Vox Magazine
May 1996

I received the following article from Ears With Feet Nathan Robertson. It is from the May 1996 issue of Vox Magazine, in the U.K.

"Talula" was featured as 'Song of the Month' in the May 1996 issue of UK NME-Monthly Music Magazine, "Vox". Over a 2-page spread, the lyrics to "Talula" are analysed, along with Tori's commentary, by Stuart Bailie. The blurb for the article states that the song "concerns the break-up of a relationship and the problems of a male-dominated society. It also refers to voodoo, Sesame Street and biscuits. Stuart Bailie checks her pulse...". Tori says the following:

"When I wrote this, my mother was sitting in a chair, and I'd been playing for a few hours. She was fading in and out of sleep. I'd been going through some of my blood, guts and widow's tunes. And all of a sudden I needed to breathe. I started playing 'Talula', and it became like a breath, 'cos I needed freedom from all these songs that were showing me my monsters. 'Talula' started to show me how to dance. And my mother began to wake up. The song is really a riddle.

"My songs to me, they really exist - I call them 'babes'. They come with trousseaus or with a knapsack on their back. And they're all very different. 'Talula' just came to me, telling me her name. A lot of the times I'm just trying to interpret what I see on the other side.

"A name holds an energy, like anything else. Look at 'Ruby Tuesday'. I think 'Talula' became about rhythm and tone and sensuality. It ain't fucking 'Catherine'. There's something in there about West Indian dance. And yet it's a very classic name, too. Talula really just started to represent all women to me - women that let themselves dance - for themselves."

*of the "GLITTER GIRL" lyric, Tori says: "That's my little moment of Ziggy Stardust, my Gary Glitter moment. A homage. It's one thing to be a glitter girl, but it's another thing to be all woman. And that's what Marie Antoinette desperately wanted."

*"BALANCING CAKE AND BREAD", the following is written:

-A reference to Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI of France. When she was told that her country's peasants were starving for lack of bread, she replied: "Qu'ils mangent la brioche" ("Let them eat cake"). She was deposed, together with her husband in the Revolution, and guillotined in Paris in 1793.

*"YOU DON'T WANT TO LOSE HER, SHE MUST BE WORTH LOSING", the following is written:

-Last year (at the time), Tori broke up with her boyfriend of eight years, Eric. Many of the songs on 'Boys For Pele' relate to this.

Tori says: "This person walking out the door, this affects me - at least I'm not so numb. And if you're numb, you can't dance. So it became this thing about celebrating loss. Because I value it and it's touched my heart and I'm hurting that it's going. At least it meant something to me. When Trent Reznor wrote "Hurt" - 'I hurt myself today, to see if I could feel'

- I thought, 'Hey, this girl *feels* man.'"


-Native American word (from the Algonquin tribe) for baby. Also used to describe an infant's sling.

Tori says: "It's the Indian reference. It's the whole idea of the cycle, the rebirth. There's something being born within, which is the ability to let go. When a man you love walks out of your life, and you have an ache, you feel not only can you love again, but you can love a son. The son or the daughter is the rebirth of the soul."


-A brand of American biscuit.

Tori says: "Fig Newton is a term of endearment. It's not the Oreo Cookie. It's certainly not the politically correct cookie. It's also not a commercial cookie. It's the one with the jelly in the middle."


-Married Henry VIII in 1533, aged 20. Henry changed religion and divorced his previous wife, Catherine, because she couldn't provide him with a male heir. When Anne gave birth to a female (the future Queen Elizabeth I), Henry had her beheaded, supposedly for adultery, in 1536.

Tori says: "As I went back into the bloodline of western women, I began to see the fragmentation. For example, with Anne's daughter Elizabeth - "The Virgin Queen" - if you had respect and a certain power, you didn't have your sensuality and sexuality as well. There's been this division in Christian women.

"I went after those archetypes that have been so misunderstood. With Anne Boleyn's relationship with Henry VIII, he'd manipulate the truth. That's why he says one plus one is three. Whatever the patriarchy says goes, and you'll burn for it."


-The executor who chopped off Anne Boleyn's head.

Tori says: "I heard stories that they brought in this henchman from France, and I really alligned with him. He had Anne move her hair over [before the execution] and he made her look away. He did it when she didn't even know. Even though his job was a bit brutal, he had more compassion than the king. The riddle in "Talula" is things are not what they seem."


Tori says: "A lot of the writing on this album is about association. Jamaica, to me, represented the mysteries. If you go back to that culture, they had a belief in the spirit world. Some call it voodoo.

"Voodoo became something different once the Christians came in. Before then, there was an understanding of other worlds we have chosen to disrespect. When I say 'Do you know what I have done', I haven't honoured that world.


-According to the Bible, Mary Magdalene was a prostitute who washed Jesus' feet and dried them with her hair.

Tori says: "A lot of scholars believe that she was, in her own right, a High Priestess. People believe that Mary Magdalene became the High Priestess when Jesus was being crowned "King" of the Jews.

"The weave of the Magdalene represented woman. Not virgin, not mother, but *woman* - which wasn't passed down. Certain fragments have been lost, theologically. There are secrets in the blood that get passed down."


Tori says: "The men in power, patriarchy. It's about domination, yet that's not where real power is. It's in the blood, the feminine. The old programming of domination is never just 'Go, dance, and let me dance, and I'll let you'."


-Feathered creature in 'Sesame Street'.

Tori says: "Big Bird is a play on what he represents. Whether it's a Big Cheese, or whether it's Jesus or whether it's Big Bird. It's just the big guy. At this point in the song it's going after that patriarchy, domination thing."


Tori says: "That's about a reference to Jesus and the Magdalene, the theory that they were married."


Tori says: "It's really about covert operations. About secrets. It's a riddle."


Tori says: "Even at a certain point, if you've been 'dominated' by the patriarchy, you become a slave to it by buying into the victim side."

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