POTF – Tony saga continues

 

What is it that one usually says about half promises made with a grin in one’s eyes? Well, I do not know for I made that up, but since I nonetheless made such a promise, here I am again keeping it. For the record, I’ve never written so much about one single song before, but at least I can safely say that I now know the lyrics by heart and am able to sing along with Marko as I drive to and from work… and NO, you may not hear me sing.

Featured Photo by Peter Engberg

 

Once upon a playground rainy

Thanks to Susan, I’ve come to the conclusion that Once upon a playground rainy is a coming of age song. How accurate is our interpretation? I haven’t the faintest idea. I have read the post I wrote in October about the song and I’ve gotta say, I still like the imagery and symbolism I put forward regarding the jackdaws and seesaws even though it might seem a bit far fetched… I enjoy far fetched ideas.

Gotta grow up Marko and it is not always a nice walk in the park, I guess. The appeal of what was remains rather strong and yet the pull of the present all that it implies is just as rewarding. I am wondering though, why do we have to choose at all? Why is it that we have to be a grown-up or a child? The theme is rather clear throughout Clearview… no pun intended – or maybe just a little.

Who the fuck is Tony?

Photo from Prowlers of the Fall: Reloaded
Photo from Prowlers of the Fall: Reloaded

We’ve all been wondering about Tony and got almost disappointed when Marko got “evil” on us saying that he would never tell… but we also know that some things cannot be kept a secret forever – no matter how hard one tries… “Truth will out!” Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed the truth – if it really is – but I am getting ahead of myself. As I was saying in this post about Tony‘s mystery was that I imagined him being a good person since he built a shack which turned out to be – as I understood it – some kind of refuge for Marko (or whomever he is singing about). Anyway, I decided that Tony was not a figment of Marko‘s imagination but rather a real person… We all have this friend, who’s got a friend whose uncle, dad or brother is so cool that – as a child – we imagined that man belonging to our own family building cool stuff etc.

But I also said that Prowlers of the Fall: Reloaded reported Marko‘s answer from Hamburg, Germany:

It will remain a secret forever“… now you have it folks… but don’t despair, we should never say never after all.

We should never say never… it is fun to be right sometimes.

You’re all Tony by the way

“Truth will out!” but now I have a new challenge… we all do. This is a very nice thing to say, mind you, yet at the same time… hmm, what does it mean?

I see you gently swaying in a sea of seesaws
Slumming in the shack Tony built last year
I know you’ll be holding court with jackdaws
Crying when nobody ever sees your tears
When no-one sees your tears

We’re all Tony which gives a brand new twist to the chorus above, wouldn’t you say? Let’s see if I manage to untangle the thoughts. Marko is telling his inner-child of his awareness about the back and forth pull between now and then that they are both going through. What I am wondering now is if the shack was such a safe place after all… I think that this sentence is the key… you know me and my “ding-ding” moments… they usually generate rather far fetched ideas. Why would I second guess myself, you might ask? Well, you see “slumming” is the word that has been bugging me from the start (it’s got too many meanings and is rather a new word to me…), and so I have overlooked it to avoid overthinking it. There is no doubt in my mind now that “Slumming in the shack Tony built last year” is some sort of metaphor… hmm, or not. Tony never was the mystery… the true meaning behind this sentence was and is. I love mysteries, but I am no Sherlock Holmes… so this might take a while.

If I focus only on this sentence from the chorus… there are too many ways my interpretation could go wrong, but I’d say Marko‘s choice of lifestyle, which puts him in rather “trying” living conditions (not very healthy way of life) is linked to us, who build a Poets of the Fall Community all over the world, and makes it all worth it in the end. We did not built it overnight, nor last year, but it might as well feel new and overwhelming every time he (they) get on the road. Through such an angle, I would suggest that he has this discussion with himself every now and then, pondering on his choice and who knows, maybe feeling alone – if not lonely – in his train of thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with him regretting the choices he made, why would he? He is questioning himself, I think. We all go through such discussions and self-questioning… I have, and not later than Monday, after the rush of such an exciting day that December 5th was. It is “normal” and healthy, it is how we grow and close on to become the best version of ourselves. It is necessary and satisfying.

