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Date: 16 Oct 85 08:37:06 -30000 (Wed)
Subject: Deciphering Kate Bush
This morning while driving to work and listening to "Suspended in Gaffa," an idea occurred to me. I don't know if this would work, but maybe it would...
What if you put the right and left channels of the recording, respectively, into the + and - inputs of an op-amp? If you varied the amplitude of the input signals, it seems to me that you would be able to cancel out various parts of the recording, i.e., those parts that were of equal amplitude on both inputs. I *think* you would also be able to selectively cancel out even sounds that were biased towards the right or the left side; because if they appeared in the other (less-dominant, say left) side at all, you could make that side of equal amplitude compared to the right side, cancelling it out, and signals in the left side that had formerly been of equal amplitude to the right side would now be of greater amplitude, and would thus reappear again (possibly shifted 180 degrees in phase).
Has anybody ever tried this? Will it work? Any other signal processing ideas that might reveal what the small voices in the background are?
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 85 08:54:00 est
From: nessus (Doug Alan)
Subject: Whispers in "Suspended In Gaffa"
Regarding the method jer thought of a while back for removing the vocals centered in the stereo image:
> [jer:] Has anybody ever tried this? Will it work?
Yes, it does sort of work. There are are even boxes you can buy that do just this. But you needn't bother for "Suspended In Gaffa". I'll tell you what the whispers say. There are three, one for each chorus. In order, they are
(1) I caught a glimpse of a god, all shining and bright.
(2) We all have a dream, maybe.
(3) Mother, where are the angels? I'm scared of the changes.
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 87 11:14:44 EST
From: drukman%UMASS.BITNET@wiscvm.wisc.edu(Jonathan S. Drukman)
Subject: Suspended In Gaffa
Has anyone noticed that "Suspended In Gaffa" can be interpreted as being a song about a girl scared to lose her virginity? I was out with some friends last week and we started discussing it, one of them said that it had to do with gaining knowledge, I dismissed that as being too general and said "No, there's got to be a specific point to it." Here's what the debate produced:
"Out in the garden, there's half of a heaven"
--The garden: a classic trysting place, symbol of nature and through the sex act, nature defiled.
"we're only bluffing/we're not ones for busting through walls"
--At this point, my friend who didn't see the sex angle immediately said "Oh, NOW I see it!" - busting through walls: representative of the tearing of the hymen, perhaps?
"But they've told us unless we can prove/that we're doing it/ we can't have it all."
--The narrator never specifically mentions what "it" is, so being the suspicious little weasels we are, we make "it" equal "sex".
"He's gonna wangle a way to get out of it"
--This line gives me trouble; guys are usually gung-ho about sex, maybe this one has second thoughts, maybe he likes the woman too much.
"She's an excuse/and a witness who'll talk when he's called"
--Seems like she considers it rape, she'll betray the man when a nameless "they" catch up with him and put him on trial.
<unless we can prove that we're doing it... etc>
The chorus is revealing, too.
"Suddenly my feet are feet of mud/It all goes slow-mo"
--She's scared to do it, she doesn't want to submit, lose her virginity. Nervouseness, tension, are all evoked in this one line.
"I don't know why I'm crying/am I suspended in Gaffa?"
--Well, you know the old cliche, the woman cries after losing her virginity - something that can never be reclaimed. If, as has been previously proposed, the word "Gaffa" is a corruption of "Gaffe" then she obviously considers her submission to be a mistake, and she's caught up in it.
I'll try to cover the rest of the song at another point. Before I quit, have you noticed that of all those background messages, one of the most audible is "I'm scared of the changes"? Another argument for my case, I'd say.
Any counter or supportive arguments are welcome.
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 87 18:56 PST
Subject: The whispers
> Now, does anybody have any ideas as to what all the vocal samples in the background of "Suspended In Gaffa" are saying? The only one that's really obvious to me is "I'm scared of the changes" which fits in with my previously posted interpretation of the song.
