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Stoned Obituary

This song is by The Legendary Pink Dots and appears on the album Kleine Krieg (1981) and on the album Curse (1983).

Lightning cracked a crooked cross across the sky above the cross where he'd
Been hanging for a day (he was stoned again!) The breeze grew ice threw
Knives blew halos hallowed cinders flew together made a cushion for his
Feet. There were spikes in his sandals, spikes in his ankles... A spike
Split the wood, syringed his vertabrae. Spikes in his shins in his chin in
His fingers... Amused apparitions hummed the Marsollaise. We had to look
Away, he seemed so fragile. We tried to offer him a cigarette but it was
Futile... no way through. The guards screamed "Front!", drew guns, splashed
Acid... so we retreated to the shadows squated low and said a prayer Cameras
Clicked out of sight there are fights, there were fanfares. Fireworks
Flashed across the cenotaph. Kiddies played in the pits, spitting crisps,
Licking icecreams. A spiv threw an auction for his autograph. I never
Thought it would finish quite this way. No resistance not a word to say but
Maybe we'll meet in heaven. We can talk about those good old days. I believe
(At least I WANT to believe)

The angels landed cleared their throats and chorused "Crown Him!" They
Poured a potion on his hair it nearly drowned him. Then they called a
Minute's silence. They called the clowns in and a cripple touched his foot
And did a cartwheel down the hill... turning once for his wisdom, twice for
The pearl moon. A third as the thief cried "It's judgement day." He rolled
His eyes, ripped his shirt rolled insane in the dirt. Applause ripped the
Heavens and blew the clouds away. The laughter died as schoolgirls passed
Around the tissues. Pretty patterns while a message said "We'll miss you.
Bless you. Bless your eyes." And the bell rang twice and we fell as his
Lips moved. We stared in stoney silence as the news guy scribbled furiously
Down his final words: "I made mistakes. I've been a fool. I tried hard byt
Never thought that what started so well could end in misery. But my motives
Were good. I thought you all understood... Just don't be hard when this day
Is cloaked in history. You mistrusted me? ...," And he died with his eyes
On... ash for ashes dust for dust a lust for dust a must for dust die with
Your eyes on...

Nomini magnus spiritus sancti filia

AnnotationsEdit

Stoned Obituary (1)


Lightning cracked a crooked cross

across the sky above the cross (2)

where he'd been hanging for a day

(he was stoned again!) (3)

The breeze grew ice threw knives, blew halos

hallowed cinders flew together

made a cushion for his feet.

There were spikes in his sandals, spikes in his ankles...

A spike split the wood, syringed his vertebrae.

Spikes in his shins, in his chin, in his fingers...(4)

Amused apparitions hummed the Marsellaise. (5)


We had to look away, he seemed so fragile.

We tried to offer him a cigarette but it was futile... no way through.

The guards screamed "Front!", drew guns, splashed acid...

so we retreated to the shadows

squated low and said a prayer

Cameras clicked out of sight

there are fights, there were fanfares.

Fireworks flashed across the cenotaph. (6)

Kiddies played in the pits,

spitting crisps, licking ice-creams. (7)

A spiv threw an auction for his autograph. (8)


I never thought it would finish quite this way.

No resistance, not a word to say

but maybe we'll meet in heaven.

We can talk about those good old days.

I believe (at least I WANT to believe) (9)


The angels landed, cleared their throats

and chorused "Crown Him!"

They poured a potion on his hair

it nearly drowned him.

Then they called a minute's silence.

They called the clowns in

and a cripple touched his foot

and did a cartwheel down the hill...

turning once for his wisdom,

twice for the pearl moon.

A third as the thief cried "It's judgement day."

He rolled his eyes, ripped his shirt

rolled insane in the dirt.

Applause ripped the heavens and blew the clouds away. (10)


The laughter died as schoolgirls passed around the tissues.

Pretty patterns while a message said

"We'll miss you. Bless you. Bless your eyes."

And the bell rang twice and we fell as his lips moved.

We stared in stoney silence (11)

as the news guy scribbled furiously

down his final words:

"I made mistakes. I've been a fool. (12)

I tried hard but never thought that what started so well could end in misery.

