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The Memory of Water

In a Spring 2012 interview with me for the Web UK, I suggested to John Helmer the key to the song was the Arthurian references. He replied, "That was the Joseph Campbell stuff, but also homeopathy, which I don't necessarily believe in. But I was interested in the idea that water might have a memory because I think that water tends to play very heavily in our lives. It's a very primal thing, water. We were born out of water, and I have lots of memories of swimming in the water where I grew up and lots of more personal things."

I wonder if my rope's still hanging from the tree'
John Helmer told me that the opening lyric was based on the line from Creedence Clearwater Revival's song Green River, although that has 'on the tree' rather than 'from'. The song is a nostalgic look back at a childhood spent growing up on the titular river. Helmer grew up in Westcliff, Essex at the mouth of the River Thames.

'The Memory of Water'
While the pseudoscience of homeopathy dates from the 1700s, the phrase 'memory of water' was coined by Jacques Benveniste in 1984. Here's an extract from Nature Magazine, from an article called A Homeopathy Theory: The Memory of Water:
"While studying allergies in 1984, Jacques Benveniste, M.D., research director at the French National institute for Medical Research, observed that when highly diluted solutions, or homeopathic remedies, were administered to allergy systems, the systems reacted as if molecules from the active ingredients were, in fact, still present; in other words, it appeared as if water retained some trace of the active molecules. This controversial theory has since become known as 'the memory of water."
Benveniste's finding could not be replicated and the results of his study were concluded to have been due to unintentional bias.

'Fisher King'
The Fisher King is a part of the Arthurian legends, first appearing in a written text in Chr├ętien de Troyes's Old French verse romance, the Conte del Graal (Story of the Grail), or Perceval, of c.1180.

The Holy Grail is said to be the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper and at his crucifixion where it was used to collect his blood from the wound in his side. Joseph of Arimathea, the man whose tomb was used for Christ's body, brought the Grail to Britain, where it lay hidden for centuries. It was believed to be located in a mysterious castle in a wasteland guarded by its custodian, the Fisher King, a man with a wound that refused to heal. According to the legend, the wound and the blighted lands would be healed once the quest to discover the Grail succeeded.

'This bird has flown'
'This bird has flown' is the subtitle of John Lennon's Norwegian Wood, a song on 1965's Rubber Soul which alludes to an affair Lennon was having but didn't wish his wife to know about. Although you'd have to think she probably worked it out; they're not that subtle...

Lyrics: Steve Hogarth & John Helmer

Songs with a link have explanations.

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