You've concocted a case, and an intriguing one at that. IED happens to think that your evidence is entirely circumstantial, and that Kate's own explanation (admittedly vague) explains things better, though not in any detail. Lines like "I'm scared of the changes" fit in with your interpretation, yes; but they could fit in with practically any interpretation imaginable. Unfortunately, that's true of each specific example you cite. But he admits that you've concocted a case. As for specifics, IED has always understood the first line of the song to be a reference to Kate's old eight-track home studio in the little storage-building behind the main house at East Wickham Farm ("Out in the garden there's half of a heaven..."). At some point in her childhood that became Kate's private retreat, where she wrote many of her first songs on an old decaying spinet piano. She has referred to it a number of other times in her music, most explicitly in "Under the Ivy".
There's nothing wrong with your interpretation. The problem is, in order for a new and challenging idea such as yours to gain real scholarly credence, it is necessary that it be supported by evidence that effectively explains away all the previous evidence that threatens your interpretation: you must explain why Kate specifies an entirely different interpretation, and why your interpretation is MORE plausible than hers or anyone else's.
The whispered lines, explained in the video as being questions asked by the character to her mother as a small child, are as follows:
(After first verse: "I caught a glimpse of a god...All shiny and bright."
(After second verse: "Will I dream? Maybe..."
(After third verse: "Mother (can't remember). I'm scared of the changes."
Incidentally, these were deciphered before the acquisition of a CD. You've just got to listen more obsessively, that's all!
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 87 18:56 PST
Subject: KT in her own words
> From: "ROSSI J.A." <rossi@nusc>
> Subject: Gaffa
This Kate gun, at least, refrains from dismissing the interp. out of hand: it IS interesting. Perhaps, however, it's also about time someone DID dig up one of Kate's own explanations of the song:
"When I wrote this track the words came at the same time, and this is one of the few songs where the lyrics were complete at such an early stage. The idea of the song is that of being given a glimpse of "God" -- something that we dearly want -- but being told that unless we work for it, we will never see it again, and even then, we might not be worthy of it. Of course, everybody wants the reward without the toil, so people try to find a way out of the hard work, still hoping to claim the prize, but such is not the case. The choruses are meant to express the feeling of entering timelessness as you become ready for the experience, but only when you are ready."
No doubt something could be made of her choice of language, especially her vague reference to "the experience"; but Kate has never been coy about discussing sex when it was relevant. So if sex was the true subject of the song, it's unlikely that she would have kept it such a secret --and even more unlikely that she would have offered a misleading alternate explanation such as the one above (about work and laziness and the search for nirvana, so to speak -- roughly the same subject as "Sat In Your Lap"). So, while IED for one doesn't discount your hypothesis completely, it has a long way to go before attaining the status of doKTrine.
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 88 18:41 PST
Subject: Suspended in Gaffa
The following are a series of unconnected reflections on Matterse Katte Bushologicke which IED originally sent off to individual victims, mainly MarK T. Ganzer. This explains the author's peculiar (for him) references to a non-existent "I" and "me". Please disregard those.
Another idea or two, this time about "Suspended in Gaffa".
I can't help thinking that all of the odd characters and images referred to so obliquely in the song are based on specific sources. The little girl whispering in between the verses could be "Kate" herself, as a child, or at least a little girl very like Kate talking to her mother after having seen the "vision" -- or some kind of experience of the divine.
So if the "setting" of the song, or the general orientation, is more or less autobiographical (it may please some of the Love-Hounds to hear IED accepting this possibility), and, specifically, based on some of Kate's early childhood experiences, then what if "half of a heaven" really is a reference to Kate's own childhood barn out "in the bottom of our garden," the place of the old broken-down organ which was the home of countless mice? I've never been entirely sure about this, but I think that that same old disused barn was later used as one of Kate's early demo studios, where she would have done some of her first musical creations.
Now, if that's an autobiographical detail, then what about "And we're only bluffing, we're not ones for busting through walls"? Wasn't Kate so blown away by Pink Floyd's The Wall that she felt that "it had all been said," or something like that? Wouldn't that have been a perfect example of "catching a glimpse of God," (at least for a musician like Kate, who loved Pink Floyd so much) only to feel it beyond her own reach? What do you think? Too far-fetched?
The "they" who have "told us unless we can prove that we're doing it" could be Kate's teachers, warning that a true knowledge of God (or maybe just satisfaction from a job well done) can't be attained through any shortcuts, right? So the "he" and the "she" are people who have taken shortcuts or escaped their responsibilities to their art in some way or other -- everyone has an excuse for failing to realise their early ambitions, so to speak.
