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Date: Fri, 27 Sep 85 04:12:31 edt
From: harvard!jerpc.PE!topaz!jer (Eric Roskos @ Home)
Subject: Edward G?
I have a question for someone familiar with old movies... in "There Goes a Tenner," part of the song goes:
Both my partners
Act like actors.
You are Bogart;
He is George Raft.
That leaves Cagney and me. (What about Edward G?)
Who is this "Edward G"? Is he some person portrayed by Cagney? What movie is he in?
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 85 13:47 MST
From: "James J. Lippard" <Lippard@HIS-PHOENIX-MULTICS.ARPA>
Subject: Edward G
"Edward G" is Edward G. Robinson, who has been in *many* movies.
Date: Fri, 29 May 87 16:00:58 pdt
From: Jamie Andrews <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Who'd they use to vote for?
Consider the last lines of "There Goes A Tenner":
"There's a ten-shilling note,
That's when we used to vote for him."
Now I assume that the ten-shilling note became obsolete when Britain moved to decimal currency, hence "remember them". But who is it that they used to vote for? The guy whose picture appears on the ten-shilling note? (not bloody likely) Some politician associated with decimalization (oops sorry, "decimalisation")? The prime minister at some time before decimalisation -- possibly when the criminals were less disillusioned about the political process? (OK, OK, maybe that's stretching it)
[Believe it or not, |>oug has spent many a sleepless night pondering this very question. Unfortunately, even John Carder Bush did not know who "him" is, when I asked him about it. Maybe if I ever get to interview Kate again... -- |>oug]
From: ci-dandelion!david@seismo.CSS.GOV (David Watson)
Date: 3 Jun 87 18:13:26 GMT
Subject: Re: Who'd they use to vote for? (There goes a Tenner)
I have interpreted Kate's heavy emphasis on the word "him" to mean "*him* as opposed to *her*", but I never checked the timing of the taping of The Dreaming against even the grossest of milestones in recent British political history, e.g., the rise of Margaret Thatcher. Even so, as far as I know, her era started long after the conversion to decimal currency, so if my interpretation is correct, then so is Kate's observation.
From: tucker@rocky.STANFORD.EDU (Andy Tucker)
Date: 12 Jun 87 23:15:34 GMT
Subject: Re: Who'd they use to vote for?
Well, here's an approximate timeline (sorry if I get something wrong, British politics isn't exactly my specialty):
My guess is that Kate was referring to Wilson -- he was prime minister when the currency act was passed, he led the Labour party for many years (anyone know Kate's politics?), and he was prime minister shortly before Thatcher (supporting David's theory above). At one time, he (and Labour) were very popular -- perhaps Kate is referring to the disillusionment many people had with Labour in the 70's, leading to the election of Margaret Thatcher. "That's when we used to vote for him" implies that "we" vote for someone else now.
From: Neil Calton <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 87 12:13:48 bst
Subject: That Vote
This last line really is driving me crazy.
What is it doing in the song? How does it fit in with the rest of the lyrics? The suggestions put forward by Andy and David are interesting but I wonder whether Kate intended such a precise meaning. Also, I'm not sure that "heavy emphasis" adequately describes the way the word `him' is sung - it certainly is not strong enough to clearly suggest an antithesis to *she*.
The Thatcher versus Wilson interpretation does not fit easily in with the tone of the rest of the song: such a subtle piece of political observation just feels out of place with the underlying theme. And why should a bunch of criminals care about who they voted for; and it is hard to see them now voting for Mrs T. (though come to think of it most of her cabinet seem to be a bunch of crooks).
Further, in our General Election (unlike your Presidential Election) we do not vote for a prime minister but for a local MP. Only the voters in Finchley can actually cast their vote for Maggie. Of course indirectly if we vote Tory then we help to put Mrs T. in number 10. At the time TD came out Thatcher (barely into the third year of her first term) had not achieved her iron lady/world stateswoman image. Being relatively early in her `reign' she was just another leader who happened to be a woman (granted a rare example). At that stage one was more likely to say "vote for them" meaning the Tory or Labour party rather than "him" or "her" meaning a particular leader. However, Kate had used the word "them" to end the previous line and repeating it would have been aesthetically unpleasing.
If Kate had written those lyrics this year then I would more readily embrace the viewpoint that Thatcher is being obliquely refered to, as she is now a very powerful icon in the British political arena. It would still leave me wondering on the relationship of the last line to the underlying themes. If like the references to old banknotes it is purely a nostalgic remembrance of the past, is it the robber or Kate who is expressing this thought? As I've said I cannot fathom why the gang member could care greatly about the political past. If that last line is Kate interjecting her own memories does that mean she now votes for Maggie (surely not!) when she previously voted for Wilson or possibly Heath? (You'll notice there are a lot of questions in this piece and very few answers).
Personally, I think the decimalisation issue is a red herring: after all, by my reckoning, Kate was 13 when it was introduced and why should any politician involved in its introduction have had any impact on her. I cannot remember anything noteworthy about D-day as it was called. Perhaps, Kate used to vote for a local politician called Bob Note! :-) Oh well, maybe she'll tell us the real answer one day. Personally, I'd be content for someone to adequately explain why that last line is there at all. It must have some significance. Help!
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 87 12:24 PDT
Subject: There goes a Tenner
IED is afraid he can do nothing to solve this problem, but it seems unlikely to him that the reference to "him" is Kate's own personal "aside", so to speak. This would be totally out of keeping with her method of sinking her spirit into the characters and story in her song. It's much more likely that it's a nostalgic remark by the leader of the burglars.
