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Ribbons
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Carpathian Psychonaut
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PostPost #26  Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Little_Sister wrote:
Tie a red, red, red, red, red ribbon

in east asia it is believed that soulmates are connected by an unvisible red string. it´s tied to their fingers or ankles.

because Our fearless leader! studied chinese i thougt he might knew of this belief and used it in his song.

what do you think?


An example of this is also in the Takeshi Kitano masterpiece "Dolls" - a whole segment is devoted to this as a visual theme.........
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Elfeyth
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PostPost #27  Posted: Sun May 06, 2007 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I always hoped that ribbons was about looking good in some nice pretty, er, ribbons and secretly wondered whether it was some weird fetish or bondage thing ...

When I read the inside of the re-released Vision Thing and it talked about the lyric 'she looked good in ribbons' being 'pathological' it got me thinking again: I wondered whether it was about being cut up into ribbons (hence reference to the red colour of the ribbons and the rather eerie lyric 'I was thinking about her skin').

I'm kind of creeped out that so many other people think the same to the extent that it may be a valid interpretation of what the song is about. It kind of crosses the line for me to be honest - not a fan of violent imagery against women. Also, does the narrator believe the object of his desire is simply too stupid to get 'Marx and Engels?' If she's dead tho', I guess the 'God & Angels' bit makes a bit more sense.

This said, the line 'love is a many splintered thing' kind of suggests that the narrator of the song is also emotionally in pieces.

Anyway, I once got an Xmas card with some cute black labrador puppies in a basket, with red bows around their neck and the caption 'they looked good in ribbons'. *Thinks about this instead.*

Oh no - the live version of 'Ribbons' is now playing on my stereo (so creepy) ...
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PostPost #28  Posted: Sun May 06, 2007 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Because of the lines:

"I tried to tell her
about Marx and Engels, God and Angels
I don't really know what for"

And:

"tie a red red red red red red ribbon"

I had the absurd idea for a minute, before shaking it off, that it was about getting off on prostitutes dressed in nothing but communist flags, which are red after all. Wierded Out Laughing
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Elfeyth
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PostPost #29  Posted: Sun May 06, 2007 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

It's a close call, but I think I prefer the above to the woman being chopped up interpretation ... Laughing
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PostPost #30  Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

And then we might read the red ribbon as a red light as saying "don´t you come back", as Patsy looked so good "in ribbons", read as slim, before eating all the pies?
Could the line be as mean?


Erm, couldn´t it?

A friend of mine spontaneously associated girl/woman in the song with mother russia.
The cobalt bomb topic has me thinking of the doomsday device in Dr. Strangelove now. Associations I got when reading through this thread.
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PostPost #31  Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I've just been to the dentist, who has a picture of the night sky with stars and stuff on the ceiling above the couch.

As I was, er... lying on my back, while a mysterious masked woman inserted various implements and machinery into my mouth, I couldn't help thinking of this song.
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Dark
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PostPost #32  Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I always think of "Lady Godiva's Operation" when I'm in such a situation. Wierded Out
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PostPost #33  Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Most of the posts on page 1 of this thread were made simultaneously on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am - 20 years before the song was even written!
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PostPost #34  Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

stufarq wrote:
Most of the posts on page 1 of this thread were made simultaneously on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am - 20 years before the song was even written!


hey cool, either all are phychic or time travel is possible Very Happy
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Fodderstompf
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PostPost #35  Posted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:42 pm    Post subject: Ribbons Reply with quote Back to top

The following excerpt is from "The m*****n - Names Are For Tombstones, Baby" by Martin Roach (page 22). It's about the Sisters Of Mercy on tour:

"At one gig in Liverpool Hussey and Adams greedily drank a bottle of home-made wine proffered by a fan's father. The following morning Hussey woke up in a strange room stark naked except for a ribbon around his dick."

That explains the song's subject sufficiently, I think.
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PostPost #36  Posted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Flowers on the razor wire? Ouch!
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PostPost #37  Posted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

This song is one of my favorites (I haven't introduced myself in the main forum--it would likely be boring) so here I'm motivated to be pretentious and comment on the blue/red aspect since it seemed kind of familiar, bringing in synesthesia. In a short story by Hermann Hesse his main character "observed the coloured figures full of meaning which appeared to him out of the purple darkness when he closed his eyes, spots and half circles of blue and deep red with glassy bright lines between." He sometimes realized the interconnections between eye and ear ..."tones, noises, and letters of the alphabet related and very similar to red and blue...."

About the "Incoming!" ? I couldn't decided whether this was from the crazy condescending protaganist's past (incoming mortar fire, for example) that recurs only for him or is an indefinite future threat (atomic blast--we're all gonna die, let's have a great party anyway with cobalt all around us).

Well, the poor woman ended up dead in ribbons as far as I can tell, but there's always a silver lining--at least she didn't have to listen to any more blather about Marxist theory, etc. etc., which, if she had seemed responsive (intellectually, yes), could have easily moved on to anarcho-syndicalism.
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PostPost #38  Posted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

... Laughing ... welcome Kosha ...

well as to Incoming ... I understand this as the final conclusion from Nine While Nine ... late, but hell ... Mr. Green Laughing ...
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PostPost #39  Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I think Ribbons is simply about indulgence in murderous fantasies and cold, brutal self-assertion, coupled with the frustrations of having to... uh, deal with a stupid woman, with some war and apocalypse thrown in. Our fearless leader!

Of course, the calculating frenzy of the music goes perfectly with this feeling.

