12 October, 2014

Religions attaking the messenger

I ran into an item posted to YouTube (via the 'BigA') by 72daystar, that asked: "Is Criticism of Islam Racism?"
The entire concept is easy to convolute...

Once science has pointed out the genetic markers for how an Ideology or a culture fits in to the same African diaspora that every other racial identifier stems from...

THEN the two ideologies that are now famous for calling their critics 'racist' (Judaism and Islamism) will look much less indignant and pathetic, when they attempt to put critics on the defensive by simply calling them racist.

Because really, that is all that is being done.

The tactic is designed to baselessly put critics on the defensive by calling them racist. - It is an attempt to derail the critics message, to force the critic to stop criticizing, and work to show that they are not 'racist' - A quagmire situation.

Culture has has created an environment where, if one can find away to paint themselves as a 'victim', they gain an upper-hand via the pity of others.

Levying an accusation, has a natural tendency to be an attack, and the accused is naturally inclined to defend.

(NOTE: This is not a criticism of 72daystar, I am apt to agree with his thoughts - This is just an expansion on the concept, and an opportunity to take him up on his invite to dialog about it {@ circa 4:13 of his vid})

While OP (72daystar) raises some excellent points - I see them as completely separate - Racism being married to an ideologies criticisms does not dismiss the goal of the above noted tactic, nor does the marriage excuse the bigotry involved in accessing ways to attack other (actual) races (dark-skinned etc)

A working example - Being that;
Criticizing Buddhism, never finds itself looking like a attack on Asians.
Criticizing Christianity, never finds itself looking like a attack on (what?) - Caucasians.. Europeans.

72daystar does mention "exceptions" - and I think the key to that element revolves around how the above tactic is over looked.

The polarization that this topic presents, and the conversations about it, all seem to be unaware of the underlying tactic and how it pits against the marriage of bigotry.

As long as these conversation ignore the tactic - Neither the tactic nor the bigotry will ever be successfully disarmed - and the dialog will always inevitably steer into a quagmire.

02 July, 2014

Indignant and intrusive nature of the theistic perspective

The biggest thing driving Anti-Theism is the aggressively indignant and intrusive nature of the theistic perspective into the lives of even those who do not ascribe the theistic perspectives...

Everything from:
  • The Right for a woman to choose (abortion and contraception)
  • The availability of contraception in general
  • Treating homosexuals as second-class citizens.
  • Insisting on prayer in schools.
  • Disrupting science education
  • Insisting on special treatment by governments and the public at large.

The rest of the supernatural hooba joob could be a 'My Little Pony' cartoon playing in the background for all that most people care... But theists insist that everyone must watch it.

They are conditioned to see any dismissal / non-acceptance of their perspective as an assault on their perspective.

29 June, 2014

Those mistakes...

I really love my--television
I love to sit by--television
Can't live without my--television

TV is king
You're my everything

24 April, 2014

The dismissal of a baseless claim.

What I find most bizarre, is the overall and complete lack of basis for attributing unknowns unto the supernatural...

That practice is exactly; Assigning one unknown unto another unknown.

Its like a game of 'Three Card Monty', or a Shell Game / Ponzi Scheme.

And by 'lack of basis',  what I mean is that there is nothing beyond human imagination (The mind abhors a vacuum, and will accept whatever is convenient, to fill in cognitive gaps) to warrant inserting a supernatural explanation for anything... At all... Ever.

The current stream keeps going back to a 'creator of the universe'...

There is far less presumption in insisting that the universe was created by a 'Long Gone Gob of Primordial Goo that was destroyed in the creation process', than to dream up some 'Supernatural Omnipresent entity' and attempt to give it credit.

It is folly to perceive 'Atheism' as an agenda to 'prove god(s) does not exist'  - That is a mis-characterization that intends to serve as a collection point where those who have been conditioned to crave some form of persecution they can call their own, can rally.

Atheism makes no claims... Atheism is the result of the dismissal of a baseless claim. There is no belief involved in that dismissal.

08 April, 2014

Send Lawyers, Guns. and Money!

I have yet to encounter a situation where a fire arm was necessary...

And thinking that a well armed populace would be able to win a firefight against what is an armored government...
Local police are backed up by County Sherrifs' are backed up by State Police are backed up by Federal Agents and the National Guard are backed up by the Army...

The fight is not any where close to fair... It was lost by the 'few' before it ever began.

Hell, the Air Force blew up a city block in New Jersey in the early 70's (YES - Really!) - Because of the threat it posed.

And if you shoot someone while defending yourself / your home - You are going to have  yourself arrested, charges filed, and be saddled with attorney fees that that far exceed the value of what could have been taken in a home invasion etc...

For all of that... I'm still not 'against' ownership.

- I just can't seem to ignore the absurdity that comes with many of the justifications that are offered.

The Judicial system and legal profession make a lot of money as long as guns flow freely... And it also keeps and maintains a level of fear and intimidation at hand...

Fear of being assaulted, and / or fear that if you step out of line, you will find yourself in one of several 'Sodomy Centers for the Willing and Unfortunate' - Penitentiaries that the the Judicial system keep well stocked and at a low boil - Can you perceive of a more ominous and threatening ever present obelisk than 'Prison'?

The concept of 'Guns' both calms and feeds the same cultured insecurities.

(the above pic relates to how I feel about that culture)

31 March, 2014

By any other name...

So, as a Junior in High School… I was an ‘Upper classman’…

The school year is in its first few days… 

Who actually goes to school those first days, while people are still figuring out what classes they need to be in, which ones are over capacity etc…?

I make my way to classes on the third day…

The ‘third period’ class, is English…

The instructor, Ms. Williamson, is taking ‘role’...

She calls out students by name…They respond to their name...

Then is offered the following:
Richard “dah lookah”...
No answer…
Richard “dah lookah”...?

From the middle of the room (I always sat in the middle, when I could) - She hears…
“Well everyone, this should be a very interesting ‘English’ class, if it is going to be taught and graded by a dyslexic”

The whole class laughs…

She must not have understood me... She says:
“Excuse me!?”

I proceeded to clarify my comment:
“Well that ‘L’ comes before the ‘D’, and the ‘D’ comes after the ‘L’ in my last name, and you read it the same way twice… it’s ‘LAH DOOKAH’...”
“...” (pregnant pause)

“And you WERE working your way through an alphabetical list of names - Unless someone slipped the letter ‘D’ in to that group of ‘L’s you were looking at… I figured dyslexic… I’m not ready for you to grade my work…

I thought she was going to lose it, but she retained her composure and asked me:
“Mr. ‘LAH DOOKAH’, - Did I say that right?

Me: “Yes, perfect!”

Her: “Mr. ‘LAH DOOKAH’, do you prefer to go by ‘Richard’, ‘Rich’, or ‘Dick’ ?

Of course in my head, I’m asking myself… “Dick?”
That’s what I said to myself…

It came out like this:
“Oh… Please… Call me ‘PENIS’!”

At the same moment that the class busted out in laughter...
Any composure that Ms. Williamson may have possessed, quickly subsided…:

My friend, Nathan, later told me that the class was unable to stop laughing, and Ms. Williamson had to leave the room… She never came back for the rest of the period.

I, of course, left…

- And went right into the office of the department head, Mr. Kelly
- And told him what happened…
He laughed the whole time he was finding me another ‘English’ class to go to.

Ms. Williamson refused to ever make eye contact with me again...

19 March, 2014

"I can bug out to it"

Beastie Boys, Pauls Boutique, BoB-Boy Bouillabaisse - Mike On the Mic (@0:43.7)
Lloyd Lindsay Young:
"It's  a  trip,  it's  got  a  funky  beat,  and  I  can  bug  out  to  it" 

09 March, 2014

David Foster Wallace: This is Water

This is Water

It is not possible to fully evaluate a medium whilst immersed in said medium. 
~ R. LaDuca

One fish asks another fish "How's the water?"
The other fish replies, "What the hell is water?" 
~ DFW (February 21, 1962 - September 12, 2008)

David Foster Wallace commencement address given to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005.

Listen to (22:36) MP3: 

Or download MP3 here: http://goo.gl/XQbrCW

 (If anybody feels like perspiring [cough], I'd advise you to go ahead, because I'm sure going to. In fact I'm gonna [mumbles while pulling up his gown and taking out a handkerchief from his pocket].) Greetings ["parents"?] and congratulations to Kenyon's graduating class of 2005.
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?"

And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"

This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. The story ["thing"] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of the genre, but if you're worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don't be. I am not the wise old fish. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely morning.

Of course the main requirement of speeches like this is that I'm supposed to talk about your liberal arts education's meaning, to try to explain why the degree you are about to receive has actual human value instead of just a material payoff. So let's talk about the single most pervasive cliché in the commencement speech genre, which is that a liberal arts education is not so much about filling you up with knowledge as it is about "teaching you how to think". If you're like me as a student, you've never liked hearing this, and you tend to feel a bit insulted by the claim that you needed anybody to teach you how to think, since the fact that you even got admitted to a college this good seems like proof that you already know how to think. But I'm going to posit to you that the liberal arts cliché turns out not to be insulting at all, because the really significant education in thinking that we're supposed to get in a place like this isn't really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about. If your total freedom of choice regarding what to think about seems too obvious to waste time discussing, I'd ask you to think about fish and water, and to bracket for just a few minutes your scepticism about the value of the totally obvious.

Here's another didactic little story. There are these two guys sitting together in a bar in the remote Alaskan wilderness. One of the guys is religious, the other is an atheist, and the two are arguing about the existence of God with that special intensity that comes after about the fourth beer. And the atheist says: "Look, it's not like I don't have actual reasons for not believing in God. It's not like I haven't ever experimented with the whole God and prayer thing. Just last month I got caught away from the camp in that terrible blizzard, and I was totally lost and I couldn't see a thing, and it was 50 below, and so I tried it: I fell to my knees in the snow and cried out 'Oh, God, if there is a God, I'm lost in this blizzard, and I'm gonna die if you don't help me.'" And now, in the bar, the religious guy looks at the atheist all puzzled. "Well then you must believe now," he says, "After all, here you are, alive." The atheist just rolls his eyes. "No, man, all that was was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp."

It's easy to run this story through kind of a standard liberal arts analysis: the exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people, given those people's two different belief templates and two different ways of constructing meaning from experience. Because we prize tolerance and diversity of belief, nowhere in our liberal arts analysis do we want to claim that one guy's interpretation is true and the other guy's is false or bad. Which is fine, except we also never end up talking about just where these individual templates and beliefs come from. Meaning, where they come from INSIDE the two guys. As if a person's most basic orientation toward the world, and the meaning of his experience were somehow just hard-wired, like height or shoe-size; or automatically absorbed from the culture, like language. As if how we construct meaning were not actually a matter of personal, intentional choice. Plus, there's the whole matter of arrogance. The nonreligious guy is so totally certain in his dismissal of the possibility that the passing Eskimos had anything to do with his prayer for help. True, there are plenty of religious people who seem arrogant and certain of their own interpretations, too. They're probably even more repulsive than atheists, at least to most of us. But religious dogmatists' problem is exactly the same as the story's unbeliever: blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn't even know he's locked up.

The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. I have learned this the hard way, as I predict you graduates will, too.

Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centredness because it's so socially repulsive. But it's pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.

Please don't worry that I'm getting ready to lecture you about compassion or other-directedness or all the so-called virtues. This is not a matter of virtue. It's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self. People who can adjust their natural default setting this way are often described as being "well-adjusted", which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.

Given the triumphant academic setting here, an obvious question is how much of this work of adjusting our default setting involves actual knowledge or intellect. This question gets very tricky. Probably the most dangerous thing about an academic education--least in my own case--is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualise stuff, to get lost in abstract argument inside my head, instead of simply paying attention to what is going on right in front of me, paying attention to what is going on inside me.

DAVID FOSTER WALLACE in his own words As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotised by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about "the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master".

This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.

And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Let's get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what "day in day out" really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I'm talking about.

By way of example, let's say it's an average adult day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging, white-collar, college-graduate job, and you work hard for eight or ten hours, and at the end of the day you're tired and somewhat stressed and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for an hour, and then hit the sack early because, of course, you have to get up the next day and do it all again. But then you remember there's no food at home. You haven't had time to shop this week because of your challenging job, and so now after work you have to get in your car and drive to the supermarket. It's the end of the work day and the traffic is apt to be: very bad. So getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there, the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it's the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping. And the store is hideously lit and infused with soul-killing muzak or corporate pop and it's pretty much the last place you want to be but you can't just get in and quickly out; you have to wander all over the huge, over-lit store's confusing aisles to find the stuff you want and you have to manoeuvre your junky cart through all these other tired, hurried people with carts (et cetera, et cetera, cutting stuff out because this is a long ceremony) and eventually you get all your supper supplies, except now it turns out there aren't enough check-out lanes open even though it's the end-of-the-day rush. So the checkout line is incredibly long, which is stupid and infuriating. But you can't take your frustration out on the frantic lady working the register, who is overworked at a job whose daily tedium and meaninglessness surpasses the imagination of any of us here at a prestigious college.

But anyway, you finally get to the checkout line's front, and you pay for your food, and you get told to "Have a nice day" in a voice that is the absolute voice of death. Then you have to take your creepy, flimsy, plastic bags of groceries in your cart with the one crazy wheel that pulls maddeningly to the left, all the way out through the crowded, bumpy, littery parking lot, and then you have to drive all the way home through slow, heavy, SUV-intensive, rush-hour traffic, et cetera et cetera.

Everyone here has done this, of course. But it hasn't yet been part of you graduates' actual life routine, day after week after month after year.

But it will be. And many more dreary, annoying, seemingly meaningless routines besides. But that is not the point. The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing is gonna come in. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don't make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I'm gonna be pissed and miserable every time I have to shop. Because my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me. About MY hungriness and MY fatigue and MY desire to just get home, and it's going to seem for all the world like everybody else is just in my way. And who are all these people in my way? And look at how repulsive most of them are, and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line. And look at how deeply and personally unfair this is.

Or, of course, if I'm in a more socially conscious liberal arts form of my default setting, I can spend time in the end-of-the-day traffic being disgusted about all the huge, stupid, lane-blocking SUV's and Hummers and V-12 pickup trucks, burning their wasteful, selfish, 40-gallon tanks of gas, and I can dwell on the fact that the patriotic or religious bumper-stickers always seem to be on the biggest, most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest [responding here to loud applause] (this is an example of how NOT to think, though) most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest, most inconsiderate and aggressive drivers. And I can think about how our children's children will despise us for wasting all the future's fuel, and probably screwing up the climate, and how spoiled and stupid and selfish and disgusting we all are, and how modern consumer society just sucks, and so forth and so on.

You get the idea.

If I choose to think this way in a store and on the freeway, fine. Lots of us do. Except thinking this way tends to be so easy and automatic that it doesn't have to be a choice. It is my natural default setting. It's the automatic way that I experience the boring, frustrating, crowded parts of adult life when I'm operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the centre of the world, and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world's priorities.

The thing is that, of course, there are totally different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it's not impossible that some of these people in SUV's have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive. Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he's trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he's in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.

Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket's checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.

Again, please don't think that I'm giving you moral advice, or that I'm saying you are supposed to think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it. Because it's hard. It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won't be able to do it, or you just flat out won't want to.

But most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she's not usually like this. Maybe she's been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it's also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider. If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won't consider possibilities that aren't annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're gonna try to see it.

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship.

Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship--be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles--is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving.... The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational the way a commencement speech is supposed to sound. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are, of course, free to think of it whatever you wish. But please don't just dismiss it as just some finger-wagging Dr Laura sermon. None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death.

The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

"This is water."

"This is water."

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.
I wish you way more than luck.

I am making this material available in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107: This article is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0

08 March, 2014

Semantic Minutia

A commonly encountered end game ploy by theists who enter into debate with anti-theists...

Frequently, when theists are unable to gain any sort of foothold or upper-hand in these conversations; As each of their offerings are dismantled and their baseless presumptions laid bare...

They resort to an attempt to distract from their failures by trying to gain some form of semantic minutia...

'See... grey is a variant of green, so you obviously can't comprehend god... That is the problem with atheist arrogance and stupidity - You totally lose!'

 Sometimes followed by a full retreat by said theist (mute conversation / block.)

I'm yet to find a phrase or term to describe this method...

07 March, 2014

Lamb Lies Down

I found this here:
For posterity sake and the potential for the website going away - I am putting this article here too.

The Annotated Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

by Jason Finegan, Scott McMahan and other members of Paperlate.
Revision history:
5 May 1994 completion of Second major revision
18 Dec 1993 First major revision


One of the most frequently asked questions by any Genesis fans is "What is the Lamb about?"

Most people are baffled by the subject-matter of the Lamb, since it is one of the most dense and obfuscated works of art ever created.
I think it is a mistake to think the Lamb is "about" something, especially about one particular thing, and to think there is some correct answer to the question that starts "the Lamb is about ..." and goes on with a single "true" answer. (I would also advise you to be wary of people who claim to have a one true answer to the question, because they are probably missing a lot.) The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is something that every listener must decide a personal meaning that satisfices as an explanation.
But, it is not enough to just listen to the Lamb and try to puzzle it out. This is an "annotation", not an end in itself. It does not give you an explanation of what the Lamb is about. It does, however, arm you with the tools you need to form your own ideas. The Lamb is packed solid with some of the most obscure literary and cultural references, things that all of which even a well-read and well-educated person would probably not have encountered.

