Regular Spelling
Thoughts and observations about language

Contextless

Sorry, I have been sick this week, and I haven't remembered to come and post any update. The doctor's actually put me on work leave for a couple days, so as to not spread whatever it is I have, and had me take some cold medicine too so I've been a little out of it. I've spent the last couple days watching episodes of an old 80's Nickelodeon comedy show "You Can't Do That On Television", for which I found a site that had some episodes for download. They're only semi-humorous, but its mainly the matter of nostalgia. Plus a few have some really funky old commercials on them too, I'm thinking of chopping them out and uploading them onto Youtube.

A couple days ago I was listening through Pink Floyd's The Wall. I came upon the song Nobody Home, and came across something unusual that I hadn't noticed before. One line in the first verse is as follows: "[I've] got those swollen hand blues". It's just something said in passing as he describes all sorts of visuals about his current status, but if you pay some more attention then you realize it's out of place. He doesn't talk about swollen hands until three songs later in Comfortably Numb, where he mentions a time when he was a kid and got sick (presumably from the Plague according to the imagery of the movie) and his most significant memory of that was his hands swelling up. It's not referred to any earlier in the song, yet the way he words the sentence, particularly calling them "those", implies that he is referring to a similar feeling that has already happened in the past, which, listening to the album linearly, we do not yet know about at that point.

After I made this discovery, I spent about half an hour debating the line's out of place point with a friend on MSN, who didn't notice the exact wording of the line until the end and didn't understand why I thought it was out of place. He didn't pick up that it was a line requiring a missing context up until that point, he thought it was just a self-contained line like the rest of the one-off lines in that song. Which it can be, but it stands very weakly as a stand -alone song, when it is specifically meant to refer to the childhood incident. Interestingly enough, the song is completely missing from the leaked demo tapes of the album that are the internet (under the album codename "Under Construction"). I'm presuming, though, that it was still meant to follow the previous song to it, Hey You ("Is There Anybody Out There?" is just a bridge song), and that originally came after Comfortably Numb in the demo, so that may be the reason for the misplaced line.


Date posted: 24 01 08 - 22:43
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