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Thread: operation fishbowl - 1983 a merman I shall turn to be

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    operation fishbowl - 1983 a merman I shall turn to be

    The biggest nuclear bomb testing in the atmosphere in 1962 was called "starfish prime" and was a part of "operation fishbowl":

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime

    So the starfish reference is not a underwater life metaphore but connected to the "lipstick-tube" misile metaphore.

    starfish and giant foams
    greet us with a smile
    before our heads go under
    we take a last look
    at the killing noise
    of the out of style...
    the out of style, out of style

    The operation fishbowl title may have inspired the underwater idea all together?

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    Re: operation fishbowl - 1983 a merman I shall turn to be

    Thanks, interesting take. I always assumed the "giant pencil and lipstick tube shaped things" that "Continue to rain and cause screaming pain" image came from the high altitude 'carpet' bombing raids on Vietnam - seen on TV at the time.
    Frank Zappa: "Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."

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    Re: operation fishbowl - 1983 a merman I shall turn to be

    True. It's anti warfare. But makes sense that the "out of style" is the cold nuclear war, and the giant foam is mushroom clouds. As well as "the machine that we built would never save us" would be the a-bomb, as well as going living under the sea because the atmosphere is blown up. I think it makes it even more political than just a psychedelic Disney "under the sea" metaphore.

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    Re: operation fishbowl - 1983 a merman I shall turn to be

    My take is this is part of a whole, this sci-fi fantasy segues in as the narrator of 'Rainy Day' drifts off into a stoned reverie, it's a futuristic 'wet dream' on a wet day scenario where war & pollution had spread globally ('the Arctic stains') and through 'the machine that we built' - something that enabled he and his partner (after surgery that didn't leave a scratch on their bodies) to breathe under water - they would escape the horror. His friends apparently doubted that this would work and didn't try the operation. As they merge and disappear into the undersea world the 'narrator' gradually surfaces and ... back into the groove with.. 'Dream Away'. A reference to the A bomb is not something I see in the lyrics. . . He continues this theme in 'Valleys Of Neptune' - "I feel the ocean swayin’ me washin’ away all my pain. See where I used to be wounded, remember the scar now you can’t see a thing and I don’t feel no pain." I can't see Atomic bombs smiling. It is "anti-war" - but with a sense of humour See 'Somewhere' for an early effort that he abandoned but used lyrics and ideas from in this song, 'House Burning Down' and 'Earth Blues'.
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    Re: operation fishbowl - 1983 a merman I shall turn to be

    Quote Originally Posted by stplsd View Post
    My take is this is part of a whole, this sci-fi fantasy segues in as the narrator of 'Rainy Day' drifts off into a stoned reverie, it's a futuristic 'wet dream' on a wet day scenario where war & pollution had spread globally ('the Arctic stains') and through 'the machine that we built' - something that enabled he and his partner (after surgery that didn't leave a scratch on their bodies) to breathe under water - they would escape the horror. His friends apparently doubted that this would work and didn't try the operation. As they merge and disappear into the undersea world the 'narrator' gradually surfaces and ... back into the groove with.. 'Dream Away'. A reference to the A bomb is not something I see in the lyrics. . . He continues this theme in 'Valleys Of Neptune' - "I feel the ocean swayin’ me washin’ away all my pain. See where I used to be wounded, remember the scar now you can’t see a thing and I don’t feel no pain." I can't see Atomic bombs smiling. It is "anti-war" - but with a sense of humour See 'Somewhere' for an early effort that he abandoned but used lyrics and ideas from in this song, 'House Burning Down' and 'Earth Blues'.
    I understand 'the machine that we built' just as you do. And your talking of 'a sense of humour' and relating the meaning of 1983 with Rainy Day/Still Raining agrees entirely with...well, with Jimi, what can I say, right?

    JANE: But do you sit down and think "I want to say this to them" and then compose the song around what you want to say?

    JIMI: Yeah, definitely. Sometimes, there's things I'd like to say. A lot of songs are fantasy- type songs so that people think you don't know what you're talking about at all but it all depends on what the track before and after might have been. Like you might tell them something kinda hard but you don't want to be a completely hard character in their minds and be known for all that ' cos there's other sides of you and sometimes they leak onto the record too, you know, that's when the fantasy songs come in. Like for instance "1983" – that's something to keep your mind off what's happening today but not necessarily completely hiding away from it like some people might do, with certain drugs and so forth.


    From the Hendrix/Jane De Mendelssohn International Times interview, March 28-April 10, 1969.

    As for the A-bomb, I'm not so sure, since
    "my darling and I make love in the sand,
    to salute the last moment ever on dry land "
    and then
    "we bid it farewell" [but to dry land or the machine?]
    and only then do
    "Starfish and giant foams greet us with a smile"
    ie, before the dive, still on dry land, seeing the mushroom cloud?
    "Before our heads go under we take a last look at the killing noise
    Of the out of style.. "

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    Re: operation fishbowl - 1983 a merman I shall turn to be

    Starfish on the beach, foams on the sea? Anyway I'm not sure that sticking to a rigid sequencing of events in a piece of fantasy is compulsory 'Giant foams' is an awkward choice of words but I don't see how it = 'mushroom cloud'? Denizens of the sea greeting them with a smile as they head into the water works. Whereas exploding atom bombs 'greeting' them with a smile as they 'leave' doesn't do it for me Not sure why you think the Mendelssohn piece has any relevance to whether the 'starfish' is a reference to Operation Fishbowl's 1962 big blast - 'Starfish Prime' (not saying it's not an influence entirely, but if it is it's extremely obscure merely being the choice of the starfish as opposed to a clam say) rather than the sea creature? The song to me is still clearly a sci-fi reverie about a world war set in the future where bombs/missiles whatever are raining down for real causing death and destruction, from which the narrator and his woman are escaping, not about a six-year-old test.
    It's possible, I suppose, that he may have been thinking of the test and seeing this future war as a result. But then Jimi was taken with the idea of an anti-nuke missile defence system of a star wars nature, of which this was seen as an early atomic attempt although over-the-top. Nah, it's just too much of a stretch, interesting though.
    Last edited by stplsd; 09-18-15 at 06:08 PM.
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    Re: operation fishbowl - 1983 a merman I shall turn to be

    Quote Originally Posted by stplsd View Post
    Nah, it's too much of a stretch for me.
    Ok! So the "Starfish" stuff is only one of those intriguing 'coincidences' that make Life more special... I'm ok with that too.

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