This file merges the Lamb's liner text with the lyrics and concert stories, to present a story combining the three that reads straight through. This combination helps the story flow better. This text has been augmented heavily by views and interpretations of individuals that might give you something to think about. Gabriel's own in-concert stories are added into the text to give you a feel for what he has said. And, the scant little information in books that has been recorded was also included. Unfortunately, there are no real interviews or articles about the band's own ideas on the Lamb extant. Gabriel has been very vague on the subject of the Lamb, and has not held forth any of his opinions on what the work is about.
It is designed as an aid to help the listener follow the Lamb better. Also, explanations of the material by band members and speculation by other listeners is included.
-- Scott McMahan

To start things off, we will set the mood for The Lamb with the following quotation from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway's tour book. Impossible to find these days, unless you were there. Mel Huang was, and provided us with this otherwise unattainable historical backdrop. Notice Peter Gabriel being described as "multi-media" almost 20 years before Explora!
Back in the late 60's progressive music seemed all but dead, barely kept alive by the faint spark of a lingering mellotron. Rock audiences had overdosed on loud psychedelic riffs and gentle acoustic flower-power tunes, wondering all the time if there was anything more to progressive music than strobe lights, incense and the odd synthesizer. Just when adventurous rock seemed forever moving backwards, Genesis began flirting with multi-media concepts. The 60's had taken rock music through a natural evolution where technical equipment and musical proficiency had been developed to its sophisticated best. The obvious goal for forward moving 70's rock bands then, was to fuse the two together in a working relationship where music, words, lights, and visuals would ideally come together forming a unified whole. Respected today for albums of surreal musical tales and a striking stage act Genesis began strictly as songwriters determined to sell their pop masterpieces to open ears.

While at school Peter Gabriel, Michael Rutherford and Tony Banks began a song writing relationship that to this day forms the bulk of the Genesis fantasy. Confident that these early tunes were ideal top 40 material, success eluded them. Left with no other alternative, performing the songs themselves became the only solution. Enter the bubblegum guru Jonathan King who bestowed upon them a name Genesis, and an album, From Genesis to Revelation, which sounded more like a Moody Blues/Procol Harum synthesis than the usual Top of the Pops one hit wonders. Despite the early recording effort, the group's surrealistic feel comes through the vinyl. After securing a record deal with Charisma in 1970, Genesis recorded Trespass, and album that spurned the stage favourite The Knife one of the few Genesis compositions to resemble anything remotely similar to rock 'n roll. Trespass is a frustrating album to listen to in retrospect, for one can easily see and feel the direction the band were moving towards, and the difficulty they were having getting there. The bands present strength in both popular acceptance and artistic accomplishment is no accident for the group have evolved gradually.

From their earliest concerts and records, the group stubbornly insisted on doing everything their own way, an individuality that today seperates them from other 'progressive' groups. Genesis were the naive rockers who brought tea and toast to sleazy backstage concerts as Gabriel began miming to some of the more story-book lyrics in a last ditch attempt to reach the audience. Record companies demanded traditional single releases that they refused to create. Genesis headlined before they reached headlining status as a problem quickly evolved, what kind of band could they possibly open for? The same problem was to plague them during their first few American visits, where a relatively unknown group found themselves in the unique position of headlining concerts. Whether there were 400 or 4000 people in the audience, Genesis worked hard, hypnotically pulling the listener into their own formless world. As the lyrics began to take on a more animated form, as the music became a soundtrack for a film that was happening onstage, a clear direction evolved for the group, merging theatrical stage visuals with the music. 70's rock was at last moving forward. After Trespass, drummer John Mayhew and guitarist/songwriter Anthony Phillips left the group.

Phil Collins arrived at a time when Genesis badly needed a healthy injection of fresh blood and revitalized energy. His musical adeptness and percussive proficiency on drums made it that much easier for Genesis to create the time changes so integral to their world. Enter also Steve Hackett, a guitarist capable of colouring various passages and textures instead of only being able to play the archetypal guitar solo. With Rutherford on bass and acoustic guitars, Banks on keyboards, mellotrons and synthesizers and Gabriel onstage an occasional flute, Genesis had gone through a necessary transformation, emerging unscared as one of the few 70's bands moving towards tomorrow instead of being merely content to recall what was once yesterday. From this transitional 1971 period, Genesis began moving closer to bridging the gap between theatre and music both onstage and record. Yet the bands visual attempts at clearing up lyrical discrepancies, created some dire misconceptions which followed the group like the plague, and begged for clarification. The most common problems revolved around the group's position in the rock 'n roll hierarch, for both fans and enemies were confused about just where Genesis fitted in the rock family tree. And it came to pass that people wrongly assumed that Genesis bore a strong resemblence to bands like Yes, ELP musically and people like Alice Cooper and David Bowie visually. Musically all that bound those groups together was the keyboard based instruments used to colour different sounds. Time changes, chord structures, song construction, vocals and lyrics differ between them so much so that no obvious similarities exist. Visually Genesis share no bonds with other popular rock posers of our time.

Unlike his contemporaris, Gabriel's stage movements bear a direct one to one relationship to the lyrics. From the start Genesis have operated on the basic principle that the visuals, while often entertaining are merely a vehicle to make the songs themselves more easily understood and accessible. To this day the band insist that they are primarily songwriters who play at being musicians and then only later play at being presenters. The songs are most important, the visuals only an aid in emphasizing the songs themselves. While many of their contemporaries incorporate visuals in a purely transitional nature, content to ellicit a round of oohs and aahs with various images and stage antics that are totally divorced from the song, Genesis strive to make the two one, to use the visuals to expand and explain the song. "We're closer to cartoons than the conventional rock band", Gabriel once said. "As far as ther bands go, I think we're in a little puddle all by ourselves". Genesis are working towards something closer to the Red Buddha Theatre than the rock bands they are so often compared with. Nursery Cryme was the first album created by the present line-up and from the first disturbing notes of 'Musical Box' right throught the last grandiose mellotron chords of 'The Fountain of Salmacis' a difference between this and past albums is apparent. For the first time the band's creative intentions had been captured on vinyl and it became easier to understand exactly what the group was working towards. From the album came stage classics 'Return of the Giant Hogweed and The Musical Box' a definite attempt to fuse storybook fantasies with moddy accompaniment. Both lyrics and music began to take on unique qualities; the stories were slightly vague and subtly weird while the music added to the uneasy eerieness of the tune. The group was progressing both as songwriters and musicians.

Not content to remain stationary, the Foxtrot album made fanatics out of fans and friends out of disbelievers. The album contained an impressive 20 minute futuristic opus entitled 'Supper's Ready' that quickly became the centre of attention of their much talked about stage show. In the beginning Gabriel would don the cover painting fox-head but that caricature was only vaguely connected with the albums lyrical themes. Eventually the band presented the whole piece onstage capturing the rock star as the second coming musically and visually much to the delight of the audience. With gentle, sweet voices, flashing strobe effects, searing mellotron orchestration, and animated visuals the piece would build to a spine-tingling crescendo, crashing to a surprise ending. Genesis were becoming immensely popular, for 'Supper's Ready' transcended the standard 4 minutes of decorated visuals, becoming a definite theatre piece complete with recurring passages and themes. The band's following quickly spread to the Continent and across the Atlantic where Americans were particularly fascinated with their peculiar English surrealism. A transitional perio followed, allowing the group to catch their breath and further develop the technical side of production and musical adeptness. Albums were months in the making, as they were a product of not one mind but five, and group equality was always stressed. 'Selling England By The Pound' confirmed suspicions that Genesis were becoming a self-contained unit, capable of creating and sustaining musical imagery both visually onstage and lyrically on record with the musical accompaniment integrated into the proceedingsso that the whole equalled a solid, animated fantasy. On this album the stories took a back seat to the music while the group concentrated on developing playing styles. Hackett's guitar weavings became an integral part of the moody atmosphere, as Banks wisely kept his keyboard playing melodic and lyrical instead of succumbing to the obvious desire to create a Third World War like so many of his peers and contemporaries. With the release of the album and the subsequent stage show that followed, lighting and sound systems took a giant leap forward and one excitedly wondered what futuristic delights lay ahead.

While the 'Foxtrot' tour featured an all white stage backdrop that added to the feel of the music, this tour injected backdrop projections and the use of slides, again coming closer to merging various medias into one. In the beginning the slide show occasionally resembled a faimly 'what we did on our holidays' approach but quickly grew more sophisticated. Which brings us presently up to autumn 1974 and a new Genesis stage show based around their new double album 'Lamb lies down on Broadway'. Not a terribly wealthy band, Genesis continually feed profits back into the stage show. To convey the complex story line of the new album, visual aids will be used on three backdrop screens, hinting at three dimensional illusions, slowed down slides will also add to an animated feel. As always, these new technical improvements will serve as painted landscapes adding to the fantasy and clarifying the story line. While the emphasis remains on the music and players the show will be theatrical and exciting, the music and imagery will not be seperate, but whole, working together to pull the listener into the Genesis fantasy and out of everyday street realities. What Genesis are working towards is the future and their present flirtation with multi-media concepts is only the beginning of a whole new world. Welcome.

The following is the material concerning the Lamb from Hugh Fielder's The Book Of Genesis. Fielder's book is a verbatim (more or less) transcription of interviews he conducted with band members, with no other text on his part.

PETER: Several ideas for the album were presented in order for the band to exercise a democratic vote. I knew mine was the strongest and I knew it would win - or, I knew that I could get it to win. The only other idea that was seriously considered was The Little Prince which Mike was in favour of - a kid's story. I thought that was too twee. This was 1974; it was pre-punk but I still thought we needed to base the story around a contemporary figure rather than a fantasy creation. We were beginning to get into the era of the big, fat supergroups of the seventies and I thought, "I don't want to go down with this Titanic". [See the footnote at the end of the Annotated Lamb for more information on The Little Prince.]

Once the story idea had been accepted we had all these heavy arguments about writing the lyrics. My argument was that there aren't many novels which are written by a committee. I said, "I think this is something that only I'm going to be able to get into, in terms of understanding the characters and the situations". I wrote indirectly about lots of my emotional experiences in The Lamb and so I didn't want other people coloring it. In fat there are parts of it which are almost indecipherable and very difficult which I don't think are very successful. In some ways it was quite a traditional concept album - it was a type of Pilgrim's Progress but with this street character in leather jacket and jeans. Rael would have been called a punk at that time without all the post-'76 connotations. The Ramones hadn't started then, although the New York Dolls had, but they were more glam-punk. The Lamb was looking towards West Side Story as a starting point.
MIKE: It was about a greasy Puerto Rican kid! For once we were writing about subject matter which was neither airy-fairy, nor romantic. We finally managed to get away from writing about unearthly things which I think helped the album.

TONY: All the lyrics were written by Peter, apart from one or two tracks, because he'd thought up the story line. He didn't really want anyone else to do it. We also had a lot of work to do, because we had decided by that time that we were going to make a double album. This meant there was a division as Pete went off and wrote the lyrics, and everyone else wrote the music. By the time Pete had finished the lyrics, there were about two or three holes where there wasn't a song, and we needed to write something. "Carpet Crawlers" was one and "The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging" was another.

[To clarify this slightly: Peter wrote all the lyrics, and everyone else wrote the music. Change of topic completely: Peter wrote more lyrics than they had music to sing them to, so the group had to write additional music to fill up the gaps. The song Peter didn't write lyrics to was The Light Dies Down.]
MIKE: I think that The Lamb is one of our best albums - one of our most different, anyway. We started writing, and it just came out very easily. After the previous album, it was a big relief. We realised quite quickly that we had three good sides - not just two good sides and another side, but three good sides. So we had to go for a double. Pete started the lyrics, and it finally became apparent we hadn't got a chance in hell of getting it finished by the deadline.

PHIL: We were living at Headley Grange - this house that Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and the Pretty Things had lived in. it was a bit of a shambles - in fact they'd ripped the shit out of it. We were all living together and writing together and it went very well to start with. Pete had said he wanted to do all the words so Mike and Tony had backed off and we were merrily churning out this music. Every time we sat down and played, something good came out.

PETER: Around the time we started work on The Lamb I had this call from Hollywood by William Friedkin who'd seen the story I'd written on the back of the live album and he thought it indicated a weird, visual mind. He was trying to put together a sci-fi film and he wanted to get a writer who'd never been involved with Hollywood before. We were working at Headley Grange which I felt was partly haunted by Jimmy Page's black magic experiments, and was full of rock and roll legend. I would go bicycle to the phone box down the hill and dial Friedkin in California with pockets stuffed full of 10p pieces.

PHIL: Suddenly Peter came up and said, "Do you mind if we stop for a bit", and we all said, "No. Of course we don't want to stop." It was a matter of principle more than anything else. So he said, "OK, I want to do the film, so I'm leaving." I remember we were sitting in the garden by the porch saying "What are we going to do? We'll carry on. We'll have an instrumental group", which for about five seconds was a serious idea because we had a lot of music written.

TONY: We were just going to carry on. We were going to write another story line. Not that I wanted Pete to leave because he was a very strong contributor and I really enjoyed working with him. I felt that the group needed all the energy we could possibly put into it because we still have a long way to go career-wise, and I thought musically it was still very interesting. If you are going to do it properly there's no way that one person can suddenly go off like that leaving the rest to hang about for three months. We made that very clear and that's why he left. It was all getting a little tedious, because the group was very much the main thing in our lives at that particular time. Peter kept saying if this William Friedkin offer came, he would do that in preference to working with us. And I thought, "This is absurd". There came a point when he decided to write a screen play, so he left for a bit. Anyhow, higher authorities stepped in - I think it was Strat - to try and keep us together. So Peter made a definite commitment to finish the album before he did anything else. But I think it made all of us feel that he was getting fed up and it was only a matter of time before he left.

MIKE: If you push Pete into a corner, he will retreat still further. When we tried to tie him down, he just became more vague. He went off back home to Bath.. and that was it. We carried on writing and didn't really think very far ahead.

PETER: Another thing that rubbed the band up the wrong way was that Tangerine Dream were going to do the film score for Friedkin. The others thought I was using the gorup as a springboard to jump off for my own personal success and wasn't even bringing them along with me. But Friedkin didn't want Genesis. He only wanted me for weird ideas, not for music. I just wanted a month to do this script outline. So I walked out. There was a big eruption with Charisma and I think Strat had to come out of his watering hole to help resolve it.

MIKE: Eventually, I rang Pete one morning and said, "Well, this is silly. Come back, and we'll sort it out." So he came back, and we picked up where we'd left off. Slowly, as the album progressed, William Friedkin's project became more and more vague. But once that sort of thing happens, the seeds of discontent are sown.

PETER: I had said, "If you are not going to allow me to do anything else I'm not going to stay." And Mike had replied, "If you delay the project, we can reach an agreement." In a sense, I'd won that round, but the resentment which had already accumulated became even more pronouced. They were definitely nervous about carrying on without me. Yet they have proved they could because the band has become a lot bigger than when I was in it. In reality, they shouldn't have been worried. I think I had more confidence in their ability to manage without me than they did because I knew that in the long run, songwriting was what really mattered. And they are good songwriters.

PHIL: Pete came back after a week because I think Friedkin got frightened at the idea of being the cause of breaking up the group. He told Pete that he didn't want *that* much of a committment, just a few ideas. So Pete found himself, from what I gather, without the job and came back with his tail between his legs. Things were restored to normal but, from that moment on, I think we all felt that this could happen again at any time.
TONY: Pete came back and we finished the album, and I really enjoyed it. We used a lot of moods - at times things were little more than improvisations on an idea. For instance, Mike would say, "Pharoahs going down the Nile" and he would just play two chords and instantly the rest of us would conjure up that particular mood. That one ended up on the album as "Fly on a Windshield". We did that with lots of the other tracks. The best jam we had in the rehearsal room ended up being called "The Waiting Room", which we called "The Evil Jam". We switched off all the lights and just made noises. And the first time it really was frightening.

PHIL: "The Evil Jam" started wtih Steve inventing noises and Tony messing around on a couple of synthesizers - we were just mucking about with some really nasty sounds. We were all getting very intense; Peter was blowing his oboe reeds into the microphone and playing his flute with the echoplex on when suddenly there was this great clap of thunder and it started raining. We all thought, "We've got in contact with something heavy here." It was about five or six in the evening and we were making all these weird noises when the thunderstorm started and it began to pour down. And then we all shifted gear and got into a really melodic mood. At moments like that it really was a five-piece thing. We worked well together on "The"Lamb" - the two albums gave us the room to do it. After we had prepared all our material, we went to another house in Wales to record. We put down the backing tracks in two weeks, and a month later we were still waiting for the words. Peter was well behind. Then he started saying, "I need another piece of music to link these two songs." We got bored with it in the end and nobody could help him because he was determined to do it on his own.

PETER: I was pretty good at manipulating but I think by "The"Lamb" the resentment towards me was so big that I had very little space. And I felt the only way I could work was to go into a corner and function on my own. A lot of the melodies were written after the event - after the backing tracks had been put down.

PHIL: We ended up back in London doing the vocals and mixing the album in shifts. I'd be mixing and overdubbing all night and then Tony and Mike would come and see what I'd done because I'd lost all semblance of normality at that point. Finally it seemed as if we'd been through hell and high water just to get it out. It certainly wasn't my favourite album at the time but I can see now that it's one of our better recordings. We were still suffering from bad production up to that point, I think.

MIKE: I think a lot of people were put off by the idea of a concept, this idea of it all hanging together. When it came out, it was a commercial failure. People talk about it now as a Genesis classic, but at the time, it died a death.

STEVE: I was an innocent bystander on "The Lamb." It happened despite me, not with me. All the things that I'd managed to hold back on "Selling England By The"Pound" seemed to come back in full force here. The nightmarishly long sides - everything linked to everything else. I really felt it was very indulgent. I couldn't quite get to grips with it or contribute something great in a guitar sense. I don't think Tony's done a finer album. But I did feel the amount of stuff I was managing to put across was painfully small. My marriage, at this point, was on the rocks.

[Concerning the "Evil Jam", in another source it is called "Evil Sun", although this may be a transcription/typographical error.]

