"Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Leonard Cohen's previous album (January 2012)
Mirek
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"Elaboration of a tube" line in "Going Home"?

Postby Mirek » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:32 pm

Although there was already some discussion on that verse, but I guess it'd be better to have a separate thread about these words.

He will speak these words of wisdom
Like a sage, a man of vision
Though he knows he’s really nothing
But the brief elaboration of a tube

So, as Jarkko said - it is >tube<, not >tune<. In my opinion it's even better, 'cos elaboration of a tune wouldn't be hard to interpret.

What kind of tube did LC have in mind?

Cathode ray tube being a source of electrons? A scientific metaphor of a poet being a source of words? Someone has already mentioned that.

Elaboration of epithelial tube - biological metaphore of a developing living organism?

Other kind of >tube<? If so - what kind?


I am really interested in your opinions. Remember - I am not a native speaker of English, so my ideas might be absolutely false.
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Paul Zagreb
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby Paul Zagreb » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:55 pm

Wow! First direct reference to a scientific text I have seen on here. I think your guess is a good as any. If it helps, in British English (not sure about Canadian) 'the tube' is an old slang phrase for the television (precisely because of the cathode ray). There is also the possible allusion to the fleetingness (almost Warhol's 15 minutes of fame) of 'youtube'. Like you, I like the lack of instant accessibility which the phrase "brief elaboration of a tube" suggests! By the way, I love the track and the idea of two voices works extremely well I think.
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"elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions?

Postby JudasPriest » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:36 pm

Test tube baby analogy? A reference to Len's public personna/costume being controlled?
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby francis » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:13 pm

in popular French, "un tube" is a hit, a popular, succesful song
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jerry
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby jerry » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:08 pm

I read it as the brief coming to life of nothing more than a bunch of chemicals mixed together which is really what the human body is after all.
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby friscogrl » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:44 pm

I have actually heard humans being described simply as one big tube; things go in at the top and come out of the bottom.

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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby holydove » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:36 pm

Maybe - Fallopian tube, through which the egg travels from ovary to uterus.
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby hadley » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:44 pm

HolyDove you just beat me to it! Though I was going to suggest Vagina :lol:

Definately agree with Jerry about the sentiment of the thing being about life and just being a bunch of chemicals
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Hartmut
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby Hartmut » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:21 pm

friscogrl wrote:I have actually heard humans being described simply as one big tube; things go in at the top and come out of the bottom.
This was also my first thought when I heard that line.

That concept is mentioned here, for example:
"The fundamental design of the human body is a tube - a doughnut with a hole in the middle."
http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/pu ... tips.shtml

And yes, there are some elaborations to that tube ...
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby remote1 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:37 pm

I am still wondering whether there could be a typo on the CD booklet. Tube sounds odd to me... ;-)
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jerry
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby jerry » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:32 pm

This is the definition of elaborate:
worked out with great care and nicety of detail; executed with great minuteness: elaborate preparations; elaborate care.
marked by intricate and often excessive detail; complicated.

Isn't that how Leonard writes his songs? Taking very long to write them and searching for the exact right words? So TUNE would make sense.

TUNE/TUBE. The B & N letters on a keyboard or typwriter are right next to each other also. A typo in the cd booklet?

My bets are still on TUNE.
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
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hadley
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby hadley » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:26 pm

Actually the more I think about it the more the 'food goes in one end comes out the other' tube idea makes perfect sense from the context of what he was singing before. It's actually a pretty classy line. How many times have I heard him sing a new line and thought 'why didnt I write that?!' :lol:
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jerry
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby jerry » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:29 pm

He will speak these words of wisdom
Like a sage, a man of vision

Wouldn't that refer to a song or tune?
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
Leonard Cohen
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby holydove » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:12 pm

I wonder if the "tube" might be a reference of a more cosmic nature. Apparently, physicists have created a "universe in a test tube", where they have created the atmosphere necessary for life as we know it, for the purpose of testing the "theory of everything". Here is a link to an article about this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/scie ... heory.html Thus, I wonder if "tube" might refer to the whole universe, i.e., all of time & space.
Last edited by holydove on Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Mirek
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Re: "elaboration of a tube" - any interpretation suggestions

Postby Mirek » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:15 pm

jerry wrote:He will speak these words of wisdom
Like a sage, a man of vision

Wouldn't that refer to a song or tune?
Right, jerry, but... don't you think this would be too obvious? In my opinion Leonard loves to include unexpected words and/or lines. And this is one of those cases.
Fans would discuss, interpret the line, connect it to other texts. That's poetry, I guess.
For me Paul's explanation sounds quite convincing.

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