> As I've said, I cannot fathom why the gang member could care greatly about the political past.
Remember, though, that this is no hardened gang of criminals. IED has always understood the song to be about a group of friends who are performing a crime without prior experience, stepping into the underworld for the first time. Quite possibly, they really ARE "actors", as the lyrics say. Whatever their background, it's apparently unusual enough for burglars to make it seem possible for one of them to have untypical memories, etc. It's odd, though: If her British fans can't understand the reference, then Kate couldn't have expected anyone else at all to follow it. She does this alont, you know?
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 88 18:41 PST
Subject: There Goes A Tenner
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.
As I'm sure you're aware by now, I'm in the midst of making a new transcription of the complete lyrics, emphasizing their narrative side, and I've finally gotten almost all the way through.
I can't get over how terrific Kate's lyrics are. The biggest eye-opener so far has come out of my feeble attempts to re-structure the lines' break-off points by trying to keep stricter ties with the musical structure -- something which none of the earlier transcribers has ever managed with any consistency. In doing this, I've been gaining a new appreciation of the complexities of the song-structures.
There are very few songs -- even including the early ones --which follow a conventional verse-chorus pattern. Almost all of the songs include a third, "bridge" component, and there isn't a single song that doesn't involve a significant re-organization of the verses' original rhythms and melodic lines in later verses. This is completely at odds with the tendency in pop music in general, where virtually all songs follow a simple verse-chorus pattern (once in a while adding a radically shortened and usually instrumental bridge interlude), and where the melodic line or the lyric metre is rarely altered by so much as a note or a syllable. In Kate's recent songs her shifts and additions are so significant that the job of figuring out where one verse ends and another begins becomes quite difficult.
Take "There Goes a Tenner".
I've just made what I think is a real breakthrough (for me, anyway) interpreting the lyrics of this song. For years I had been confused about what actually happened to the burglars after the safe blew up and the narrator found herself covered in rubble. The problem was that if the gang had been caught, then how come in the end they seemed to be enjoying the money? I now think that the answer is very simple, and I wish I'd seen it earlier.
The whole song is about WAITING. "We're waiting, we're waiting." And it's about REMEMBERING. "Okay, remember;" "I hope you remember;" "Remember them?"
Here's my new transcription of the lyrics:
There Goes a Tenner
That we have just allowed
Half an hour
To get in, do it, and get out.
The sense of adventure
Is changing to danger.
The signal has been given.
I go in.
The crime begins.
Turns into fright.
All my words fade.
What am I gonna say?
Mustn't give the game away.
We got the job sussed.
This shop's shut for business.
The lookout has parked the car,
But kept the engine running.
Three beeps means trouble's coming.
I hope you remember
To treat the gelignite tenderly for me.
I'm having dreams about things
Not going right.
Let's leave in plenty of time tonight.
Both my partners
Act like actors:
You are Bogart,
He is George Raft.
That leaves Cagney and me.
You blow the safe up.
Then all I know is I wake up,
Covered in rubble. One of the rabble
The government will never find the money.
I've been here all day,
A star in strange ways.
Apart from a photograph
They'll get nothing from me,
Not until they let me see my solicitor.
Ooh, I remember
That rich, windy weather
When you would carry me,
In the breeze.
Ooh, there goes a tenner.
Hey, look! There's a fiver.
There's a ten-shilling note.
That's when we used to vote for him.
There are actually ten verses, not eight, but to distinguish between the regular verses and the two verses that directly precede the refrains (and which take a different melody than the regular verses), I've called those two "bridges".
In the first and second verses (as I have split them up) the burglars plan and wait for the right moment. In the third and fourth verses they make certain it's safe, and enter. In the fifth and sixth verses they blow the safe up, using too much gelignite, and the narrator is knocked out by the blast. The noise attracts the police, and the narrator wakes up in police custody, separated from her partners and afraid. But she learns that somehow the money (which means at least some of the gang, too) have not been recovered by the police, and she will never give them away. They'll never get anything from her but her mugshot.
Then comes more waiting: I think the seventh verse is the narrator's prison term. She's in prison remembering. "Ooh, I remember that rich, windy weather when you (one of the gang, probably) would carry me (they were kids, I suspect), pockets floating in the breeze."
And finally, in the eighth and final verse, she has served her term and been released. She meets up with the old gang and they play with the money in the wonderful open air which they've been deprived of for so long while in prison.
I know that this part doesn't sound too convincing, but I do think that the trick to this story is in distinguishing between the time-frame of the seventh verse and that of the last, eighth verse: In the seventh, she's not just remembering, she's reminiscing --something she'd do if she were in prison and had ages and ages of time on her hands. But in the eighth verse, the reference to "remembering" is not about the prisoner's idle memories, but about her experience after her release.
She and the gang are "remembering" the ten-shilling note. The money is no longer current, which would make sense if she'd had to serve years in prison before finally getting her hands on her share of the swag. In other words, at the time of the burglary, the ten-shilling note was in circulation, and the gangsters were imitating then- current stars of Warner Brothers gangster pictures: Cagney, Raft, Bogart, etc. By the end of the song, these are all history. I suppose many people will have realised all this long ago, but it's new to me.
I see that it's still not an airtight reading, but what I like about it is that it provides an explanation for the apparent fact that (in the video), though the gang are arrested, in the end they are nevertheless shown tearing through the streets with the money and laughing, as though they had really pulled off the heist after all.
