She knows that I've been doing something wrong But she won't say anything She thinks that I was with my friends yesterday But she won't mind me lying Because
Mother stands for comfort Mother will hide the murderer
It breaks the cage, and fear escapes and takes possession Just like a crowd rioting inside (Make me do this, make me do that, make me do this, make me do that...) Am I the cat that takes the bird? To her the hunted, not the hunter
Mother stands for comfort Mother will hide the murderer Mother hides the madman Mother will stay mum
Mother stands for comfort Mother will hide the murderer Mother hides the madman Mother will stay mum
She knows that I've been doing something wrong, But she won't say anything. She thinks that I was with my friends yesterday, But she won't mind me lying, Because
Mother stands for comfort. Mother will hide the murderer.
It breaks the cage, and fear escapes and takes possession, Just like a crowd rioting inside. (Make me do this, make me do that, make me do this, make me do that...) Am I the cat that takes the bird? To her the hunted, not the hunter.
Mother stands for comfort. Mother will hide the murderer. Mother hides the madman. Mother will stay mum.
Mother stands for comfort. Mother will hide the murderer. Mother hides the madman. Mother will stay mum.
Haunting song... so haunting... has she killed someone or not???
"My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath- a source of little visible delight, but necessary." Catherine Earnshaw, Wuthering Heights.
Mother Stands For Comfort is a weird song, a dangerous lullaby to sing you to sleep... The 'shattering' evokes Babooshka... Another song of lies and deceit... But in MSFC, the son expects - and will make - his mother play her part...
Initially, the song had me asking What does 'son' stand for? What does 'mother' stand for? ... (Do you remember those kitsch 'Mother's Love Poem Plaques'?) ... Society 'imprisons' us all in stereotypical expectations. From Trisha to Springer, mothers who don't stand for comfort are either demonised or psycho-pathologised as 'failed mothers'. The mother of this song seemed caged in 'the prison of motherhood' by her son's wrong, caught between a rock and a hard place, and desperate for moral expression. Then I thought of Hitchcock's Psycho!
'She knows...' (mother's intuition? or is he paranoid schizophrenic?) ... 'something wrong...' (crime? OR overharsh super-ego/maternal identification? Negative Oedipus Complex?) 'But she won't say anything... But she won't mind me lying... Because...' (Has he already killed her for comfort? Is she mummifying in the chair?)
The 'madman' has gone over the edge... He has murdered the mother to keep her 'mum'*! ... He has made her play her ghastly comforting part... 'make me do this...'
The schizophrenic repercussion unleashes mad fearful imaginings. It breaks the cage of mental stability, provoking him to do dreadful things... make me do that... There is a terrible, twisted lucidity... The cat/bird expresses social breakdown, mental disorder and role-reversal; the maternal-hunter/food-gatherer has become the hunted prey...
Just like Babooshka's husband, we are lulled by the sound of MSFC only for it to shatter our expectations...
*In England, mum=mother & to 'stay mum' means to say nothing of the secret you know!
Good to meet you all... I have been exploring the threads and making myself feel at home! ... Thank you for your welcome... KB is a master of suspense! ... I read your halloween/horror threads (week XIX), and this led me to revisit MSFC... What a hoot! ... And on the bird metaphor I found this: The Horror of Everyday Life: Taxidermy, Aesthetics, and Consumption in Horror Films: "I hear the expression [eating like a bird] is really a falsity because birds really eat a lot. But I don't really know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things. You know - taxidermy. I guess I'd just rather stuff birds because I hate the look of beasts when they're stuffed..." - Norman Bates, Psycho (http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol2is4/horror.html)
This song is incredibly crafted poetry... and offers many readings and meanings... Another deeper understanding might be that 'She' (the 'cat's mother,' the child's mother) knows (intuitively or otherwise) that something wrong has taken place involving the child ('doing'/'do'), but She won't say anything (refuses to? turns away?). Is the wrong 'unspeakable'? Is the truth? (hence the child lying)...
The mother is hiding the murderer/madman... The murderer ("It" = dehumanised reference/non-man) breaks the cage, gets into the house... The child is overwhelmed by fear, and made to do this and that...
'Am I the cat... bird...' = Metaphorically, the child becomes wild/other, a domesticated animal taking dead things to 'her' (her=non-mother?)... The 'bird' symbolizes the child's dead heart/soul, disclosures and muteness... The child is hunted/hounded, and is not a capable seeker in life...
"Mother Stands For Comfort"... just as those plaques remind us... but this 'mother' is not comforting the child... Rather, she is hiding the madman and murderer of the child's heart... She is 'staying mum' ... ... [TSW album cover?]