Anyway, this might be far-fetched and overthought… it fits though, in my quirky mind. Did we, as Tony, build a shack – a safe place – for Marko to be and argue with himself, windmills and jackdaws? In other words, to let the poet and artist express himself… to me, a shack is a safe place, unless it is the one from Harry Potter then not so safe… anyway, why does it stand for such a comforting place? Maybe because I do like to be alone with my thoughts and let all sorts of feelings come out when no one is looking or judging… my own private shack is in a tree, in my head, overlooking a stream – a torrent at times. In the song, could the shack be standing for both comfort and discomfort? What I mean is that beyond this discomfort there is the comfort we (Tony) bring as members of a community with which he is united day after day. How does it fit in with the rest of the song… pretty well I find… but that just me being me.

As I said, far fetched and probably overthought… it remains nonetheless possible that by asking him who Tony was, we had him think over what the true intent behind the words were… or he already knew it and we forced his hand to reveal his secret (or he just took pity on us and gave in). All in all, it is rather good fun!

To close the chapter on Tony, Once upon a playground rainy has way too many layers for us to unravel all its meanings. The song might be about Marko when we all try to interpret it, but remember that sometimes Marko might as well just be the illustration from the story he is telling… Be that as it may, I still think like Susan that it is a coming of age song, but not in the classical sense of the word. Memories, self-questioning and reassessing ones priorities might be part of what coming of age means and that coming of age might not be a one time occurrence in one’s life… after all, some people never do… come of age.

2 comments on “POTF – Tony saga continues

  1. I was reading your episode 4 on Playground Rainy and came back to check these other blogs to remember our previous discussion and saw that I had never read this one! I may have to go through and see what else I’ve missed.
    I think I remember at one gig I was at or in a gig video that I wasn’t at, but someone posted, (my memory about gigs is sadly dim as time goes by) that Marko had said something like, here is the one about me, or something like that, and it was Playground Rainy he was referring to. I think that actually cements my belief that Tony is a real person in Marko’s life (past or past and up to this day, who knows) and his shack reference is real. If he’s singing about himself as a boy then older as he grows, I think the shack is somewhere he took refuge(from what? I don’t know). Perhaps the use of slumming is just the nature of the place, a shack, probably no running water, maybe a place to throw sleeping bags on the floor and get away for a few days from a life that wants him to grow up, be mature, things like that. I don’t think slumming in this case is a bad reference, but it’s a memory of how it was at the time. Especially the way he sings it, on album and live, it never SOUNDS sad, and if he wanted it to sound sad, it would, he’s got such a gift of conveying feelings. Also, I still want to know who Tony is and I will say that even tho I think Tony is real, Marko MAY have changed his name for the song, or maybe not, but regardless, I think he exists whether or not his name is actually Tony, if that makes sense.

     
    • Hi Suz!
      I am so glad you could finally post a comment here 😀 That being said, I must confess that I have had many a thought about that song and more often than not, my mind and imagination have raced in so many different directions that I could write a post every time it happens. I am, however, a bit envious of you because you do have a huge advantage over me… you’ve been to so many shows that you do have a greater deal of “inside information” than I have. I see what you mean about the reference to the shack… I guess I heard some kind of sadness as it reminded me of my own experience as a child – I was kind of a loner and not always by choice. I remember though when I first heard this song, I was convinced that it was Marko’s own experience but at that point, it was only conjectures and it is rather difficult to write a blog post with so little insight about the author’s own experience. So I took another path to explore… because, in the end, the strength of Marko’s lyrics lies in the fact that we can all relate one way or the other, and push the boundaries of our imagination if we so chose. Yeah! Tony is definitely real and the audience being Tony as Marko said in Germany… I don’t really buy it ^_^. I like your take(s) on this song, it always feels more accurate than my own vision. It’s pretty cool!
      Have a great day!
      /Claire

       

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