Ribbons

Got any interesting thoughts on a set of lyrics? Any that don't involve the word "indeed"? Find yourself struggling to decipher all those obtuse references Von makes? Read "1959 And All That" and still no clearer? Postcards found lying in a skip around the back of the Chemists can be found here... Don't say you weren't warned.
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Little_Sister wrote:Tie a red, red, red, red, red ribbon

in east asia it is believed that soulmates are connected by an unvisible red string. it´s tied to their fingers or ankles.

because :von: studied chinese i thougt he might knew of this belief and used it in his song.

what do you think?
An example of this is also in the Takeshi Kitano masterpiece "Dolls" - a whole segment is devoted to this as a visual theme.........
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I always hoped that ribbons was about looking good in some nice pretty, er, ribbons and secretly wondered whether it was some weird fetish or bondage thing ...

When I read the inside of the re-released Vision Thing and it talked about the lyric 'she looked good in ribbons' being 'pathological' it got me thinking again: I wondered whether it was about being cut up into ribbons (hence reference to the red colour of the ribbons and the rather eerie lyric 'I was thinking about her skin').

I'm kind of creeped out that so many other people think the same to the extent that it may be a valid interpretation of what the song is about. It kind of crosses the line for me to be honest - not a fan of violent imagery against women. Also, does the narrator believe the object of his desire is simply too stupid to get 'Marx and Engels?' If she's dead tho', I guess the 'God & Angels' bit makes a bit more sense.

This said, the line 'love is a many splintered thing' kind of suggests that the narrator of the song is also emotionally in pieces.

Anyway, I once got an Xmas card with some cute black labrador puppies in a basket, with red bows around their neck and the caption 'they looked good in ribbons'. *Thinks about this instead.*

Oh no - the live version of 'Ribbons' is now playing on my stereo (so creepy) ...
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Because of the lines:

"I tried to tell her
about Marx and Engels, God and Angels
I don't really know what for"

And:

"tie a red red red red red red ribbon"

I had the absurd idea for a minute, before shaking it off, that it was about getting off on prostitutes dressed in nothing but communist flags, which are red after all. :urff: :lol:
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It's a close call, but I think I prefer the above to the woman being chopped up interpretation ... :lol:
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And then we might read the red ribbon as a red light as saying "don´t you come back", as Patsy looked so good "in ribbons", read as slim, before eating all the pies?
Could the line be as mean?


Erm, couldn´t it?

A friend of mine spontaneously associated girl/woman in the song with mother russia.
The cobalt bomb topic has me thinking of the doomsday device in Dr. Strangelove now. Associations I got when reading through this thread.
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I've just been to the dentist, who has a picture of the night sky with stars and stuff on the ceiling above the couch.

As I was, er... lying on my back, while a mysterious masked woman inserted various implements and machinery into my mouth, I couldn't help thinking of this song.
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I always think of "Lady Godiva's Operation" when I'm in such a situation. :urff:
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Most of the posts on page 1 of this thread were made simultaneously on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am - 20 years before the song was even written!
Any more of that and we'll be round your front door with the quick-setting whitewash and the shaved monkey.
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stufarq wrote:Most of the posts on page 1 of this thread were made simultaneously on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am - 20 years before the song was even written!
hey cool, either all are phychic or time travel is possible :D
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The following excerpt is from "The m*****n - Names Are For Tombstones, Baby" by Martin Roach (page 22). It's about the Sisters Of Mercy on tour:

"At one gig in Liverpool Hussey and Adams greedily drank a bottle of home-made wine proffered by a fan's father. The following morning Hussey woke up in a strange room stark naked except for a ribbon around his dick."

That explains the song's subject sufficiently, I think.
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Flowers on the razor wire? Ouch!
Any more of that and we'll be round your front door with the quick-setting whitewash and the shaved monkey.
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This song is one of my favorites (I haven't introduced myself in the main forum--it would likely be boring) so here I'm motivated to be pretentious and comment on the blue/red aspect since it seemed kind of familiar, bringing in synesthesia. In a short story by Hermann Hesse his main character "observed the coloured figures full of meaning which appeared to him out of the purple darkness when he closed his eyes, spots and half circles of blue and deep red with glassy bright lines between." He sometimes realized the interconnections between eye and ear ..."tones, noises, and letters of the alphabet related and very similar to red and blue...."

About the "Incoming!" ? I couldn't decided whether this was from the crazy condescending protaganist's past (incoming mortar fire, for example) that recurs only for him or is an indefinite future threat (atomic blast--we're all gonna die, let's have a great party anyway with cobalt all around us).

Well, the poor woman ended up dead in ribbons as far as I can tell, but there's always a silver lining--at least she didn't have to listen to any more blather about Marxist theory, etc. etc., which, if she had seemed responsive (intellectually, yes), could have easily moved on to anarcho-syndicalism.
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... :lol: ... welcome Kosha ...

well as to Incoming ... I understand this as the final conclusion from Nine While Nine ... late, but hell ... ;D :lol: ...
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I think Ribbons is simply about indulgence in murderous fantasies and cold, brutal self-assertion, coupled with the frustrations of having to... uh, deal with a stupid woman, with some war and apocalypse thrown in. :von:

Of course, the calculating frenzy of the music goes perfectly with this feeling.