[|>oug thinks that IED's interpretation of the seventh and eighth verse are incorrect. He thinks that it is fairly clear that at the end of the song Kate is in jail and that she is reminiscing about better days, when she wasn't paying the price for her criminal acts, but rather enjoying her ill-gotten gains. -- |>oug ]
To add more fuel to the theory that the burglary took place in the nineteen-thirties, I have just discovered what inspired Kate's use of the looming shadow of the Bobby's profile which appears in the video concurrent with the spoken line "What's all this, then?"
I was re-watching Hitchcock's The Thirty-Nine Steps, which has been showing on the Z Channel in L.A. this week. It is such a happy, magical film. Anyway, I was duly noting all the images that Kate referred to in the Hounds of Love video (the lovers linked by handcuffs, the chase by foot over the moors at night, the danger-amid-the-unknowing-crowd-at-a-party scenes, etc.). All of a sudden, at the very climax of the film, there was the Bobby's silhouette, exactly the way it appears in "Tenner", except that in Kate's video the Bobby's hat moves a bit. The derivation from Hitchcock was unmistakable.
I've had quite a run of similarly fortuitous, minor but exciting little discoveries recently. Finding the lyrics and music to "The Two Magicians" and The Ballad of Lucy Wan"; hearing Edna O'Brien on the radio last week (her Irish accented voice, which JCB said they had originally wanted for the reading of the poem in Jig of Life, was exactly the same nearly-"BBC"-English-accent-with-just-a-trace-of-Irish- lilt-to-it that John used in the recording); the discovery of the original "Auntie Hetty" in an episode of The Avengers ; and now all this stuff about There Goes a Tenner.
It's exciting, but it's also a bit worrying, because it implies that there's a similarly clear solution to all of the other countless mysteries to Kate's work, which we'll probably never know unless someone just happens to stumble on them in the same way.
Date: Mon, 04 Apr 88 13:09 PDT
Subject: |>ifferences begged
> |>oug thinks that IED's interpretation of the seventh and eighth verse are incorrect. He thinks that it is fairly clear that at the end of the song Kate is in jail and that she is reminiscing about better days, when she wasn't paying the price for her criminal acts, but rather enjoying her ill-gotten gains. -- |>oug
But that's just the problem, |>oug: It's not "fairly clear," at all. You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but how do you account for the inconsistencies between the end of the song and the film? At least IED has found a way to reconcile most of the details from each, and without stretching the meaning of the words, either.
[There aren't any inconsistencies between the end of the video and the end of the song. Both are flashbacks to better times. That's precisely why the flashback begins with "Ooh, I remember", and the video at this point is in sepia. -- |>oug ]
Also, your interpretation assumes that the gang were experienced thieves who had successfully robbed before, whereas the implication in both the song and the video is that this is a first-time job by a group of amateurs. So what earlier "ill-gotten gains" would she be reminiscing about?
[ No implication is given whatsoever that this is a first-time job by a group of amateurs. All that is said is that the narrator feels nervous, and that things this night go tragically wrong. But remember that Kate believes strongly in premonitions. Besides, who says that one can't be nervous even if they have robbed a hundred banks? -- |>oug ]
On the other hand, there's the end of the video, and the very odd phenomenon of the gang running down a street, as adults, with smiles on their faces, amid a rain of money. This part of the film is in sepia, which might support your theory that the scene represents an incident from the gang's earlier days.
Except for the facts that the lyrics themselves
1.) describe the same scene in the present tense;
[ The flashback begins with "Ooh, I remember" and continues until the end of the song. The tense switches to present as the narrator gets more engrossed in it. The part that begins "Ooh, there goes a tenner" is CLEARLY part of the flashback! First she says "I remeber when you would carry me and money floated in the breeze." Then she becomes more engrossed in the reverie and switches to the historical present tense, saying, "Ooh, look at the money floating by!" How could it be any clearer??? -- |>oug ]
2.) draw great attention to the anachronism of the obsolete ten-shilling note.
These two facts seem to indicate that the narrator is having a sort of Rip Van Winkle-like experience, very like that of a prisoner who has finished her term and is talking with friends about their now out-dated loot. If she were merely imagining all this, or remembering an earlier incident while still in prison, such details would make no sense.
[And why doesn't it make sense? It makes perfect sense. Why can't memories have detail? You'll have to argue better than this, Andrew! In any case, I don't think that Kate is in jail yet by the end of the song. I think she has just woken up at the scene of the crime. She wakes up covered in rubble as all the police surround her. The explosion has sent money flying all over the place, and as some bills float by in a draft (there must now be a hole in the building), she daydreams back to some time in the past when her life was wonderful -- when perhaps they were actually playing with money they had gotten from a heist - throwing it in the air and laughing at their conspicuous consumption of letting money fly away on the wind. -- |>oug ]
IED never wanted to present his interpretation as fact. Clearly the song's storyline still holds mysteries. But |>oug, your interpretation is certainly no less problematic.
[My interpretation isn't problematic in the least. It explains everything simply, straightforwardly, and cleanly. -- |>oug ]
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 88 21:05:39 EDT
From: Andy Greener <mcvax!ist.co.uk!andy@UUNET.UU.NET>
Subject: There Goes A Tenner lyrics
Real-Date: Thu, 7 Apr 88 9:52:10 BST
[ From the Love-Hounds delay queue... -- |>oug ]
Seeing the discussion of the lyrics of "There Goes A Tenner" reminds me; there is something I think all you North Americans are missing. In verse "six" the line:
"A star in strange ways"
should maybe be:
"A star in Strangeways"
"Strangeways" is a prison (in Manchester I think). This is consistent with the interpretation of the rest of the verse. In fact, this is the interpretation I have always put on that line and assumed Kate did too.