Melody Maker April 26, 1975
One of the highlights of their Empire Pool concerts was the remarkably inventive collective improvisation that stalked a path midway between free jazz and electronic music.
"That's Genesis delving into improvisation. We got into a lot of blowing during the 'Lamb' rehearsals and we all enjoyed it. It was very strange. We have been restricted in blowing, because we had no confidence, and that came mainly from Tony and Mike who'd say: 'How can you just go on stage and blow?' I was always keen on it and as it has transpired that section has become one of the best things we do. We call it 'Evil Sun'."

The following is taken from Peter Gabriel: An Authorized Biography by Spence Bright, 1988, pub. 1989 by Headline Book Publishing PLC, ISBN 0-7472-3231-8.
""The Lamb" was intended to be like a "Pilgrim's Progress"," said Peter, "an adventure through which one gets a better understanding of self -- the transformation theme. I was trying to give it a street slant, and that was before punk happened. I felt an energy in that direction, and it seemed that prancing around in fairyland was rapidly becoming obsolete." Rael, the character around which "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" revolves, was as far removed from fairyland as possible. He was a streetwise Puerto Rican from the ghettos of the Bronx, and provided a transatlantic antidote to the English-ness of "Selling England By The Pound" and much of Genesis' previous work. Rael was Gabriel's made-up name. It was similar enough to the popular Spanish name Raoul to fit in with the character, but English enough to suggest both reality and fantasy. At the time Peter was credited with the major contribution on the album. Since then all concerned have stressed their role in what is Genesis' most controversial and for many most inspiring album. The lyrics were mainly Peter's, but he felt he was never given enough credit for his contribution to the music as well. He regards his composition 'The Carpet Crawlers' as one of his favourite melodies and the title track's chorus was also his composition with the use of the 'On Broadway' theme.

Though Rael was portrayed by Gabriel on stage as a punk wearing leather jacket and jeans, the imagery of the lyrics owes more to the supernatural than subways and sidewalks. Rael's journey through his subconscious to eventual self-discovery includes a confrontation with death, 'The Supernatural Anaesthetist'; falling in love, 'The Lamia' (which are female demons in classical mythology); and sensual gratification, 'The Colony of Slippermen'. There follows a nasty castration followed by the comical theft of the dismembered organ by a bird, and his final self-realization. The group were annoyed at Peter's delay in delivering the lyrics. But to him it was still rushed and he was not able to revise the story as much as he would have liked, which explains why some of the lyrics are so obscure. Gabriel has always been unwilling to give a precise explanation of the lyrics. Often there would be no point because much of it did not have a direct meaning other than the interplay, feel and sound of the words. The understanding was largely in the feeling of the performance rather than the literal examination of the words. The bulk of the album was recorded in Wales, but Peter's vocals were put down at Island Studios in Notting Hill, and everyone else was excluded from the studio. Just as the album was nearing completion Steve Hackett severed a tendon and nerve in his thumb when he crushed a wine glass in his hand. It was indicative of the tension that ran throughout the project. He was at a reception after seeing Alex Harvey in concert. "I hadn't realized I'd done it," said Steve. "Funnily enough the same thing happened on the "Bionic Man" TV programme, and he hadn't realized why he had done it, and they had worked out that it was 'an involuntary surge of adrenalin due to stress'." Steve's accident meant the three-week tour of England billed for the autumn of 1974 promoting the new album had to be cancelled. It turned out to be a blessing because the delays in recording would have left the band under-rehearsed. Steve had completed all his overdubs, so the album was not delayed further. "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" took five months to complete, turning into a double album because of the surfeit of material, and was released in November 1974. It was called a 'concept' album when the term concept had already become passe'.

"The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" tour started in America in December 1974. Gabriel spent most of the show wearing the for him uncustomary uniform of leather jacket and trousers. The plot was visualized on three backdrop screens showing 1,000 slides. Gabriel did not put on his first costume until 'The Lamia', three-quarters of the way through the set. He was covered in a cone-like object bathed in ultra-violet light that was meant to signify the tourbillion, the wheel that catapults beings into the mystical world. 'The Colony of Slippermen' followed, represented on stage by Gabriel in a monstrous, bulbous costume with outsized inflatable genitals. Earlier in the set a dummy of Gabriel had a light shone on it. The prop created the illusion of two Gabriels. However, the roadies played tricks. On one gig the dummy had a banana stuck out of its flies, and on the very last show of the tour the dummy was replaced by a stark naked roadie. For Jill this was the first time that Peter had exposed his sexuality so strongly on stage. "He was angry, and it was a very powerful performance. He totally opened himself and put himself on the line to the world, but he wasn't in his relationship with me. I would say to him, 'Why can't you be like that for me?' I remember sitting in the audience and feeling completely turned on by this guy who I was married to. But he was not able to be that person outside the stage. And that is what has slowly broken down over the years, being able to take that part of himself into his everyday life.

After the Lamb, Peter left the band. Here is, verbatim, his press release to the world. Although this is as good as anywhere to reproduce this (I felt it should be in the Discography somplace), it is also indicative of his writing style in general. The Lamb is very typical of his style. See the Supper's Ready entry too in the Song Explanations part.
July 1975
I had a dream, eye's dream. Then I had another dream with the body and soul of a rock star. When it didn't feel good I packed it in. Looking back for the musical and non-musical reasons, this is what I came up with:

OUT, ANGELS OUT - an investigation.
The vehicle we had built as a co-op to serve our songwriting became our master and had cooped us up inside the success we had wanted. It affected the attitudes and the spirit of the whole band. the music had not dried up and I still respect the other musicians, but our roles had set in hard. To get an idea through "Genesis the Big" meant shifting a lot more concrete than before. For any band, transferring the heart from idealistic enthusiasm to professionalism is a difficult operation. I believe the use of sound and visual images can be developed to do much more than we have done. But on a large scale it needs one clear and coherent direction, which our pseudo-democratic committee system could not provide. As an artist, I need to absorb a wide variety of experiences. It is difficult to respond to intuition and impulse within the long-term planning that the band needed. I felt I should look at/learn about/develop myself, my creative bits and pieces and pick up on a lot of work going on outside music. Even the hidden delights of vegetable growing and community living are beginning to reveal their secrets. I could not expect the band to tie in their schedules with my bondage to cabbages. The increase in money and power, if I had stayed, would have anchored me to the spotlights. It was important to me to give space to my family, which I wanted to hold together, and to liberate the daddy in me. Although I have seen and learnt a great deal in the last seven years, I found I had begun to look at things as the famous Gabriel, despite hiding my occupation whenever possible, hitching lifts, etc. I had begun to think in business terms; very useful for an often bitten once shy musician, but treating records and audiences as money was taking me away from them. When performing, there were less shivers up and down the spine. I believe the world has soon to go through a difficult period of changes. I'm excited by some of the areas coming through to the surface which seem to have been hidden away in people's minds. I want to explore and be prepared to be open and flexible enough to respond, not tied in to the old hierarchy. Much of my psyche's ambitions as "Gabriel archetypal rock star" have been fulfilled - a lot of the ego-gratification and the need to attract young ladies, perhaps the result of frequent rejection as "Gabriel acne-struck public school boy". However, I can still get off playing the star game once in a while. My future within music, if it exists, will be in as many situations as possible. It's good to see a growing number of artists breaking down the pigeonholes. This is the difference between the profitable, compartmentalized, battery chicken and the free-range. Why did the chicken cross the road anyway? There is no animosity between myself and the band or management. The decision had been made some time ago and we have talked about our new direction. The reason why my leaving was not announced earlier was because I had been asked to delay until they had found a replacement to plug up the hole. It is not impossible that some of them might work with me on other projects. The following guesswork has little in common with truth: Gabriel left Genesis. 1) To work in theatre. 2) To make more money as a solo artist. 3) To do a "Bowie". 4) To do a "Ferry". 5) To do a "Furry Boa round my neck and hang myself with it". 6) To go see an institution. 7) To go senile in the sticks. I do not express myself adequately in interviews and I felt I owed it to the people who have put a lot of love and energy supporting the band to give an accurate picture of my reasons.
[End of press release]

Much talk was made about making a Lamb film in the early 80s.
It apparently got to a very advanced stage before the project died out. Here is some information on the Lamb film, which never happened, taken from Genesis Magazine 23, April 1982 (intro by Geoff Parkyn)
...It also seems a good opportunity to include some recent comments from Mike on the projected film version of "The Lamb"... According to Mike, "The Lamb" film project is "just about still alive".

Mike: It's something that's been in the air for quite a while, although I haven't really applied much thought to it, until it becomes a reality there's not really much point. We talked about it quite a bit a year or so ago and then it died down, so I'm just waiting for it to become a bit more of a reality.

Intrv: If so, it's said there would be a possibility that the original band would get back together to re-record the music?

Mike: Yes, quite possibly. I don't know though, just recently - this is my own opinion, mind - I feel Pete's going in such a good and strong direction that maybe "The Lamb" would be backward step? It's just a thought. Sometimes I'm not sure about going back, goodness knows though I'd like to work with Peter again.
Steve: I think there is every possibility that may happen. It's got to be in the hands of a good director, and similarly promote interest in producers. I don't think it's merely a question of slinging the thing together.
Phil says in Gallo's book (this is from 1979):
"...the band may have to get together for the film production of 'The Lamb'. Pete is now working on the screenplay with a film director, and I suppose we will be doing the sound track next summer, 1980".
Peter Gabriel persuaded director Alex Jeodorowsky to work on the film with him. The screenplay got at least as far as a second draft. It was never completed.
Brian Eno is credited with "Enossification" on the Lamb. What we know about this is recorded here:
Phil Collins mentioned it almost by accident during a session work discussion in an interview for a feature article in November 1983 issue of Modern Drummer magazine: "For instance, when Genesis was doing "The Lamb", Eno was upstairs and he met Peter (Gabriel). Peter wanted to feed his vocals through some of Eno's synthesizers. So, he came down. As payment for that, I was sent upstairs to play on Eno's record, which was a track on "Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy". We hit it off well, so when he [made?] "Another Green World", he rang me and Percy (Jones from Brand X) up and I did all the drums on that."
Greg Stone's radio program Stone Trek on KOME radio had a broadcast on 6/14/92 of an older interview, in which Eno was mentioned.
GS: While we're on "The Lamb Lies Down", how did you come across Brian Eno?

TB: His contribution to the album is minimal actually; I often wonder why we even credited him, because what he did was very little...

GS: Confused everyone..

TB: Yes it did, it confused a lot of people I think. We came across him because he worked at Island -- he was involved with Island studios while we were doing the album, you know, and he was up in the other studio doing some things, and Peter invited him down just to do a few effects on the vocals, and basically that's what Eno did, he did those effects on "The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging", those sort of funny effects on the vocals, and also on "In The Cage"; that was really all he did.


[Key: Bracketed text is annotation. Indented text is from the liner notes. Red text is lyrics. Text beginning with "Peter Gabriel:" is speech taken from in-between song talking by Peter Gabriel during live performances. Sometimes more than one version of a particular story is included.]

Keep your fingers out of my eye.

[One possible explanation for this puzzling opening is:
As you open up the gatefold album cover of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway to read the narrative, you hold it in such a way that your fingers are in the eye of one of the characters on the cover picture, who then tells you to remove them.]

While I write I like to glance at the butterflies in glass that are all around the walls. The people in memory are pinned to events I can't recall too well, but I'm putting one down to watch him break up, decompose and feed another sort of life. The one in question is all fully biodegradable material and categorised as 'Rael'. Rael hates me, I like Rael, -- yes, even ostriches have feelings, but our relationship is something both of us are learning to live with. Rael likes a good time, I like a good rhyme, but you won't see me directly anymore -- he hates my being around. So if his story doesn't stand, I might lend a hand, you understand? (ie. the rhyme is planned, dummies).

[Who is this speaking? An anonymous narrator? Is it Rael looking at himself in the third person? Is it God? The line "Rael hates me, I like Rael" might make sense in that case. Is it Rael's soul?]

The flickering needle jumps into red. New York crawls out of its bed.
And the lamb lies down on Broadway. Early morning Manhattan, Ocean winds blow on the land.

The weary guests are asked to leave the warmth of the all-night theater, having slept on pictures others only dream on.
The Movie-Palace is now undone, The all-night watchmen have had their fun. Sleeping cheaply on the midnight show, It's the same old ending -- time to go. Get out! It seems they cannot leave their dream.

The un-paid extras disturb the Sleeping Broadway. WALK to the left DON'T WALK to the right: on Broadway, directions don't look so bright. Autoghosts keep the pace for the cabman's early mobile race.
There's something moving in the sidewalk steam,
["Give me steam, and how you feel can make it real Real as anything you've seen [place you've been]. Get a life with the dreamer's dream" Peter Gabriel, "Steam", 1992

The symbolism of "steam" illustrates the world of shadow we're about to be transported to. Steam is real, yet obviously at the point of intangibility. It is the stuff between which reality and dreams, sanity and insanity collide.

And what of the significance of "Rael"? Transpose the "a" and the "e" and you get "real", which is referred to in the end of "It": "it is Real, it is Rael".

The juxtaposition of "is" and "Rael" is interesting, since it forms the word "Israel" at the climactic point of the album. Since this album is full of metaphors and references to everything under the sun, it is not out of order to assume that this was intentional. If we go along with this, then we're talking about the children of Israel. According to the dictionary, the Hebrew word "yisrael" means to struggle against God. Judeo-Christian references played a major role in the music of Gabriel-era Genesis, starting with the band's very name. The Lamb's songs might be considered within the context of the New Testament. Some things may begin to fall into place. Carrying the metaphor further, we can assume Real is a Christ figure. "The lamb lies down on Broadway" would then mean "Jesus Christ dies in New York." At the end of the story, Rael sacrifices his life for his brother John, in spite of the numerous times John had forsaken him, and he loves him anyway. This is a very Christian attitude. On an unrelated note, "Rael" spelled backwards is "Lear", which may be an intentional reference to the mad king of Shakespear.

Since Brother John was mentioned here in this annotation, we must point out that Steve Hackett's brother was named John. If this has any significance, it has never been officially acknowledged.]
And the lamb lies down on Broadway. Nightime's flyers feel their pains. Drugstore takes down the chains. Metal motion comes in bursts, But the gas station can quench that thirst. Suspension cracked on unmade road The trucker's eyes read 'Overload'

Enough of this -- our hero is moving up the subway stairs into day- light. Beneath his leather jacket he holds a spray gun which has left the message R-A-E-L in big letters on the wall leading underground. It may not mean much to you but to Rael it is part of the process going towards 'making a name for yourself.' When you're not even a pure-bred Puerto Rican the going gets tough and the tough gets going.
And out of the subway, Rael Imperial Aerosol Kid Exits into daylight, spraygun hid,

With casual sideways glances along the wet street, he checks the motion in the steam to look for potential obstruction. Seeing none, he strides along the sidewalk, past the drugstore with iron guard being removed to reveal the smile of the toothpaste girl, past the nightladies and past Patrolman Frank Leonowich (48, married, two kids) who stands in the doorway of the wig-store. Patrolman Leonowich looks at Rael in much the same way that other Patrolmen look at him, and Rael only just hides that he is hiding something. Meanwhile from out of the steam a lamb lies down. This lamb has nothing whatsoever to do with Rael, or any other lamb -- it just lies down on Broadway.
And the lamb lies down on Broadway. The lamb seems right out of place, Yet the Broadway street scene finds a focus in its face. Somehow it's lying there, Brings a stillness to the air. Though man-made light, at night is very bright, There's no whitewash victim, As the neons dim, to the coat of white. Rael Imperial Aerosol Kid, Wipes his gun -- he's forgotten what he did, And the lamb lies down on Broadway. Suzanne tired her work all done, Thinks money -- honey -- be on -- neon.
[This may be a reference to the somewhat popular song entitled "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen, 1966. The song "Suzanne" is about waking up and/or realization, which certainly parallels the "Lamb" epic. In the lyrics to Suzanne, it is obvious that her work is all done. Here's a sampling of the lyrics: "And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind, For she's touched your perfect body with her mind. "Now Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water, and he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower, and when he knew for certain that only drowning men could see him, he said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them. But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open. Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone. "And you want to travel with him, and you want to travel blind, For he's touched your perfect body with his mind. This seemingly makes a tie to the suggestion that there is an undercurrent of Biblical references throughout the "Lamb" lyrics.]
Cabman's velvet glove sounds the horn
[This could be an obscure reference to Andy Warhol, a famous pop artist. He once arrived at at some important event driving a cab and was also very involved with the musical group, Velvet Underground. On another note, it's possible that Suzanne is riding in the cab. It also seems likely that since it is early morning and she is getting off work, that she may be a prostitute. This would encompass the "money" and "honey". Another reader said "I've always thought of it like this: neon signs are the 70's gauche way of attracting attention to what you have to sell, so..."]
And the sawdust king spits out his scorn. Wonder women draw your blind! Don't look at me! I'm not your kind. I'm Rael! Something inside me has just begun, Lord knows what I have done,
[This line is particularly hard to understand. It may, however, be a clue to what is about to happen to Rael. Has he taken a drug over- dose? Whatever, a possible interpretation of the entire story is that Rael dies in "Fly on a Windshield" and that most of what happens is Rael's spiritual journey through some purgatory. He escapes at the end in "It."]
And the lamb lies down on Broadway. On Broadway -- They say the lights are always bright on Broadway. They say there's always magic in the air.
[These last two lines are a direct quote from "On Broadway", a classic Drifters song.]