But my motives were good.

I thought you all understood...

Just don't be hard when this day is cloaked in history.

You mistrusted me? ..." (13)

And he died with his eyes on... (14)

ash for ashes, dust for dust,

a lust for dust, a must for dust, (15)

die with your eyes on...


(1) Edward Ka-Spel: "Childhood fantasy. I think I had scary dreams/fantasies in my early teenage years. I wrote an outline for this one when I was 13 and showed it to my mum who was horrified. The resulting lyric was refined around 10 years later"

Certainly there seems to be a play on words here as in "stoned by having stones thrown at one" or as in "stoned from smoking pot", (an activity which I am fairly certain quite a few Legendary Pink Dots fans have indulged in.)

(2) What great imagery here with multiple crosses, one formed of lightning and one made of wood(?) where this guy hangs. Is he hanging here because he's stoned? Does this cross represent something else? More on cross symbolism here:

Cross

(3) Again - is this someone who is high, or has just had rocks thrown at him?

(4) It seems to be awfully cold up there on that cross. Are these frozen spikes of ice being blown at him from a terrible wind? The use of spikes in this would seem to favor the idea of a heroin user. Certainly the song "Spike" from "Hallway of the Gods" is about heroin. Where are these hallowed cinders coming from? Are people lighting a holy fire beneath him?

(5) "La Marseillaise" is a song written and composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg on April 25, 1792. Its original name was "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Army of the Rhine") and it was dedicated to Marshal Nicolas Luckner, a Bavarian-born French officer from Cham. It became the rallying call of the French Revolution and received its name because it was first sung on the streets by volunteers (fédérés) from Marseille upon their arrival in Paris after a young volunteer from Montpellier called François Mireur had sung it at a patriotic gathering in Marseille. In 1879, "La Marseillaise" became the country's national anthem, and has remained so ever since. Whatever "apparitions" are attending this crucifixion, they are amused by it all and somehow humming the Marsellaise seems to amuse them all the more. Is it an ironic humming? That the rallying cry for a revolution is now being hummed at someone's execution? That the only way this person will revolutionize anything is through his own death?

Christianity was started by 11 men from a middle-eastern subject state.

(6) A cenotaph is a tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been interred elsewhere. The word derives from the Greek κενοτάϕιον (kenos, one meaning being "empty", and taphos, "tomb"). Although the vast majority of cenotaphs are erected in honour of individuals, many of the best-known cenotaphs are instead dedicated to the memories of groups of individuals, such as the war dead of one country or empire.

(7) Again, the imagery here is amazing. I love the way Edward mixes the past with the present, and the real with the surreal. A bit like Peter Gabriel in the song "Supper's Ready" from 1972's Foxtrot where he places the apocalypse in a modern time and not in some fantastic past. The feeling that the whole thing is turned into some kind of carnival event is captured fairly well in an early version of the song that can be found on the cd release of "Prayer for Aradia". Offering the condemned a cigarette, the splash of acid (what kind of acid?) from the guns of guards keeping the crowd distanced from the "main attraction", camera flashes going off, kids eating crackers and ice cream, fighting, fanfares, an autograph auction, clowns, schoolgirls passing out tissues, newsguys scribbling events down on their pads. It's all part and parcel of creating this scene which is happening in a more modern age than the Christ's crucifixion. (And yet, how much has actually changed since then?)

(8) A Spiv is one, usually unemployed, who lives by one's wits or who shirks work or responsibility; a slacker. British slang.

(9) This part of the lyrics takes place in a changed musical section denoting, perhaps, the change of perspective. Who is saying these lines? Is it a friend of the condemned? A follower? The figure being crucified? Whoever it is, they seem to be trying hard to get over their disbelief. Or perhaps they are employing a healthy skepticism about the whole thing...

(10) There are many appearances of angels in Edward's lyrics. I love how the ones here clear their throats before chorusing (as in a choir of angels) "Crown Him!" What could be in this potion they pour on his head that nearly drowns him? The angels then call a minute's silence so that the clowns can come in (don't they just always show up at this point?) Shades of "Send in the Clowns"?

