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Old 02-22-2003, 10:01 PM   #1
Seamus
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Does anyone know what the "circle of steel" is exactly?
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Old 02-22-2003, 10:01 PM   #2
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Does anyone know what the "circle of steel" is exactly?
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Old 02-23-2003, 12:28 AM   #3
justalightfootfan
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hm-m...
just from what the song alludes to it must be a roulette wheel (i.e. gambling). to me the song talks about the horrors of an out of control gambler and the suffering family.
gwen
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Old 02-23-2003, 12:28 AM   #4
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hm-m...
just from what the song alludes to it must be a roulette wheel (i.e. gambling). to me the song talks about the horrors of an out of control gambler and the suffering family.
gwen
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Old 02-23-2003, 07:18 AM   #5
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The "Circle Of Steel" is a roulette wheel, as Gwn says, but the song isn't about gambling per se but about poverty and despair and the human frailties that challenge us. The roulette wheel is thus a metaphor, and gambling (referenced here as one of the desparate ways people might try to provide for their families) is just one of the many vices that can trip one up. Other vices such as drinking and criminal activitity (theft? drug sales?) are also mentioned.

That's really an amazing song, sometimes considered a "Christmas song", as the setting is indeed Christmas, but the song is much deeper than that. "Deck The Halls" is referenced in the song by name and the notes are used throughout - but the effect, brilliantly done, is chilling and not the usual seasonal celebration.

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Old 02-23-2003, 10:32 AM   #6
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Besides the gambling interpretation, I've always thought of the circle of steel as being a group of low-income high rises, inhabited by people who dont have much, and for whom, Christmas is just another day. For me, the "high windows flickerin' down thru the snow" phrase pertains to that.
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Old 02-23-2003, 10:32 AM   #7
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Besides the gambling interpretation, I've always thought of the circle of steel as being a group of low-income high rises, inhabited by people who dont have much, and for whom, Christmas is just another day. For me, the "high windows flickerin' down thru the snow" phrase pertains to that.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:05 AM   #8
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I guess what you read into a song depends on where you're from. For me 'circle of steel' especially the 'high windows flickering down' reminds me of prison - we have a state correctional facility in the middle of town here (the city grew up around it, literally). It has iron gates out front and high walls all around, with lights from upper tier cells "flickering down through the snow" at night.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:05 AM   #9
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I guess what you read into a song depends on where you're from. For me 'circle of steel' especially the 'high windows flickering down' reminds me of prison - we have a state correctional facility in the middle of town here (the city grew up around it, literally). It has iron gates out front and high walls all around, with lights from upper tier cells "flickering down through the snow" at night.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:03 PM   #10
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I think " Circle of Steel " is a great song, very cleaverly written ( arn't they all?), and one that it would be great to discuss at length here.

I don't think that the "circle of steel " is a roulette wheel.

"Rows of lights in a circle of steel
Where you place your bets on a great big wheel"

I would suggest that the "great big wheel" is a roulette wheel, or some form of spinning wheel that you can bet on..

I would suggest that the circle of steel would be a casino of some kind, maybe a casino in a tent, a travelling casino, is there such a place ???.

I have trouble imagining a row of lights in a circle, I always imagine rows to be a straight line.

I really like Annie's explanation. Maybe Gords been to your town Annie.

Val's insite is also really good too, it's always good to look at the story behind the words..

Have a great week everyone..

Keep smiling... Ron.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:03 PM   #11
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I think " Circle of Steel " is a great song, very cleaverly written ( arn't they all?), and one that it would be great to discuss at length here.

I don't think that the "circle of steel " is a roulette wheel.

"Rows of lights in a circle of steel
Where you place your bets on a great big wheel"

I would suggest that the "great big wheel" is a roulette wheel, or some form of spinning wheel that you can bet on..

I would suggest that the circle of steel would be a casino of some kind, maybe a casino in a tent, a travelling casino, is there such a place ???.

I have trouble imagining a row of lights in a circle, I always imagine rows to be a straight line.

I really like Annie's explanation. Maybe Gords been to your town Annie.

Val's insite is also really good too, it's always good to look at the story behind the words..

Have a great week everyone..

Keep smiling... Ron.
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:58 AM   #12
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Ron,
He may have been through town a LONG time ago, possibly playing at the local community college (undoubtedly when I was AWAY in the 1969-1973 period, 'cause I would have been there front row if he was in town when I was.) Since "Circle of Steel" is on the 1974 Sundown album, it's possible. The wheel could be a reference to the 'wheel of life' too.
Of course we could all be off base, and it's just another example of his writerly imagination at play.