Then couldn't the part about the "plank in me eye" be intended as a kind of joke? I mean, here the heroine of our song has been distracted by this thing in her eye (an awfully vivid image for what is mainly a reference to a couple of old sayings), and her reaction is to "thank you for yanking me back to the fact that there's always something to distract". Now, isn't that a perfect description of Kate's attitude in interviews? Here she is in the song forcing herself, disciplining herself to "see the positive side," see the lesson in what is after all a pretty horrible "distraction": a plank in her eye!
If I follow her in the last verses, she's assuring "them" (God? teachers?) that if they allow her back into heaven, so to speak, or at least if they give her a "longer look" at God, she will not look into those parts of divine existence that a still-living person shouldn't see (such as her future, people's private thoughts, foreknowledge of life and death, etc.): "Don't worry, God," she might be saying, "I won't get too nosy! I only want to experience that feeling again, that's all."
Also in the final verses, I've never been clear what or who Kate might be referring to when she talks about the "girl in the mirror". Obviously she means herself (or the character in the song herself), but is it also a reference to some fictional "girl in a mirror," such as Alice Through the Looking-Glass? Help would be greatly appreciated from you or from anyone else who might still be reading.
[Perhaps "that girl in mirror" could possibly be a literary allusion, but I doubt it. It just makes perfect and complete sense without having any additional overtones. One's image in the mirror is widely known to be focus for many people's worries and self-doubt. As Kraftwerk sings, "Even the brightest stars, don't like what they see in the looking glass." (Or something like that.) Kate is clearly saying here that her self-doubt often gets in the way of her doing the things she wants to do. -- |>oug]
-- Andy Marvick
Date: Mon, 4 Apr 88 13:26 PST
From: "Andy Gough, x2906, CH3-62" <AGOUGH%F6ACC1@sc.intel.com>
Subject: Suspended in Gaffa & religious allusion
Reading some of the interpretations of "Suspended in Gaffa" something jumped out at me that apparently has been missed by everyone else.
Given that "Suspended in Gaffa" is about a desire to see God (which, by the way, would be fatal to a human because of our state of sin--God's image would be turned into his wrath against us; Moses did see God's back once, though), then the two lines:
It's a plank in me eye
With a camel who's trying to get through it
are clearly allusions to the New Testament. First, "It's a plank..." refers to the statement Jesus made, "Do not point out the splinter in your neighbor's eye when you have a beam in your own." I.e., don't point out the petty sins of others when you have even greater ones. Obviously, the plank is the beam. The difference may be due to Bible translations (beam is from the New American Standard translation--the King James could be different). That or Kate liked plank better.
The second, "With a camel who's..." also refers to a statement of Jesus, when He said, "It's harder for a rich man to get into Heaven that it is to thread a Camel through the eye of a needle." (Not that it's impossible for a rich man to get in, but being cutoff from daily need, it is more difficult).
The two lines together, along with the allusions, would indicate that Kate's failure to see God is due to her state of sin--sin is what is holding her back.
Just an idea...,
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 88 14:50 PDT
Subject: Ending the Suspense ?
The following, IED believes, strongly supports his theory that the studio referred to in Suspended in Gaffa -- if indeed the "half of a heaven" in "the garden" is a reference to any studio at all -- is the primitive demo studio of Kate's earliest days, in other words the same outbuilding that the young Cathy used to escape to as a child. Certainly this passage from the Swales interview makes it every bit as likely that the half of a heaven is a symbol of her youth as otherwise.
Does it sometimes happen, then, that you resurrect songs years later, like perhaps any of those hundreds you wrote as a teenager?
"Little bits. There was a little bit resurrected in Suspended in Gaffa on the last album..."
From: keving@GAFFA.SGI.COM (Kevin Gurney)
Date: 7 Jul 88 18:35:02 GMT
Subject: the video
More ammunition in the on-going "half of a heaven" battle between IED and |>oug:
The video for "Suspended in Gaffa" (or at least the version I've seen), was filmed or takes place in what looks like an old barn. I seem to remember some mention months ago about the early demo studio being in a barn or similar building. Coincidence, or was KaTe really trying to communicate with her fans that know everything about her life???? You be the judge.
