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Pete Atkin >> Words >> Fraternal Curator
(Message started by: Andy Love on Today at 22:24)

Title: Fraternal Curator
Post by Andy Love on Today at 22:24
Hi Chorus

Some time back (old MV) there were some musings on 'My Brother's Keeper'.  I recall several of us being puzzled as to what it all could mean and that Ian C. was brave enough to ask outright.  Pete's reply seemed as enigmatic as the lyric.

Anyway, I now have a pressing need to get a handle on this one for a strongly PA-related projected project.  I'd be really grateful if someone could throw some ideas my way.

Cheers

Andy

Title: Re: Fraternal Curator
Post by Keith Busby on 16.12.04 at 02:40
Hi, Andy.

I always thought "My Brother's Keeper" was a kind of "Hypertension Kid" redivivus, with nightmarish images instead of the Kid's alcoholic musings.

Best,

Keith

Title: Re: Fraternal Curator
Post by Simon Reap on 16.12.04 at 12:10
I'd always assumed that the narrator was schizophrenic, and his "other half" was paranoid.

Simon

Title: Re: Fraternal Curator
Post by Pete Atkin on 16.12.04 at 16:31
Maybe I'm wrong, but I get a sense, Andy, that you feel we're somehow holding out on you, that there's a key which you're lacking that will 'unlock the code'.  But there really isn't.  If the song means something to you, then the best you can do is ask yourself why, try to figure out how the song has that effect.   And if there are two or more conflicting interpretations -- as you could argue in this case -- maybe they're both (or all) true.  Maybe each is a metaphor for the other.  Bit like life, really.

Songs are particularly vulnerable to having extra-song associations tacked onto them -- that great song you can't stand to listen to because of where you were when you first heard it, that appalling song you will always love because of where you were when you first heard it, etc.  They're also vulnerable to sometimes ludicrous but powerful misprision -- John Prine was once asked for the 'Happy Enchilada' song;  turned out the requester had misheard the lyric to 'That's The Way That The World Goes Round' where he sings "half an inch of water and you think you're gonna drown" as "happy enchilada and you think you're gonna drown" -- no, of course it makes no sense but that's how it sticks -- all the way to the fanciful imposition of all sorts of subjective ideas on to lyrics without any kind of objective justification whatever, as in the case of a lot of notoriously far-end Dylan interpretation, and some of the stuff I've seen recently on the Steely Dan lyric forum (like assuming the woman in West Of Hollywood has AIDS -- pardon?).  

The song is not a puzzle;  there are possible different interpretations, some of which may make more sense to you than others, but there is no Answer.  And I'm not holding out on you by saying that.   Besides, the music tells you precisely what I think it's about.   But then I could always be wrong.

Pete

Title: Re: Fraternal Curator
Post by Ian Chippett on 16.12.04 at 21:01
Pete said re "MBK"

<<Besides, the music tells you precisely what I think it's about.   But then I could always be wrong. >>

Exactly. But then again you could be (and almost certainly are) right... I'm going to listen to the song again and see what happens. Maybe more tomorrow...

Ian C



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