When we're in your scholarly room...

Codreanu

Ohimè.
Tonight, I was finishing Lorenzo: D.H. Lawrence and the Women who Loved Him by Emily Hahn and noted the following passage on pg. 248 ...

"Back in the Villa Bernarda, Frieda was not as quiet and friendly as Lawrence seemed to think. She was happy to be with the girls, but when she got a card from Lawrence that might well have been an olive branch -- a picture of Jonah threatened by a whale, with the message, "Who is going to swallow whom?" -- she may have smiled, but she did not relax. She was still angry."

P.S. speaking of literary references, concerning Ringleader, has anyone remarked Goethe's famous exclamation upon entering Rome: "Nun bin ich endlich geboren!" ("At last I am born!")?

I've used both the search function on this and the main site, in addition to a key-words search on Google, and found no mention of this.

Be gentle. :o

EDIT: thought I would give the primary source of the quote: Not I But the Wind... by Frieda Lawrence, pg. 181

Now, given A Boy In The Bush is the title of a book by D.H.L., what are the odds of the above being, indeed, the primary source of Mozzer's lyric?
 
Last edited:

The Cat's Mother

Unmentionable
Tonight, I was finishing Lorenzo: D.H. Lawrence and the Women who Loved Him by Emily Hahn and noted the following passage on pg. 248 ...

"Back in the Villa Bernarda, Frieda was not as quiet and friendly as Lawrence seemed to think. She was happy to be with the girls, but when she got a card from Lawrence that might well have been an olive branch -- a picture of Jonah threatened by a whale, with the message, "Who is going to swallow whom?" -- she may have smiled, but she did not relax. She was still angry."

Oops! Genius caught red-handed again. :D
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
That's a great find. Thanks for sharing.

I think there's no doubt those quotations should be added to the "official" list of Morrissey's borrowings, although part of me thinks there might have been an intermediate stage on its way to Morrissey's pen-- another, more accessible writer who had read Hahn's book, perhaps one of the feminist writers he admired (a review when it was published, maybe?). Same with Goethe. I imagine Morrissey "collected" that one second hand in Rome. But no way to prove that, just a gut feeling I have.

Assuming Morrissey did borrow these two quotations for songs at opposite ends of his career, I think it's an interesting indication that he still writes today the way he did as a young man. From the standpoint of construction his lyrics are a uniquely personal alchemy of direct and indirect thefts from artistic inspirations. By the same token, it shows how his writing has changed. The words to "Handsome Devil" are much more vibrant, allusive, and playful than "At Last I Am Born", and yet the latter seems less like a provocative collage: more reflective, streamlined, intimate but not as intricate. You feel you have more of a direct access to what's going on in his heart with his recent songs, at the expense of some of the wonderful wordplay found in his earlier ones.
 

dazzak

New Member
I've discovered stuff too, I just don't create threads about it. For instance, nobody's ever mentioned the remarkable musical and lyrical similarities between "National Front Disco" and Simply Red's "Fairground" - both are classics of the white supremacist dance pop genre.

"Our Frank" is a rather overt nod to Anne Frank and her tendency to talk that teeny bit too loudly (look where that got her). She even mocks Hitler's dress sense - once mentioning a "vulgar red jumper" - in her more acidic entries.

"That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" is shockingly overlooked in the references stakes, even though it's clearly about Morrissey's short-lived friendship with Working Men's club favourite Jim Davidson in the mid-80s. They shared a common love for the England of the past, but Morrissey eventually tired of Davidson's stale wisecracks. The "cold leather seats" line is an obvious allusion to their many arguments over the ginger one's love of said animal product.

"Sheila Take A Bow" is the one I'm most proud of and, being an expert on India, one I'm sure no one else has copped on to. For those of you who don't know, the song's an ode to Sheila Dikshit, member of the Indian National Congress and chairperson of the Indian Young Women's Association during Morrissey's youth. She was instrumental in setting up, not one, but two hostels for working women in Delhi in the 1970s. This line from her memoirs - Sheila Dikshit: More Than A Woman (Penguin, 1982) - proves my theory: "And then I told the women - the ones I alway referred to as 'dears' - to kick the grime of this world in the crotch". Another example of Morrissey championing deserving unknowns.
 

Uncleskinny

It's all good
Subscriber
I've discovered stuff too, I just don't create threads about it. For instance, nobody's ever mentioned the remarkable musical and lyrical similarities between "National Front Disco" and Simply Red's "Fairground" - both are classics of the white supremacist dance pop genre.