[ Notice too, the big "wheels of Katherine". -- |>oug ]
Question time: In the same video, during the "I'm scared of the changes" whispering, KaTe turns to an older woman, who takes her in her arms. Is this the Ever Blessed KaTe Mom ("blessed is the fruit of thy womb")??
[ Sure is! -- |>oug ]
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 88 08:41:57 PDT
From: Douglas Weiman <WEIMAN@SRI-NIC.ARPA>
Subject: Suspended in Gaffa
I hate to throw a wrench into the Suspended in Gaffa debate, but as I remember my studies of British folklore, some people in the 18th and 19th centuries believed that people passed from the world of the living into the world of the dead via the path in their garden. Therefore, the way to heaven (even half-a-one) was by going "out in the garden."
I think we can all agree that this is not what Kate meant by this reference, but since she, herself, claimed the song is about a person encountering the Divine -- who knows? And I thought it was interesting...
[Who says Kate didn't have this partially in mind when she wrote the song? Sounds like a perfectly plausible allusion to me. -- |>oug ]
As for the reliability of IED's information regarding release dates, tours, etc., I can only say that I knew him long before I knew about Love-Hounds, and he always had the right scoop.
If he says she's gonna tour, I believe ! Alleluia!
"She signed the letters,"
Date: Sun, 17 Jul 88 19:35 PDT
Subject: Suspended in Gaffa
As for |>oug's latest volley in the Gaffa Wars, it sounds more and more as though his and IED's interpretations are perhaps not so far apart as they seem. |>oug's description of the earliest KT songs' having been composed "at her house" is based on the same imprecise source information as IED's description of their locus of composition as "an early outbuilding on the Farm's grounds". The fact is that no one has ever made it truly clear exactly which building was the location of which songs' creation, nor how early on in her career Kate began making recordings of her work. It seems very unlikely, however, that she was not making some form of tape recording of her songs almost from the very earliest months of her creativity (i.e., from as early as 1969 or 1970). IED would be rather surprised, in fact, if Kate was not routinely tape recording her songs in a building on the Farm grounds from the age of twelve or thirteen.
Whether they were recorded on tape or not, however, is not the main issue. IED has merely been trying, all along, to point out that the song Suspended in Gaffa may be another in Kate's long series of songs about (or at least in some way reflecting) childhood. There are at least three reasonably solid pieces of evidence to support such a theory: first, the words heard in between verses, which are spoken in a deliberately childlike voice, and which include the line "Mummy, where are the angels? I'm scared of the changes"; second, the actual presence of Kate's mother in the video, whom Kate embraces in an obvious reference to the child's refuge in its mother's protective embrace; and third and most importantly, Kate's singling out of Suspended as a song that contains the kernels of musical ideas from one of her earliest "200-odd" songs.
As IED has all along admitted, these points don't constitute "hard evidence", but they are certainly suggestive enough to create a "reasonable doubt" about |>oug's dogmatic insistence that "half of a heaven" must and can only be a reference to the eight-track studio of Kate's post-"Wuthering Heights" years. It is still amazing to IED that |>oug can be so certain about the accuracy of his interpretations. There just isn't enough evidence to be so confident one way or the other.
[Again you misquote me, IED. I never, ever said that "half of a heaven" can "only be" a reference to Kate's 8-track studio. I only said that it *is* a reference to Kate's 8-track studio. This interpretation is merely one meaning among the many it may have. -- |>oug ]
Date: Tue, 24 May 88 09:52 CDT
Subject: Suspended in Gaffa
...as to offer an interpretation of "Suspended in Gaffa" that no one has yet presented during my brief time on the mailing list? Yes, I admit it's rather superficial, and you will all strip the flesh from my bones for it, but I feel compelled to say my piece.
"Out in the garden" sets the scene, a couple in a garden. Simple, eh? Gets worse.... "Half of a heaven" means that the couple in question cannot commit, as one of them is married. "we're only bluffing, we're not ones for busting through walls" is the discression of their meetings. They've been very careful, so careful that they need to prove their infidelities in order to get the divorce ("unless we can prove that we're doing it we can't have it all,"). I believe that at one time in England the only way to get a divorce was to have to prove in court that your spouse had been unfaithful by producing the actual lover in court, or, at the very least, some witnesses ("who'll talk when he's called) to the infidelities.