The sky is overcast and as Rael looks back a dark cloud is descending like a balloon into Times Square. It rests on the ground and shapes itself into a hard edged flat surface, which solidifies and extends itself all the way East and West along 47th Street and reaching up to the dark sky. As the wall takes up its tension it becomes a screen showing what had existed in three dimensions, on the other side just a moment before. The image flickers and then cracks like painted clay and the wall silently moves forward, absorbing everything in its path.
Peter Gabriel: "So I was just walking along the street when this big cloud comes down. It becomes solid, like a screen showing up pictures of what existed around it before on the back side of it."
[Looking back, he sees the cloud take shape into what appears to be a movie screen, "showing what had existed in three dimensions, on the other side". This movie screen he alone sees is much like the one in the movie palace. The one in the theater shows a world created by someone in Hollywood who wishes the movie-goers to believe in the reality of something which is obviously false. The romance of the movie is that it takes something unreal and presents it in a form which people not only can believe, but really want to believe. The screen that is moving in the street (behaving much like "The Langoliers" in the short story of the same name by Stephen King) is taking what Rael "knew" to be reality and turning it into a movie. Are we to believe what is on this screen? If what once was thought real is now a movie, is what was a movie now real?]
There's something solid forming in the air, The wall of death is lowered in Times Square.

The unsuspecting New Yorkers are apparently blind to what is going on.
No-one seems to care, They carry on as if nothing was there.

Rael starts to run away towards Columbus Circle. Each time he dares to take a look, the wall has moved another block. At the moment when he thinks he's maintaining his distance from the wall, the wind blows hard and cold slowing down his speed. The wind increases, dries the wet street and picks up the dust off the surface, throwing it into Rael's face.
Peter Gabriel: "And I was walking along seeing this wall closing up on me behind me, me on the wall."
The wind is blowing harder now, Blowing dust into my eyes.

More and more dirt is blown up and it begins to settle on Rael's skin and clothes, making a solid layered coat that brings him gradually to a terrified stillness. A sitting duck.
[Rael struggles against the wind blowing dust into his eyes, obscuring his vision of what he once thought was real. He fights himself into a standstill, completely encrusted in the dust. Like us, he is a "sitting duck" a "fly waiting for the windshield". His difference is that he sees it coming; and although he is not prepared, he is spared immediate death, at least how he sees it. From his viewpoint, everyone else who gets swallowed by the wall/screen dies, but this is just a symbolic death of the reality he once knew.]
The dust settles on my skin, Making a crust I cannot move in And I'm hovering like a fly, waiting for the windshield on the freeway.
[This is chock full of current events of the time. "Broadway Melody" was a review-type stage show comprised of bits and pieces of the popular shows of the day. There is a Little Rascals episode where they do a "Broadway Melody" show.]

The moment of impact bursts through the silence and in a roar of sound, the final second is prolonged in a world of echoes as if the concrete and clay of Broadway itself was reliving its memories. The last great march past. Newsman stands limp as a whimper as audience and event are locked as one. Bing Crosby coos "You don't have to feel pain to sing the blues, you don't have to holla -- you don't feel a thing in your dollar collar." Martin Luther King cries "Everybody Sing!" and rings the grand old liberty bell. Leary, weary of his prison cell, walks on heaven, talks on hell. J.F.K. gives the O.K. to shoot us, sipping Orange Julius and Lemon Brutus. Bare breasted cowboy double decks the triple champion. Who needs Medicare and the 35c flat rate fare, when Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are dancing through the air? From Broadway Melody stereotypes the band returns to 'Stars and Stripes' bringing a tear to the moonshiner, who's been pouring out his spirit from the illegal still. The pawn broker clears the noisy till and clutches his lucky dollar bill.
[Rael is overwhelmed by the confusion and disorder of the sensory input he is perceiving. He has now been sucked into the movie! Images begin to take shape out of the soup in a stream of conscious- ness style. Take time, an integral part of the "real" world Rael has left, and throw it out the window. The next second in the "real" New York may encompass the entire journey Rael is about to take. Human dreams have been found to take only a few seconds each, though we remember them as happening in real-time. Many times they seem just as real as when we are awake. Is Rael awake, or still asleep in his bed the night before? Is he dead, or is everyone else dead? Both? Neither?]
Echoes of the Broadway Everglades, With her mythical madonnas still walking in their shades: Lenny Bruce, declares a truce and plays his other hand.
[Lenny Bruce (1952-66) He was a comedian, and a cultural icon of the 60's. His satirical, "black" humor destroyed the accepted boundaries of good taste of the day. He was one of the first to use extreme profanity in his act. In 1961 he was put in jail for obscenity; in 1963, the year following an initial show at the Establishment Club in London, he wasn't allowed to return to Britain for another show. In May of 1963 he was convicted of drug possession. He died in '66 and most think it was caused by his drug use. He was acquitted of the obscenity charges after his death. His lasting significance is that he was among the first comedians whose purpose was to disturb instead of simply amuse through his unique insights and observations about the violence of his time.]
Marshall McLuhan, casual viewin', head buried in the sand.
[McLuhan (1911-80) was a Canadian sociologist, writer, and critic of the media and popular culture. He is best known for his idea that "the medium is the massage" (sic). He also liked to describe different media as "hot" (such as a book, which requires more mental involvement) and "cold" (such as TV). He wrote several books along these lines and he was both widely acclaimed as a genius and totally discounted as an intellectual dud depending on whom you read about him. A paraphrase of his theory: McLuhan postulates that society is most greatly affected by its fastest mode of communication. He believes that societies are governed by the most dominant media, and separates history into ages like: messenger age, script age, print age, radio age, television age. A cartoon from a 1966 issue of the New Yorker said this: "You see, Dad, Professor McLuhan says the environment that man creates becomes his medium for defining his role in it. The invention of type created linear, or sequential, thought, separating thought from action. Now, with TV and folk singing, thought and action are closer and social involvement is greater. We again live in a village. Get it?" McLuhan also suggested that everything is going through a process of speeding up. This shapes the society, and produces a sped-up culture.]
Sirens on the rooftops wailing, but there's no ship sailing.
[Reference to Homer's Oddysey and the Sirens who seduced men to crash ships on their rocks, possibly that no ships are sailing anymore to be snared in the trap]
Groucho, with his movies trailing, stands alone with his punchline failing. Klu Klux Klan serve hot soul food and the band plays 'In the Mood'
[Interestingly enough, one Paperlater questioned the meaning and significance of the Klu Klux Klan serving hot soul food. Soul food is essentially food ethnically associated with southern black families. "In the Mood" was written in 1938 and recorded by a lesser known big band, but it was indeed the Glen Miller Orchestra in 1940 who took it to #1 and made it a classic. It opens with a classic sax riff (that you can also hear in the Beatles' "All you Need is Love")]
The cheerleader waves her cyanide wand, there's a smell of peach blossom and bitter almonde. Caryl Chessman sniffs the air and leads the parade, he know in a scent, you can bottle all you made.
[Caryl Chessman (1922-60) was an American convict-author who was con- victed on 17 charges of kidnapping, robbery and rape. He was granted 8 stays of execution by the governor of California and therefore spent the longest period on record on death row: 12 years. He carried out a brilliant legal battle from prison, learned 4 languages and wrote sev- eral best selling books during this time. He was eventually executed and the publicity generated worldwide criticism of the American judic- ial system. He was one of the first people to die in a gas chamber. The smell of peach blossom and bitter almond is the characteristic one for cyanide gas. The phrase "in a scent" might be a play on words also meaning "innocent." If this were the case "innocent, you can bottle all you made" would then mean that if Caryl were to successful- ly prove his innocence, he could bottle up, or put behind him, his previous actions and go free.]
There's Howard Hughes in blue suede shoes, smiling at the majorettes smoking Winston Cigarettes.
[Howard Hughes (1905-76): Quoting the Cambridge Biographical Diction- ary, "American millionaire businessman, film producer and director, and aviator, born in Houston, Texas." That gives you an idea of how diverse this man was. He had an air of eccentricity and mysticism about him that fascinated people. In brief, he directed Hell's Angels (1930) and Scarface (1932). He left Hollywood and was a pilot for awhile, but he was interested in designing aircraft. He broke most of the existing world's air speed records between 1935 and 1938; he was awarded a Congressional medal; he made another movie (The Outlaw); he spent much time and money designing and building a gigantic wooden seaplane, The Spruce Goose, which flew only once but is famous in aviation history as the largest prop driven airplane ever made. He crashed in 1946 and became a recluse, living in complete seclusion and running his vast financial empire from sealed hotel rooms. In 1971 an "authorized" biography was released but it turned out to be a fake (remember Clifford Irving? He wrote it and it was a gigantic media story). The mystery about Hughes and the fascination with him contin- ued until he died in '76. Also, he was a noted hypochondriac and a fanatic about the purity of the air he was breathing, all worried about the germs he was inhaling, etc.]
And as the song and dance begins, the children play at home with needles; needles and pins.
[Needles and Pins was written by Jack Nietsche and Sonny Bono and first recorded by Jackie DeShannon in 1963. It was made famous the following year by the British group the Searchers.]
Then the blackout.

Rael regains consciousness in some musky half-light. He is warmly wrapped in some sort of cocoon. The only sound he can hear is dripping water which appears to be the source of a pale flickering light. He guesses he must be in some sort of cave -- or kooky tomb, or catacomb, or eggshell waiting to drop from the bone of the womb.
Peter Gabriel: "And I wake up in a little while, laid down underground."
Wrapped up in some powdered wool -- I guess I'm losing touch. Don't tell me I'm dying, 'cos I ain't changed that much. The only sound is water drops, I wonder where the hell I am, Some kind of jam? Cuckoo Cocoon have I come to, too soon for you?

Whatever it is, he feels serene, very clean, and content as a well kept dummy with hot water in his tummy, so why worry what it means?
There's nothing I can recognise; this is nowhere that I've known. With no sign of life at all, I guess that I'm alone, And I feel so secure that I know this can't be real but I feel good. Cuckoo cocoon have I come to, too soon for you? I wonder if I'm a prisoner locked up in some Brooklyn jail
[Is he actually in a straightjacket "locked in some Brooklyn jail?"]
-- or some sort of Jonah shut up inside the whale. No -- I'm still Rael and I'm stuck in some kind of cave, what could've saved me? Cuckoo cocoon have I come to, too soon for you?

Resigning himself to the unknown he drifts off into sleep.

I've got sunshine in my stomach Like I just rocked my baby to sleep. I've got sunshine in my stomach And I can't keep me from creeping sleep, Sleep, deep in the deep.

He wakes in a cold sweat with a strong urge to vomit. There's no sign of the cocoon and he can see more of the cave about him. There is much more of the glowing water dripping from the roof and stalactites and stalagmites are forming and decomposing at an alarming rate all around him.
Rockface moves to press my skin White liquids turn sour within Turn fast -- turn sour Turn sweat -- turn sour. Must tell myself that I'm not here. I'm drowning in a liquid fear. Bottled in a strong compression, My distortion shows obsession In the cave. Get me out of this cave!

As fear and shock register, he assures himself that self-control will provide some security,
If I keep self-control, I'll be safe in my soul. And the childhood belief Brings a moment's relief, But my cynic soon returns And the lifeboat burns. My spirit just never learns.

but this thought is abandoned as the stalactites and stalagmites lock into a fixed position, forming a cage whose bars are moving in towards him.
Stalactites, stalagmites Shut me in, lock me tight. Lips are dry, throat is dry. Feel like burning, stomach churning, I'm dressed up in a white costume Padding out leftover room. Body stretching, feel the wretching In the cage Get me out of this cage!

At one moment there is a flash of light and he sees an infinite network of cages all strung together by a ropelike material.
In the glare of a light, I see a strange kind of sight; Of cages joined to form a star Each person can't go very far; All tied to their things They are netted by their strings, Free to flutter in memories of their wasted wings.

As the rocky bars press in on Rael's body, he sees his brother John outside, looking in.
Outside the cage I see my Brother John, He turns his head so slowly round.

John's face is motionless despite screams for help, but in his vacant expression a tear of blood forms and trickles down his cheek. Then he calmly walks away
I cry out Help! before he can be gone, And he looks at me without a sound. And I shout 'John please help me!' But he does not even want to try to speak. I'm helpless in my violent rage And a silent tear of blood dribbles down his cheek, And I watch him turn again and leave the cage. My little runaway.
["My little runaway" is an allusion to "Runaway" (1961), a #1 hit by Del Shannon. Words by Del Shannon, music by Max Crook (who also plays the organ break on the record). "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" is then improvised here. It was written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, and was recorded by B.J. Thomas for the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." It also hit #1 on the charts. Genesis is apparently considerably influenced by Bacharach, cf. "Burt" the working title for Hold On My Heart.]

leaving Rael to face the pains which are beginning to sweep through his body.
In a trap, feel a strap Holding still. Pinned for kill. Chances narrow that I'll make it, In the cushioned straight-jacket. Just like 22nd Street, When they got me by my neck and feet. Pressures building, can't take more. My headaches charge. My earaches roar. In the pain Get me out of this pain. If I could change to liquid, I could fill the cracks up in the rock. But I know that I am solid And I am my own bad luck.

However, just as John walks out of sight, the cage dissolves and Rael is left spinning like a top.
But outside John disappears and my cage dissolves, and without any reason my body revolves. Keep on turning, Keep on turning, Turning around, spinning around.

When all this revolution is over, he sits down on a highly polished floor while his dizziness fades away. It is an empty modern hallway and the dreamdoll saleslady sits at the reception desk.
"The last great adventure left to mankind" -- Screams a drooping lady offering her dreamdolls at less than extortionate prices, and as the notes and coins are taken out
[This seems to be a case of Genesis (or Peter) tripping over the British language heritage they were trying to submerse into the background on The Lamb. Rael, the street punk in New York City (even a reconstruction) would not refer to money as "notes and coins" -- since "notes" is a British term ("pound note"). Rael would use words like dollars, bills, or more likely pesos. "Coin" is formal for American English usage, he'd more likely say "change" if he was not referring to specific denominations of money. Cf. in Ballad Of Big the usage of "waistcoat" instead of "vest" and later in the Lamb "progressive" for "liberal". Both are out of character for the mood they are trying to convey.]
I'm taken in, to the factory floor. For the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging -- All ready to use the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging -- just need a fuse.
[On p.18 of Marshall McLuhan's "The Medium is the Massage", there appears the following quote: "...educational establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns, subjects, and schedules. It is naturally an environment much like any factory set-up with its inventories and assemblies." The parallels with "The Grand Parade" are, if essentially coincidental, still worthy of notice.]

Without prompting she goes into her rap: "This is the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging, those you are about to see are all in for servicing, except for a small quantity of our new product, in the second gallery. It is all the stock required to cover the existing arrangements of the enterprise. Different batches are distributed to area operators, and there are plenty of opportunities for the large investor. They stretch from the costly care-conditioned to the most reasonable mal-nutritioned. We find here that everyone's looks become them. Except for the low market mal-nutritioned, each is provided with a guarantee for a successful birth and trouble free infancy. There is however only a small amount of variable choice potential -- not too far from the mean differential. You see, the roof has predetermined the limits of action of any group of packages, but individuals may move off the path if their diversions are counter-balanced by others."
Got people stocked in every shade, Must be doing well with trade. Stamped, addressed, in odd fatality. That evens out their personality. With profit potential marked by a sign, I can recognise some of the production line, No bite at all in labour bondage, Just wrinkled wrappers or human bandage. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging -- All ready to use It's the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging -- just need a fuse.

As he wanders along the line of packages, Rael notices a familiarity in some of their faces. He finally comes upon some of the members of his old gang and worries about his own safety. Running out through the factory floor, he catches sight of his brother John with a number 9 stamped on his forehead.
The hall runs like clockwork Their hands mark out the time, Empty in their fullness Like a frozen pantomime. Everyone's a sales representative Wearing slogans in their shrine. Dishing out failsafe superlative, Brother John is No. 9.
[This line probably is a playful offhand reference to John Lennon. John in The Lamb is not supposed to *be* Lennon, by any means; Peter just probably thought he'd have some fun here. The reference isn't just to "Revolution 9". Lennon had a well-publicized obsession with the number.]
For the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging -- All ready to use It's the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging -- just need a fuse. The decor on the ceiling has planned out their future day I see no sign of free will, so I guess I'll have to pay, pay my way, for the Grand Parade. for the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging -- All ready to use the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging -- just need a fuse.

No-one seems to take up the chase, and with the familiar faces fresh in his mind he moves into a reconstruction of his old life, above ground -- Too much time was one thing he didn't need, so he used to cut through it with a little speed. He was better off dead, than slow in the head. His momma and poppa had taken a ride on his back, so he left very quickly to join The Pack.
Peter Gabriel: "We're presently right in the middle of the story of Rael, and he's at present underground moving through an almost perfect reconstruction of the streets of New York City."
Peter Gabriel: "And it's just like it was above ground. I mean the streets of New York had been built again, a few years earlier."
I see faces and traces of home back in New York City -- So you think I'm a tough kid? Is that what you heard? Well I like to see some action and it gets into my blood. The call me the trail blazer -- Rael -- electric razor. I'm the pitcher in the chain gang, we don't believe in pain 'cos we're only as strong, as the weakest link in the chain.

Only after a spell in Pontiac reformatory was he given any respect in the gang.
Let me out of Pontiac when I was just seventeen,
[Pontiac is an institution in NY State for juvenile delinquents.]
I had to get it out of me, if you know what I mean, what I mean. You say I must be crazy, 'cos I don't care who I hit, who I hit. But I know it's me that's hitting out and I'm not full of shit. I don't care who I hurt. I don't care who I do wrong. This is your mess I'm stuck in, I really don't belong. When I take out my bottle, filled up high with gasoline, You can tell by the night fires where Rael has been, has been.

