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THE NEW BARBARIANS GOIN' NUTS!
With Ziggy Modeliste at the International Amphitheater, Chicago - April 30, 1979

Henry Diltz
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Topic: troubadors and bombay Return to archive
11-15-02 07:03 PM
mgla Hey all

Need help finding out what the line from Sympathy for the devil means:

I laid traps for troubadors who dies before they reached bombay.

really appreciate it

thanks
11-15-02 08:14 PM
sasca 'And I lay traps for troubadours/who get killed before they reach Bombay.'

The lines have puzzled me since I first heard the song. Much of the meaning depends on the use of the word 'troubadours' - does it mean the Occitan poet-composers of the middle-ages or just any musician? If it means the Occitan poets then I can only guess that it has something to do with a real or imagined journey to Bombay connected with the legend of Prester John. Prester John was said to rule a vast, Christian Empire in Asia or Africa which was based on the teachings of the early church. The troubadours were greatly influenced by ideas outside official Christianity (eg. Gnosis) and so its reasonable to imagine that some of them went searching for him.
If 'troubadours' refers to just any musician, there are many possibilities - Indian musicians (I don't know enough about Indian history to hazard a guess about which Indian musicians), Portuguese explorers or perhaps the hippies on the path to India. The last is suggested by the lyrics' move to the present tense. Whatever it is, I think the meaning is much the same - people searching for possibilities being destroyed.

Sorry I can't be more definite. If you find anything, I'd love to hear it.
[Edited by sasca]
11-15-02 08:29 PM
SirMuddy Very interesting story Sasca!

btw about twenty years ago,
(Maybe it's Sacaduto)
I readed that that line was about the Beatles...
Was it Mick who said that?
11-16-02 06:08 PM
sasca I'd say the hippies were the most likely because of the change in tense - but Mick's approach to grammar can be haphazard.
11-16-02 08:26 PM
sasca Maybe it is about the Beatles, SirMuddy. Mick trying to scare the hell out of John Lennon. Hehehe, the bitch.
11-16-02 08:55 PM
stonedinaustralia i'm not sure about the troubadors/bombay thing but if you want some insight in to the lyrics you should read "the master and margarita" by mikhail bulgakov -

it was written in russia in the 30's but was suppressed by stalin's regime - it was first published in 66/67 - i.e. about the time mick would have read it - it was a noted publication as the reputation of both the book and it's author preceeded it

it is supposed to have provided mick with some ideas and if you read it you'll immediately see why

for example the epigram to part one of the book is a quote from goethe's "faust" - i'm sure you'll see the allusion

"...and so, who are you, after all?

- I am part of the power which forever wills evil and forever works good."

and there are others

anyway, imho, it's a great book on its own terms - you should read it - i've only read it the once - i might have another look - there maybe something that refers to that troubador line which i've forgotten about
11-16-02 10:49 PM
Nasty Habits sasca, I think that your Prester John interpretation is fascinating -- French poets on quest for a mythical Christian king descended from the magi. If that's not what that line's all about it ought to be. I am very impressed.

The Master and Margarita is a very great novel on its own merits -- quite agree sia. The whole alternate narrative with Pontius Pilate (and his dog, yes?), the EC style horror justice meted out to the various people Bulgakov couldn't stand in Moscow, the stunning scene at Satan's ball, his strange and antic side characters, and that oddly beautiful fantastic ride through the night at the end -- one of the finest bits of the macabre I think that's ever been written.

11-18-02 02:05 AM
gypsymofo60 i always assumed sasca's prester scenario to be the reference to this particular lyric, although the details were not something i was up to speed on. Bulgakov's book is great! Admittadely I would never have read it had it not been connected with The Stones, but I'm glad I did as it was a thoroughly good read. Has anyone read The Golden Bough, I think that's what it was called, it was supposed to have been an influence on the writing of Sat. Maj.