The Web

[Track Info] [The Lyrics] [Explanation]

The Web - Track Info

01. Album version (08:48)

02. Live (London, England - "Hammersmith Odeon", April 18th '83) (10:00)

Notes: Live version follows studio version, with longer instrumental passages.

Lyrics by Derek William Dick (Fish)
Preformed Live for the First Time: 14-Mar-81

Published by Marillion Music, Charisma Music Publishing Co. Ltd., Chappell Music Ltd.

The Web - The Lyrics

The rain auditions at my window, its symphony echoes in my womb
My gaze scans the walls of this apartment
to rectify the confines of my tomb

I'm the cyclops in the tenement, I'm the soul without the cause,
Crying midst my rubber plants, ignoring beckoning doors,
Clippings from ancient newspapers lie scattered cross the floor
Stained by the wine from a shattered glass,
Meaningless words, yellowed by time,
Faded photos exposing pain, celluloid leeches bleeding my mind
Christ, you've finished playing hangman, you've cast the fateful dice
Advice, advice, advice me, this shroud will not suffice
And thus begins the web

Attempting to discard these clinging memories,
I only serve to wallow in our past
I fabricate the weave with my excuses,
its strands I hope and pray shall last
Oh please do last, oh please do last

The flytrap needs the insects, ivy caresses the wall
Needles make love to the junkies, the sirens seduce with their call
Confidence has deserted me, with you it has forsaken me
Confused and rejected, despised and alone,
I kiss isolation on its fevered brow
Security clutching me, obscurity threatening me
Christ, your reasons were so obvious as my friend have qualified
I only laughed away your tears, but even jesters cry, but even jesters cry

I realise I hold the key to freedom,
Oh I cannot let my life be ruled by threads
The time has come to make decisions, the changes have to be made

I realise I hold the key to freedom,
I cannot let my life be ruled by threads
The time has come to make decisions, the changes have to be made

Now I leave you, the past does have its say
You're all but forgotten a mote in my heart
Decisions have been made, they've been made, they've been made

Decisions have been made
I've conquered my fears, all my fears
The flaming shroud, the flaming shroud
Thus ends the web, the web, the web, the web, the web.

Copyright 1997 Fraser Marshall, Matthew Anderson & Bert ter Steege.


Torch said: This works I think as a good panorama of the ideas that the title track on "Script For A Jester's Tear" focuses on a few of. "The Web" is inspired by a Greek legend, but I can't remember which one, about a lady who cannot decide which man to marry, so begins to knit a web; when it is completed she will make the decision. Of course, she just went on and on and never finished.

In a lonely tenement room the rain craves attention on the window, the sound echoed in his womb, the place where his thoughts are nurtured. It is only foul weather that he is breeding. He looks about the walls, "to rectify the confines of my tomb". "Rectify" suggests two things, making something square, or making peace or better of something. He perhaps scans the walls to correct the confines, i.e. the tomb he is confined in is his closed up mind, and scanning the walls he sees more, tough not much, space, and rectifies this a little.

He is the "cyclops in the tenement". This always seems to me one of those lines where Fish is just speaking personally and describing his giant features in a perverse way, like the "harlequin" section in "Emerald Lies" that describes more the atmosphere than the meaning of the scene. The cyclops in The Odyssey was a one-eyed giant who lived in a cave. The giant figure with only a one track mind and field of vision is a good and unsettling image of obsession, especially in the setting of a gloom and rain lashed tenement. If you press your face close up to someone else’s, it does look like you have just one eye in the middle of your face, focusing so intensely on one thing. . .

He is the "soul without the cause". . . constantly there are hints that he has no hope of sympathy. . . friends tell him she was right, he is despised and rejected. He ignores beckoning doors, as he does seem to take comfort from self-pity(who doesn't on these occasions?), and scans a seedy room that suggests an owner who has given up on life and in caring. . . old newspapers stained, etc. It is interesting that there are clippings. . . maybe a reference to old gig reviews when Fish was not getting any joy in local bands like Blewitt (he wrote these lyrics in Scotland while living with Diz Minnit in the middle of nowhere. ) Alternatively, maybe the girl was someone famous whose picture still adorns papers, or what he did to her made headlines. . . or she has married someone else and he has cut out the wedding pictures from the paper???