It's just an utterly fantastic lyric but I don't think there is a deeper meaning to this one. It's more about the moment, the emotions, the imagery than about taking a stand on some specific issue.
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Gosh, it never occurred to me the subject was murdered.
I always figured the song was about me.

I created this one outfit, see?
In reds & black accents & lots & lots of red ribbons.
And when I left ones' presence
all you could think of was, "Ribbonsss... ... ..."

And the "I tried to tell her..." part,
That's b'cos he didn't think I was very bright.

And the "flowers on the razor wire"
that's b'cos I'd woven silk flowers into, throughout & around
the razor wire lining top of the brick wall surrounding the house.
(The point of the razor wire piece was to show the parallel
of beautifying the industrial & industrializing beauty.)

Now, I must point out here, that if I've ever met him,
I have no knowledge or recollection of it.
I'm visually impaired, so, even if I were face to face in conversation with him,
I wouldn't know it, without introduction.

So, the song probably isn't really about me.
But, I like to pretend that it is.

;D
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Little_Sister wrote:Tie a red, red, red, red, red ribbon

in east asia it is believed that soulmates are connected by an unvisible red string. it´s tied to their fingers or ankles.

because :von: studied chinese i thougt he might knew of this belief and used it in his song.

what do you think?
Image

Also in Japanese lore too - a prime example in Dolls, the Takeshi Kitano film.
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If we take it that Andrew has running themes through his lyrics (i.e drowing = Marian / flood 1 & 2), then isn't it possible that Ribbons follows on from Dominion/Mother Russia!
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matthewbanks wrote:If we take it that Andrew has running themes through his lyrics (i.e drowing = Marian / flood 1 & 2), then isn't it possible that Ribbons follows on from Dominion/Mother Russia!
If I were an English teacher, I'd make you write a paper on that.
...and some of us wandered off entirely on purpose.
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I might just do that & post it on here - what an essay that would be ;-)
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I like this song, personally one of my favourites if not one of the best of the recent period.

My understanding of the song was along political lines, ie the divide of east vs west and the Berlin Wall "Flowers on the razorwire"
The girl in the song refers to a prostitute, to whom he is trying to explain the complexities of politics but at the end of the day its pointless and she looks good in ribbons...
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Elfeyth wrote:I always hoped that ribbons was about looking good in some nice pretty, er, ribbons and secretly wondered whether it was some weird fetish or bondage thing ...

When I read the inside of the re-released Vision Thing and it talked about the lyric 'she looked good in ribbons' being 'pathological' it got me thinking again: I wondered whether it was about being cut up into ribbons (hence reference to the red colour of the ribbons and the rather eerie lyric 'I was thinking about her skin').

I'm kind of creeped out that so many other people think the same to the extent that it may be a valid interpretation of what the song is about. It kind of crosses the line for me to be honest - not a fan of violent imagery against women. Also, does the narrator believe the object of his desire is simply too stupid to get 'Marx and Engels?' If she's dead tho', I guess the 'God & Angels' bit makes a bit more sense.

This said, the line 'love is a many splintered thing' kind of suggests that the narrator of the song is also emotionally in pieces.

Anyway, I once got an Xmas card with some cute black labrador puppies in a basket, with red bows around their neck and the caption 'they looked good in ribbons'. *Thinks about this instead.*

Oh no - the live version of 'Ribbons' is now playing on my stereo (so creepy) ...
I mostly agree with you, with this song being an absolute favourite of mine, sexy as hell!

For me this song is about LUST - the imagery of ribbons is sort of S&M (bondaging), and I also agree with the part referring to this girl being not very bright, but still attractive.
"Pathological" may just mean fetishism or S&M, but I don't think it's about chopping up someone! :eek: "Thinking about her skin": hm... well, skin just feels nice, that's all.

Flowers on a razorwire: the beauty and sweetness of a woman meeting A's spikey character, perhaps.
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Tie a red, red, red, red, red ribbon
A contrast to the paean to American values, Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree

gypsies used to wear red ribbons as a sign of mourning. Occasionally they used to tie them too, around trees and such
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paint it black wrote:Tie a red, red, red, red, red ribbon
A contrast to the paean to American values, Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree

gypsies used to wear red ribbons as a sign of mourning. Occasionally they used to tie them too, around trees and such
Now I'm picturing Von doing the Brotherhood of Man dance.
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wow, sometimes one wishes we could redact old posts. :lol:

Has anyone read A Many-Splendoured Thing? The writer Han Suyin was a supporter of the Communists in China, but I'm not familiar with any of her works.

Edit: and the book is supposed to be partly autobiographical; Suyin's husband died in the Korean War, which apparently figures into the story.
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