« Pirke Avot chapter four, verse six | Main | Book Report: A Practical Handbook for the Actor »

Music Monday on Monday: Conversing with Children

The Youngest Member asked me yesterday, he asked what is this song about? This is a more common question from the Perfect Non-Reader, and I think he was asking it in imitation of her. More usually, he asks what a song is called, which is usually pretty easy to answer. I don’t know that he really has got the idea, conceptually, that songs are about things, or can be. Or perhaps he has. He’s making all kinds of developmental breakthroughs these days, as he leaves his third birthday into the past. Or, as I say, he’s just trying to imitate the conventions of conversation as he hears them, which is itself a bit of a developmental breakthrough.

He was around a couple of weeks ago when the Perfect Non-Reader asked me what a song was about, and that song was “Rainy Day Women No 12 & 35”. I explained somewhat, pointing out that Bob Dylan was clearly playing around with the ambiguity of several meanings of the word stoned, that there are therefore several ways to interpret the song, and that one of the things that often happens when people smoke marijuana is a sort of paranoia that could lead someone who is stoned in that sense to feel stoned in the other sense. I pointed out that on one level the song is just silly and fun, but that when you look at what it is about, it gets difficult and complicated, which is an interesting contrast. I think my Perfect Non-Reader was sick of the conversation at that point (I often punish her curiosity by over-explaining), but the Youngest Member may not have been.

Anyway, there was a song playing, and there was the Youngest Member, asking what it was about. And I had to think for a minute, you know, about exactly what to say and how to say it. The Perfect Non-Reader was there, too, and would be part of any ensuing conversation, so that was a consideration as well.

So I wound up saying that it was a very strange song, and that it was about a guy who talks to himself in French. And then I changed the subject.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


What the hell is that song about, anyway?

Post a comment

Please join in. Comments on older posts will be held for moderation. Don't be a jerk. Eat fruit.