Now, walking back home after a raid, he was cuddling a sleeping porcupine. That night he pictured the removal of his hairy heart and to the accompaniment of very romantic music he watched it being shaved smooth by an anonymous stainless steel razor.
As I cuddled the porcupine He said I had none to blame, but me. Held my heart, deep in hair, Time to shave, shave it off, it off. No time for romantic escape, When your fluffy heart is ready for rape. No! Off we go. You're sitting in your comfort you don't believe I'm real, You cannot buy protection from the way that I feel. Your progressive hypocrites hand out their trash,
["Progressive hypocrites" would be liberals who talk a good line about helping the disenfranchised but don't back up their talk with action. For more info see Tom Wolfe's essay on 'Radical Chic'.
The use of the British term "progressive", which is the equivalent of liberal, is another example of the British background of Genesis surfacing in a story about a Puerto Rican street kid. Rael would have been very out of character to use this term, or to even be aware of the politics going on at all.]
But it was mine in the first place, so I'll burn it to ash. And I've tasted all the strongest meats, And laid them down in coloured sheets. Who needs illusion of love and affection When you're out walking the streets with your mainline connection? connection. As I cuddle the porcupine He said I had none to blame, but me. Held my heart, deep in hair. Time to shave, shave it off, it off. No time for romantic escape, When your fluffy heart is ready for rape. No!

The palpitating cherry-red organ was returned to its rightful place and began to beat faster as it led our hero, counting out time, through his first romantic encounter.
[This song was written completely by Peter Gabriel, both words and music.]
Peter Gabriel: "Which brings him to the memory chambers of his first romantic adventures: exciting subject. This particular hero, Rael, had purchased a book entitled 'Erogenous Zones and Difficulties in Overcoming Finding Them'. After many months of serious study, the moment of realization came; and he found himself an opposite number and completed his entire numerical motions in a mere 78 seconds. This magnificent piece of masculine performance left his opposite number a little less than titillated -- I'll rephrase that -- a little less than extremely excited,"
Peter Gabriel: "And one of the faces I see wandering down the streets is a face that has been haunting me for a long time: the face of my first romantic adventure. I bought this book called 'Erogenous Zones and Difficulties in Overcoming Finding Them'. It's a book I studied for many months -- devoted study -- until I could move from page one to page one hundred with tremendous sophistication and skill. Finally, the moment of realization came. My opposite number arrived in the flesh, and I went through the entire number sequence in 78 seconds. This left my opposite number not even mildly titillated,"
I'm counting out time, Got the whole thing down by numbers. All those numbers! Give my guidance! O Lord I need that now. The day of judgement's come, And you can bet that I've been resting, for this testing, Digesting every word the experts say. Erogenous zones I love you. Without you, what would a poor boy do? Found a girl I wanted to date, Thought I'd better get it straight. Went to buy a book before's too late. Don't leave nothing to fate. And I have studied every line, every page in the book, And now I've got the real thing here, I'm gonna take a look, take a look. This is it Rael! I'm counting out time, hoping it goes like I planned it, 'cos I understand it. Look! I've found the hotspots, Figs 1-9. -- still counting out time, got my finger on the button, "Don't say nuttin -- just lie there still And I'll get you turned on just fine." Erogenous zones I love you. Without you, what would a poor boy do? Touch and go with 1-6. Bit of trouble in zone No. 7. Gotta remember all of my tricks. There's heaven ahead in No. 11! Getting crucial responses with dilation of the pupils. "Honey get hip! It's time to unzip, to unzip. Whipee!" -- Move over Casanova -- I'm counting out time, reaction none to happy, Please don't slap me, I'm a red blooded male and the book said I could not fail. I'm counting out time, I got unexpected distress from my mistress, I'll get my money back from the bookstore right away. Erogenous zones I question you -- Without you, what would a poor boy do? Without you, mankind handkinds thru' the blues.

He returns from his mixed-up memories to the passage he was previously stuck in. This time he discovers a long carpeted corridor.
Peter Gabriel: "And he was left cuddling a prickly porcupine on a soft thick carpeted corridor -- 'Carpeted by Cyril [sp?] Lord at Prices You Can Afford.' --"
Peter Gabriel: "And I was left cuddling this gigantic prickly porcupine on a soft carpeted corridor -- 'Carpeted by Cyril [sp?] Lord at Prices You Can Afford.' --"
[The carpet crawlers are *people* who can't make it to the spiral staircase and to the chamber of 32 doors.
From the History Of Genesis, by Mick St. Michael, the following quote from Peter Gabriel: "There's an art to (writing pop songs). I always thought the melody of 'Carpet Crawlers' was one of the choicest things I'd written. To me, that was a pop song." (1977).
This is a good point to digress and tackle the obvious question: why does just about every released version of this song have a different name? Jack Beermann compiled a list of all the different variations:
the German 7" has Trick of the Tail b/w "Carpet Crawl"
the UK picture CD has "Carpet Crawl"
the UK LP of the Lamb has "The Carpet Crawlers"
the US and Canada LPs and the US CD of The Lamb have "The Carpet Crawlers"
the US remaster CD has "Carpet Crawlers"
the Seconds Out US CD has "The Carpet Crawl"

No explanation has ever been given about this matter. It is possible that "Carpet Crawl" was used for the single release edits of the Lamb album track, and Seconds Out was a typographical error. The name on the remasters can hardly be taken seriously since they also didn't credit Mike Rutherford for writing Ripples.
Back to The Lamb...]
There is lambswool under my naked feet. The wool is soft and warm, -- gives off some kind of heat. A salamander scurries into flame to be destroyed. Imaginary creatures are trapped in birth on celluloid. The fleas cling to the golden fleece, Hoping they'll find peace. Each thought and gesture are caught in celluloid. There's no hiding in my memory. There's no room to void.

The walls are painted in red ochre and are marked by strange insignia, some looking like a bulls-eye, others of birds and boats. Further down the corridor, he can see some people; all kneeling. With broken sighs and murmurs they struggle, in their slow motion to move towards a wooden door at the end. Having seen only the inanimate bodies in the Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging, Rael rushes to talk to them.
The crawlers cover the floor in the red ochre corridor. For my second sight of people, they've more lifeblood than before. They're moving. They're moving in time to a heavy wooden door, Where the needle's eye is winking, closing on the poor. The carpet crawlers heed their callers: "We've got to get in to get out We've got to get in to get out."

"What's going on?" he cries to a muttering monk, who conceals a yawn and replies "It's a long time yet before the dawn." A sphinx-like crawler calls his name saying "Don't ask him, the monk is drunk. Each one of us is trying to reach the top of the stairs, a way out will await us there." Not asking how he can move freely, our hero goes boldly through the door. Behind a table loaded with food, is a spiral staircase going up into the ceiling.
Peter Gabriel: "Which in turn led up to a spiral staircase into a chamber with 32 doors, none of which would get any of them anywhere."
Peter Gabriel: "And it all led up to a spiral staircase which in turn led into a chamber with 32 doors, none of which went anywhere but back in the chamber."
There's only one direction in the faces that I see; It's upward to the ceiling, where the chambers said to be. Like the forest fight for sunlight, that takes root in every tree. They are pulled up by the magnet, believing they're free. The carpet crawlers heed their callers: "We've got to get in to get out We've got to get in to get out." Mild mannered supermen are held in kryptonite,
[This is a reference to the DC Comics character Superman, whose super abilities were nullified by a material from his destroyed home planet Krypton, called Kryptonite. "Mild mannered" was a phrase used to describe Superman's secret identity, Clark Kent. The names were capitalized.
In an aside, it is interesting to note that Genesis used these trademarked names apparently without incident. Stewart Copeland came out with an album titled Klark Kent in the early 1980s, not even spelled the same, and was forced to change it to Klerk Kant under legal pressure. Perhaps the movies that were made between these two albums made the difference.
Genesis has actually made 2 references to DC Comics characters -- the other is Batman in Blood On The Rooftops.]
And the wise and foolish virgins giggle with their bodies glowing bright. Through the door a harvest feast is lit by candle light; It's the bottom of a staircase that spirals out of sight. The carpet crawlers heed their callers: "We've got to get in to get out We've got to get in to get out." The porcelain mannikin with shattered skin fears attack. The eager pack lift up their pitchers -- the carry all they lack. The liquid has congealed, which has seeped out through the crack, And the tickler takes his stickleback.
[Apparently some variations of the liner notes have this line
"And the tickler takes his tickle back"
The reason for this discrepancy is unknown. In light of the Horizon's error and the variations on "carpet crawl", it may just be a typographical slipup. Given the explanation of "tickle" following which applies to fish, it is more probable that this is an error rather than "stickle" being an error.
"Tickling" is a way of catching fish, usually trout, without fishing tackle. It involves standing quietly with your hand submerged in a river until the fish get used to your presence. When a fish comes close you gently move your hand underneath its belly and start making stroking motions. The fish will find this pleasant and gradually you move your hand closer to the fish until finally you can grab it and throw it onto the bank.
A stickleback is defined by the ironically named Collins English Dictionary (no connection to Phil that we know of) as:
stickleback: n. any of various small fishes that have a series of spines along the back and occur in cold and temperate regions.]
The carpet crawlers heed their callers: "We've got to get in to get out We've got to get in to get out."

At the top of the stairs he finds a chamber. It is almost a hemisphere with a great many doors all the way round its circumference. There is a large crowd, huddled in various groups. From the shouting, Rael learns that there are 32 doors, but only one that leads out. Their voices get louder and louder until Rael screams "Shut up!" There is a momentary silence and then Rael finds himself the focus as they direct their advice and commands to their new found recruit. Bred on trash, fed on ash the jigsaw master has got to move faster. Rael sees a quiet corner and rushes to it.
At the top of the stairs, there's hundreds of people, running around to all the doors. They try to find themselves an audience; their deductions need applause. The rich man stands in front of me, The poor man behind my back. They believe they can control the game, but the juggler holds another pack. I need someone to believe in, someone to trust. I need someone to believe in, someone to trust. I'd rather trust a countryman than a townman, You can judge by his eyes, take a look if you can, He'll smile through his guard, Survival trains hard. I'd rather trust a man who works with his hands, He looks at you once, you know he understands, Don't need any shield, When you're out in the field. But down here, I'm so alone with my fear, With everything that I hear. And every single door, that I've walked through Brings me back here again, I've got to find my own way. The priest and the magician, Singing all the chants that they have ever heard; They're all calling out my name, Even academics, searching printed word. My father to the left of me, My mother to the right, Like everyone else they're pointing But nowhere feels quite right. And I need someone to believe in, someone to trust. I need someone to believe in, someone to trust. I'd rather trust a man who doesn't shout what he's found, There's no need to sell if you're homeward bound. If I chose a side, He won't take me for a ride. Back inside This chamber of so many doors; I've nowhere to hide. I'd give you all of my dreams, if you'd help me, Find a door That doesn't lead me back again -- take me away.
[Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says of Lilith:
Lilith: A female demon, probably of Babylonian origin, supposed to haunt the wilderness in stormy weather, and to be especially dangerous to children. The name is born from a Semitic root meaning "night" which was the special time of this demon's activities. In Rabbinical writings she is supposed to have been the first wife of ADAM. She is referred to in Is. xxxiv, 14, as the 'screech-owl' in the Authorized Version; in the Revised Version as the "nightmonster"; and in the Vulgate as LAMIA. A superstitious cult of Lilith persisted among Jews until the 7th century. Goethe introduced her in his Faustand Rossetti in his Eden Bower made the serpent the instrument of Lilith's vengence--
"Help, sweet snake, sweet lover of Lilith! (Alas this hour!) And let God learn how I loved and hated Men in the image of God created."]

He stands by a middle-aged woman, with a very pale skin who is quietly talking to herself. He discovers she is blind and asking for a guide.
Peter Gabriel: "I'm in this chamber with 32 doors, -- no, no 'Knives' -- and there's this woman, a blind woman. Lilywhite Lilith is actually her proper name, and she says to me, she says 'Can you help me?'"
The chamber was in confusion -- all the voices shouting loud. I could only just hear, a voice quite near say, "Please help me through the crowd" 'Said if I helped her thru' she could help me too, but I could see that she was wholly blind. But from her pale face and her pale skin, a moonlight shined.

"What's the use of a guide if you got nowhere to go" asks Rael. "I've got somewhere to go," she replies "if you take me through the noise, I'll show you. I'm a creature of the caves and I follow the way the breezes blow." He leads her across the room and they leave the crowd, who dismiss their departure as certain to fail.
Peter Gabriel: "How could I resist a proposition like that? So we held clammy hands, and I took her through all the people in the room; and she took me through one of the doors into a passageway I hadn't seen before."
Lilywhite Lilith, She gonna take you thru' the tunnel of night. Lilywhite Lilith, She gonna lead you right. When I'd led her through the people, the angry noise began to grow. She said "Let me feel the way the breezes blow, and I'll show you where to go."

When through the door, the woman leads Rael down the tunnel. The light of the chamber soon fades and despite her confident step Rael often stumbles in the darkness. After a long walk they arrive in what Rael judges to be a big round cave, and she speaks a second time asking him to sit down. It feels like a cold stone throne. "Rael, sit here. They will come for you soon. Don't be afraid." And failing to explain any more she walks off.
Peter Gabriel: "This went down a series of tunnels into a very large round dark cave. She left me on my own. I was sitting on this wet stone throne,"
So I followed her into a big round cave, she said "They're coming for you, now don't be afraid." Then she sat me down on a cold stone throne, carved in jade. Lilywhite Lilith, She gonna take you thru' the tunnel of night. Lilywhite Lilith, She gonna lead you right.

He faces his fear once again.
She leaves me in my darkness, I have to face my fear,

A tunnel is lit up to the left of him, and he begins to shake. As it grows brighter, he hears a non-metallic whirring sound. The light is getting painfully bright, reflecting as white off the walls until his vision is lost in a sort of snow blindness.
Peter Gabriel: "And I heard these strange noises coming into the room on my left: a whirring sound. Two golden globes began to hover into the cave filling it with an incredibly white bright light -- 'I was amazed at the whiteness!': Mrs. Janet H. of Bournemouth --"
And the darkness closes in on me, I can hear a whirring sound growling near. I can see the corner of the tunnel, Lit up by whatever's coming here. Two golden globes float into the room And a blaze of white light fills the air.
All the pumping's nearly over for my sweet heart, This is the one for me, Time to meet the chef, O boy! running man is out of death. Feel cold and old, it's getting hard to catch my breath. 's back to ash, now, you've had your flash boy

He panics, feels around for a stone and hurls it at the brightest point. The sound of breaking glass echoes around the cave. As his vision is restored he catches sight of two golden gloves about one foot in diameter hovering away down the tunnel. When they disappear a resounding crack sears across the roof, and it collapses all around him. Our hero is trapped once again. "This is it" he thinks, failing to move any of the fallen rocks.
The rocks, in time, compress your blood to oil, your flesh to coal, enrich the soil, not everybody's goal. Anyway, they say she comes on a pale horse, But I'm sure I hear a train. O boy! I don't even feel no pain -- I guess I must be driving myself insane. Damn it all! does earth plug a hole in heaven, Or heaven plug a hole in the earth -- 'how wonderful to be so profound, when everything you are is dying underground.'

There's not much spectacle for an underground creole as he walks through the gates of Sheol. "I would have preferred to have been jettisoned into a thousand pieces in space, or filled with helium and floated above a mausoleum. This is no way to pay my last subterranean homesick dues. Anyway I'm out of the hands of any pervert embalmer doing his interpretation of what I should look like, stuffing his cotton wool in my cheeks."
I feel the pull on the rope, let me off at the rainbow. I could have been exploding in space Different orbits for my bones Not me, just quietly buried in stones, Keep the deadline open with my maker! See me stretch; for God's elastic acre The doorbell rings and it's "Good morning Rael So sorry you had to wait. It won't be long, yeh! She's very rarely late."