It's just an utterly fantastic lyric but I don't think there is a deeper meaning to this one. It's more about the moment, the emotions, the imagery than about taking a stand on some specific issue.
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PostPost #40  Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Gosh, it never occurred to me the subject was murdered.
I always figured the song was about me.

I created this one outfit, see?
In reds & black accents & lots & lots of red ribbons.
And when I left ones' presence
all you could think of was, "Ribbonsss... ... ..."

And the "I tried to tell her..." part,
That's b'cos he didn't think I was very bright.

And the "flowers on the razor wire"
that's b'cos I'd woven silk flowers into, throughout & around
the razor wire lining top of the brick wall surrounding the house.
(The point of the razor wire piece was to show the parallel
of beautifying the industrial & industrializing beauty.)

Now, I must point out here, that if I've ever met him,
I have no knowledge or recollection of it.
I'm visually impaired, so, even if I were face to face in conversation with him,
I wouldn't know it, without introduction.

So, the song probably isn't really about me.
But, I like to pretend that it is.

Mr. Green
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PostPost #41  Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Little_Sister wrote:
Tie a red, red, red, red, red ribbon

in east asia it is believed that soulmates are connected by an unvisible red string. it´s tied to their fingers or ankles.

because Our fearless leader! studied chinese i thougt he might knew of this belief and used it in his song.

what do you think?




Also in Japanese lore too - a prime example in Dolls, the Takeshi Kitano film.
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PostPost #42  Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

If we take it that Andrew has running themes through his lyrics (i.e drowing = Marian / flood 1 & 2), then isn't it possible that Ribbons follows on from Dominion/Mother Russia!
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PostPost #43  Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

matthewbanks wrote:
If we take it that Andrew has running themes through his lyrics (i.e drowing = Marian / flood 1 & 2), then isn't it possible that Ribbons follows on from Dominion/Mother Russia!

If I were an English teacher, I'd make you write a paper on that.
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PostPost #44  Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I might just do that & post it on here - what an essay that would be Wink
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PostPost #45  Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I like this song, personally one of my favourites if not one of the best of the recent period.

My understanding of the song was along political lines, ie the divide of east vs west and the Berlin Wall "Flowers on the razorwire"
The girl in the song refers to a prostitute, to whom he is trying to explain the complexities of politics but at the end of the day its pointless and she looks good in ribbons...
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PostPost #46  Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Elfeyth wrote:
I always hoped that ribbons was about looking good in some nice pretty, er, ribbons and secretly wondered whether it was some weird fetish or bondage thing ...

When I read the inside of the re-released Vision Thing and it talked about the lyric 'she looked good in ribbons' being 'pathological' it got me thinking again: I wondered whether it was about being cut up into ribbons (hence reference to the red colour of the ribbons and the rather eerie lyric 'I was thinking about her skin').

I'm kind of creeped out that so many other people think the same to the extent that it may be a valid interpretation of what the song is about. It kind of crosses the line for me to be honest - not a fan of violent imagery against women. Also, does the narrator believe the object of his desire is simply too stupid to get 'Marx and Engels?' If she's dead tho', I guess the 'God & Angels' bit makes a bit more sense.

This said, the line 'love is a many splintered thing' kind of suggests that the narrator of the song is also emotionally in pieces.

Anyway, I once got an Xmas card with some cute black labrador puppies in a basket, with red bows around their neck and the caption 'they looked good in ribbons'. *Thinks about this instead.*

Oh no - the live version of 'Ribbons' is now playing on my stereo (so creepy) ...


I mostly agree with you, with this song being an absolute favourite of mine, sexy as hell!

For me this song is about LUST - the imagery of ribbons is sort of S&M (bondaging), and I also agree with the part referring to this girl being not very bright, but still attractive.
"Pathological" may just mean fetishism or S&M, but I don't think it's about chopping up someone! Surprised "Thinking about her skin": hm... well, skin just feels nice, that's all.

Flowers on a razorwire: the beauty and sweetness of a woman meeting A's spikey character, perhaps.
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PostPost #47  Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Tie a red, red, red, red, red ribbon
A contrast to the paean to American values, Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree

gypsies used to wear red ribbons as a sign of mourning. Occasionally they used to tie them too, around trees and such
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PostPost #48  Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

paint it black wrote:
Tie a red, red, red, red, red ribbon
A contrast to the paean to American values, Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree

gypsies used to wear red ribbons as a sign of mourning. Occasionally they used to tie them too, around trees and such

Now I'm picturing Von doing the Brotherhood of Man dance.
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PostPost #49  Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

wow, sometimes one wishes we could redact old posts. Laughing

Has anyone read A Many-Splendoured Thing? The writer Han Suyin was a supporter of the Communists in China, but I'm not familiar with any of her works.

Edit: and the book is supposed to be partly autobiographical; Suyin's husband died in the Korean War, which apparently figures into the story.
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PostPost #50  Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I was asked this question about half an hour ago.
My take.
Given that it's on VT:
It could be the narrative of a soldier who has been killed in a missile/rpg attack or by "friendly fire" on his way to the afterlife and remembering his sweetheart who, if you take some of the lyrics literally, had lovers all over the place while the soldier was serving overseas, that was "wearing her ribbons" (the yellow ribbon being supposedly worn by wives/ partners waiting to welcome home their soldier sweethearts.)
My guess is the "teachings" are things he's told her before his deployment (that he prolly didn't really understand either).
The flowers are likely on the razor wire at a military post or installation and the red is either blood or for a "scarlet woman"
As for "walk on air", those lines are sung with an almost desperate tone. Almost as if he's not entirely sure he's dead or dreaming & pleading for her to join him floating toward the sky.


Romantic huh? Smile
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