"So I'll hold my peace forever when you wear your bridal gown" (SfaJT)
The shattered glass suggests tension. . . shattered not smashed, once used to celebrate and relax with someone, now shattered and staining. His views are bleak. . . "meaningless words"

Old photos of their relationship and the happy times they shared torment him "faded photos exposing pain". . . the pun of photos, exposing, and negatives was one Fish really did enjoy using!!!!

The pictures are "celluloid leeches bleeding my mind". . . as they suck his senses and his memories away. He screams to himself that he has finished playing hangman with himself, and emotionally playing games for his own destruction, having cast the fateful dice and lost. He begs for help as the shroud of self-pity that was once the clothes of happiness will not do forever.

Thus begins the web, as he starts to find excuses not to snap out of his doldrums.

As he tries to shake off the past he finds excuses not to; his emotions war with his mind, as he secretly prays that his despair will last forever and not leave him with absolutely nothing and the tremendously hard task of starting again.

As he needs his shroud of despair, so the flytrap needs the insect and needles make love to the junkies. . . unhealthy obsessions and cravings that are so hard to resist. "Ivy caresses the wall" i.e. he is obscured from everything by the seductive shroud that he cannot resist. "The sirens seduce with their call", the sirens drawing sailors to their deaths by singing beautiful music that lured them to their island. Odysseus had to tie himself to his mast and fill his sailors ears with wax to survive them, the first femme fatales of legend.

He sits alone and unconfident as one is after an emotional suicide; so totally introverted and self-pondering he grows confused with is obsessive musings, and is "despised" by her at least he perceives. If the truth be known often we have to grow to hate someone bitterly to get over them, as we move from one extreme to the other, "you're all but forgotten, a mote in my heart". . . she despises him he decides in his bitter paranoia. He kisses isolation courting it, his only friend. . . "an affair with isolation" (Fugazi). He is clutched by security that this offers but threatened by obscurity as this is a negative comfort, unhealthy and unproductive, based on a distortion that will lead him into a perpetual existence of solitude and bitterness.

He admits cynically that her reasons (for leaving) were obvious but that doesn't stop him aching. . . isn't it great how he puts so much cynicism into the word "friends" and derision when he sings the track!

"I only laughed away your tears but even jesters cry!"
An odd line, presumably meaning at one time everything was light hearted and a joke to him in his confident state when he played the clown, but now he knows what pain is and he is crying. He realises his own shallowness in the past and lack of understanding for her? Is this why she left him?

He knows he has it within him to escape and only he can save himself, deciding that changes have to be made.

And so they are as he conquers his fears and leaves his old shroud of futile obsession and security in flames, ending the web of procrastination.

The Cyclops was a character from Homer’s Odyssey. As Odysseus make his way home, he lands on an island where Polyphemus, the one-eyed son of Poseidon lived. According to the legend, Polyphemus was unable to leave the island. He captured, and planned to eat, Odysseus and his crew. Odysseus got the Cyclops drunk and blinded him so that he could escape. (Pear’s Cyclopedia)

‘playing hangman’
Hangman is a simple word game. One player thinks of a word and then draws dashes on a page to indicate each letter. The other player gets to choose letters s/he thinks might be in the word. If s/he says a letter that is not in the word, then one element of a simple hanging man on a gibbet is draw. If the picture (see below) is completed, the guesser loses.

Hangman game example

Martijn Buijs said: Penelope was Odysseus' (Ulysses') wife. However, as he had been gone for almost 20 years to fight the Trojans, suitors moved into the palace of Ithaca, to court Penelope. She did not want to acknowledge the death of her husband so she made up an excuse to postpone her choice between the suitors. As a good wife, Penelope needed to make a death shroud for her husband's father, who was quite old and might not last long. Only after she had completed the shroud would she choose one of the suitors to marry her. Every day she worked on the shroud, but every night she undid most of her work, postponing her choice as long as she wanted to. In the Odyssey, this all ceases when Odysseus returns.

What is the biblical story of the ‘mote in an eye’? I know it parallels the story of the stoning of the Prostitute and ‘Let him without sin. . . ’ but I’m not exactly sure where it is from. (Matthew VII.14)


Last Modified: 27 Jul 2000