EDIT: On 'Staying Mum,' secrets & lies see:
'Nobody knows...' - TMWTCIHE 'Nobody else can share this...' - FI 'Our thumping hearts hold the ravens in...' - OEMLH 'A pseudonym to fool him...' - B 'And we're only bluffing...' - SIG 'I keep 'em shut. I keep 'em shut...' - LIO 'But she won't say anything... But she won't mind me lying...' - MSFC 'And it's not easy for me To give away a secret...' - UTI 'We were working secretly For the military...' - E4 'In your life, in my life, There are secrets too dark To let out, to let go of, To get over...' - BKtMM (Castaway, 1986) 'It's so deep I don't think that I can speak about it...' - L&A 'I think about us lying!' - MOP 'Not one of us would dare to break The silence...' - SIB 'You should not speak of it...' - WSILY (demo)
^ Or maybe the child is sublimating her actions like the Norman Bates character in the Hitchcock movie.. A bit of schizophrenia brought on by rationalization. It breaks the cage (a freedom now that her mother is dead) - fears escape and takes possession (her mother is psychologically kept alive and does the bidding of the daughter)
Perhaps some strange transformation takes place over when she is asleep! KB: "Yes, I have very strange dreams you know. Over the years I've collected the most incredible star cast of them. Very famous people come and visit me." Curiouser and curiouser... KB: "Peter O'Toole came round to dinner last week and my mum met him and thought he was wonderful. Keith Moon often comes round for tea as well. I have a lot of vivid dreams, most of which I can't mention. The images I get from them sometimes bleed into my songs." Most of Kate's heroes like Oscar Wilde, The Pythons, Roxy Music, Billie Holiday and Hitchcock have all visited her, but her mum didn't like Hitchcock - maybe she was just frightened by him? KB: "Hitchcock was definitely a genius. His dreams must have been extraordinary. He must have plucked his ideas out of the sky, or had a private line to Mars." Melody Maker, "Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes", August 24, 1985 gaffa.org/reaching/i85_mm2.html
“Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock
Zwort: Going back to the obscurity of some of your songs that are personal to you, and how you feel people pick up on this-- can you give some detailed examples? Katie: Right, back to your question. I think it works on the basis of: if it moves you, it could move others. Hitchcock was talking about his films and saying the best subjects for his films that were frightening were things that frightened him--like Vertigo. Apparently he was terrified of heights. It seems logical, doesn't it? Zwort: Yeah, sure. Hitchcock was brilliant. Katie: Yes, I agree, a genius... Kate's KBC article, Issue 21 (Winter 1987), "Cousin Kate" by Zwort Finkle gaffa.org/garden/kate23.html
Hitchcock once said that “the way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them”; his films can, therefore, be regarded as projections, conscious or otherwise, of his own neuroses onto the silver screen. Some critics have suggested that Hitchcock had a severely pathological psychology.
PADDY: One more question. FAN: [ Inaudible. Something like do you have a favorite Kate Bush song?] PADDY: For me. Yes, yes. [ inaudible], singing on the end of it, but it's Get Out Of My House, really, was my favorite track. I think if Alfred Hitchcock ever made hit singles [Laughter] [ inaudible] And I love it, I love the energy that it deals with. It's fantastic. Convention 1985, Romford, England gaffa.org/dreaming/con_85.html
Mother Stands For Comfort: “A boy’s best friend is his mother,” Norman Bates tells Marion Crane in Psycho.
Hounds of Love is the third single, and trying to follow the Cloudbusting video was extremely difficult. I still wanted to follow the approach of making "a short film", and this time we wanted to suggest a piece of "Hitchcock": a short thriller. Paddy inspired me into a 39 Steps theme, and for the two-three weeks over Christmas my life became this third video. It was particularly hard organising meetings over Christmas; everyone was busy partying. At one meeting someone turned up in fancy dress. The advantage was that I got a brilliant crew who were free to do the shoot because it was Christmas-time, generally a very quiet period. If you get to see the video, let us know if you spot Hitchcock's appearance? Kate's KBC article, Issue 19 (Spring 1987), Even More Hounds Of Love gaffa.org/garden/kate21.html
"There is nothing quite so good as burial at sea. It is simple, tidy, and not very incriminating." ~ Alfred Hitchcock
ROCKET'S TAIL (For Rocket) "Rocket's my cat, but it was written for the Bulgarian girls. Ridiculous collection of images, [Just read the lyrics and you'll see immediately that Kate is deliberately deflecting the request for an explanation. This is not a "ridiculous collection of images"! -- IED] nothing to do with Rocket, really. He just started it all off. "At the time the only song I could think of that mentioned rockets was Rocket Man [which, by the time she was working with the Bulgarians, Kate had already agreed to record a cover version of for the forthcoming Elton John/Bernie Taupin tribute album], but since then there have been about three of them. I feel a bit like the Python sketch with that guy making eight-millimetre films, saying, 'Hitchcock had his Rear Window out while mine was still at the chemists'." NME, "In the Realm of the Senses " October 1989 gaffa.org/reaching/i89_nme2.html
“Give them pleasure the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock
Experiment IV is notable for featuring Nigel Kennedy on violin, who at one point replicates the screeching violins from Bernard Herrmann's famous scoring of the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho (wiki).
