all conformists (neat little rows). They’re all perfect (blue-eyed), a bit worse-for-wear after an evening of stereotypical partying (slightly discoloured) and they’re all Hippies wearing the Hippy uniform of blue-jean canvas jackets with Born-to-be-Wild blue-jean frills”.
With their jock-straps pinching, they slouch to attention,
And they all wear bulges to attract the ladies… Another Ian Phrase-Twist™, a simple word substituted into a common phrase. The original phrase is “snap to attention”. The Hippies, thinking that they were anti-Establishment and Individualists, slouched to show their disdain for the Establishment. Unfortunately, all of them wore the same hair (long), the same uniform (jeans) and they all refused to fall into the Establishment line. Ironically, with respect to their peers, the Hippies were conformists. They fell into line, but instead of “snapping”, they slouched in unison.
while queueing for sarnies at the office canteen.
Saying — how’s your granny and
good old Ernie: he coughed up a tenner on a premium bond win.
And, they all make small talk whilst doing the same monotonous thing day after day. So, even the Hippies, who thought of themselves as free-thinkers, were not immune to the disease. They thought that they were “different” from their elders, yet they quickly conformed to each other and formed a new wave.
The birth of legends. How they are handed down. How good goes bad…
The legends (worded in the ancient tribal hymn) lie cradled
in the seagull’s call.
Seagulls tend to feed on the detritus at the edge of the shore. They come flocking in when just one of them senses freshly dead food at the shoreline. Having witnessed the continuous ebb and flow of moral values, the seagulls seem to be the only ones who have retained the knowledge (the legends) of what has transpired at the shoreline. And all the promises they made are ground beneath the sadist’s fall. All of the potentially good aspects of a particular moral fad are eclipsed when, inevitably, a sadist takes over and upsets the balance. People, who abdicate their responsibility to think, allow sadists to take power. The whole moral (fad) movement collapses (and is forgotten) when the sadistic ruler finally disappears.
The poet and the wise man stand behind the gun,
and signal for the crack of dawn.
Light the sun.
Even the “good” people (the artists, the intelligencia) end up taking sides and resorting to physical violence, in the end. They do so thinking that they can bring a “better” moral standard to the world. So, they take power in the hope that they can better the world. They promise a new day. Enter a new moral fad. The sun rises again and the cycle repeats.
Do you believe in the day? Do you?
Believe in the day! The Dawn Creation of the Kings has begun.
Soft Venus (lonely maiden) brings the ageless one.
Do you believe in the day?
The fading hero has returned to the night — and fully pregnant with the day,
wise men endorse the poet’s sight.
Do you believe in the day? Do you? Believe in the day!
The poet, now ruler, says ‘Believe in my belief and a new day will dawn. I promise. The military (returning heroes) are now loyal to me – a new day will dawn. The wise men endorse my vision. I’m a Thinker, so I can do you no harm. But, believe in what I say. Rally around Me (and stop thinking for yourself, since I know how to think better than you do).” Ian has switched metaphors. Earlier, he was describing the ebb and flow of morals as waves on a beach. Now, he’s describing them as the setting and rising of the sun. In this case, he probably wanted to emphasize the repeatability of history – the sun sets and rises every day with great regularity.
FINALE: The Executive Summary.
Let me tell you the tales of your life of
your love and the cut of the knife
the tireless oppression
the wisdom instilled
the desire to kill or be killed.
Think. History repeats itself. The pattern repeats itself – strong love, then strong hate, oppression, then “new” ideas, then bloodshed.
Let me sing of the losers who lie in the street as the last bus goes by.
Those who lose their life’s balance, miss out on the beauty of life. Don’t let yourself become Aqualung.
The pavements are empty: the gutters run red — while the fool
toasts his god in the sky.
War is perpetuated by those who abdicate their responsibility to Think. Wars are waged in the name of Religion and are perpetuated by the fools who can’t see the connection.
So come all ye young men who are building castles!
