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This song is by The Legendary Pink Dots and appears on the album Only Dreaming (1981).

He always looked behind him, scared somebody would jump him
Put him on the ground so he'd come around to the sound of people laughing
'Cause the whole world loved to mock him
Sun and moon both pointed at him
Kids would crick their necks to get a better view
Well, it really did his mind in, and we wanted to protect him
So we placed his face in a smash-proof case and placed it in the fridge
They giggled in the corners, whispered lies across the borders
They derided him and chided him till he carried out their orders
So he dashed into the limelight, played at Hamlet for a fortnight
Waved his arms and screamed demands for some respect
But they just could not excuse him, it was really too amusing
So he packed his sack and scrambled back to safety in the fridge
And I swear I saw his spirit skim the sky with nothing near it
Piled armour-plated roller skates, white feather train to steer it
Scared somebody would look up, gesticulate and throw up
Send him flitting, flitting scarred behind a cloud
But for him, there's no escaping, no hole big enough to hide in
Best just to stay nicely out the way in safety in the fridge
In the village bells were tolling, in the town the dogs were howling
It was Armageddon, tanks crashed head-on, planet Earth was drowning
Then the Devil sent a shower, Europe died in half an hour
And a demon wind just finished off the rest
But our friend, he took a teabreak, idly munching on a fish-cake
Quite oblivious and ignorant but cozy in the fridge
It's so cold there, in the fridge
It's so icy, frosty


Think of the term "cool". Here are three definitions:

1. imparting a sensation of moderate coldness or comfortable freedom from heat: a cool breeze.

2. not hasty; deliberate: a cool and calculated action.

3. calmness; composure; poise: an executive noted for maintaining her cool under pressure. - cool it,: calm down; take it easy.

The first is literal, though the others are more metaphorical.

Our narrator singing in this piece tells us that the main character has become paranoid due to unceasing torment by others. He then goes on to perhaps exaggerate the point by saying that the whole world and the sun and the moon are involved too.

His friends feel for him and try to protect him, but the constant ridicule really gets to him. They put his face "in a smash proof case." and put it in the fridge. A place of calmness, and poise, if we follow the metaphor through. A place where perhaps, in his circle of friends at least he is accepted. "Refrigerium" is also a latin word meaning "a place of respite" and was associated during the reformation age with the concept of Purgatory. "Smash proof case" could be refering to the line "if you smashed the other cheek I wouldn't feel it" from the song "You'n'Me - Waiting for the Call".

Not sure if the "they" giggling and giving orders are a reference to his friends or the ridiculers in the world, but in either case the orders seem to be to go and take his message into the limelight, where perhaps it would be better percieved as art. Also, following the Purgatory reference above - purgatory contains the same root as "to purge", which, in turn has connections with the idea of the greek "Katharsis", or catharsis. The stage has been described as a place to purge one's self of angels and demons and thus have a cathartic release - or in other terms to reach Heaven by purging Hell.

"Playing Hamlet for a fortnight" is an interesting phrase. Hamlet the play is basically a revenge plot. Hamlet's father, the King, is killed, but the killer - his Uncle - has now become King and therefore in a position of power difficult to reach in some ways. Hamlet becomes depressed about this, and acts in ways some consider mad. It is his own conscience that spurs him onwards "O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space - were it not that I have bad dreams". He ends up choosing a play for his Uncle to see that depicts the exact kind of betrayal and murder of his Uncle's plans, hoping that "The Play is the thing, wherein we'll catch the conscience of the King."

So, our character is playing Hamlet, and screaming demands for respect on stage. Edward seems to sympathize with the character of Hamlet in some ways. Compare the line "I will take those sling and arrows" from the song "Radio 6" off his solo album "Red Letters", in reference to the famous Hamlet soliloquy:

To be or not to be, that is the question;

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep;

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to — 'tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;

To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause.

So, on that album, it appears that Edward answers this question of to be or not to be with "To Be", and that he WILL suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

At the end, a huge war breaks out, but our character has decided to stay cool.

Compare with the lines "And Satan walked the earth again, brought plagues of locusts, whips and chains... Played Guns 'n' Roses, blocked the drains but no one paid attention. Too busy in their quiet dream, playing possum drinking tea. The world concluded happily. So there." from the song "She Gave Me an Apple" on the album Chemical Playschool 9.

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