Sticks In The Air / Pino ? Quadrophenia etc etc



simon malia malias40 at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 11 15:49:36 CDT 2004


Ok, having dipped my toe in the - errrr - water, I'll have another go...

First, thanks to Jo, Marcus, Scott and Tom for your comments. This time, 
I'll try to be brief.

Tom Fency wrote:

>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...
>
Tom - yup. Quadrophenia (at its best) works on MANY levels - and I have no 
doubt whatsoever that Pete meant it to. At its worst, you can *almost* hear 
the structure and the melodies groaning under the weight they're carrying - 
not many three-minute pop blasts in this one.

I'm far from alone in being of the opinion that when Pete writes of "love", 
he means BOTH the emotional connection between human beings AND the love of 
human beings for God (or god, depending on how typographically gnostic I 
feel!) and the love of G/god for humanity / individual human beings.

It's like a sea, you see - it ebbs and flows, washes in and out - and takes 
all the crap out with it, before breaking it down and dispersing it. (Mind, 
you should see some of the beaches round here...)

Jimmy / Everymod / The Who may not *know* he / they are on a quest, may be 
bloody angry at the very thought - but he / they can't help it: what he / 
they have at the outset isn't working. So like it or lump it, the struggle 
to establish identity, the search for love (whatever *that* means), the 
search for truth and meaning - and against hypocrisy, and finally for a 
purpose, a destination - it's on.

Whether we regard this as "spiritual" or simply an attempt by our genes to 
continue through the generations, it's a quest, a journey - and as often as 
not, one that will end up with the individual (or the band) "all at sea".

I think Pete meant "Quad" to be taken damn seriously - witness the rather 
po-faced description on the label of (UK) copies of "5.15" which reads 
something like "Taken from the musical work Quadrophenia".  (A brief aside - 
bloody great album and all that - but apart from "Bellboy", some light 
relief wouldn't go amiss. I can never *quite* understand the vehement 
antipathy to "Squeezebox", given its context)

Anyhow, I think one aspect that kicked in on "Quad" was that Pete (and the 
rest of theband) had been astounded by the way that "Tommy" gave their gigs 
a whole new depth of response. The Who had always reflected their audience - 
now they were joined together in a "spiritual" union which must have blown 
them away completely. Roger's identification with the Tommy character had 
arisen largely by chance - that new dynamic arose organically. If you check 
the original Tommy album, Roger does NOT sing solely as Tommy, nor ae all of 
the Tommy parts solely assigned to him: Roger-as-Tommy, 
audience-and-band-as-unit, feeding off and back to one another both happened 
organically.

In "Quad", Pete set out to make something similar happen by design: which is 
why he assigned the four themes to the various members of the band. He was 
(ummm, I think) attempting to build on what had happened in live concerts 
during the Tommy era, and make a work of art, with a (here comes that word 
again) "spiritual" context. I also think he was trying to lead the horse to 
water (yikes!) - but failed (even though he was aware of the risks as he 
wrote it : "I have to be careful not to preach" etc...

I've blethered on too long: in short, Pete tried to make "Quad" both reflect 
(and reflect upon) his audience AND show the band that they ALL needed to be 
brave enough to make a journey which might have no known outcome.

They didn't.

And now we have Pino.

And "Baba O'Riley" selling stuff on telly.




Marcus Surrealius (what a great nom-de-plume!) wrote:

>Yes, well that was my contention and then I was busted
>on Drowned. I have always felt Quad was a primer for
>adolescence (sort of), going through step by step the
>things we males (at least) went through in those
>years. And I was far from spiritual then, don't know
>about you. It was sex and drugs and Rock for me. Oh,
>OK, there was that week I was a Jesus Freak...but the
>problem with Christianity is that it won't let you
>have sex and drugs, so...I'd say they lose a lot of
>potential members that way.
>
> > Cor blimey!....did that realization come in a
>vision?  ;-)
>
>No, we visited the Baba Center and were graciously
>informed and enlightened as to many aspects of
>Townshend's mindset. I saw the places he wrote Who's
>Next, you know. Saw his cabin (the Lantern Cabin). Saw
>pics of Pete and Karen and the infamous Virginia and
>their kids playing. Meet people who know him like you
>know Kevin. And saw video of Pete.
>It's a fantastic place, and here within 20 minutes of
>my house.
>
> > I was being serious!  "Let the tide in & set me
>free.  I wanna drown."
>
>That can be taken in other ways. Being set free is
>certainly a spiritual concern, no? And if water is
>some sort of metaphor for the stream of spirituality,
>carrying you to the Big G...to drown in his sweet
>sweet love...
>
> > Set me free from this wretched existence.
>
>It still applies. Ask any honestly religious person,
>and they'll tell you they were set free of their
>wretched existance.
>Meanwhile, I'm thinking about how wretched existance
>would be without sex and drugs and Rock. But that's
>me.
>
> > love," but I think Jimmy had other ideas in mind.
>
Wonderful insights. Thank you.

And now I really WILL shut up!
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