Andy Greener, London, ENGLAND
[If there is truly a famous prison called "Strangeways" then it does seem clear that Kate must have meant this as a cute pun! Thanks for the neat point! -- |>oug ]
Date: Tue, 05 Jul 88 12:10 PDT
["Strangeways" is a prison:]
IED adds his name to the list of people thanking Andy Greener for this terrific bit of info. Kate does spell the words out "strange ways", not "Strangeways", so she clearly must have meant the words to bear two distinct meanings. That's great. Also great to have another contributing UK Love-Hound.
-- Andrew Marvick
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 88 16:31:02 EST
It could very well be Strangeways. However, Strangeways is not a prison.
Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before, but Strangeways, Here We Come - The Smiths recent CD is named after the local Mental Institution, I believe in Manchester.
So, which is then: "Strangeways" or "strange ways"? [shrug]
[ Perhaps both... (The lyric sheet says "strange ways".) --|>oug ]
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 88 11:36:19 BST
To this I say "pah!", explaination afterwards:
> It could very well be Strangeways. However, Strangeways is not a prison.
> Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before, but Strangeways, Here We Come - The Smiths recent CD is named after the local Mental Institution, I believe in Manchester.
Let's clear this up once and for all. I was born and bred in Manchester, living there for 21 years, and can definitely tell you that Strangeways is NOT a mental institution (where did anyone get that idea from anyway?). It is one of Her Majesty's prisons (HMP Strangeways in fact) which was built in the late 19th Century. It is very overcrowded and conditions are disgusting by most accounts. It is not a remand home for youngsters but a run-of-the-mill prison for male offenders. It happens to be only a mile out of Manchester (on the north side - Bury New Road) and is positioned adjacent to the world(?) famous Boddington's Brewery. If you've never had a pint of Boddie's your life hasn't been worth living! Strangeways is also known locally by the quaint name of "Strangeways Motel".
For those who do not know by now, Morrisey (of a little known group called the Smiths :-) come's from Manchester, in fact from Whalley Range which is about 2-3 miles south of the City. I think he would have know that Strangeways is an ordinary prison, if not he must have been living under a stone for the last 20-odd years of his life.
BTW, the local mental institution for the Manchester area is Prestwich Hospital (which is nearer Bury actually). Thus any phrase to do with Prestwich meant that the poor person was off to the local mental home.
I thought that this might clear up the point once and for all.
From: Doug Alan <nessus@ATHENA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 88 22:21:23 EDT
Subject: "There Goes A Tenner" revisited
There's a universally held principle that if you have two theories, and all the evidence is explained by the two theories, the simpler of the two theories is to be prefered. This principle is known as Occam's razor. With regard to "There Goes A Tenner", we have two theories: mine and IED's. Mine is significantly simpler, and explains everything. Furthermore, IED's is flawed. Let's go over them again briefly. I'm including below the lines that follow Kate waking up in rubble after the safe has been blown up. She's apparently been captured by the police:
My theory says that all of the song takes place in the present, except at the end, beginning with "Ooh I remember". Everything after this is a reverie of better times, when the burglars lived rich off of their ill-gotten gains. Sometime in the past, Kate and her bank-robber lover had pulled off a successful heist and they celebrated their success by tossing their money in the air and watching it float in the breeze. Kate daydreams about the way things use to be, while in the present she is probably being shackled and photographed by the police. The song ends on the melancholy and nostalgic note, "That's when we used to vote for him". This interpretation is very straight-forward, and it makes complete literal sense that what comes after "Ooh, I remember" is in the past.
IED's theory also says that all of the song is in the present, except the part beginning with "Ooh, I remember". According to IED, everything inbetween the lines "Ooh I remember" and "There goes a tenner" is in the past, long before Kate became a bank robber, perhaps when Kate was a child. Then suddenly, beginning with "There goes a tenner", without any indication in the song, we switch to many years in the future, after Kate has served her time and has been released from prison.
IED's theory is certainly more complicated. In addition to this, it has several flaws. Even if it had no flaws, my theory would be preferable, because of its simplicity, but combined with the flawed nature of IED's theory, the issue should be clear. These are some of the flaws with IED's theory:
(1) There is nothing to indicate the passage of time into the future. Furthermore, it seems counterintuitive, considering that it makes perfect sense that we are still in the reverie.
(2) IED maintains that my theory can't be true because this is Kate's first bank robery. However, there is nothing in the song to indicate that this is Kate's first bank robbery. Furthermore, the line "Pockets floating in the breeze" shows that Kate has been witness to money floating in the wind in the past. This is true in either my or IED's theory. Now if IED's theory is correct, why is there money floating in the wind when Kate was a child? Clearly, Kate has burgled in the past.
(3) IED maintains that the ending is happy. This would be very uncharacteristic of Kate. Kate is not one to tell a story where someone does something bad and ends up winning because of it. Kate seems to be a definite believer in the notion of Karma. Furthermore, the very ending of the song, "Remember them? That's when we used to vote for him?", is nostalgic. Why would Kate suddenly get nostalgic if at the moment, everything is better than ever. She wouldn't get nostalgic. The only explanation for this is that the ending is not all that happy.
(4) The video is directly at odds with IED's theory and directly supports my theory. The ending of the video, beginning with "Ooh I remember", is in sepia. It stays in sepia until the end of the video. To me, sepia indicates a flashback. Thus, everything from "Ooh I remember" until the end of the song, is a flashback. How does IED explain why the end of the video is in sepia?
It should be pretty clear by now that IED's theory is untennable.
