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Jewel In The Crown

This song is by The Legendary Pink Dots and appears on the album Island Of Jewels (1986).

Give the boy a uniform, a unicorn, a horn, a sawn off shotgun and a
Cause... an ORDER. Cross a border. Tell him "Heads must roll!" Can fetch
Them back on poles. No rules except "Amuse yourself, abuse at leisure.
Steal the treasure. Screw and sweat. She'll swear in another alphabet. It's
Meaningless... no soul."
You'll reap and you shall sow. You'll rape, you'll know that God's will is
Mysterious. Delirious. The fire burns inside. Outside the napalm forms a
Molten tower. Fit for Kings! FOR YOU! You're everything. You're golden.
Take your role in history. Maybe you're just a number but WE know your
Name and we'll remember. Yes, we'll remember till the end of time (so back
In line you asshole!)


This song is almost the antithesis of "Poppy Day" from the album "The Tower". In that song the wasted lives of dead soldiers are lamented and the soldiers remembered with sadness and gravity.

Here in this piece, the soldiers are given no rules and they're allowed to amuse themselves and abuse their power. To pillage and rape and not feel guilty because - after all these are foriegners you're raping, their language has no soul the way yours does...(sarcasm implied)

This time around these soldiers will be remembered 'til the end of time like the others, but for how vile they are, not for how unlucky. The last line implores them to get back in line, either to get back into the edicts of moral law that the military supposedly supports, or to get back into formation up in the front where the chance that they will be wiped out is a good one...

India was called "The Jewel in the Crown", referring to the British rule there:

Jewel in the Crown is also possibly a reference to Jewel in the Lotus. "Om mani padme hum" is the six syllabled mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion in Tibetan Buddhism. The middle part of the mantra, maṇi padme, is often interpreted as "jewel in the lotus," The Hindu Chakra system envisions the Chakras as different lotuses, and the Crown Chakra lotus has a thousand petals. This title could be an influence of the Indian Tarot deck whose card "Island of Jewels" inspired the name of this album.

Relatedly, it coud be a take on the idea that soldiers (in countries with royalty) are supposed to be fighting in the name of their King or Queen, and as such are representing said King and Queen. They are supposed to conduct themselves honourably and thus be a "Jewel" in the crown of their royalty.

The soldiers here are anything but that, making one wonder what has happened to the leaders in these stories.


Edward Ka-Spel:

"Island of Jewels is about a future war, where an individual with an almost unbearable thirst for power lies face down in the stinking pit of his achievements in the penultimate "triumphant" scene. To get to this "pinnacle" he turns the world into his own arena where everyone is surveyed, studied, followed, and snuffed out if they choose to question. Sounds a little familiar, doesn't it... I'll mention no names. The last scene sees the grass growing again...because it always does."

Video Interpretations

Jewel in the Crown

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