"Our Frank" is a rather overt nod to Anne Frank and her tendency to talk that teeny bit too loudly (look where that got her). She even mocks Hitler's dress sense - once mentioning a "vulgar red jumper" - in her more acidic entries.

"That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" is shockingly overlooked in the references stakes, even though it's clearly about Morrissey's short-lived friendship with Working Men's club favourite Jim Davidson in the mid-80s. They shared a common love for the England of the past, but Morrissey eventually tired of Davidson's stale wisecracks. The "cold leather seats" line is an obvious allusion to their many arguments over the ginger one's love of said animal product.

"Sheila Take A Bow" is the one I'm most proud of and, being an expert on India, one I'm sure no one else has copped on to. For those of you who don't know, the song's an ode to Sheila Dikshit, member of the Indian National Congress and chairperson of the Indian Young Women's Association during Morrissey's youth. She was instrumental in setting up, not one, but two hostels for working women in Delhi in the 1970s. This line from her memoirs - Sheila Dikshit: More Than A Woman (Penguin, 1982) - proves my theory: "And then I told the women - the ones I alway referred to as 'dears' - to kick the grime of this world in the crotch". Another example of Morrissey championing deserving unknowns.

Have you thought of a career in journalism? You'd be brilliant.

Peter
 

Kewpie

Member
Moderator
Subscriber
Thank you very much for sharing these fabulous findings.
You're million times better than lazy journalists.;)
 

fortbethel

Junior Member
Codreanu, GR8 research! :)

Gosh, now that line, 'Whom will swallow whom' made me run a stop sign when I first heard it! ONLY Morrissey!
 

wolve

the sad punk
Tonight, I was finishing Lorenzo: D.H. Lawrence and the Women who Loved Him by Emily Hahn and noted the following passage on pg. 248 ...

"Back in the Villa Bernarda, Frieda was not as quiet and friendly as Lawrence seemed to think. She was happy to be with the girls, but when she got a card from Lawrence that might well have been an olive branch -- a picture of Jonah threatened by a whale, with the message, "Who is going to swallow whom?" -- she may have smiled, but she did not relax. She was still angry."


So whenever we listen to Handsome Devil we have to imagine Jonah and the whale? :eek:
(glad this doesn't change a thing to the "context" of the song)


VERY nice founds!
(love the one too from dazzak about Sheila!)
 

Nikita

Senior Member
Actually, The National front disco melody was taken from Etienne Daho's Bleu comme toi, if you listen to both songs, and Alan Whyte never denied he knew Bleu comme toi, it is quite obvious
 

arielms

Junior Member
I've discovered stuff too, I just don't create threads about it. For instance, nobody's ever mentioned the remarkable musical and lyrical similarities between "National Front Disco" and Simply Red's "Fairground" - both are classics of the white supremacist dance pop genre.

"Sheila Take A Bow" is the one I'm most proud of and, being an expert on India, one I'm sure no one else has copped on to. For those of you who don't know, the song's an ode to Sheila Dikshit, member of the Indian National Congress and chairperson of the Indian Young Women's Association during Morrissey's youth. She was instrumental in setting up, not one, but two hostels for working women in Delhi in the 1970s. This line from her memoirs - Sheila Dikshit: More Than A Woman (Penguin, 1982) - proves my theory: "And then I told the women - the ones I alway referred to as 'dears' - to kick the grime of this world in the crotch". Another example of Morrissey championing deserving unknowns.

Though I agree this is a brilliant find and well worthy of praise, I doubt "Sheila Take A Bow" is exclusively about Sheila Dikshit. Shelagh Delaney, as we all know, was another of Moz's heroes and of course appeared on a few Smiths record covers. She was also "so young" when she began to write "words so sad." Also, as I am sure we all know, Sheila, is British slang for woman, so it could be more general. I think as per usual with Moz, the song is about multiple people/things/references at once.

I just felt the need to point that out..though it is probably obvious.
 

bikubesong

sober and in celibacy
I've discovered stuff too, I just don't create threads about it. For instance, nobody's ever mentioned the remarkable musical and lyrical similarities between "National Front Disco" and Simply Red's "Fairground" - both are classics of the white supremacist dance pop genre.

"Our Frank" is a rather overt nod to Anne Frank and her tendency to talk that teeny bit too loudly (look where that got her). She even mocks Hitler's dress sense - once mentioning a "vulgar red jumper" - in her more acidic entries.