From: Doug Alan <nessus@ATHENA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 88 10:06:14 EDT
Subject: Re: IED gets his comeuppance, again; and misK. mailbag items
> [IED:] Your concern is appreciated, Liz. IED doesn't know how |>oug feels, but IED harbors no animus toward our Pseudo-Moderator.
Well, to be honest, your humble pseudo-moderator harbors animus against the entire human race, so don't take it personally. With the exception of only a handlful of individuals (like Kate, fer instance), humans are wholy devoid of redeeming value. Despite this, humanity is still the most amusing species (in a sick sort of way) your humble pseudo-moderator has found so far, with the exception of the duck-billed platypus and the Betelgeusean MTV-addicted RF flatworm, so he supposes he'll let humanity stay around for a little while longer before engaging the Orbital Gene Recycler.
> As for |>oug's statement that there's nothing to indicate the passage of "large amounts" of time between the verses, IED would like to know how it is that |>oug knows the length of time that each of the "We're waiting" sections are meant to indicate?
Well, for one, there is no "We're waiting" inbetween "My solicitor" and "Ooh I remember" or "Pockets floating in the breeze" and "There goes a tenner", which are the only points where your large amount of time could pass. If the "We're waiting"'s were supposed to indicate the passing of large amounts of time, then you would expect to find one at the transition point between the two time periods. But this just isn't the case.
> Would you also maintain, |>oug, that the recurring, highly emphatic references to the monotony of waiting cannot have more significance than your own interpretation allows?
I think that the "We're waiting"'s have critical significance, but that the significance is much more straight-forward than you would have it. The "We're waiting"'s exist to give a feeling of the horrible sense of nervousness and helplessness that must occur during the inevitable periods of nerve-wracking waiting that would occur during the process of comitting a complicated crime such as a bank robbery.
From: Doug Alan <nessus@ATHENA.MIT.EDU>
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 88 19:23:50 EDT
Subject: Re: "Tenner" trouble
> The line I am questioning is "Pockets floating in the breeze."
> Ok, let's just think about that for a moment. Anybody here ever watch cartoons or old comedies? I didn't think so. Anyway, a person who is trying to show he has no cash does what? He *turns out his pockets*. I have always taken that line to mean that she was reflecting on a time when she was poor, when things were simpler, when there was the time to enjoy each other and the outdoors.
I suppose this is possible, but keep in mind that "pockets" also has the slang meaning of paper money. Consider the fact that "Pockets floating in the breeze" immediatelly precedes the line "There goes a tenner". This definitely pushes the meaning of "pockets" towards paper money. Furthermore, in the Razmatazz video of "There Goes a Tenner", as Kate sings these lines, there is paper money "floating in the breeze". Also, if the meaning of pockets was suppose to be "the things in your pants that hold small items", then one would expect the line to be "Pockets flapping in the breeze". Also, the image of Kate's pockets flapping in the breeze is a little strained. Why would her pockets be turned inside out? This song is not in the comedy or cartoon genre. It is in the gangster movie genre.
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 88 00:06:01 EDT
From: Andrew Marvick (IED)
Subject: there goes a tenner one more time
Jonathan S. Drukman:
> Well, my flatmate says that :>oug is correct in that most of this is anticipating the incipient capture. I don't know though... What I find most puzzling is this verse:
> My excitement / turns into fright (present tense - during the job) All my words fade / what am I gonna say / mustn't give the game away
> Now look at that verse. The first couplet appears to be during the job, right? But the last triplet doesn't fit in with that. Why are her words fading (and what does it mean anyway)? And if this is still the job, who is she going to give the game away to ? My flatmate suggests that Kate's belief in psychic phenomena means that she's getting a vibe from the future anticipating her capture.
My idea about the "fading" words is that it's just another aspect of the lines "What am I gonna say?/Mustn't give the game away". As I see it, the heroine, imagining herself in custody, is about to confess, but at the crucial moment her "words fade", and she stops talking -- but she worries about what story she's going to give instead. Then she comes to a decision: "They'll get nothing from me/Not until they let me see/My solicitor."
Now all this is certainly awkward, and it's also made muddier by a line from Kate's own poetic "description" of the song, which appeared in an old Newsletter. In it Kate writes:
"Everybody synchronize watches. Remember there's only half an hour to do the job. We've been rehearsing for weeks, so nothing should go wrong. Let's run through it one more time:
"I go in and distract the guard,
Frank's out the back in the getaway car,
The sign on the door turns from open to shut,
We keep them all covered, you blow the safe up,
We grab the cash, make a hasty retreat,
And tear across London using the backstreets.
Remember, be careful, give nothing away,
The arm of the Law is as long as they say."
You notice in that last couplet: "Give nothing away"? This seems to be the same idea (in Kate's mind) as that expressed in the line "They'll get nothing from me." Interestingly, it also seems to imply that the band of burglars are particularly on guard about not letting any word of their activities leak out -- perhaps not even to others in their circle, rather than just the police? Remember also that at least in this (unused) part of the lyrics the heroine is telling her cohorts what they are going to do, clearly before the actual heist has begun. The similarly constructed line from the song ("You blow the safe up") might be the last of these "instructions", though I'm not set on that idea, given the following line ("Then all I know is I wake up"), which is obviously a description of the aftermath of the (imagined?) gelignite explosion itself.
But looking at the verses that Kate printed in her Newsletter description, it does seem that the "blow the safe up" line is the same sort of thing. Could it be that Kate was trying to create, within the compressed space of a song's lyrics, the effect of narrative surprise that is communicated by the sudden move from the tense list of "instructions" that the heroine is giving her gang, to the unexpected result of those instructions: an excessively large explosion that stuns the heroine? Still, I think on balance that the events beginning either with "You blow the safe up" or with "And all I know is I wake up" are probably imagined. The heroine is worried about what might happen. This is not to say either that 1) there are not several time periods in the song, both real and imaginary (because there clearly are, as I'll try to show), or that 2) everything following "Ooh, I remember" takes place in the same time period, whether real or imagined.
