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Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:29 am
by dominique23
is this semi-precious stone (in Seems so long ago, Nancy) a metaphor for tv-set?

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:01 pm
by GinaDCG
Intriguing.

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:06 pm
by holydove
Good question - I always took semi-precious stone as a metaphor for Nancy's eyes, as eyes are like jewels and I believe Nancy's eyes were blue. . .

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:32 pm
by IMM
It seems more like a reference to a 'state of mind' :idea:

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:54 am
by Steven
Hi,

Maybe it refers to a drug induced stoned state. Perhaps this could include the state of mind that IMM
mentioned.

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:49 am
by IMM
Steven wrote: Maybe it refers to a drug induced stoned state.
Perhaps she just meditated too long - it never seems to be specifed :lol:

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:11 pm
by B4real
Way back in the 60's, when this song was conceived, you could buy psychedelic glasses which had many faceted cut edges that used the light spectrum to shine rays of different coloured lights. When you looked through these multi-coloured spectural glasses you would have seen something similar to what Nancy would have done the way Leonard has written it. They were also used to increase the intensity of, for instance, LSD etc.

I feel pretty certain that Leonard was thinking of this when he wrote those words. ;-)

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:15 pm
by holydove
I think, ultimately, LC is saying that Nancy, with or without drugs or special glasses, had a very interesting & beautiful (precious) mind, that "saw" the world (and behaved) in a way that was very different & unusual, especially for the era in which she lived - that's why she was so lonely. Like LC says in Isle of Wight - "she didn't have all the horizontal support that you all have - there was noone around to light all those matches" - (breaks my heart every time!)

I also read a quote where LC said, " if she was born 20 years later, she would have been the coolest girl on the block", and he said that there are always those people who are born at the wrong time (not his exact words, but that was the gist); clearly implying that Nancy's mind/vision was ahead of the times in which she lived; which made her life very difficult, very lonely, & ultimately very tragic.

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:52 pm
by B4real
For those interested in knowing more about Nancy from her nephew's point of view read this:

http://www.challies.com/personal-reflec ... one-at-all

very interesting but :(

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:15 am
by imaginary friend
Interesting article by Nancy's nephew, B4Real – thanks!

That her father was a Supreme Court judge, shines light on the words:
In the house of honesty
her father was on trial...


I have always loved the imagery in the lines
staring at the late late show
through a semi-precious stone

...and mused that only the lonely (excuse me, Roy) watch the late late show, yet Nancy could not, would not give in to her lonely reality. Instead, she enhanced her perception of it; not through mundane rose-coloured glasses, rather through an exotic semi-precious stone. (Semi-precious seems an important qualification; implying of lesser value. Perhaps this refers to naivety?)

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:16 pm
by holydove
I have actually looked up the definition of "semi-precious" because of this song, & now I looked it up again to make sure that what I said would be accurate; the American Heritage Dictionary gives a deceptively simple definition (having to do only with "lesser"), but if you do online research, there is some very interesting info, even in Wikipedia alone. Most telling are these quotes:

"Historically gemstones were classified into precious stones and semi-precious stones. Because such a definition can CHANGE over time and vary with culture, it has always been a difficult matter to determine what constitutes precious stones." and: "This distinction (between precious & semi-precious) is unscientific and reflects the rarity of the respective stones in ANCIENT TIMES. . ." and: "Use of the terms 'precious' and 'semi-precious' in a commercial context is, arguably, misleading in that it DECEPTIVELY implies certain stones are intrinsically more valuable than others, which is NOT the case."

So I think the lyric ". . .semi-precious stone. . ." connects to what LC said about Nancy being born "too early"; the same way that the "preciousness" of gemstones has varied depending on time & culture - at the time Nancy lived, most people (esp. her family) did not perceive/understand/value the beauty of her mind, her vision, the way she chose to live her life; in fact, sadly, she was constantly in and out of mental hospitals; but, had she been born "20 years later", she would have been part of a generation-wide movement (it actually even spanned generations, to an extent), & her mind, her way of thinking, her "vision" would have been greatly valued.

If you want to check it out, here is a website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemstone

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:20 pm
by TineDoes
Thank you for the explanations and information about the' semi-precious stone' and the refference to what LC said at the Isle of Whight.

I have always imagined the central point of the lines to be the the act of 'looking through' a semi-precious stone at a late late show. Like looking through a warped piece of glass. I thought the late late show to stand for the outside world. Nancy was at that moment in the state of mind that she was seeing the world al warped, at a distance, distorted, unreal. The whole thing is a metafor for the state of 'detachment' that depressed people can experience.

Tineke

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:30 pm
by nancyB
I've come a bit late to this discussion but just wanted to say that for me I always pictured her looking at the TV (not watching) with a glass of red wine in her hand, and putting it up to her eyes to see what things would look like through the wine which is the colour of a garnet. I've tried it myself just to test it out!

Makes no sense I know, but that's just what I see when I hear the song. :neutral:

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:24 pm
by MaryB
nancyb - like your interpretation. Makes sense to me.

Re: Through a semi-precious stone

Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:30 am
by IMM
nancyB wrote:I've come a bit late to this discussion but just wanted to say that for me I always pictured her looking at the TV (not watching) with a glass of red wine in her hand, and putting it up to her eyes to see what things would look like through the wine which is the colour of a garnet. I've tried it myself just to test it out!

Makes no sense I know, but that's just what I see when I hear the song. :neutral:
I like that one as well. 8)