Exhausted by all this conjecture, our hero gets the chance in a lifetime to meet his hero: Death. Death is wearing a light disguise, he made the outfit himself. He calls it the "Supernatural Anaesthetist." Death likes meeting people and wants to travel. Death approaches Rael with his special cannister, releases a puff, and appears to walk away content into the wall.
Peter Gabriel: "He's wearing one of his delightful costumes -- he's all the same wonderfully himself -- such a lovely man. This one he calls his 'snuff' outfit. With a tiny little [puffs loudly with voice] you snuff it. Get it? I did. He's a nice guy."
Here comes the supernatural anaesthetist. If he wants you to snuff it, All he has to do is puff it -- he's such a fine dancer.
[The Lamia seems to be based on

UPON a time, before the faery broods Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods, Before King Oberon's bright diadem, Sceptre, and mantle, clasp'd with dewy gem, Frighted away the Dryads and the Fauns From rushes green, and brakes, and cowslip'd lawns, The ever-smitten Hermes empty left His golden throne, bent warm on amorous theft: From high Olympus had he stolen light,
10 On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the sight Of his great summoner, and made retreat Into a forest on the shores of Crete. For somewhere in that sacred island dwelt A nymph, to whom all hoofed Satyrs knelt; At whose white feet the languid Tritons poured Pearls, while on land they wither'd and adored. Fast by the springs where she to bathe was wont, And in those meads where sometime she might haunt, Were strewn rich gifts, unknown to any Muse,
20 Though Fancy's casket were unlock'd to choose. Ah, what a world of love was at her feet! So Hermes thought, and a celestial heat Burnt from his winged heels to either ear, That from a whiteness, as the lily clear, Blush'd into roses 'mid his golden hair, Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders bare. From vale to vale, from wood to wood, he flew, Breathing upon the flowers his passion new, And wound with many a river to its head,
30 To find where this sweet nymph prepar'd her secret bed: In vain; the sweet nymph might nowhere be found, And so he rested, on the lonely ground, Pensive, and full of painful jealousies Of the Wood-Gods, and even the very trees. There as he stood, he heard a mournful voice, Such as once heard, in gentle heart, destroys All pain but pity: thus the lone voice spake: "When from this wreathed tomb shall I awake! "When move in a sweet body fit for life,
40 "And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy strife "Of hearts and lips! Ah, miserable me!" The God, dove-footed, glided silently Round bush and tree, soft-brushing, in his speed, The taller grasses and full-flowering weed, Until he found a palpitating snake, Bright, and cirque-couchant in a dusky brake. She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue, Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue; Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard,
50 Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr'd; And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed, Dissolv'd, or brighter shone, or interwreathed Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries-- So rainbow-sided, touch'd with miseries, She seem'd, at once, some penanced lady elf, Some demon's mistress, or the demon's self. Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire Sprinkled with stars, like Ariadne's tiar: Her head was serpent, but ah, bitter-sweet!
60 She had a woman's mouth with all its pearls complete: And for her eyes: what could such eyes do there But weep, and weep, that they were born so fair? As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian air. Her throat was serpent, but the words she spake Came, as through bubbling honey, for Love's sake, And thus; while Hermes on his pinions lay, Like a stoop'd falcon ere he takes his prey. "Fair Hermes, crown'd with feathers, fluttering light, "I had a splendid dream of thee last night:
70 "I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold, "Among the Gods, upon Olympus old, "The only sad one; for thou didst not hear "The soft, lute-finger'd Muses chaunting clear, "Nor even Apollo when he sang alone, "Deaf to his throbbing throat's long, long melodious moan. "I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes, "Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks, "And, swiftly as a bright Phoebean dart, "Strike for the Cretan isle; and here thou art!
80 "Too gentle Hermes, hast thou found the maid?" Whereat the star of Lethe not delay'd His rosy eloquence, and thus inquired: "Thou smooth-lipp'd serpent, surely high inspired! "Thou beauteous wreath, with melancholy eyes, "Possess whatever bliss thou canst devise, "Telling me only where my nymph is fled,-- "Where she doth breathe!" "Bright planet, thou hast said," Return'd the snake, "but seal with oaths, fair God!" "I swear," said Hermes, "by my serpent rod,
90 "And by thine eyes, and by thy starry crown!" Light flew his earnest words, among the blossoms blown. Then thus again the brilliance feminine: "Too frail of heart! for this lost nymph of thine, "Free as the air, invisibly, she strays "About these thornless wilds; her pleasant days "She tastes unseen; unseen her nimble feet "Leave traces in the grass and flowers sweet; "From weary tendrils, and bow'd branches green, "She plucks the fruit unseen, she bathes unseen:
100 "And by my power is her beauty veil'd "To keep it unaffronted, unassail'd "By the love-glances of unlovely eyes, "Of Satyrs, Fauns, and blear'd Silenus' sighs. "Pale grew her immortality, for woe "Of all these lovers, and she grieved so "I took compassion on her, bade her steep "Her hair in weird syrops, that would keep "Her loveliness invisible, yet free "To wander as she loves, in liberty.
110 "Thou shalt behold her, Hermes, thou alone, "If thou wilt, as thou swearest, grant my boon!" Then, once again, the charmed God began An oath, and through the serpent's ears it ran Warm, tremulous, devout, psalterian. Ravish'd, she lifted her Circean head, Blush'd a live damask, and swift-lisping said, "I was a woman, let me have once more "A woman's shape, and charming as before. "I love a youth of Corinth--O the bliss!
120 "Give me my woman's form, and place me where he is. "Stoop, Hermes, let me breathe upon thy brow, "And thou shalt see thy sweet nymph even now." The God on half-shut feathers sank serene, She breath'd upon his eyes, and swift was seen Of both the guarded nymph near-smiling on the green. It was no dream; or say a dream it was, Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass Their pleasures in a long immortal dream. One warm, flush'd moment, hovering, it might seem
130 Dash'd by the wood-nymph's beauty, so he burn'd; Then, lighting on the printless verdure, turn'd To the swoon'd serpent, and with languid arm, Delicate, put to proof the lythe Caducean charm. So done, upon the nymph his eyes he bent, Full of adoring tears and blandishment, And towards her stept: she, like a moon in wane, Faded before him, cower'd, nor could restrain Her fearful sobs, self-folding like a flower That faints into itself at evening hour:
140 But the God fostering her chilled hand, She felt the warmth, her eyelids open'd bland, And, like new flowers at morning song of bees, Bloom'd, and gave up her honey to the lees. Into the green-recessed woods they flew; Nor grew they pale, as mortal lovers do. Left to herself, the serpent now began To change; her elfin blood in madness ran, Her mouth foam'd, and the grass, therewith besprent, Wither'd at dew so sweet and virulent;
150 Her eyes in torture fix'd, and anguish drear, Hot, glaz'd, and wide, with lid-lashes all sear, Flash'd phosphor and sharp sparks, without one cooling tear. The colours all inflam'd throughout her train, She writh'd about, convuls'd with scarlet pain: A deep volcanian yellow took the place Of all her milder-mooned body's grace; And, as the lava ravishes the mead, Spoilt all her silver mail, and golden brede; Made gloom of all her frecklings, streaks and bars,
160 Eclips'd her crescents, and lick'd up her stars: So that, in moments few, she was undrest Of all her sapphires, greens, and amethyst, And rubious-argent: of all these bereft, Nothing but pain and ugliness were left. Still shone her crown; that vanish'd, also she Melted and disappear'd as suddenly; And in the air, her new voice luting soft, Cried, "Lycius! gentle Lycius!"--Borne aloft With the bright mists about the mountains hoar
170 These words dissolv'd: Crete's forests heard no more. Whither fled Lamia, now a lady bright, A full-born beauty new and exquisite? She fled into that valley they pass o'er Who go to Corinth from Cenchreas' shore; And rested at the foot of those wild hills, The rugged founts of the Peraean rills, And of that other ridge whose barren back Stretches, with all its mist and cloudy rack, South-westward to Cleone. There she stood
180 About a young bird's flutter from a wood, Fair, on a sloping green of mossy tread, By a clear pool, wherein she passioned To see herself escap'd from so sore ills, While her robes flaunted with the daffodils. Ah, happy Lycius!--for she was a maid More beautiful than ever twisted braid, Or sigh'd, or blush'd, or on spring-flowered lea Spread a green kirtle to the minstrelsy: A virgin purest lipp'd, yet in the lore
190 Of love deep learned to the red heart's core: Not one hour old, yet of sciential brain To unperplex bliss from its neighbour pain; Define their pettish limits, and estrange Their points of contact, and swift counterchange; Intrigue with the specious chaos, and dispart Its most ambiguous atoms with sure art; As though in Cupid's college she had spent Sweet days a lovely graduate, still unshent, And kept his rosy terms in idle languishment.
200 Why this fair creature chose so fairily By the wayside to linger, we shall see; But first 'tis fit to tell how she could muse And dream, when in the serpent prison-house, Of all she list, strange or magnificent: How, ever, where she will'd, her spirit went; Whether to faint Elysium, or where Down through tress-lifting waves the Nereids fair Wind into Thetis' bower by many a pearly stair; Or where God Bacchus drains his cups divine,
210 Stretch'd out, at ease, beneath a glutinous pine; Or where in Pluto's gardens palatine Mulciber's columns gleam in far piazzian line. And sometimes into cities she would send Her dream, with feast and rioting to blend; And once, while among mortals dreaming thus, She saw the young Corinthian Lycius Charioting foremost in the envious race, Like a young Jove with calm uneager face, And fell into a swooning love of him.
220 Now on the moth-time of that evening dim He would return that way, as well she knew, To Corinth from the shore; for freshly blew The eastern soft wind, and his galley now Grated the quaystones with her brazen prow In port Cenchreas, from Egina isle Fresh anchor'd; whither he had been awhile To sacrifice to Jove, whose temple there Waits with high marble doors for blood and incense rare. Jove heard his vows, and better'd his desire;
230 For by some freakful chance he made retire From his companions, and set forth to walk, Perhaps grown wearied of their Corinth talk: Over the solitary hills he fared, Thoughtless at first, but ere eve's star appeared His phantasy was lost, where reason fades, In the calm'd twilight of Platonic shades. Lamia beheld him coming, near, more near-- Close to her passing, in indifference drear, His silent sandals swept the mossy green;
240 So neighbour'd to him, and yet so unseen She stood: he pass'd, shut up in mysteries, His mind wrapp'd like his mantle, while her eyes Follow'd his steps, and her neck regal white Turn'd--syllabling thus, "Ah, Lycius bright, "And will you leave me on the hills alone? "Lycius, look back! and be some pity shown." He did; not with cold wonder fearingly, But Orpheus-like at an Eurydice; For so delicious were the words she sung,
250 It seem'd he had lov'd them a whole summer long: And soon his eyes had drunk her beauty up, Leaving no drop in the bewildering cup, And still the cup was full,--while he afraid Lest she should vanish ere his lip had paid Due adoration, thus began to adore; Her soft look growing coy, she saw his chain so sure: "Leave thee alone! Look back! Ah, Goddess, see "Whether my eyes can ever turn from thee! "For pity do not this sad heart belie--
260 "Even as thou vanishest so I shall die. "Stay! though a Naiad of the rivers, stay! "To thy far wishes will thy streams obey: "Stay! though the greenest woods be thy domain, "Alone they can drink up the morning rain: "Though a descended Pleiad, will not one "Of thine harmonious sisters keep in tune "Thy spheres, and as thy silver proxy shine? "So sweetly to these ravish'd ears of mine "Came thy sweet greeting, that if thou shouldst fade
270 "Thy memory will waste me to a shade:-- "For pity do not melt!"--"If I should stay," Said Lamia, "here, upon this floor of clay, "And pain my steps upon these flowers too rough, "What canst thou say or do of charm enough "To dull the nice remembrance of my home? "Thou canst not ask me with thee here to roam "Over these hills and vales, where no joy is,-- "Empty of immortality and bliss! "Thou art a scholar, Lycius, and must know
280 "That finer spirits cannot breathe below "In human climes, and live: Alas! poor youth, "What taste of purer air hast thou to soothe "My essence? What serener palaces, "Where I may all my many senses please, "And by mysterious sleights a hundred thirsts appease? "It cannot be--Adieu!" So said, she rose Tiptoe with white arms spread. He, sick to lose The amorous promise of her lone complain, Swoon'd, murmuring of love, and pale with pain.
290 The cruel lady, without any show Of sorrow for her tender favourite's woe, But rather, if her eyes could brighter be, With brighter eyes and slow amenity, Put her new lips to his, and gave afresh The life she had so tangled in her mesh: And as he from one trance was wakening Into another, she began to sing, Happy in beauty, life, and love, and every thing, A song of love, too sweet for earthly lyres, While, like held breath, the stars drew in their panting
300 fires And then she whisper'd in such trembling tone, As those who, safe together met alone For the first time through many anguish'd days, Use other speech than looks; bidding him raise His drooping head, and clear his soul of doubt, For that she was a woman, and without Any more subtle fluid in her veins Than throbbing blood, and that the self-same pains Inhabited her frail-strung heart as his.
310 And next she wonder'd how his eyes could miss Her face so long in Corinth, where, she said, She dwelt but half retir'd, and there had led Days happy as the gold coin could invent Without the aid of love; yet in content Till she saw him, as once she pass'd him by, Where 'gainst a column he leant thoughtfully At Venus' temple porch, 'mid baskets heap'd Of amorous herbs and flowers, newly reap'd Late on that eve, as 'twas the night before
320 The Adonian feast; whereof she saw no more, But wept alone those days, for why should she adore? Lycius from death awoke into amaze, To see her still, and singing so sweet lays; Then from amaze into delight he fell To hear her whisper woman's lore so well; And every word she spake entic'd him on To unperplex'd delight and pleasure known. Let the mad poets say whate'er they please Of the sweets of Fairies, Peris, Goddesses,
330 There is not such a treat among them all, Haunters of cavern, lake, and waterfall, As a real woman, lineal indeed From Pyrrha's pebbles or old Adam's seed. Thus gentle Lamia judg'd, and judg'd aright, That Lycius could not love in half a fright, So threw the goddess off, and won his heart More pleasantly by playing woman's part, With no more awe than what her beauty gave, That, while it smote, still guaranteed to save.
340 Lycius to all made eloquent reply, Marrying to every word a twinborn sigh; And last, pointing to Corinth, ask'd her sweet, If 'twas too far that night for her soft feet. The way was short, for Lamia's eagerness Made, by a spell, the triple league decrease To a few paces; not at all surmised By blinded Lycius, so in her comprized. They pass'd the city gates, he knew not how So noiseless, and he never thought to know.
350 As men talk in a dream, so Corinth all, Throughout her palaces imperial, And all her populous streets and temples lewd, Mutter'd, like tempest in the distance brew'd, To the wide-spreaded night above her towers. Men, women, rich and poor, in the cool hours, Shuffled their sandals o'er the pavement white, Companion'd or alone; while many a light Flared, here and there, from wealthy festivals, And threw their moving shadows on the walls,
360 Or found them cluster'd in the corniced shade Of some arch'd temple door, or dusky colonnade. Muffling his face, of greeting friends in fear, Her fingers he press'd hard, as one came near With curl'd gray beard, sharp eyes, and smooth bald crown, Slow-stepp'd, and robed in philosophic gown: Lycius shrank closer, as they met and past, Into his mantle, adding wings to haste, While hurried Lamia trembled: "Ah," said he, "Why do you shudder, love, so ruefully?
370 "Why does your tender palm dissolve in dew?"-- "I'm wearied," said fair Lamia: "tell me who "Is that old man? I cannot bring to mind "His features:--Lycius! wherefore did you blind "Yourself from his quick eyes?" Lycius replied, "'Tis Apollonius sage, my trusty guide "And good instructor; but to-night he seems "The ghost of folly haunting my sweet dreams. While yet he spake they had arrived before A pillar'd porch, with lofty portal door,
380 Where hung a silver lamp, whose phosphor glow Reflected in the slabbed steps below, Mild as a star in water; for so new, And so unsullied was the marble hue, So through the crystal polish, liquid fine, Ran the dark veins, that none but feet divine Could e'er have touch'd there. Sounds Aeolian Breath'd from the hinges, as the ample span Of the wide doors disclos'd a place unknown Some time to any, but those two alone,
390 And a few Persian mutes, who that same year Were seen about the markets: none knew where They could inhabit; the most curious Were foil'd, who watch'd to trace them to their house: And but the flitter-winged verse must tell, For truth's sake, what woe afterwards befel, 'Twould humour many a heart to leave them thus, Shut from the busy world of more incredulous. Keats, John. 1884. Poetical Works. London: Macmillan.
Turning to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, we find out more about the Lamia, and evidence to support the theory that Gabriel took his inspiration from Keats.
LAMIA. Among the Greeks and Romans a female demon who devoured children and whose name was used to frighten them. She was a Libyan queen beloved by JUPITER but robbed of her offspring by the jealous JUNO, she became insane and vowed vengence on all children, whom she delighted to entice and devour. The race of Lamiae, in Africa, were said to have the head and breasts of women and the body of a serpent and they enticed strangers into their embraces to devour them. Witches in the MIDDLE AGES were called Lamiae, and Keats' poem Lamia (1820) relates the story of how a bride, when recognized by APOLLONIUS as a serpent or lamia, vanished in an instant. Keats took the substance of his poem from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (Pt. III, sect. ii,^? memb. i, subsect. i) whose source was Philostratus (De Vita Apollonii, Bk. IV)]

Rael touches his face to confirm that he is still alive. He writes Death off as an illusion, but notices a thick musky scent hanging in the air. He moves to the corner where the scent is stronger, discovering a crack in the rubble through which it is entering. He tries to shift the stones and eventually clears a hole large enough to crawl out of. The perfume is even stronger on the other side and he sets off to find its source, with a new-found energy.
The scent grows richer, he knows he must be near, He finds a long passageway lit by chandelier. Each step he takes, the perfumes change From familiar fragrance to flavours strange. A magnificent chamber meets his eye.

He finally reaches a very ornate pink-water pool. It is lavishly decorated with gold fittings. The walls around the pool are covered with a maroon velvet up which honeysuckle is growing.
Inside, a long rose-water pool is shrouded by fine mist. Stepping in the moist silence, with a warm breeze he's gently kissed.

From out of the mist on the water comes a series of ripples.
Thinking he is quite alone, He enters the room, as if it were his own, But ripples on the sweet pink water Reveal some company unthought of --

Three snakelike creatures are swimming towards Rael. Each reptilian creature has the diminutive head and breasts of a beautiful woman. His horror gives way to infatuation as their soft green eyes show their welcome.
Rael stands astonished doubting his sight, Struck by beauty, gripped in fright; Three vermilion snakes of female face, The smallest motion, filled with grace. Muted melodies fill the echoing hall, But there is no sign of warning in the siren's call: "Rael welcome, we are the Lamia of the pool. We have been waiting for our waters to bring you cool."
[AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY: Word LAMIA (LAY'mee-uh) n., (-ee'). Definition --n., pl. -as or -ae 1. Gk. Myth. A monster represented as a serpent with the head and breasts of a woman, reputed to prey upon humans and suck the blood of children. 2. A female vampire. Etymology ME Lat. Gk. Domain Mythology ACADEMIC AMERICAN ENCYCLOPEDIA: Article LAMIA Text {laym'-ee-uh} In Greek mythology, LAMIA was a beautiful woman whose children were taken away in jealousy by HERA because ZEUS had loved her. In revenge, LAMIA began to steal and kill the children of others. She became a hideous creature. Because Hera had condemned her to sleeplessness, Zeus gave LAMIA the ability to remove her own eyes at will in order to sleep. In later legend the LAMIA was a vampire that seduced young men; this version of the story inspired the poem "LAMIA" (1820) by John Keats.]

The Lamia invite him to taste the sweet water and he is quick to enter the pool.
Putting fear beside him, he trusts in beauty blind, He slips into the nectar, leaving his shredded clothes behind.

