Annotations


~ Walk Into Light ~

(2)

 

Toad In The Hole

  • "Toad in the hole" or 'toad in a hole' is an expression with four meanings here, applied by the narrator to give words to one idea. Basically, 'toad in a hole' is a dish: a sausage or other meat baked in pancake batter. It is clear where the name of this dish comes from: toads and other frog-like animals hide in holes to sleep, to hide themselves from ennemies or to protect themselves for winter's cold, hibernating. In this song the beloved one offers the narrator the sanctuary that makes him feel as safe as a toad in a hole. Finally there is an implicit sexual innuendo, that needs no further explination ;-).

  • "I Walk along the Strand...": The Strand is a shopping street in London.
    * Jan Voorbij

  • I do not see this as a warm love song at all. I think he is resentful of being a toad in the hole and longs to be out on the road again. "Take your warm hands off me, let the night begin". This was a tough time where the future of Tull was in doubt, look at his expression on the cover, this is no happy boy! He longs to "walk into light" (as in 'on stage'). The "shush your mouth" could be him saying don't say anything, I know I'm late, I know I forgot to call. Just let me be. He feels "a little devastated" (this is not love btw) but his nights spent with her are his sign that he's still hers. "The back door's open": he could sneak out if he wished, looking for Eden.
    * Mark Colman

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Looking For Eden

User-Friendly

  • The song was written in the early eighties, when personal computers just started to become more and more important devices for data storage and communication. It seems to deal with the influence of new technologies on everybody's life: "Do we inhabit some micro-space and interface through wires". Real communication beween people is substituted by virtual, almost 'artificial' contact: "Plug yourself in. Stay for a while. Un-discerning". Is Ian expressing here a feeling of uneasiness regarding this technological change of the world and its consequences for interhuman contact? A similar theme, the lack of communication and the fear for making real contact as a phenomena in todays society, is also apparent in the songs "Trains" from this album and "The Clasp" from "The Broadsword And The Beast".

  • "... printed on the V.D.U.": V.D.U. is short for Visual Display Unit.The V.D.U. is a device for data storage, handling and viewing and was used by many companies in the late seventies and early eighties. It was in fact the predecessor of the personal computer. Though it has grown obsolete now, the device is still in use at universities for educational purposes and companies all over the world, but it's rapidly losing ground.
    * Jan Voorbij


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Different Germany

  • At first sight the song seems to deal with the rise of fascism in Germany in the late seventies and early eighties. Beating up and brutalizing foreigners (gypsies, jews, Turkish and Vietnamese people a.o.), setting fire to pensions were they were hosted and other acts of violence: they were all the results of the agitation of fascist organisations in the past two decades.
    A parallel with the situation of the thirties springs to mind:
    "History repeats somehow". However, this is not at all a specific "German" problem. Due to the economic recession, originating from the so-called oil-crisis of 1973, many fascist and other ultra right wing groups in Europe saw an increase of their following. History teaches us that economic crises create feelings of uncertainty, fear for the future; they make people distrustful towards foreigners, and ask for a Great Leader to make things better. These movements make these ressentiments explicit, speculate on them and thus manipulate people, who are not political defensible enough to resist these ideas, for their own questionable goals. The National Front in Great Britain, Le Pen's Front National in France, the Vlaams Blok in Belgium and the Centrum Partij in the Netherlands are clear examples.

  • In this song Ian delicately portrays the threatening atmosphere of terror and fear that is brought about by these groups:
    "Who turned the clock? (Moved on or back).
    And what dark chill is gathering still before the storm?"

    and the people they apparently appeal to...:
    ".... laughing girls whose fastened smiles are not clearly meant for me".

  • It is not for nothing that this song is called "Different Germany". It is a different Germany indeed, since the second largest Jethro Tull fan-base is to be found there and the phenomenon Ian describes here is quite contrary to the sympathy and cordiality the band has experienced in Germany over the years. In fact it is this duality that frightens him to the bone....

  • Finally. this song is not the first one to deal with the threatening rise of fascist and other ultra right wing groups in Europe and the USA. The Heavy Horses' song 'No Lullaby' had the same subject packed in a kind of nursery rhyme format.
    * Jan Voorbij

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Jan Voorbij (1998-2009)