"That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore" is shockingly overlooked in the references stakes, even though it's clearly about Morrissey's short-lived friendship with Working Men's club favourite Jim Davidson in the mid-80s. They shared a common love for the England of the past, but Morrissey eventually tired of Davidson's stale wisecracks. The "cold leather seats" line is an obvious allusion to their many arguments over the ginger one's love of said animal product.

"Sheila Take A Bow" is the one I'm most proud of and, being an expert on India, one I'm sure no one else has copped on to. For those of you who don't know, the song's an ode to Sheila Dikshit, member of the Indian National Congress and chairperson of the Indian Young Women's Association during Morrissey's youth. She was instrumental in setting up, not one, but two hostels for working women in Delhi in the 1970s. This line from her memoirs - Sheila Dikshit: More Than A Woman (Penguin, 1982) - proves my theory: "And then I told the women - the ones I alway referred to as 'dears' - to kick the grime of this world in the crotch". Another example of Morrissey championing deserving unknowns.
Thank you! Very interesting..!
 

nightandday

New Member
Though I agree this is a brilliant find and well worthy of praise, I doubt "Sheila Take A Bow" is exclusively about Sheila Dikshit. Shelagh Delaney, as we all know, was another of Moz's heroes and of course appeared on a few Smiths record covers. She was also "so young" when she began to write "words so sad." Also, as I am sure we all know, Sheila, is British slang for woman, so it could be more general. I think as per usual with Moz, the song is about multiple people/things/references at once.

I just felt the need to point that out..though it is probably obvious.
So people actually took dazzak's post seriously?? :confused: :confused:
 

Sonar

That's what I'm not
P.S. speaking of literary references, concerning Ringleader, has anyone remarked Goethe's famous exclamation upon entering Rome: "Nun bin ich endlich geboren!" ("At last I am born!")?


I'm totally impressed Cod. Although I can't decide who should be adored more: you or Morrissey. In dubio pro the one who wants to be adored;)
However "At last I am born" is a shitty translation of Goethes exclamation that is much more life-affirmative and effusive (if that's an english expression, I'm not sure). In Mozzas case it's more like: "Okay, this is the final hour but, well, thank god at last..." (I'm exaggerating here). Bot some Italian forumist mentioned before that those lines on the cover of Ringleader are not idiomatic so... in fact that's a little strange because I always thought cocky Morrissey would be somebody to double-check if there are any mistakes, ask three experts in romance studies, Visconti and Umberto Eco if available;) Because really: it's embarrassing.
 

Yann

Junior Member
Who is going to swallow whom : the sentence could be found in many books i'm sure.
It reminds me of Basic Instinct in which these lyrics could be heard : "that joke isn't funny anymore", "So what difference does it make?" and "let me kiss you". But that's not enough to make any inter-textual comments. It just mean that whatever we watch or listen to, we are obsessed by Moz.
 

nightandday

New Member
Who is going to swallow whom : the sentence could be found in many books i'm sure.
It reminds me of Basic Instinct in which these lyrics could be heard : "that joke isn't funny anymore", "So what difference does it make?" and "let me kiss you". But that's not enough to make any inter-textual comments. It just mean that whatever we watch or listen to, we are obsessed by Moz.
Well, if it's such a common phrase, name another book with that sentence?

Not to mention that 'A boy in the bush', as Cod already said, is the title of A Lawrence novel, and that Handsome Devil has a very Lawrencian theme (celebration of sexuality and instinctive behaviour).

It's not like it's that hard to imagine that Morrissey might have been aware of Lawrence-related facts like that, is it? Lawrence is an English literary classic, not a late 20th century Estonian cult author admired strictly in intellectual avantgarde circles. :p
 

Busy Clippers

New Member
I think I'm showing exceptional restraint with respect to the subject matter of this thread. I will remain on my best behavior, slither back into the Off Topic gutter where I came from, and never return here again. Good Day! :p
 
Last edited:

Yann

Junior Member
Well Nightandday... That's ok if are touchy and not sceptic enough but you have a twisted mind as well : as you could imagine, I don't spend my time searching for morrissey's lyrics in books.
But if you're bored by night : have a go via any litterary software research to be certain. Maybe you can find it in Moby dick too. Anyway : the quote from Sheila looks more obvious (if it is not a hoax).
 
Top Bottom