I can only conclude that there are several different time periods in this song. One takes place prior to the heist itself, when the band of criminals are "waiting" around for the crime to begin (Frank, played by Del in the video, is actually seen waiting impatiently in the getaway car). Another obviously takes place during the crime itself. A third (and while there is nothing in the text that requires this scene to be read as only an anticipation of the event itself, I do agree that the latter half of the song is probably imagined) takes place, as you suggest, in the station-house.
Finally, if all these earlier time periods are transpiring in chronological order (as they do), at least one and possibly three more time periods -- whether real or imaginary being quite immaterial -- follow: first, the time spent by the heroine in prison; second, her reminiscences, while in prison, of an apparently once-habitual activity with her friend(s): being carried ("When you would carry me") -- pretty clearly implying that this is a memory of childhood, not adulthood, as Doug still maintains; and third, a point in time following the heroine's release from prison, when she is reunited at last with her friends.
If all this is correct, though, I then am faced with the conclusion (which Doug reaches and uses, illogically, as a way of ignoring my earlier train of thought) that the entire ending of the song is part of that memory. But this doesn't seem to be possible (as Doug should be able to see, but doesn't), for two reasons. First, in the video the heroine and her accomplices in crime are obviously racing happily through the streets with their loot. But we know that these burglars were not experienced! Kate herself has said that they'd never done any serious crimes before, and I quote from the 1982 Baktabak CD interview about The Dreaming :
"It's about amateur robbers who've only done small things, and this is now quite a big robbery that they've been planning for months."
They could hardly, therefore, have had that "rain" of money seen in the ending of the video during any period prior to the failed heist. Doug is therefore definitely wrong when he insists upon the following:
> a reverie of better times, when the burglars lived rich off of their ill-gotten gains. Sometime in the past, Kate and her bank-robber lover had pulled off a successful heist and they celebrated their success by tossing their money in the air and watching it float in the breeze. Kate daydreams about the way things use to be...
Further, the pointed reference to the fact that the currency is obsolete -- not described as though it were a memory, but rather as though the currency were actually being held and appreciated --doesn't synch with the idea that the entire ending section of the song's lyrics describes a simple nostalgic "memory" of an "earlier successful burglary", as Doug claims.
Now, I don't see how the question of whether this section is imagined or real in any way alters the effect of real experience which is produced by the manner in which it is told. In other words, whether all that takes place after the safe-blowing is real or imagined, that final scene of beholding a rain of money is still only explainable when interpreted as a scene (real or imagined) following the heroine's release from prison. Doug's idea that all that is a memory of an earlier heist just doesn't "sit well" with the few facts we have. I'd be happy to accept Doug's idea if it really fit all the facts, because after all I've never been very comfortable with my own admittedly complicated reading of the time-shifts. But the truth is that Doug's idea that everything from "Ooh, I remember" on is a recollection of an earlier bank heist just doesn't hold water.
I'm therefore stuck in a new bind: if the heroine is in prison (or imagines it) when she says "Ooh, I remember," but is no longer remembering (since there is no earlier such crime to remember) when she says "Ooh, there goes a Tenner!" then the final scene which begins with that line (in the song) must be describing some other time period. We know from Kate's own statement that that other time period was not from the gang's earlier career, since these gangsters were essentially amateurs, not professionals, and since they had never done any "big jobs" before. (Doug may attempt to argue that we don't know whether they might not have had one success which brought down a shower of currency, but that was obviously not what Kate had in mind when she pointed out that this job is their first "big" one. There really can't be any doubt that the rain of money in the end, therefore, comes from either an imagined or a real present or future period in the song's story.)
Furthermore, time in this song has moved -- generally speaking --in a forward direction. On the one occasion when it moved backwards instead of forwards, Kate indicated that shift explicitly by beginning the section with the statement "Ooh, I remember ." But, since the lines from "Ooh, there goes a Tenner!" on cannot still be from the character's memories, the only sensible conclusion to be reached is that the story has returned to its original, chronological formula, taking up at the next and final step in the story (real or imagined) of these criminals: namely their reunion following the heroine's completion of her prison-term.
Now I don't like this sudden shift any more than Doug and Ranjit does. But Doug's not correct in saying that there's no structural marker in the song itself to make clear that such a distinction of time is to be drawn between the "Ooh, I remember" section and the "Ooh, there goes a Tenner!" section. The tense shifts: from past imperfect to present! If that's not a structural marker I don't know what is.
Doug does make a good point about the sepia section of the video, which begins with the "Ooh, I remember" section, and doesn't switch back to "present" colour with the "Ooh, there goes a Tenner!" section. I certainly don't want to deny this anomaly. It's there, and I would love to be able to explain it. That's why I introduced this topic months back in Love-Hounds.
But think again about those final moments in the song, and remember that you just can't ignore the facts that the gang are seen in the video as happy adults, and that they could not have made all the money seen floating in the breeze from an earlier heist, because Kate has said that they had never had such a "big" success prior to the job which went wrong. Therefore, they must be celebrating their acquisition of the money from that job. (A third possibility, that the scene shows the results of a third, future heist, is belied by the obsolescence of the currency.)