Ian says: ‘I have written off all of the elders. I appeal to those of you who can still make decisions about your own lives. You who are still building and toying with moral virtues (sand castles) which haven’t yet been torn down by the tides of societal pressure.’
Kindly state the time of the year and join your voices in a hellish chorus.
Put your stake in the ground and resist!
Mark the precise nature of your fear.
Think about why you wish to conform with the ills of society. Why do you fear breaking free of Society’s constraints?
Let me help you pick up your dead as the sins of the father are fed
with the blood of the fools and
the thoughts of the wise and
from the pan under your bed.
Think about why our society continues to produce war and death! Why is it that our ancestors insist that their dogma is Truth? Why do we perpetuate our ancestors’ sins? Their dogma feeds on war (fools who are willing to die for dogma), thoughts of the wise (those who know better than to die for a cause, but are willing to prostitute their knowledge to gain better standing in society) and, well, nothing else but liquid excrement (the bedpan, under one’s bed).
Let me make you a present of song as
Listen to my thesis, expressed in this song (spoken by Ian, the Minstrel).
the wise man breaks wind and is gone while
The wise men at your side are dumbfounded. They can’t think about this topic, they can’t respond. This topic is too deep for them. They turn away and show their ignorance (in the childish act of breaking wind (farting)) and then run away.
the fool with the hour-glass is cooking his goose and
The Grim Reaper, marking your time, hasn’t figured out that you can outlive your life (by breaking the cycle of society)
the nursery rhyme winds along.
while the childish repetition of life, as normally played out, continues.
So! Come all ye young men who are building castles!
kidly state the time of the year and join your voices in a hellish chorus.
Mark the precise nature of your fear.
See above. Repeated for emphasis. ‘Look at History. Think!’
See! The summer lightning casts its bolts upon you
and the hour of judgement draweth near.
This is finally it – it’s Your turn to **** or get off the pot. What are you going to do/be when Judgement is upon you?
Would you be
the fool stood in his suit of armour or
the wiser man who rushes clear.
Think! Is it better to fight or to run? Brawn or Brain?
So! Come on ye childhood heroes!
Won’t your rise up from the pages of your comic-books
your super-crooks and
show us all the way.
Well! Make your will and testament.
Won’t you? Join your local government.
We’ll have Superman for president
let Robin save the day.
So! Where the hell was Biggles when you needed him last Saturday?
And where were all the sportsmen who always pulled you through?
Sarcasm, again: ‘I guess that it’s a good idea to let super-heroes and figments of our imagination rule our lives, n’est pas?’
They’re all resting down in Cornwall — writing up their memoirs
for a paper-back edition of the Boy Scout Manual.
You’ve noticed that the comic book heroes are not here to help you. Sarcasm: it must be because they’re busy. You have to make up excuses for why they’re not here, instead of just admitting that they don’t exist. God, like Biggles and Batman, is someone we read about in our childhood. Should we dogmatically carry these concepts on into our adulthood?
So you ride yourselves over the fields and
you make all your animal deals and
your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick.
If you’ve learned anything from this piece, it should be this – don’t believe that someone else knows better than yourself what you think. P.S. I don’t actually think that an artist, e.g. Ian, consciously decides to write with the detail I’ve expressed above. A true artist “feels” certain emotions and convictions, then writes/paints/composes items which “go with that flow”. It is up to us, the appreciators of this art, to parse the original intentions of the artist and to express them in more rudimentary terms. To make them more accessible to the masses (including myself). A truly good artist will make his/her expressions interpretable in more than one way. My explanation of what I think about TAAB is but a snapshot of my state of mind, when stimulated by the music and lyrics of TAAB at this time. You will have a different snapshot. I will have a different snapshot a few weeks from now. I hope that my snapshot manages to convey a new or heightened sense of meaning to TAAB to you, today. If my snapshot leads you to new interpretations of this piece or parts of it, I’ll be ecstatic. Think.
Paul Tarvydas, 1997
5 Bowness Court
Toronto, Ontario, Canada