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the Pale

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Nothing Called ...

Jason Scruton

Jason Scruton writes re Sam Cameron's Recurrent and absent symbols in the works of Procol Harum

An interesting analysis of 'love' related imagery. However, I would have to add some more to it, if possible. The area left out is natural in origin (just as one would say flowers, colors and numbers are something deriving from nature), and is that of animal imagery.

Listen to the legendary Blues recordings such as I'm a King Bee, Walkin' the Dog: the activities of the animals in both are in admittedly not quite a 'pure' retelling of one wooing a heartfelt love, but the initial attraction present does not cut out the possibility of its existence.

Furthermore, I would add the mention of the word 'love' itself and the mention of relationships to take into consideration.

Beasties and others
One of the first ones that comes to mind is that of dogs, as the word's in an LP title and smattered in song. I'd like to start with Your Own Choice's 'my old dog's a good old dog' line in comparison to the preceding 'Too many women and not enough wine.'

Albeit a vague tool in describing love, it does say something about intimate relationships: a dog is better in some ways than a woman, in that wine is continually needed to 'keep' one. In relation to A Salty Dog, the obvious title imagery of the lonely-man-at-sea stereotype is brought into a different perspective with the landing of ship in 'no mortal place at all'. It can be thought of as a description of ascending into heaven, but look at All This And More: Reid wrote 'and maybe then begin again, for love is life not poison.' The 'landing' of the title character on the unknown shore can be thought of, in light of the above, as offering the mysterious and future-laden portrayal of love as a grand adventure.

To back this last temporal observation, note that the former 'dog' was a 'good old dog,' describing its faithfulness over a long period of time. Time is important in popular tellings of the 'love' story for the simple reason that the parties involved have to get to know each other. Too Much Between Us presents the other potential of love's doings in the way the narrator 'is sitting here' whilst '[he or she] is sleeping over there' as a result of having 'too much sea between us.' Sea, in this context, can be thought of as time if you will, since every voyage by sea I've heard or known about has been rather long, both in the actual movement in time and the feeling of non-movement offered by the vase expanse of water (Note: the two characters above were also motionless.)

The 'horsemen' of Pandora's Box illustrate the hunter tradition of love-finding, in that they 'ride across the green, while Snow White still remains unseen': she refuses the courtier's advances, but the use of coded messages relayed by Pegasus can be thought of as describing an already-secret affair in progress.

Despite the pessimism towards love in Souvenir of London, Toujours l'Amour among others, it is balanced by the most explicit line about love in the verbiage: 'Love is life, not poison.' In relation to these other songs, love can be seen as an ideal, often blinding one: 'bright [love] light [?] of your star confronts me shining through': a reason for living despite the difficulties encountered by the seeker. Examples: 'she left me and that was that ... take a revolver and blow out my brain', the illusory love / difficulty in perception in She Wandered Through the Garden Fence, and estrangement in Too Much Between Us and Milk of Human Kindness.

Note too the musical accompaniment to All this and More is very upbeat, unlike the other examples which are stuttery and melancholy.

Thanks to Jason, who adds, ' I hate not putting a conclusion at the end ...
but hey, like all good musicks, they neither begin nor end.'

Magical Themes in Home

Nothing Called, not Name or Number

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