The Meaning Of The Riddle

July 23, 2009 at 14:46 1 comment

Nik Kershaw’s The Riddle (not to be confused with Five For Fighting’s identically-named but totally-different song) has always been a bit of an oldies favourite of mine, because of it’s winding Irishy tune and wacked-out lyrics. I never succeeded in memorizing those crazy lyrics, but thought them quite fascinating.

I got two strong arms blessings of babylon
with time to carry on and try
for sins and false alarms
so to america the brave

wise men save
near a tree by a river
there’s a hole in the ground
where an old man of aran
goes around and around
and his mind is a beacon
in the veil of the night
for a strange kind of fashion
there’s a wrong and a right

i got plans for us
nights in the scullery
and days instead of me
i only know what to discuss
of for anything but light
wise men fighting over you

it’s not me you see
pieces of valentine
with just a song of mine
to keep from burning history
seasons of gasoline and gold

wise men fold
near a tree by a river
there’s a hole in the ground
where an old man of aran
goes around and around
and his mind is a beacon
in the veil of the night
for a strange kind of fashion
there’s a wrong and a right
but he’ll never, never fight over you

i got time to kill
sly looks in corridors
without a plan of yours
a blackbird sings on bluebird hill
thanks to the calling of the wild wise mens child. 

Weird, aren’t they? So weird that they take on this uber-cool unfathomable poetry sort of appeal.

But guess what. They don’t mean anything at all. Nik Kershaw had only intended them to be a rough lyric guide, just to have something to sing out while the song was still under construction. But he never came up with anything that fitted better, so he simply bunged on an intriguing title and released the song.

Then his record company, MCA, hurled the shit at the fan by announcing a competition, inviting listeners to submit their thoughts on what the song meant. Without telling him. The next thing that happened was that people started getting very interested, and submitted all sorts of  mini-theses and novellas about their interpretations. And then there was no way for him to break the news without pissing everybody off.

There is a life lesson in this. It’s that you don’t always need to know what’s going on. You just need to blow enough smoke with flair. And hope that no one seriously takes you for the real thing.


Entry filed under: Dear Diary. Tags: .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. zensojourner  |  July 24, 2009 at 16:26

    Yup. Its how those mountain hermits get away with it. Or how antediluvian farmers at fruit farms attempt to get away with it.


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Welcome to my blog!

My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

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I started my first photoblog on 3 May, 2009. Each post features one picture, with a little story of how it came about. Do take a look by clicking on: Manx Pictures
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Don’t say I didn’t say this…

Disclaimers: 1) I cannot help but bitch about work sometimes, but everything here comes under the realm of personal remarks, and nothing here is said in my professional capacity. Nor does anything here reflect the opinion of the institutions that employ me. This is just me shooting off. 2) Most identities have been anonymized, particularly those of folks I know on a personal basis. Same goes for my workplaces. However, commercial and public places and figures remain named. Otherwise some things just wouldn't make sense. 3) Links and sources have been provided where appropriate and possible. They are not meant to challenge anyone's ownership. If this causes any discomfort or offence, please let me know.


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