Choice Cuts: Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho
WOMAN'S VOICE: No! I tell you no! I won't have you bringing strange young girls in here for supper--by candlelight, I suppose, in the cheap erotic fashion of young men with cheap erotic minds! NORMAN: Mother, please! WOMAN: And then what, after supper? Music? Whispers? NORMAN: Mother, she's just a stranger! She's hungry and it's raining out. WOMAN: (mocking) 'Mother, she's just a stranger.' As if men don't desire strangers. Ah! I refuse to speak of disgusting things, because they disgust me! Do you understand, boy? Go on! Go tell her she'll not be appeasing her ugly appetite with my food, or my son! Or do I have to tell her 'cause you don't have the guts, boy? Huh, boy? You have the guts, boy? NORMAN: Shut up! Shut up!
GET OUT OF MY HOUSE
MOTHER: No! I will not hide in the fruit cellar. Ha! You think I'm fruity, huh? I'm staying right here. This is my room and no one will drag me out of it--least of all my big, bold son! NORMAN: Now come now, Mother! He came after the girl and now someone will come after him! Mother, please! It's just for a few days. Just for a few days so they won't find you. MOTHER: (mocking) 'Just for a few days!' --In that dark, dank fruit cellar! No! You hid me there once, boy, and you won't do it again. Not ever again! Now get out! (pause, then quietly, ominously) I told you to get out, boy.
THE WHOLE STORY
DR. RICHMOND: No. I got the whole story--but not from Norman. I got it--from his mother. Norman Bates no longer exists. He only half existed to begin with. And now, the other half has taken over--probably for all time.
DR. RICHMOND: Like I said--the mother... (Richmond gives the following account to the whole group in the style of a lecture.) Now to understand it the way I understood it, hearing it from the mother--that is, from the mother half of Norman's mind--you have to go back ten years, to the time when Norman murdered his mother and her lover. Now he was already dangerously disturbed--had been ever since his father died. His mother was a clinging, demanding woman, and for years the two of them lived as if there was no one else in the world. Then she met a man--and it seemed to Norman that she threw him over for this man. Now that pushed him over the line and he killed them both. Matricide is probably the most unbearable crime of all--most unbearable to the son who commits it. So he had to erase the crime, at least in his own mind. He stole her corpse. A weighted coffin was buried. He hid the body in the fruit cellar. Even treated it to keep it as well as it would keep. And that still wasn't enough. She was there, but she was a corpse. So he began to think and speak for her--give her half his life, so to speak. At times, he could be both personalities, carry on conversations. At other times, the mother half took over completely. Now he was never all Norman, but he was often only Mother. And because he was so pathologically jealous of her, he assumed that she was as jealous of him. Therefore, if he felt a strong attraction to any other woman, the mother side of him would go wild. (to Lila:) When he met your sister, he was touched by her, aroused by her. He wanted her. That set off the jealous mother, and Mother killed the girl. Now after the murder, Norman returned as if from a deep sleep. And like a dutiful son, covered up all traces of the crime he was convinced his mother had committed. SAM: Why was he--dressed like that? DISTRICT ATTORNEY: He's a transvestite. DR. RICHMOND: Ah--not exactly. A man who dresses in women's clothing in order to achieve a sexual change or satisfaction is a transvestite. But in Norman's case, he was simply doing everything possible to keep alive the illusion of his mother being alive. And when reality came too close--when danger or desire threatened that illusion--he dressed up, even to a cheap wig he bought. He'd walk about the house, sit in her chair, speak in her voice. He tried to be his mother! And, uh--now, he is. Now that's what I meant when I said I got the story from the mother. You see, when the mind houses two personalities, there's always a conflict, a battle. In Norman's case, the battle is over--and the dominant personality has won.
Kate Bush Mother Stands For Comfort. A tribute to Alfred Hitchcock www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRNju3-Xyek A tribute to the Master of Suspense using Kate Bush's brilliant Mother Stands For Comfort from her album Hounds of Love.
