Friday, January 16, 2004


A comment by Nora below which referenced the Procol Harum in Chaucer
We been bresting to axe what happened when the Miller told his tale?
led boynton to post lyrics from the missing verse of A Whiter Shade of Pale.
"My mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head"

which just shows you how well boynton knows the song.
Whose meaning has always been elusive (as the many different interpretations by Palers gathered here indicate)
Perhaps best summed up here:

I don't know the meaning of the song but was once told that if I met someone who does, to ask for a glass of whatever they are drinking

Turns out The Miller may not reference Chaucer anyway, according to its lyricist
'One thing people always get wrong is that line about the Miller's Tale. I've never read Chaucer in my life. They're right off the track there.' Why did he put it in then? (In mild dismay at the peremptory demolition of this intellectual prop.) 'I can't remember

Maybe it works just as well sung as a mistake...
Personally As the mirror told its tale works for me. Wa la wa.

The mistakes page is from a site devoted to AWSOP with mp3s of over 200 cover versions - where I see that it has been translated into Norwegian and Czech.
But sadly not Middle English.
The best I could do was the Google Translator Poem technique advanced by Gummo, where the English-German-English produced this:

And like that it was that later,
since that explained Miller its history,
which its face, at first straight ghostly,
turned a whiter colour of slats

Comments: paler

I was always under the impression "as the mirror told its (or his) tale" was the correct lyric. I like it a lot better, to be honest...
Posted by James Russell at January 16, 2004 05:45 PM

It makes sense as a song about getting totally blotto and doing and saying silly things. Hence the feelings of seasickness, the incoherence of the narrative in the second staza and so on. It's the perfect morning after "Oh my god, I can't believe I did/said that" song.
Posted by Gummo Trotsky at January 16, 2004 08:53 PM

See your AWSOP and raise you a Pandora's can of MacArthur Park worms ...

"All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again"

or as the ESL translator clarifies it ...

"Glaçage soft and green whole number that functions for low,
Left somebody the cakes under the rain
I do not think of that I can make examination thus
The cause it done examination that left to cook it the long time
And in the furnace that this income never will have me still"
Posted by Sedgwick at January 17, 2004 07:02 AM

I agree James. Don't know if I'd like to see the tales it would tell after one of those seasick nights that Gummo describes. And again I think I prefer the line: "one of 16 Austin virgins" in the second stanza. I think Austin aids the comprehension.

Mr S, I had a Boomer friend who used to get all misty eyed about MacArthur Park. He would recite this very verse and weep. I could never get past the 'Glaçage soft and green' ingredient myself even when I done examination thus.
I really like Jimmy Webb's own rendition on '10 eay pieces' though, but alas, the epiphany in the recipe has so far eluded me. Maybe I've just never made the right cake.
Posted by boynton at January 17, 2004 04:12 PM

I believe it is possible to read much magical, mystical and spooky into Mac Park after this experience. (All true, I swear on the soul of Richard Harris.)

Two tours ago Jimmy Webb was in Melbourne the very day that was published in my old gig in the Sun Hun. (Absolute coincidence as the stuff had to be in well advance of publication)

Anyhow to cut a long story long, he thought it was one of the funniest things he had seen about Mac Park (thereby proving that being a successful muso doesn't ensure a good critical sense of humour) and subsequently put the cartoon up on his old webbsite.

Bartering ensued. He now has the coloured original of this and I have a signed copy of "10 Easy Chunks".

Needless to say I got far the better of the exchange.
Posted by Sedgwick at January 17, 2004 05:10 PM

Wow. That takes the proverbial...
Love the toon. Love the album.

Posted by boynton at January 17, 2004 05:19 PM

"10 eay pieces"

No doubt the origin of the saying "eay peay". Appropriate when you're talking about records. And the Austin would no doubt be the Heay Leay.
Posted by Tony.T at January 17, 2004 05:27 PM

Posted by boynton at January 18, 2004 06:19 PM

Boyntssssssssssssss, (sibilance to the max please) the innocent flower or the serpent under't?
Posted by Sedgwick at January 18, 2004 07:01 PM

the very essence of the sibilance is this mystery?

alas, mr ..., miss b's hiss is worse than her diss
Posted by boynton at January 18, 2004 09:28 PM

This is the song formerly known as "How Soon Is Now" by The Smiths:

I its D Sohn and D inheritance
of shyness its criminally more vulgaer
I its D Sohn and inheritance
of nothing in particular

you close their opening
as can you say
I to go about thing D wrongly way
I to be human and I to have have love
gerad like everyone to be otherwise

there club if you to become liking to go
you can meet someone material love you
you to go in such a way and you stand on your self
and you leave on your self
and you go home and you cry and you wish to die

if you to say it being to go to happened now
wells if exactly you central to
see I to have already wait also long
and all my one goes to hope

The line "you close their opening" summons up images I wish it wouldn't summon up. And "you can meet someone material love you"? Does that mean they'll only love you for your material goods, not your inner beauty or anything like that?
Posted by James Russell at January 19, 2004 04:33 PM

"You close their opening" Sales talk isn't it, James.
"you can meet someone material love you?" sounds more ontological, like real vs cyber?
Or it could mean material as in a bolt.
apart from the maginificent first and last lines, I think the "material" verse is the one that really stood out as being "modernist" (as Gummo might say)
Posted by boynton at January 19, 2004 05:45 PM

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