The rest of the song is less clear, but it seems to be focussed on the fears of this woman. She loves him, but there will be scandal. Is she doing the right thing, being the party of this man's divorce ("he's gonna wangle a way to get out of it")? She isn't even involved at this point, as they have another woman willing to be held as the actual lover ("she's an excuse") in court. But in the meantime, they are going to have to be separated until the whole thing is over, to keep her name out of the mud, and she is having her doubts about the whole thing. She vacillates between wanting it all and bouts of tears and self-exploration. She's in this thing way over her head, and hates herself for doubting the relationship and her reasons behind it. (Forgive me for not backing all this up with quotes-- I'm at work and don't have my copy of "The Dreaming" just sitting next to me.)
Ok, crucify me now. But I feel, somehow, this works on at least one level of Kate interpretation. And, if any of you agree with me on this one, I think it shows that there is never one single way of interpreting a song (unless it's by Tiffany!). Kate's lyrics are too much like poetry to ever be subject to a single set of rules.
Date: 2 Aug 88 01:57:55 GMT
From: munnari!uowcsa.oz.au!stephen%uowcsa.cs.uow.oz.OZ@UUNET.UU.NET (stephen)
Subject: Suspended in Gaffa
I have been watching with interest the conversation regarding the meanings of "Suspended in Gaffa". Despite what has been said before, this is the interpretation that I attach to it. Perhaps it has been said before, then again perhaps not.
To me SiG represents a persons struggle to be what they want to be in life. Thus the continuous "I want it all", and "she can't have it all". The chorus is about the feeling that one has when one is trying to make their way through life, do the best they can, and everything seems to be against them. Everything is slow, nothing gets done or happens fast. It feels like all creativity and ability are tied up - suspended in gaffa. How would you feel trying to do something, suspended from a ceiling by gaffa tape. Uncomfortable I'm sure. And gaffa tape is so damn sticky and strong.
In some ways the 2nd verse echos "Sat in Your Lap". The whole idea of seeming to get somewhere, but in truth being at the start all over again. Thus the "pull out the plank and say thank you for yanking me back to the fact that there's always something to distract..." Perhaps it's just the way I feel at the moment, in some sort of boring limbo, but that's the way the song comes over to me.
[ |>oug agrees with you exactly, and this is always been the meaning he has associated with the song. He also thinks that theme of the lyrics is very similar to "Sat In Your Lap". It's good to see that there is another sane person out there! -- |>oug ]
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 88 18:51 PDT
Subject: Suspended in Gaffa
> ...as to offer an interpretation of "Suspended in Gaffa" that no one has yet presented during my brief time on the mailing list? Yes, I admit it's rather superficial, and you will all strip the flesh from my bones for it, but I feel compelled to say my piece.
Not IED. He likes your interpretation. It's really brilliant, and it seems to work consistently all the way through the song. IED is not yet convinced that Kate actually had that story in mind when she wrote it, but he has to admit that he has no way of proving it one way or the other. Extremely clever, Lizooshka. The only problem is in the many little details in the song which, while not militating against your interpretation, don't exactly seem to re-inforce it, either. In the past, when a Kate song's narrative source has been solidly identified, all the pieces seem suddenly to drop right into place, so to speak -- Cloudbusting is a perfect example, in which there isn't a single sound or word that doesn't deal directly and plainly with A Book of Dreams, or Kate's interpretation of it (while naturally allowing for a number of broader associations, as well). At least as you have described your interpretation here, that "falling into place" doesn't seem to have happened yet.
Still, the more he considers it, the more plausible it sounds. IED wonders if the song isn't in fact illustrating a specific book (or story or painting, etc.). "Gaffa" might just refer to something -- or someplace -- quite particular, which appears in some text or other.
IED doesn't know whether the song must necessarily be dealing with a divorce, per se. Couldn't the story work with other, more straightforward romantic situations, as well? But what's really attractive about your idea is that, looked at in such a light, the song tells a story. And it was the absence of narrative that always made Suspended in Gaffa seem such an anomaly in Kate's work, and that made it so resistant to a single, integrated reading. Your way of looking at it opens up a whole new range of possibilities.
Date: Thu, 1 Sep 88 09:36 CDT
From: "Liz Owens, Microcomputer Product Center, 491-3889" <BABOOSHKA@nuacc.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject: More on Gaffa and the like....