"Send in the Clowns" is a song by Stephen Sondheim, from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music. It is a ballad from Act II in which the character Desirée reflects on the ironies and disappointments of her life. Among other things, she regrets having turned down a marriage offer 20 years earlier. Meeting him after so many years, she finds that he is now in an unconsummated marriage. She proposes to marry him, to rescue him from this situation, but he declines. Reacting to his rejection of her, she sings the song.

Also, clowns fit in with the general carnival atmosphere.

Then a cripple touches his foot which heals him - he can do cartwheels. This is probably a reference to Jesus' healing of the crippled man beside the pool called Bethesda, which is one of nine healing miracles involving water and one of seven performed on the Sabbath. Only the apostle John records it (John 5:1-16).

Each cartwheel has something attached to it.

1. The first is done for the wisdom of the crucified.

2. The second is for the Pearl Moon. This would appear to be a connection to the actual song "Pearl Moon."

Pearl Moon

I STOOD HERE, WHEN THIS CITY WAS A CAVE. FACE CONTORTED ANGRY EYES AFLAME... SPITTING VOWS I COULD NOT KEEP I'M ONE FOR THE PEARL MOON...... I SLEPT HERE... CAGED AND WEEPING IN THE WIND-UNDISTURBED THROUGH PILGRIMS CALLED MY NAME - I'M UNIMPRESSED BY CHILDREN'S CRIES. THEY CRIED FOR THE PEARL MOON! I WILL LEAD HERE. I'LL SMASH YOUR CITIES. I'LL BREAK YOUR WALLS. I'VE GOT NO MERCY ALTHOUGH YOU BEG ME TO STOP - BECAUSE I'VE WAITED FAR TOO LONG. TOO LONG FOR THE PEARL MOON.

Imagery of Pearls and Moons abound in Edward's lyrics. To throw your pearls [of wisdom] before swine is a biblical saying. "The world is an oyster and we are it's precious pearls" is a line from the album "The Golden Age." "We cradle the Moon in case she stops" is a line from "From Here You'll Watch the World Go By" and "I'm perplexed by the light from your Moon" is a line from Chemical Playschool 8-9. I think the general idea here is that the Pearl is something precious and perfect, and that the Moon represents the feminine side of things, so perhaps the Pearl Moon is the perfect woman?

3. The last cartwheel happens when a theif cries out "It's Judgement Day!"

This seems to be a reference to the theif crucified next to Jesus. We learn in Mark that Jesus was crucified with two thieves (Mark 15:27). And he said unto Jesus, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:42-43) The meaning of this is debated, but generally seems to indicate the universal forgiveness of Christ.

It is unclear whether it is the healed cripple or the theif who then rolls his eyes, rips his shirt, and rolls insane in the dirt.

The crowd like it though, and the applause actually rips into the fabric of heaven and blows the clouds away...

(11) Stoney is a variant on Stony, which means: Exhibiting no feeling or warmth; impassive: a stony expression. A nice reference to the song title. Also, it could mean that the audience is simply high...

(12) These words scribbled down by the newsguy are clearly represented as belonging to the crucified. There could be a connection with the idea of "The Fool" on the album "Aazyhd China Doll" by Edward Ka-Spel.

(13) The crucified person asks "You mistrusted me?" as if this is something the world shouldn't have done...

(14) To die with your eyes on was apparently an old Celtic battle cry that meant to keep your wits about you when you went into battle. In a more esoteric way, it could mean to stay aware when undergoing the ego death of a psychedelic experience.

(15) A lust and a must for dust is definitely some kind of drug reference. A song on the album "The Tower" is called "A Lust for Powder", and it seems that one of the tools of choice of the time period were things like cocaine and methamphetamines.

The final words of the piece are indeed "Nomini Patri spiritus sancti et filia", which is basically latin for: In the name of the Father, the Holy Ghost, and Daughter. Then "Christos", which is Christ.

Video InterpretationsEdit

Stoned Obituary (Edit)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0K7QxQqL1I

External links