As soon as he swallows some liquid, a pale blue luminescence drips off from his skin. The Lamia lick the liquid; very gently as they begin, with each new touch, he feels the need to give more and more.
Peter Gabriel: "I need to be sensually and erotically escorted by three half-woman half-snake creatures, who are going to be slid all over me with their long velvety tongues licking the strange blue liquid which is coming out of my body."
"With their tongues, they test, taste and judge all that is mine. They move in a series of caresses That glide up and down my spine.

They knead his flesh until his bones appear to melt, and at a point at which he feels he cannot go beyond, they nibble at his body. Taking in the first drops of his blood, their eyes blacken and their bodies are shaken. Distraught with helpless passion he watches as his lovers die. In a desperate attempt to bring what is left of them into his being, he takes and eats their bodies, and struggles to leave his lovers' nest.
Peter Gabriel: "This gave them indigestion. But I heard this huge roar on my left and a huge express train hurtled into the cave with a giant packet of R-E-double-N-I-E-S on it. So I entwined a huge pearl off and broke it under with a pick axe, stuffed the little bits down their throats; and they shriveled up and died. I then ate what was left of their bodies,"
As they nibble the fruit of my flesh, I feel no pain, Only a magic that a name would stain. With the first drop of my blood in their veins Their faces are convulsed in mortal pains. The fairest cries, 'We all have loved you Rael'." Each empty snakelike body floats, Silent sorrow in empty boats. A sickly sourness fills the room, The bitter harvest of a dying bloom. Looking for motion I know I will not find, I stroke the curls now turning pale, in which I'd lain entwined "O Lamia, your flesh that remains I will take as my food" It is the scent of garlic that lingers on my chocolate fingers. Looking behind me, the water turns icy blue, The lights are dimmed and once again the stage is set for you.

Leaving by the same door from which he had come in, he finds some sort of freaks ghetto on the other side. When they catch sight of him, the entire street of distorted figures burst into laughter. One of the colony approaches him.
I wandered lonely as a cloud, Till I came upon this dirty street. I've never seen a stranger crowd; Slubberdegullions on a squeaky feet,
[Here we find a literary allusion to "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by British Romantic poet William Wordsworth. The first stanza reads: "I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze."]
Continually pacing, With nonchalant embracing, Each orifice disgracing And one facing me moves to say "hellay".

He is grotesque in every feature, a mixture of ugly lumps and stumps. His lips slip across his chin as he smiles in welcome and offers his slippery handshake.
His skin's all covered in slimy lumps. With lips that slide across each chin. His twisted limbs like rubber stumps Are waved in welcome say 'Please join in.' My grip must be flipping, Cos his handshake keeps slipping, My hopes keep on dipping And his lips keep on smiling all the time.

Rael is a little disillusioned, when the Slipperman reveals that the entire colony have one-by-one been through the same glorious romantic tragedy with the same three Lamia, who regenerate themselves every time, and that now Rael shares their physical appearance and shadowy fate.
Peter Gabriel: "And this turned me into a horrible lumpy humpy bumpy species of a man not altogether different than the way you see Michael Rutherford."
Slipperman: "We like you, have tasted love. Don't be alarmed at what you see, You yourself are just the same As what you see in me." Rael: Me, like you? like that!

Amongst the contorted faces of the Slippermen, Rael recognises what is left of his brother John. They hug each other.
Slipperman: "You better watch it son, your sentence has only just begun You better run and join your brother John."
Slipperman: "You're in the colony of slippermen There's no who? why? what? or when?

John bitterly explains that the entire life of the Slipperman is devoted to satisfying the never-ending hunger of the senses, which has been inherited from the Lamia. There is only one escape route; a dreaded visit to the notorious Doktor Dyper who will remove the source of the problems, or to put it less politely, castrate. They discuss the deceptively-named escape for a long time and decide to go together to visit the Doktor.
Peter Gabriel: "The only way of getting rid of all those horrible lumps of ours, fellow Slippermen -- and Michael Rutherford -- was the cutting off of the sexual organ."
[At other times, Phil Collins was compared to a Slipperman.]
You get out if you've got the gripe To see, Doktor Dyper, reformed sniper- he'll whip off your windscreenwiper Rael: John and I are able To face the Doktor and his marble table. The Doktor: Understand Rael, it's the end of your tail. Rael: "Don't delay, dock the dick!" I watch his countdown timer tick......

They survive the ordeal and are presented with the offensive weapons in sterile yellow plastic tubes, with gold chains. "People usually wear them around their necks," said the Doktor handing them over. "The operation does not necessarily exclude use of the facility again, for short periods, but of course when you want it you must provide us with considerable advance warning."
Peter Gabriel: "So you see, my sexual organ and my brother John's were placed into fully sterilized yellow plastic tubes by the notorious Doktor Dyper, reformed sniper, with a decent fee and guaranteed to remove our very own windscreen wipers."
He places the number into a tube, A yellow plastic "shoobedoobe". It says: "Though your fingers may tickle You'll be safe in our pickle."

As the brothers talk themselves through their new predicament, a big black raven flies into the cave, swoops down, grabs Rael's tube right out of his hands and carries it up into the air in his beak.
Peter Gabriel: "And I heard a flutter in the winds of the wings because a huge black bird called 'Raven' swooped down, -- swoop swoop -- grabbed the yellow plastic tube in its beak and hurtled off, flying away with the yellow plastic tube. Christ!"
Suddenly, black cloud comes down from the sky. It's a supersize black bird that sure can fly. The raven brings on darkness and night He flies right down, gives me one hell of a fright. He takes the tube right out of my hands Man, I've got to find out where that black bird lands.

Rael calls for John to go with him. And he replies "I will not chase a black raven. Down here you must read and obey the omens. There's disaster where the raven flies."
"Look here John, I've got to run I need you now, you going to come?" He says to me. John: "Now can't you see Where the raven flies there's jeopardy. We've been cured on the couch Now you're sick with your grouch. I'll not risk my honey pouch Which my slouch will wear slung very low."

So once more John deserts his brother.
[The first time was in the cage.]
Rael: He walks away and leaves me once again. Even though I never learn, I'd hoped he'd show just some concern.

The bird leads Rael down a narrow tunnel, he seems to be allowing him to keep at a closed distance. But as Rael thinks he might almost catch hold of the bird, the tunnel opens and finishes at an enormous subterranean ravine. Casually, the raven drops his precious load into the rushing waters at the bottom. It's enough to drive a poor boy ravin' mad. Seeing the dangers of the steep cliff, our courageous hero stands impotent and glowers.
Peter Gabriel: "So I went off in hot pursuit, -- hot pursuit hot pursuit -- and just as I was about to catch on to the tail of the bloody bird, he dropped it -- It with it in it -- into a huge area of gushing water with R-A-V-I-N-E written in blue watery letters. 'It's going to the ravine' I thought."
[Once he spelled out "Rennies", the UK equivalent of Tums.]
I'm in agony of Slipperpain I pray my undercarriage will sustain. The chase is on, the pace is hot But I'm running so very hard with everything I've got. He leads me down an underpass Though it narrows, he still flies very fast, When the tunnel stops I catch sight of the tube, just as it drops. I'm on top of a bank, to steep to climb, I see it hit the water, just in time, to watch it float away.

He follows a small path running along the top, and watches the tube bobbing up and down in the water as the fast current carries it away. However, as he walks around a corner Rael sees a sky-light above him, apparently built into the bank.
[As alluded to above, this song's lyrics were not written by Peter Gabriel. It was written by Tony and Mike. After a long time studying the Lamb, the phrasing in this song and the imagery will make it stick out more and more. For example "yesteryear" seems somewhat out of place, since Rael came from modern NYC to a reconstruction of modern NYC.]
As he walks along the gorge's edge, He meets a sense of yesteryear. A window in the bank above his head Reveals his home amidst the streets.

Through it he can see the green grass of home, well not exactly; he can see Broadway.
Subway sounds, the sounds of complaint The smell of acid on his gun of paint. As it carves out anger in a blood-red band, Destroyed tomorrow by an unknown hand; -- My home. Is this the way out from this endless scene? Or just an entrance to another dream? And the light dies down on Broadway.

His heart, now a little bristly, is shaken by a surge of joy and he starts to run, arms wide open, to the way out. At this precise point in time his ears pick up a voice screaming for help. Someone is struggling in the rapids below. It's John.
Peter Gabriel: "And that isn't all, 'cause in the ravine, I see a huge plastic bubble saying 'Your brother is drowning here.' Oh dear!"
But as the skylight beckons him to leave, He hears a scream from far below. Within the raging water, writhes the form Of brother John, he cries for help.

He pauses for a moment remembering how his brother had abandoned him. Then the window begins to fade -- it's time for action.
The gate is fading now, but open wide, But John is drowning, I must decide Between the freedom I had in the rat-race, Or to stay forever in this forsaken place; Hey John! He makes for the river and the gate is gone, Back to the void where it came from. And the light dies down on Broadway.
[Conjecture: had Rael decided to exit through the sky-light and return back to New York City, he would have simply reappeared right where and when he was when he started, and the whole thing would have begun again. By making this final correct spiritual decision to save his brother, in spite of the many times John had refused him aid, he allows himself to leave this purgatory into the true afterlife. Seeing his own face from the outside may represent his spirit being reborn into another body.]

He rushes to the cliff and scrambles down the rocks. It takes him a long time to get down to the water, trying to keep up with the current at the same time. As he nears the water's edge he sees John losing strength.
[Scree is defined as "a steep mass of detritus [ie rocky debris] on the side of a mountain". This word does not seem to be very commonly used in American English, supported by the fact that the editor had to consult an older desk dictionary to find a definition.]
Struggling down the slope, There's not much hope. I begin to try to ride the scree, but the rocks are tumbling all around me. If I want John alive, I've got to ditch my fear -- take a dive, While I've still got my drive to survive. Evel Knievel, you got nothing on me.
[Knievel is a daredevil who performed dangerous stunts for money and recognition. He was popular in the 1970s, when the Lamb was written, and was more of a cultural icon then than now.]
Here I go!

He dives down into the cold water. At first he is thrown onto the rocks, and pulled under the water by a fast moving channel, which takes him right past John, down river.
Moving down the water John is drifting out of sight, It's only at the turning point That you find out how to fight. In the cold, feel the cold all around And the rush of crashing water Surround me with its sound.
Rael manages to grab a rock, pull himself to the surface and catch his breath. As John is carried past, Rael throws himself in again and catches hold of his arm. He knocks John unconscious and then locking themselves together, he rides the rapids into the slow running water, where he can swim to safety.
Striking out to reach you, I can't get through to the other side. When you're racing in the rapids There's only one way, that's to ride. Taken down, taken down by the undertow And I'm spiralled down the river bed, My fire is burning low. Catching hold of a rock that's firm, I'm waiting for John to be carried past. We hold together and shoot the rapids fast.
But as he hauls his brother's limp body onto the bank he lies him out and looks hopefully into his eyes for a sign of life. He staggers back in recoil, for staring at him with eyes wide open is not John's face -- but his own.
And when the waters slow down The dark and the deep have no-one left to keep. Hang on John! We're out of this at last. Something's changed, that's not your face. It's mine! IT

Rael cannot look away from those eyes, mesmerized by his own image. In a quick movement, his consciousness darts from one face to the other, then back again, until his presence is no longer solidly contained in one or the other. In this fluid state he observes both bodies outlined in yellow and the surrounding scenery melting into a purple haze. With a sudden rush of energy up both spinal columns, their bodies, as well, finally dissolve into the haze. All this takes place without a single sunset, without a single bell ringing and without a single blossom falling from the sky. Yet it fills everything with its mysterious intoxicating presence. It's over to you.
When it's cold, it comes slow. it is warm, just watch it grow. -- all around me. it is here. it is now. Just a little bit of it can bring you up or down. Like the supper it is cooking in your hometown. it is chicken, it is eggs,
[The strong egg motif of the last three albums Peter Gabriel did with Genesis is even more interesting when you realize that Peter supplied the lyrics for all three egg songs: Supper's Ready ("as sure as eggs is eggs"), Aisle Of Plenty ("it's scrambled eggs"), and of course here.]
it is in between your legs. it is walking on the moon, leaving your cocoon. it is the jigsaw. it is purple haze.
[Yet another song reference: Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze".]
it never stays in one place, but it's not a passing phase, it is in the single's bar, in the distance of the face, it is in between the cages, it is always in a space it is here. it is now. Any rock can be made to roll, If you've enough of it to pay the toll. it has no home in words or goal, Not even in your favourite hole. it is the hope for the dope. When you ride the horse without a hoof. it is shaken, not stirred; Cocktails on the roof. When you eat right fruit you see everything alive, it is inside spirit, with enough grit to survive If you think that it's pretentious, you've been taken for a ride.
[If this line isn't a commentary on "art rock" and the generally held belief that it was a bunch of pretentious airy-fairy music, it would be surprising.]
Look across the mirror, before you chose de cide it is here. it is now it is Real. it is Rael 'cos it's only knock and knowall, but I like it.
[This last line is still another song reference, this time to "It's Only Rock and Roll" by the Rolling Stones.]

Yeah, but what does it mean? Various interpretations follow below. You may want to base your interpretation on one of these, or perhaps do some investigation of these concepts and draw your own conclusions. The secret to understanding in The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway lies in an understanding of the concept of existentialism. A philosophic and literary movement which, in its current form, began in the nineteenth century, I believe. Its basic tenets are this: First, life is totally absurd. The "reality" which people accept is false, merely an invention of convenience so that we are all communicating on the same wavelength, so to speak. This also ties in the idea that life itself is utterly meaningless. Second is the idea that we, as individuals, are capable of constructing our own reality, which is just as valid and "real" as the reality of everyone else. Shakespeare touched on this when he wrote in Hamlet something to the effect of "There is no good or bad, merely thinking makes it so" and "I could live a nutshell and count myself King of infinite space".

Well, well, well Bernard, there's nothing like jumping right into the deep end! No comments yet on your observations other than you've obviously spent some time thinking about this. I must however, comment on your description of existentialism. Having received my M.A. in Philosophy and concentrated in existential thought, I hate to see the term thrown around quite so loosely. A couple of points:

  1. Existentialism is a very broad term which encompasses many different ideas, even contradictory ones at times. I'm not denying that *some* existentialist thinkers espouse the doctrine of nihilism which you assert above; but to say this is a basic tenet of all existential thought is not true. The idea of the absurdity and meaninglessness of life was championed by the French existentialists, and is popularly known through the writings of Sartre. But even some of this group saw this as a denial of some basic laws of rationalism and had trouble with it. Certainly a Christian existentialist like Kierkegaard would not accept your definition.
  2. The idea that we can construct our own reality by asserting that whatever we choose to believe is "true" is another idea asserted by some (particularly the German philosopher Schleiermacher) and refuted absolutely by others. The idea of the total subjectivity of truth is an idea that creates some real philosophic problems and has been moved away from by most existentialists.
  3. If there is one common thread which unites all existential thinkers it would probably be that freedom of choice (free will) is fundamental to life.

When TLLDOB begins with the song of the same name, we are immediately immersed in the absurdity of the reality which everyone exists in, at least those who are considered sane.
The lamb itself has two meaning, and then can be left alone for awhile. First, it is representative of the sacrificial lamb, which society creates, then offers up as an offering for slaughter. Rael is that lamb, the situation as a child of the streets has been thrust upon him by his birth, and he has never been given an opportunity to make something of himself. Second is the absurdity of the existence of a real lamb lying down somewhere on Broadway.

"Meanwhile from out of the steam a lamb lies down. This lamb has nothing whatsoever to do with Rael, or any other lamb-it just lies down on Broadway"

This is just the faintest hinting of Rael journey through the netherworld between sanity and insanity. Basically it sets the tone for what is the commonly accepted reality. Cruel movie attendants, suspicious cops, druggies coming down from their trip entering withdrawal or hangover "Nightime's flyers feel their pain", businesses opening for the day, etc.

Two characters emerge here in the beginning who add to the element of absurdity. "Patrolman Frank Leonowich (48, married, two kids)" only mentioned in the accompanying story, and Suzanne the working woman returning home thinking very pragmatic things "money-honey [her boyfriend/ husband- be on [perhaps sexual desire?]- neon [the city, her life?]". Both of these characters are described in detail which is completely unnecessary, and thus absurd. Their entire existence is meaningless, but there nonetheless, why? That is the question existentialism asked and responded with the answer that there is no logical reason why, there is no sanity.

We are told he spraypaints his name in the subway. There is few other things which generally describe life in a big city than a subway, you see it all there. It is an mixed bag of reality condensed in a relatively small space. By putting his name in big letter, Rael hopes to start defining himself, a "process going towards 'making a name for yourself'" as the story narrator puts it. This is a sane move by Rael in terms of self definition, he is still working within the context, the mythology of present day society.

"Cabman's velvet glove sounds the horn." "Autoghosts keep the pace for the cabman's early mobile race." These sentences lead us to believe that cab drivers are being spoken about here, not men who hail taxis in front of hotels. The cabbie honks his horn at Rael, who must have been jaywalking, as he drives Suzanne home from work. To Rael, this is but another blow to his ego, his structure of existence in this life, this reality. "The sawdust king spits out his scorn", Rael responds here with anger, lashing out at the world which has treated him so cruelly through the vehicle of this cabbie and the woman who rides within. Here we actually get some speech from Rael, or perhaps his thoughts (more likely actually), "Wonder Women draw your blind, don't look at me I'm not your kind. I'm Rael!" He tells this woman that he doesn't want her attention anyway, he'd prefer it if no one recognized his existence. He proclaims his independence from the mainstream of rational thought. With that proclamation, he begins his journey into his own reality. "Something inside me has just begun, Lord knows what I have done."