Fellas, fellas, fellas--this is *not* a boxing ring. I get the feeling that Doug (forgive me, I'm using a Mac and can't figure out how you get the first part of your foofy "D") and IED are drawing blood here. That is not why we are here, kids.
Let Auntie Lizooshka share a little story with you. How many of you have read A Farewell to Arms ? Ok, you can put your hands down now. Anyone who has read this book can see that every time something horrible happens, it is raining. Now, a good interpreter would say that rain is a symbol of death or sorrow or something of the like. But--when someone asked Hemingway about it, apparently to get the straight dope, he replied, "It just meant that it rained, dammit!!" Now, we can all learn from this that what the author says about a work, especially a symbolic one, cannot be taken at sheer face value because of the way a work is open to the views of many minds. OK? So maybe Gaffa means gaffer's tape. Kate said so, right? Well, according to a friend of mine whose knowledge of Auntie Kate would put most of you to shame, she *also* said that it meant "an error in discression," which is a meaning she got from the OED. (He says she discusses this on a picture disk which has her in a red dress with a bass.)
OK? Ok. I feel much better.
IED, if you keep sending me such fulsome compliments, I may ask you to bear my children. You turn my head.
From: Doug Alan <nessus@ATHENA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 88 00:03:13 EDT
Subject: Re: More on Gaffa and the like....
Well, Lizooshka, it's not like I don't trust your friend or anything, but over the years I have heard many statements about Kate Bush from many people who claim to know enough about Kate Bush to put everyone else to shame. Let's see if I can remember a few.... One was that Clare Tory (the female singer who sings "Great Gig in the Sky" on *Dark Side of the Moon*) is really Kate Bush. Now, when *Dark Side of the Moon* was recorded, Kate Bush was all of fourteen, and her voice certainly didn't sound anything like that of Clare Tory. Another one was that Kate Bush died in a car accident while delivering her finished tapes for her new album to the record company. This one I heard before *Hounds of Love* came out. Can you find all the secret messages that prove that Kate is dead on *Hounds of Love*? It's clear she's been replaced by an imposter. Another good one I heard was that the reason Kate's albums take so long, and the reason she blimps-out between albums is because she gets pregnant and has a child inbetween each album.
Now, Lizooshka, I own and have listened to the picture disk, which has a picture on it from one of Kate's TV performances of "Babooshka" (in the red dress, with a bass), and I can assure you that nowhere on it does she mention "Gaffa", "gaffe", or anything of the sort. Perhaps she does on a picture disk that I don't have, but I tend to doubt it. Why in the world would Kate mention the OED at all? It's not like "gaffe" is an unusual or exotic word. If she had meant "gaffa" to mean the usual definition of "gaffe", she would have just said that. There'd be no reason to mention the OED at all....
Q: So, Kate, what's this "Gaffa" stuff?
KATE: Well, I was browsing through the OED one day, and I stumbled across this neato word, "gaffe". I bet you've never heard of it, have you? It means "an error in discretion", and I thought that it was such a neat and exotic sounding word that I just had to use it one of my songs. I changed the "e" to an "a" just to confuse people. That was clever of me, don't you think?
This just doesn't make mush sense, now does it?
If your friend can find me a picture disk that *really* does have something about "gaffe" on it, I would be more than willing to believe.
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 88 18:37:50 PDT
From: clindh@STRIDE.STRIDE.COM (Christer Lindh)
Subject: We're all suspended in gaffa...
As I remember from working as a roadie, we used gaffa for everything, and the word was used both as a substantive and a verb. 'Hey you, gaff this cable to the wall'.
Now, Kate hears this word from her roadies/technicians all the time and asks what it stands for; "Oh, it's just a kind of tape". She probably assumed it was a *brand*, not slang. Thus she capitalized it.
To our friends in England; please contact a musician/roadie and ask what 'gaffa' stands for!
On the other hand, Kate capitalizes all kinds of substantives in some lyrics. Look at The Dreaming for example; Kanga, Devils, Ore are all capitalized. "Big Sky" is also capitalized in The Big Sky. I don't think that is refered to as a brand...
Never mind, everyone is free to interpret Kates songs however she/he wants too. That's why we like Kate !
Date: Sat, 03 Sep 88 11:13 PDT
Subject: Can we settle this thing? Probably not.
