Sticks In The Air / Pino / Quadrophenia

Tom Fency tomfency at
Thu Jun 10 19:59:10 CDT 2004

Yes, I totally agree with you. The spiritual quest isn't over in 
Quadrophenia. Actually, after he ended up with the preacherit's, and  tell 
an authoritative God to "Fuck off!" at the drop of a hat, it's when the 
spiritual quest really begins...
IMO Quadrophenia represents the end of illusions, mainly all those teenage 
illusions. In Jimmy's case mainly the necessity of being accepted by the mod 
gang. In order to do so, he gets out of home, got drugged, fight rockers, 
everything. But in the end he discovers that all were in vain, all got 
messed up, and your hero is nothing more than a drunk bell boy. And 
therefore, when the illusions burst out, he gives up of being a mod (is that 
the meaninf of the motrobike in the sea?) and start his life as an adult. 
Quadrophenia is a little autobiographic too, so to start an adult life to 
Jimmy is, like Pete, to ask Love reigns o'er him. Love as a mystical 
dimension, a state of being. If this resembles God or not, this is another 
completely different story, as we see here...


>From: "simon malia" <malias40 at>
>Reply-To: The Who Mailing List <thewho at>
>To: thewho at
>Subject: Sticks In The Air / Pino / Quadrophenia Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2004 
>20:53:05 +0000
>> >???
>>Got a question?
>> >Simon's been on the list for quite some time.
>>Ummm, .... I meant today!
>>Simon from Liverpool has been here for a while?
>>I read every post!  How can that be??
>>You need to post more, Simon!
>Well, I've been aboard this particular "Magic Bus" since early 98. I don't 
>post much here - and even less  frequently on O&S - mainly due to pressure 
>of time - and also, I'm not exactly the most forward of blokes either.
>Besides, though my wife would disagree, I'm not utterly obsessed with The 
>Who. (Yeaaaaahhhh - ok, that may be a bit of a white lie!)
>>I have no idea what's going on with Pino's volume.  Despite Pete's post
>>that he asked Pino to play as loudly as he could bear (2002), many
>>people reported it being too low for their taste.  Even if he *is*
>>playing as loud as he can, only two nights ago someone reported
>>standing in front of him during a show and being unable to hear him.
>That would be me then. Actually, at one point I was right next to the 
>speakers (they're no longer really a stack), and although I feared a 
>*little* for my aged ears, I needn't have worried about them being blasted 
>to bits by bass-notes... Pino chugs along, and his contribution can felt - 
>but that's about it. And his run during "My Generation" was a bit 
>perfunctory as well.
>>On top of that, his setup doesn't produce the higher frequencies, so
>>he's mostly a subaudible rumble.  But it's not just volume alone that
>>counts, it's skill as well.  I understand that he can play, but his
>>setup makes it nearly impossible to tell.
>Hear, hear (pun fully intended).
>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Scott Schrade"
>> > What's so spiritual about QUADROPHENIA?
>>Not a great deal, I think.  Except...
>> > > Drowned is indeed a spiritual song.
>> >
>> > It's more suicidal than spiritual, IMO.
>>Drowned belongs in the pantheon of great Who songs, in my opinion, but I'm
>>not sure I've ever understood it.  Who are the men fishing and where,
>>exactly, are they "high up"?  Are they seekers, fishing for answers, 
>>down for pearls of wisdom?  Getting back to the ocean certainly sounds 
>>dying to me.  But it's more than that.  The ocean always struck me as the
>>collective consciousness from which we all spring and, in dying, return 
>>Pete describes himself as water (remember that fun thread?) in various
>>forms, from a baby's tear to the steam in a locomotive.  He flows, boils 
>>even ripples.  The sea washes over him and sets him free.  From what?  
>>It's beautiful, but what does it mean?
>> > > Even so, there are few of Townshend heroes less spritual than
>> > > Jimmy.
>> >
>> > Oh, c'mon.  QUAD is aboud adolescent anger & confusion.  A
>> > young person trying to fit into his immediate society.  Jimmy would
>> > tell an authoritative God to "Fuck off!" at the drop of a hat.
>>Wait, aren't you agreeing?
>> > "I ended up with the preacher, full of lies & hate.  I seemed to
>> > scare him a little, so he showed me to the golden gate."
>> >
>> > Spiritual quest over.
>(Sigh - I've *reallly* enjoyed the discussion of the whole "sprituality v 
>science" thread, but have felt far too ummmm timid to join in. But 
>"Quadrophenia" is perhaps a bit too close to my heart - or soul - to 
>ignore. So here goes... )
>Quadrophenia starts with an overture of sorts, called "I Am The Sea". We've 
>been over the whole issue of Pete's extensive use of Sufi water imagerymany 
>times in the fairly recent past, and we've covered the points raised 
>extensively. Suffice to say that "IATS" is not there on the record just to 
>show off Pete's field recordings during the summer of 73.
>Jimmy, for all his own innate scorn of organised religion, is clearly a 
>personality - or "soul" (depending on your *own* perspective) in deep 
>torment. Yup, he's an a teenager riven with the usual angsts and worries - 
>but he's more than that: about four times more, in Pete's sketchy scenario.
>And on another level, he's not just "everymod"-writ-large - ie edgy teen on 
>pep-pills or speed - he's also "everyman" (not sure if he's an archetype 
>for women too that's a whole other area!), while on another level still - 
>he's The Who themselves.
>Jimmy's on a quest all right - not just taking the 5.15 to the seaside for 
>a nostalgic plate of chips at the greasy-spoon, nor a crunch over the 
>pebbly beach, nor even to recall "distant memories". He's there to find ... 
>himself? The angelic chorus making all that racket after he drank his gin 
>and nicked the boat to drift off to that bloody great rock? His doom? His 
>Or to find that he's not the blody Who at all - he (and they) are all just 
>tiny drops making up the ebbing, flowing, renewing, refreshing - but deadly 
>- sea?
>I've always thought that "Quadrophenia" resembled T.S. Eliot's "The Waste 
>Land", not just in its use of water images, but also in that the conclusion 
>is remorselessly open-ended: we may, or may not learn in our life-time 
>enough to make us wise about ourselves and our place in the universe. And 
>that the quest of a spirit thirsty for understanding, for knowledge, and 
>for comfort may ultimately lead either to sheer aridity or to being swamped 
>or drowned in too much understanding.
>You'll notice I don't say much about God here. Frankly Mr. Shankly, make up 
>your own mind: I'm a faint-hearted agnostic.
>But I do belive that "Quadrophenia" has more to say than that being a 
>teenager is tough, or that if only Keith Moon had taken more water with his 
>whisky he'd still be drumming up a storm.
>Now you know why I don't post much, eh?
>Oh, and at Birmingham the other night, Pete mentioned how he'd never quite 
>found a proper ending for "Quadrophenia" either - and that if anyone had 
>any ideas...
>I'll shut up now!
>Simon in Liverpool
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