Kate Bush: "I think that as a very young child, perhaps I aspired to becoming something like a great actress." The Tony Myatt interview (1985)
"Who is it that loves me and will love me forever with an affection which no chance, no misery, no crime of mine can do away? It is you, my mother." ~ Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881)
"A Boy's Best Friend Is His Mother" (1883) Words by Henry Miller Music by Joseph P. Skelly
1. While plodding on our way, the toilsome road of life, How few the friends that daily there we meet! No many will stand by in trouble and in strife, With counsel and affection ever sweet! But there is on whose smile, will ever on us beam, Whose love is dearer than any other And wherever we may turn, This lesson we will learn, A boy's best friend is his Mother.
CHORUS [sung after each verse] Then cherish her with care, And smooth her silv'ry hair, When gone you will never get another. And wherever we may turn, This lesson we shall learn, A boy's best friend is his Mother.
2. Tho' all the world may frown, and ev'ry friend depart, She never will forsake us in our need! Our refuge evermore is still within our heart, For us her loving sympathy will plead! Her pure and gentle smile, for ever cheers our way, 'Tis sweeter and 'tis purer than all other. When she goes from earth away, We'll find our while we stray, A boy's best friend is his Mother.
3. Her fond and gentle face not long may greet us here, Then cheer her with our kindness and our love! Remember at her knee in childhood bright and dear, We heard her voice, like angel's from above. Tho' after years may bring, their gladness or their woe, Her love is sweeter far than any other. And our longing heart will learn, Wherever we may turn, A boy's best friend is his Mother.
A boy’s best friend is his mother and there's no spancel stronger than her apron string. ~ Irish Proverb
NORMAN BATES: "A boy's best friend is his mother." ~ Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)
Hitchcock's films sometimes feature characters struggling in their relationships with their mothers. In North by Northwest (1959), Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant's character) is an innocent man ridiculed by his mother for insisting that shadowy, murderous men are after him (in this case, they are). In The Birds (1963), the Rod Taylor character, an innocent man, finds his world under attack by vicious birds, and struggles to free himself of a clinging mother (Jessica Tandy). The killer in Frenzy (1972) has a loathing of women but idolizes his mother. The villain Bruno in Strangers on a Train hates his father, but has an incredibly close relationship with his mother (played by Marion Lorne). Sebastian (Claude Rains) in Notorious has a clearly conflictual relationship with his mother, who is (correctly) suspicious of his new bride Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman). In Marnie (1964), her mother, Bernice (Louise Latham), had been a prostitute, and when Marnie was six years old, one of her mother's clients (a sailor played by Bruce Dern) is struck and killed by Marnie. And, of course, Norman Bates' troubles with his mother in Psycho (1960) are infamous [the movie's line "A boy's best friend is his mother" was voted as the #56 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100)].
The Virgin Mary as ‘mother’ has always had a place in the hearts and minds of Christians. The Virgin Mary is held as a source of hope and comfort in times of trouble, and there are many prayers and feast days proclaiming her status as the Mother of Christ. She exemplifies unconditional love and consolation for those who implore her help, Christian or otherwise. As such, she stands in for the mother of all who look to her for comfort.
ASH: Mother wants to talk to you... RIPLEY: Go back to Mother and keep asking questions until you get some better answers... MOTHER'S VOICE (o.s.): Attention. The cooling units for the light-plus engines are not functioning. Engines will over load in four minutes, fifty seconds... ~ "Alien" script by Walter Hill and David Giler (1978)
The feeling intensifies with "Mother Stands for Comfort," in which Bush creates an eerie mood with hushed vocals, unearthly Fairlight accompaniment, disembodied background drones, and the sound of breaking glass. One gets the feeling that the relationship with Mother is not warm, but almost supernatural. Mother has powers of omniscience--"She know that I've been doing something wrong"--but she is biased in the application of her powers, since "she won't say anything." "Mother Stands for Comfort" contains two major Bushian themes: the evil within mankind and the need to turn to "Mother" [as in Alien's MU-TH-R 182]. Bush, or her character, knows there is harm in her and doubts her ability to contain it: "It breaks the cage and fear escapes and takes possession / Just like a crowd rioting inside / Make me do this, make me do that." Her doubt extends to her ability to evaluate the morality of her actions, asking "Am I the cat that takes the bird?" To Mother, however, the answer is clear; the child is "the hunted, not the hunter." Mother stands for comfort because for her there is no ambiguity; she must protect her child. Moreover, there is comfort in realizing this is a universal maternal quality. In the song's title the words "Mother Stands" imply that Mother is a symbol, standing for something else. Also, the word "Mother" is always capitalized in the lyrics printed on the album's inner sleeve, hinting that this is a mythic mother. Throughout side 2 Bush has looked back in time and into nature to determine the basis of her confusion, and now she has returned to the womb. She puns "Mother will stay Mum," but the lyrics and arrangement do not make Mother sound entirely comforting, for she is inextricably linked with the dark side of human nature. On Record, Simon Frith and Andrew Goodwin (1990, p.459-460).