First off IED would like to thank |>oug for altering his format for rebuttals. In the long run it benefits the persuasive potential of both his and IED's arguments, since each is printed in toto, and has the chance to sway the readership (if there actually is any at this point, which is highly doubtful) in its own way and at its own pace.
Second, meeting his side of the bargain, IED will try to be briefer than normal, which means he won't go answering each point of |>oug's.
Third, it would seem silly for IED to deny the power of |>oug's most recent argument. Obviously "Gaffa" is sometimes used as a term for "gaffer's tape". When IED said that it was possible that it meant something else, he should have made it clear that the use of the name "Gaffa" left the door open for additional, supplementary interpretations, but not exclusive alternative interpretations. IED still has seen nothing from you or anyone else that would preclude the possibility that Kate deliberately used the term in a way that gives it a kind of implied place function. (As |>oug likes to say as a defense of his interpretations of Kate's songs even after they've been repudiated by Kate herself: "Yeah, but it still makes sense! ")
Fourth, |>oug has still offered no conclusive evidence for his interpretation of the line "Out in the garden there's half of a heaven." IED is still waiting to see if |>oug catches on to the other quite different interpretation of the whole reference to the "garden" in Kate's songs, but so far |>oug seems caught up in the "8-track studio" interpretation. However, IED is feeling appropriately humble today, what with his recent humiliation at |>oug's most recent posting, so he won't come out and say 8-tracks couldn't possibly figure into it...maybe they do. One thing's for sure about that line, though, |>oug--it has another meaning as well, and a quite specific one. IED has recently come into a bit of knowledge (about another related KT song) which has reminded him once again about the depth, obscurity and inaccessibility of Kate's use of some symbolic objects and places in her lyrics. Since it's not directly relevant to this subject he won't go into it here, but it leaves him in no doubt that a lot more is probably going on in songs like "Suspended" than either |>oug or IED is aware of.
Fifth, IED believes he may be able to track down Kate's comments on the term "Gaffa" himself, so there's no need to make a bet on it--he hasn't found it yet, but it looks as though |>oug may be right about that, too. Again, however, Kate's explanation of that term--as with most of the other intriguing words in her recent lyrics--tends only to unravel the outermost layer of mystery surrounding it, and by no means exposes the roots to the air.
Humbled but unvanquished,
-- Andrew Marvick
P.S.: How do you like that? After writing the above, in which IED suggested that "Gaffa" -- as capitalized by Kate -- might also be intended to serve some kind of place function, I now read in the latest Love-Hounds Digest a note from Craig Polson (thank you very much, Craig!) a possible specific support of just this very point ! So "Gaffa" is a Japanese term for a useless, miserable place, eh?? How do you like that, |>oug??? And don't say you can't see how Kate would know of such a Japanese term. We both know the extent of a certain Bush's involvement in that culture.
(Newly gloating, IED signs off for now...)
From: Doug Alan <nessus@ATHENA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 88 23:26:28 EDT
Subject: Re: Can we settle this thing? Probably not.
> Since it's not directly relevant to this subject he won't go into it here, but it leaves him in no doubt that a lot more is probably going on in songs like "Suspended" than either |>oug or IED is aware of.
Well, I'm sure if you asked Kate about all this symbolism mumbo jumbo, she'd say it was all balderdash. I'm sure it's all there, but it may be just because Kate tends to use words that are rich with symbolism, or it may be unconscious, or it may be as John Carder Bush says, that Kate speaks with the voice of the Oneness because she is just a little bit closer to God than the rest of us, or it may be that Kate puts all these things into her songs, and refuses to tell anyone about it, because that would be giving it away.
I, for example, thought I found all sorts of symbolism in "Under The Ivy". There's ivy. There's a garden. There's a white rose. I ask Kate about all this wonderful, deep, rich, lush, layered symbolism, and what does Kate say? She says basically, "No, it's just a song about two people sneaking into the back yard to fuck". Well, IED, I think that you have to face the fact that if you asked her any questions about your notions of symbolism, she'd probably say the same thing.
In any case, now I look for the fucking first, and save the deep symbolism for later.