This introduces the last big mystery about the story. If they have got their hands on the loot, are we to understand that 1.) they got away after all -- in which case the heroine never actually did get caught, but was only imagining that she might be? (This is the interpretation that Ranjit has given us.) Or 2.) that all the members who were caught have served their time, been released, and come home to meet up with someone in the gang who had got away with the money during the confusion and had kept his partners' shares in safe keeping? Or 3.) that she is merely imagining the second development in order to provide a happy end to her imaginary scenario? It pretty much has to be one of these three possibilities, because the idea that all of the last section is a mere recollection of an earlier job which went right is just not correct, as I've shown.
Well, if the first possibility is correct, then the problems I mentioned earlier, about how to reconcile the lines about not talking to the police without a solicitor, etc., rear their ugly heads once again. Only if all of those lines about the scene in the station-house are mere fantasy in the heroine's eyes, can the theory that they got away after all hold up. And even if they got away after all, then why the sepia tinting in that section? Doug has said himself that the sepia is an indication of "nostalgia" and of sadness at the knowledge of inevitable "karma", so he cannot accept the idea that the criminals have got away with the loot from this big heist after all. So Doug must stick with his theory that the final scenes represent a memory of an earlier heist which went stunningly, wonderfully right --something which Kate has said never happened.
Ranjit, however, not having saddled himself with the silly idea that Kate's "belief in Karma" must require some kind of retribution for the criminals, may still ask why the final scenes cannot represent the present, rather than an event many years later.
Ranjit makes the case (again) for the obvious and most attractive "simple" reading of the song's lyrics. I (and virtually all other listeners) had at one time the same view of the story that Ranjit described. The problem is that if all of what follows is merely imagined, then -- according to what Kate herself has said -- the huge gelignite explosion is imagined, as well. Kate has said (in words that seem to imply but do not confirm, unfortunately, that the whole second half is in fact imagined):
"And when it <the burglary> actually starts happening they, um, start freaking out. They're really scared, so aware of the fact that something could go wrong, that they're paranoid ..." <my italics>
"...and the second time they're just waiting for the guy to blow the safe up, because when he blows it up there's so much that could go wrong." <my italics>
Now these comments of Kate's don't actually disprove Ranjit's simple reading, but they do make it seem unlikely that that's what Kate had in mind.
Also remember that in the video, the film slows to slow-mo as Kate mouths the words "All my words fade/What am I gonna say?/ Mustn't give the game away." If one makes a case for the latter part being the heroine's imagination, it's pretty clear that this is where her imaginings would start, not after the explosion. This is, again, no real confirmation that any part of the story is indeed imagined, but it does increase the possibility. But it doesn't help much with a theory about the last scenes with money floating in the air being a return to the present, since it indicates that the huge explosion didn't take place at all, but was only dreaded by the heroine.
As for the "nostalgia" implied by the sepia tinting, I don't want to deny that. It's true that the sepia is not fully synchronised with my theory, as I've already willingly admitted. But after all, what are these ex-cons in the final scene doing? They're celebrating their acquisition of some very old money. In fact, they are struck by the obsolescence of the currency enough to exclaim in nostalgic wonder, "Hey, look! There's a Fiver!", etc. Given this remarkable symbol of the passage of time -- of the theme of waiting which is a dominant motif of the song -- is it really so implausible to conclude (if only for the time being, and without the benefit of a definitive statement from Kate) that the sepia tinting forms an appropriate counterpoint to the main thrust of the final section: namely, that years have passed (whether in fact or only in her mind seems immaterial, and is not determinable from the text) and the heroine is happily, nostalgically enjoying her long-postponed wealth? I don't see why such a scene is implausible.
I agree with Doug that all this is a house of cards, but facts are facts, and so far, my house accounts for a larger number of the details in the song, video and official explanations than Doug's does.
Finally, IED will answer as quickly as possible Doug's criticisms of IED's theory:
> (1) There is nothing to indicate the passage of time into the future. Furthermore, it seems counterintuitive, considering that it makes perfect sense that we are still in the reverie.
At this point IED has already made it amply clear that there are indications that the final sections of the song reflect a shift in time: first, the heroine's memory of habitually having been carried is an image that is very hard to ascribe to an adult, but which well describes the play of children; and second, the video's imagery of the section immediately succeeding that line clearly shows the gang as adults, presenting a dichotomy that can only be explained by a shift from past to present or future -- however abrupt.
IED might further point out that there is an attendant shift in the tenses used in the former as opposed to the latter verse: in the former, which IED argues is a recollection of the heroine's childhood, Kate uses the conditional form of the past imperfect: "when you would carry me"; whereas in the next verse, which IED argues is a series of exclamations made by the heroine in the company of her fellow gangmembers in a period some time following her release from prison, Kate uses the present tense. If this is not an indication of a time shift between the two verses, IED would like to ask what Doug's requirements for such a shift are.
Third, IED doesn't deny the very real possibility that the heroine is "still in a reverie" throughout the entire latter half of the song. IED's reading accomodates either interpretation in this regard, and can scarcely, therefore, be called "counter-intuitive".
Fourth, IED would like to quote Kate once more, again in connection with "There Goes a Tenner", and again from the Baktabak interview. She has just been talking about how in the first part of the song the criminals are worried that something might go wrong. Kate then says:
"It's something that's perhaps not worth the effort because you could end up in jail for thirty years."
Now IED doesn't wish to put words into Kate's mouth, so he won't say Kate was definitely referring to the events as they occur (or are imagined) in the song. But Kate's comment sure makes it a damn sight harder for Doug to argue that the heroine of the song didn't have a thirty-year prison term in mind when she either lived or imagined the latter half of the song's story.