Finally the song ends with references and lines taken from the song "On Broadway" which deals with opportunity, and those who would naysay the protagonists ability to make it on Broadway. It plants the seed that this journey could go either way for Rael, he has a number of choices. Perhaps he will define himself in the context of society's reality, while still existing in it. Maybe he will give in entirely and go on as a nobody in terms of this reality, never defining himself at all in any terms. Finally he can design, tailor make, his own reality, where he is not only perfectly defined, but completely at ease and at home. It's perfectly absurd.
...life on the streets of New York. He is successful in running away from this death for a time, symbolic of his success at avoiding death on the street.
Looking back, he sees the cloud take shape into what appears to be a movie screen, "showing what had existed before in three dimensions". Now is the time to hold on to your hats, for not is only the wind blowing harder now, but the movie screen image is key here, answering a bunch of past and future questions, but also creating a mess of questions at the same time. This movie screen he alone sees is much like the one in the movie-palace he slept in the night before. The one in the theater shows a false reality created by someone in Hollywood who hopes the moviegoers believe it, that is, buy into the reality of something which is obviously false. And people obviously do... ask children who they want to be when they grow up, what kind of answers do you get? Movie stars, but more than that, they want to grow up to be like characters in the movie. That is the romance of the movie, that it takes something unreal and presents it in a form which people can believe, that they really want to believe. The screen that is moving in the street (behaving much like "The Langoliers" in the short story of the same name by Stephen King) is taking what Rael "knew" to be reality and turning it into a movie. Are we to believe what is on this screen? If what I once thought was real is now a movie, is what was a movie now real?

Rael struggles against these thoughts, much like he struggles against the wind blowing against him, "blowing dust into my eyes", obscuring his vision of what he once thought was real. He fights himself into a standstill, completely encrusted in the dust. Like us, he is a "sitting duck" a "fly waiting for the windshield on the freeway". His difference is that he sees it coming, and although he is not prepared, he is spared immediate death, at least how he sees it. From his viewpoint, everyone else who gets swallowed by the wall/screen dies, but this is just a symbolic death of the reality he once knew.

I haven't discussed the symbolism in the music yet, even though the manic keyboards in the beginning hint of psychosis they don't technically match the plot. The contact of the wall/screen with Rael is directly tied in during "Fly on a Windshield". After the word "...waiting for the windshield on the freeway are spoken" there is a sort of silence for an instant. Then suddenly the crash comes.

"The moment of impact bursts through the silence and in a roar of sound, the final second is prolonged in a world of echoes as if the concrete and clay of Broadway itself was reliving its memories".

Rael is overwhelmed by the confusion and disorder of the sensory input he is perceiving. He has now been sucked into the movie! Images begin to take shape out of the soup in a stream of consciousness style.
Take time and throw it out the window. It was an integral part of the "real world", the world Rael has taken his leave of. The next second in the reality of New York may consume the entire journey Rael is about to take. Human dreams have been found to take only a few seconds each, though we remember them as happening in real-time. Many times they seem just as real as when we are awake. Is Rael awake, or asleep in the movie theater still from the night before? Is he dead, or is everyone else dead...both, neither?
Anyway, somebody mentioned a "Lamb" movie. Well, there was to be one- with Peter rejoining the band to do the soundtrack- back in the early 80's But this got shot down. From inferences from interviews, I think that Tony really didn't want to do it. I remember a 1986 Rockline interview where someone asked him( and Phil) about it and he said he thought it would mean too much new material and that working with music you did years ago did not appeal to him. In Peters book, it mentioned that some people in the band did want it to happen.

Subject: Pictures on the Lamb cover
struggling very hard to pull Rael from the left picture (so to support the Freudian approach, he may be the superego).

A third Rael is watching the two of them. That Rael has left the right picture and stands besides the tree pictures in *the same* way he stood in the right picture (hands on hips etc.). That may indicate that he really can't move, so he's just watching them. It could be taken from the It scene - Rael looking at Rael, and his spirit moves between the two until it is no longer contained in either, and IT sees them BOTH (I hope I wrote the story correctly). Some one said that the right picture shows The Chamber Of 32 Doors, but if you'll look closely you'll see it's actually a corridor, and there's a leopard lying on the floor near Rael's white figure's legs, so this might be the corridor from The Carpet Crawlers. What bothers me is that there ARE doors in that corridor. If you'll look inside the booklet you'll see Rael in something that looks like a corner of a room, and behind him stands a door, so this might be The Chamber.

Back to the right picture, you'll notice there are more animals in the corridor (I can remember a goat standing in one of the doors) and there is also a human figure at the end of the corridor. Animals are not mentioned in the songs or in the story, and the crawlers seem to be humans, so I can't really place the animals, especially the leopard whose picture is also seen inside the booklet.

I've decided to try and explain ALL of the pictures and photographs on the album's sleeve(s), along with some other comments.
The three on the front
On the left hand picture, Rael is clearly in the area of 'In The Rapids' and 'Riding The Scree', just after he's chased the Raven (in which case this picture would illustrate 'It') or just before (in which case it is illustrating the part where his "tube" floats away). As far as Rael, the picture doesn't tie in with the songs/story. He is trying to save the character in the second picture from getting his head sucked through a wall (the intense discomfort of 'The Waiting Room'). The Rael in the first picture perceives the second character to be his brother, John.

If looked at closely, you can tell it is the Rael character again, which ties in with the recent debate "Does John exist at all?". It would be reasonable to assume that John was never in this story at all and that Rael originally felt he needed someone to depend on (and who better than a brother?). This would mean that the reason John didn't help [...] Rael's sight were he to turn round. His watching of Rael is defined as covert by this action.

The corridor in this instance is outdoors (rather than upstairs in a hotel). Rael appears to be peeking round the corner to see if anyone's coming, perhaps semi-aware of his onlooker or perhaps simply displaying the caution he learned in his street gang.

On the right hand picture, Rael is mouthless whereas everyone else is shouting.

'The chamber was in confusion - all of the voices shouting loud' Lilywhite Lilith.

He is mouthless because he is less bound (than the 'Carpet Crawlers') and so feels less of an urge to shout. I think he also is at this point feeling disheartened (with 'townmen' and and the 'man who does shout what he's found' as in 'Chamber Of 32 Doors') and couldn't shout if he wanted to. One man on the picture (the one whose arm overlaps into the "corridor" picture wears the same outfit as the character following Rael, though is clearly not Rael or John. This accentuates the uncertainty throughout Rael's adventure.
The inner cover - left hand side

The triangular picture on the top left of the inner cover shows Rael with snakelike things over him, dragging him. These represent 'The Lamia'.

From my dictionary:
"LAMIA (Greek and Roman mythology) Monster with head and breasts of a woman and body of a serpent, preying on human beings and sucking children's blood"
Rael was obviously no longer a child after his experience in 'Counting Out Time' and so perhaps this is the reason that the Lamia died. Adult's blood might be no good for them!

The small picture on the top right (left of the spine) is an upside-down picture of a landscape - this could be either 1) The view of home he gets in 'The Light Dies Down', although this is supposed to be of a 'Broadway Street Scene' or 2) An image of his life being turned upside down in the whole Lamb episode.

Other than the two close-ups there is also a picture of one of the "shouters" from 'Chamber' and Rael lost within another many-doored maze.

The inner cover - right hand side

The two triangular pictures are cut from the same photo. Rael at this point seems to have chased the Raven to the point where it drops his 'Shoobedoobe' He got there just in time. To watch it float away... The other large picture on the right of the spine is of Rael, again looking down the corridor, but this time we see the raincoat and hat left in a heap. The other picture is of a now-quiet "shouter". He looks particularly stern and it is easy to imagine him as a very moralistic old bugger.

The inner sleeve liner drawings

The drawings are placed in the centre of the teOAxt on all four sides of the inner sleeves. They are very geometric and surreal. The first one (surrounded by the lyrics to 'Cuckoo Cocoon') is of Rael being hit by the 'Wall Of Death'. A lamp post and sidewalk ("pavement" in English 8-)) are visible, as are a hand, leg and foot. The wall "chased" Rael as he ran to escape it. It is heading towards the bottom-left of the inner sleeve.
The second side has a drawing of a leg and two arms (odd how we never see the rest of Rael's body in the drawings), coming from withIN THE CAGE. :) The wall behind (that he's being crushed against) is also visible. On the second record, the picture on the third side is clearly of the Raven carrying Rael's castrated parts in a tube. The wings and tail of the Raven spread to the corners of the sleeve (and beyond). It's big. The fourth side is the only picture that gave me a problem. It seems to be Rael's foot, stepping (sliding?) into 'The Rapids'. The "bubbles" look too much like Rael's removed parts for comfort! The jagged step things, I believe, are rocks in the water.

I posted something about the front cover some time ago. and there are some things that I don't agree with. I'll edit my previous post (since I looked a bit in the picture after that) and repost it. In that post I refer to some of the opinions that were presented when the lamb discussion was alive, so here it is:
The left picture shows Rael being pulled from the rapids, which means he might be John/Rael, or as commented before, the id.

The middle picture show Rael sitting on a chair (a cold stone throne?) and struggling very hard to pull Rael from the left picture (so to support the Freudian approach, he may be the superego). I think that the one in the left picture isn't really pulling, because his body is bent forward, and he doesn't seem to put much effort in this, while the one in the middle picture seems to be giving all that he's got. (It don't think that Rael's head in the middle picture is stuck in the wall. It's just bent backwards because of the effort). A third Rael is watching the two of them. That Rael has left the right picture and stands besides the tree pictures in *the same* way he stood in the right picture (hands on hips etc.). That may indicate that he really can't move, so he's just watching them. It could be taken from the It scene - Rael looking at Rael, and his spirit moves between the two until it is no longer contained in either, and IT sees them BOTH (I hope I wrote the story correctly).

Someone said that the right picture shows The Chamber Of 32 Doors, but if you'll look closely you'll see it's actually a very long corridor, and there's a leopard lying on the floor near Rael's white figure's legs, so this might be the corridor from The Carpet Crawlers. What bothers me is that there ARE doors in that corridor. If you'll look inside the booklet you'll see Rael in something that looks like a corner of a room, and behind him stands a door, so this might be The Chamber.

Back to the right picture, you'll notice there are more animals in the corridor: there is a goat in the right door, something that looks like a dog walking towards Rael's white figure, something that might be a dog or a lamb to the left and a raven that stands on something that looks a lot like a wooden rail of a staircase (The staircase at the and of the corridor that leads to the chamber of 32 doors?). You'll also notice another white human figure at the end of the corridor. It's a bit hard to place the animals, though, because the crawlers seem to be human.

The following was written by Mel Huang, under the influence of vodka. Please remind yourself that we are not advocating vodka as the way to understand the Lamb.

This could take all day....well, people disagree left and right on this....this is an abridged version of my take on it.... Rael is a gang member on the streets of NYC. His brother John turned on him and his colours by joining the establishment. It starts out with Rael running around town on and off the subway on "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway".....then a strange occurence at Times Square and Rael shoots up and starts to see strange, somewhat ironic things (KKK serves hot soul food..)...then he's totally gone from the drugs and ends up in a "cocoon" of his own high. Then he goes into a pseudo bad trip and is in the cage of his trip....then things keep spinning and spinning until he comes back to reality....to find that his brother turned and sold his soul to society and joined the establishment...

Later he mentally returns from his trip to NYC and buys a book called "Erogenous Zones" which teaches skills in copulation (I'm trying to be civil mind you!). He picks up a girl and tries it....and it was all over in 68 seconds....she's pissed...no kidding....so he's left cuddling "his own prickley porcupine"...so he drifts the night away stroking.....ya know what I mean!

Then he's dreaming....of strange creatures crawling on the carpet....and guess what they're doing....then he proceeds through a room, goes up some stairs, and enters a chamber of 32 doors, "which only 1 will lead our hero out."

Suddenly across the room a blind old lady calls for Rael....she said that she'll lead him out...she did, into a dark tunnel, then abandons him in a dark cave...she did mention to him about a figure that'll come and meet him soon...so did he....Death arrives....he tries to give Rael some of Death's "snuff" but Rael eludes the deathscent and runs into an area....a weird pool with three creatures in it....beautiful female-like creatures known as the Lamia.

After he's satisfied by the three sensuous creatures, he decided to go 101% climax by eating them.....then poof! He became a human testicle!

He turned into a creature of total disgust...bumps and lumps everywhere...looking like testicles....he's slimy and greasy.....he runs into a hideous creature and lo and behold, he tells Rael that he looks like that too! D'oh! The Rael sees John...John tells him the only way back to normal is to go and see Doktor Dyper...reformed sniper........... snip

>eep!< Well, our hero's "tool" is placed in a yellow plastic tube.....suddenly, a HUGE raven flies in and snags the appendage....Rael chases the bird and calls for John to help...John turns his back again on Rael...so Rael runs and chases...

They clear the cave...then the bird drops the tube into a ravine...the rapids carry the tube downstream. Then wow.....a portal opens up and Rael sees....NYC! A way home, out of the dream? It's irresistable...maybe he'll wake up! But then he hears a voice calling for help...but wait....it's....it's....

It's John! His weakness and life concern again returns to haunt him.....Rael decides to go after him instead of saving himself....he swims through the rapids and goes after him...

He rescues him...but...wait....no...it can't be....it's HIM! It's RAEL! He's looking at his true life concern and his true weakness...HIMSELF! Is this real? Is it Rael?! Is IT?!?!?!?!?!? AAARRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!!!

Footnote To The Lamb: The Little Prince
Although dismissed in later interviews as too twee a story for the public school lads of Genesis to use as their entry into the punk age, this is yet another of the inexhaustable Genesis literary inspirations. Although it was a rejected idea for the Lamb, it deserves some discussion and clarification in light of the treatment the band gives it after the fact. According to the books "I Know What I Like" by Gallo and "In His Own Words", Peter mentions that it was his story line (The Lamb) against "The Little Prince" concept that Mike Rutherford put forward.

The Encyclopedia Britannica gives the following information on The Little Prince:
Saint-Exupery, Antoine (-Marie-Roger) de
[...] Le Petit Prince (1943; The Little Prince, 1943), a child's fable for adults, with a gentle and grave reminder that the best things in life are still the simplest ones and that real wealth is giving to others.
The Art of Literature The 20th century.
[...] On a high literary level, not accessible to all children, was Le Petit Prince (1943, both French and English, The Little Prince) by the famous aviator-author Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The very vagueness of this mystical parable has lent it a certain magnetism. [...]

The final entry in the Discography reads:
On the subject of eggs as a recurring motif on the albums Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound, and The Lamb, the editor may have actually found a fact that may explain this symbolism. After noticing this strange recurring mention of eggs ("as sure as eggs is eggs", "it's scrambled eggs", and "it is chicken, it is eggs"), I've been searching for anything that could possibly account for this. It is unlikely that the usage of "eggs" in these three songs is accidental, since Peter Gabriel wrote the lyrics for them, and accidentally picking the same symbol on three albums sounds farfetched considering how carefully Gabriel writes lyrics. I've never seen anything about this in any interviews with the band, and as evidenced by Banks' Gabble Rachet answer, only a statement from Peter himself could actually be considered the last word. I was perplexed for a long time until I accidentally ran across an article in the newspaper which made everything click. The Beatles' song Yesterday had the working title Scrambled Eggs. This can't be a coincidence since Genesis is so influenced by the Beatles. I can't explain what gave rise to using this on three different occasions (a running joke, putting it in to see if anyone noticed, noticing it on one or two albums and then doing it intentionally?), but until something better comes along, this half-explanation will have to suffice.

As if anything in this whole Discography could be left well enough alone, someone brought this to my attention:
From "A Dictionary of Symbols" by J.E. Cirlot
EGG: A great many prehistoric tombs in Russia and Sweden have revealed clay eggs which had been left there as emblems of immortality (17). In the language of Egyptian heiroglyphics, the determinative sign of the egg represents potentiality, the seed of generation, the mystery of life (19). This meaning persisted among the alchemists, who added explicitly the idea that it was the container for matter and for thought (57). In this way was the transition effected from the concept of the egg to the Egg of the World, a cosmic symbol which can be found in most symbolic traditions--- Indian, Druidic, etc (26). The vault of space came to be known as an Egg, and this Egg consisted of seven enfolding layers--betokening the seven heavens or spheres of the Greeks (40). The Chinese believe that the first man had sprung from an egg dropped by Tien from heaven to float upon the primordial waters. The Easter egg is an emblem of immortality which conveys the essence of these beliefs. The golden egg from which Brahma burst forth is equivalent to the Pythagorean circle with a central point (or hole). But it was in Egypt that this symbol most frequently appeared. Egyptian naturalism-- the natural curiosity of the Egyptians about the phenomena of life--must have been stimulated by the realization that a secret animal-growth comes about inside the closed shell, whence they derived the idea, by analogy, that hidden things (the occult, or what appears to be non-existent) may actively exist. In the Egyptian Ritual, the universe is termed the 'egg conceived in the hour of the Great One of the dual force'. The god Ra is displayed resplendent in his egg. An illustration on a papyrus, in the OEdipus AEgyptiacus of Kircher (III, 124), shows the image of an egg floating above a mummy, signifying hope of life hereafter. The winged globe and the beetle pushing its ball along have similar implications (9). The Easter-time custom of 'the dancing egg', which is placed in the jet of a fountain, owes its origin, according to Krappe (who refers only to the Slavs), to the belief that at that time of the year the sun is dancing in the heavens. The Lithuanians have a song which runs as follows: "The sun dances ober a mountain of silver; he is wearing silver boots on his feet." (35)
I don't know if reading that helps clarify things or not.

But, Armando Gallo says in an Italian pressing of Selling England found by Edward Antoniu which had a liner with the lyrics and some explanations in Italian (which is here translated to English):
In "Foxtrot" there is an unanswered question. What was for supper in "Supper's Ready"? "It's scrambled eggs", do Genesis merrily answer on this album.
Although the only actual mention of this subject matter I could find from anything that might be official, it does nothing to explain the Lamb, or why "eggs is eggs" appears in Supper itself.

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