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 88 14:35:20 MET
From: Detlef Richter <uph002%ddohrz11.bitnet@GAFFA.MIT.EDU>
Subject: Gaffa - Gaffen
I would like to add something to the GAFFA-files. 'Gaffen' as a german word means 'watching, looking', but in a dumb, inactive and non-understanding way, so 'Suspended in Gaffa' could possibly mean 'being in a state of inactivity where you can see, but not act'. Someone who is 'gaff'-ing is a 'Gaffer' (in german), and the german ending '-er' is usually pronounced in the same way as '-ea' or '-a', so that 'Gaffer' becomes 'Gaffa'. The capital letter is the german way of indicating a noun.
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 90 23:36:29 PST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: it's about writing your Ph.D. thesis
A couple of days ago a friend, also a graduate student, came up to me and said, "I've heard about Kate Bush from you sometimes, so I decided to check her out. I got The Sensual World through the CBS record club, and I like it quite a bit. I'd like to hear more."
"You've come to the right person," I thought.
Tonight I brought all the other albums over to his house, as well as the videos The Whole Story and The Sensual World. He seemed to be very interested; he asked if he could borrow my albums. If he follows a pattern very familiar to all of us, he'll soon be hooked. Once Kate has grabbed you, there's no turning back.
Anyway, after I showed him the videos I wanted to demonstrate the obscurity of some of Kate's lyrics. What's the perfect song for that? "Suspended In Gaffa," of course, especially since it's also one of my favorites. So I played the song while he looked at the lyrics sheet so he could understand the words, at least. Then I asked him, "What do you think it's about?"
"I think it's about writing your Ph.D. thesis," he said. "All those lines about having your feet stuck in the mud, and going in slo-mo."
So I told him what Kate has said in interviews, about how it's analogous to the Roman Catholic idea of seeing God, but then never being able to see him again. "So, it's sort of about reaching for something that you can never have."
He said, "Yep. It's about writing your thesis."
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 93 20:55:56 -0400
From: email@example.com (Jeffrey C. Burka)
Subject: the whispers
>Does anyone know what her KaTeness is saying in the spoken parts of "Suspended in Gaffa" ? I can make out some of it but not all.
"I caught a glimpse of a God all shiny and bright"
"We all have a dream...maybe"
"Mother, where are the angels? I'm scared of the changes."
In at least one interview, stating at least one of Her many interpretations of SiG, KaTe talks about it as being related to the Catholic idea of purgatory. These bits of lyrics obviously tie into that biblical theme, as is the lyric about the camel in her eye ("I try to get nearer but as it gets clearer / there's something appears in the way, it's a plank in me eye / with a camel who's trying to get through it / am I doing it? Can I have it all now?")
Jeff (who thinks that SiG is a *perfect* song, as is most of TD)
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 93 04:09 CDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (chris williams)
Subject: With a camel...
Bob Kovitz writes: I just listened to the box set from start to finish, and came up with a group of questions:
> What does Kate mean by saying:
> "He's gonna wangle
> a way to get out of it
> She's an excuse
> and a witness who'll talk when he's called"
> "There's a plank in my eye
> With a camel who's trying to get through it"
> (Suspended in Gaffa)
God knows. The last bit is a play on two Bible phrases. I cannot quote the exact words but (from memory)
"How canst thou see the mote in thine brother's eye, and not the beam in thine own."
"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven."
...So she seems to be trying to deal with her own faults and the undesireable side effects of success. But who knows. This one song, more than any other, is *the* proverbial can of worms.
Date: June 1993
Subject: With a camel...
>>Bob Kovitz sez...
>> What does Kate mean by saying:
>> "He's gonna wangle
>> a way to get out of it
>> She's an excuse
>> and a witness who'll talk when he's called"
>> "There's a plank in my eye
>> With a camel who's trying to get through it"
>> (Suspended in Gaffa)
> > God knows. The last bit is a play on two Bible phrases. I cannot quote the exact words but (from memory)
> "How canst thou see the mote in thine brother's eye, and not the beam in thine own."
> "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven."
> ...So she seems to be trying to deal with her own faults and the undesireable side effects of success. But who knows. This one song, more than any other, is *the* proverbial can of worms.
I like the explaination about the last part. Wasn't there a brilliant interpretation of SiG on gaffa last year where it was described as a song of KaTes fears/worries about having children. In that light the top line might make a lot more sense.
On to "Leave It Open"
written by Love-Hounds
compiled and edited
Sept 1995 June 1996