> (2) IED maintains that my theory can't be true because this is Kate's first bank robery. However, there is nothing in the song to indicate that this is Kate's first bank robbery.
First, it's by now clear from IED's re-posting of Kate's own comments about this song that the gang in "TGaT" were more or less amateurs who had not committed any serious crimes before. The whole point, as Kate clearly sees the song, is to show that this crime is the first "big" one the gang has committed. Beyond that, however, the gangmembers' silly behaviour in the early part of the song (acting like 30s gangster-picture actors) had always seemed to IED to be a way of indicating that these burglars were inexperienced and had a romantic, unrealistic view of the crime of burglary.
And in fact, precisely this point is expressed by Kate in the recently released Baktabak CD interview. In it she says that she had always been in disagreement with the popular notion that committing a crime is romantic and glamourous, and that on the contrary, she thought it must be extremely frightening when one actually got down to committing it. This, she said, was a major element in the song "TGaT".
> Furthermore, the line "Pockets floating in the breeze" shows that Kate has been witness to money floating in the wind in the past. This is true in either my or IED's theory. Now if IED's theory is correct, why is there money floating in the wind when Kate was a child? Clearly, Kate has burgled in the past.
Doug makes the obvious error of assuming the validity of his premises before they are proved. IED has shown that the description of "pockets floating in the breeze" is distinct in time from the image of money floating in the air (as described in the stanza immediately following, and as seen in the video with the adult gangmembers seeing the currency in the wind). Furthermore, the image of "pockets" floating in the breeze makes no reference to money that IED has ever been able to see! Rather, it seems much like the kind of wondering observation that a child might make as he/she is being carried around by her friend(s) -- which is the scene in which the image of floating pockets appears. The fact that the line is heard simultaneous with the scene of the adults running down a street in the video is perfectly in keeping with the feeling of "nostalgia" which Doug himself agrees is implied by the sepia tinting. There is, therefore, absolutely no contradiction in IED's interpretation, but there is a contradiction in Doug's.
> (3) IED maintains that the ending is happy. This would be very uncharacteristic of Kate. Kate is not one to tell a story where someone does something bad and ends up winning because of it. Kate seems to be a definite believer in the notion of Karma. Furthermore, the very ending of the song, "Remember them? That's when we used to vote for him?", is nostalgic. Why would Kate suddenly get nostalgic if at the moment, everything is better than ever. She wouldn't get nostalgic. The only explanation for this is that the ending is not all that happy.
So Kate just doesn't deal with subjects where the fate of a character is not somehow part of some great moral, or at least Karmic, plan? Aside from the fact that Kate has shown us time and time again that what she has done in the past is no indication that she will only do the same thing in the future, it's possible that Kate considers that a completed prison term is retribution enough for the crime, and that it's not too much to allow her amateur thieves to enjoy their money after paying such a high price. Besides, if the scene is imagined, the point is academic. So this objection really doesn't have much merit.
Doug's assumptions about what "messages" or "morals" Kate will or will not allow herself to make in her songs are quite unsuited to Kate, given the one consistent characteristic of her art: its essential unpredictibility. IED has also pointed out that since (according to IED's interpretation) the heroine (in fact or in imagination) has already served her sentence, it is not unreasonable for her to be seen in a sympathetic light enjoying the loot after the fact. That doesn't seem such a terrible "sin", or "breach of Karmic law", or whatever.
Next, IED can see no inconsistency between the remark about "voting for him" and the upbeat mood of the conclusion as IED interprets it. The final remark is an apparent outgrowth of the heroine's excited observation that the currency is now out-of-date. How does this in any way upset IED's interpretation? It doesn't.
Doug's last challenge, that IED explain the sepia in terms of his reading of the song, has already been faced. IED admits that the use of sepia for both the "Ooh, I remember" section and the "Ooh, there goes a Tenner!" section is a small (though not entirely inexplicable) inconsistency. It is the only one. As for the general phenomenon of the sepia in the last section, this fact is perfectly consistent with IED's reading of the song, as he has already shown above.
> It should be pretty clear by now that IED's theory is untennable.
Perhaps it should be, but in fact all that is clear is that IED is even more fussy about details than ever, and that it's Doug's fatally "simple" explanation that needs some work. IED did appreciate Doug's no doubt intentionally punny misspelling of the word "untenable", though.
> 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.
IED agrees 100% with Doug here -- the symbolism is unquestionably present in some songs, and Kate would almost certainly deny it if the interviewer couldn't devise some way to present the evidence so cunningly that she couldn't evade the subject (an impossible task). IED thinks it must be that she "refuses to tell anyone about it, because that would be giving it away." But one thing's for certain, and that is that at least some of her songs have a very deliberate, very specific symbolic significance that is so personal that no one outside the Bush family and immediate circle of friends could detect its presence.
> 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.
Oh, IED thinks you're probably right. He'd never get the truth out of her. As a matter of fact, it's this very song that IED knows contains at least one tiny bit of confirmed secret symbolism, so Doug is without a doubt on the money here. The only thing that isn't certain is whether the manner in which such questions are asked, and the atmosphere in which they are asked, might not affect the frankness and seriousness of her replies, at least in some degree.
-- Andrew Marvick
Date: 22 Nov 95 15:23:55 EST
From: Ronald.Girardin@Dartmouth.EDU (Ronald Girardin)
Subject: Whispering in There Goes a Tenner ??
Can someone decipher the whispering at 2:35 to 2:38 in There Goes A Tenner. Thanks
On to "Pull Out The Pin"
written by Love-Hounds
compiled and edited
Sept 1995 June 1996