[This message has been edited by Auburn Annie (edited February 24, 2003).]
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Old 02-24-2003, 07:58 AM   #13
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Ron,
He may have been through town a LONG time ago, possibly playing at the local community college (undoubtedly when I was AWAY in the 1969-1973 period, 'cause I would have been there front row if he was in town when I was.) Since "Circle of Steel" is on the 1974 Sundown album, it's possible. The wheel could be a reference to the 'wheel of life' too.
Of course we could all be off base, and it's just another example of his writerly imagination at play.

[This message has been edited by Auburn Annie (edited February 24, 2003).]
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Old 02-25-2003, 04:57 AM   #14
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Annie,

I like that, Circle of Steel could very easily be the cycle of life. I don't think it matters one bit if we are way off line, it's fun just looking at the words and speculating about the meaning.

Keep Smiling ( and Warm ) Ron
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Old 02-25-2003, 04:57 AM   #15
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Annie,

I like that, Circle of Steel could very easily be the cycle of life. I don't think it matters one bit if we are way off line, it's fun just looking at the words and speculating about the meaning.

Keep Smiling ( and Warm ) Ron
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Old 02-25-2003, 06:53 PM   #16
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ron and all,

hi!

I agree that it is fun trying to interpret GLs songs, but, I sure do hope that if we never see him on stage again we do see a written word from GL in the form of a autobiography or other writing even if it is writing like his previous writings. Am I rambling? Sorry-y-y
Or could this song be about the circus or an amusement park, etc.? ? ?

Tentative hesitation seperates us from the dogs...right?
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Old 02-25-2003, 06:53 PM   #17
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ron and all,

hi!

I agree that it is fun trying to interpret GLs songs, but, I sure do hope that if we never see him on stage again we do see a written word from GL in the form of a autobiography or other writing even if it is writing like his previous writings. Am I rambling? Sorry-y-y
Or could this song be about the circus or an amusement park, etc.? ? ?

Tentative hesitation seperates us from the dogs...right?
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Old 02-26-2003, 04:14 PM   #18
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I always thought of a circle of steel as something that you just can't get past. Literally or figurativly.
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Old 02-27-2003, 10:50 PM   #19
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borderstone
that is truly an interesting perspective. How did you arrive at it?
gwen
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Old 02-27-2003, 10:50 PM   #20
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borderstone
that is truly an interesting perspective. How did you arrive at it?
gwen
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Old 02-28-2003, 05:52 PM   #21
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To Gwen Snyder: Well,since I didn't (somehow) catch the roulette wheel idea. I just felt that given the almost sad-like delivery GL gives to the song,it made me picture a person feeling trapped by circumstances beyond their control,like living a life they don't enjoy but never change. Like being trapped by a real Circle Of Steel. For criminals of course,that's handcuffs. Borderstone,outta here and A.B.!
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Old 03-13-2003, 06:11 PM   #22
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Glad to see I've not been the only one puzzled by this song all these years. But
then on the other hand, I was reading this thread hoping some die-hard would have had
the definitive explanation of this classic.

It would probably be the one song I would like to question the man about, if I could. (That, and "Marie Christine"--still wanna know what that one was based on!)

The one alteration I'd offer, is the allusion
of the roulette wheel. My hunch is that he's referencing a 'wheel of fortune' (no, not the game show), the "great big wheel" that stands vertically (as opposed to a much smaller, horizontal table-top roulette wheel), the kind with the loud clacking steel pins all around, that when spinning might cause light from overhead to be "flickering down".
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Old 03-13-2003, 06:11 PM   #23
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Glad to see I've not been the only one puzzled by this song all these years. But
then on the other hand, I was reading this thread hoping some die-hard would have had
the definitive explanation of this classic.

It would probably be the one song I would like to question the man about, if I could. (That, and "Marie Christine"--still wanna know what that one was based on!)

The one alteration I'd offer, is the allusion
of the roulette wheel. My hunch is that he's referencing a 'wheel of fortune' (no, not the game show), the "great big wheel" that stands vertically (as opposed to a much smaller, horizontal table-top roulette wheel), the kind with the loud clacking steel pins all around, that when spinning might cause light from overhead to be "flickering down".
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Old 03-13-2003, 11:01 PM   #24
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Going out on a limb on this one, but the circle of steel is an elevator on the outside of a hotel on its way down. The windows of the elevator are going down through the snow. As you descend, you view the world around you, and in some way, reflect on your own life. You observe a variety of passing sights as you descend, and these collective images translate into a multitude of thought, both personal and social. The season only amplifies what's going on around you, and brings out the feelings of what you, or the world, may or may have done right or wrong.

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Old 03-13-2003, 11:01 PM   #25
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Going out on a limb on this one, but the circle of steel is an elevator on the outside of a hotel on its way down. The windows of the elevator are going down through the snow. As you descend, you view the world around you, and in some way, reflect on your own life. You observe a variety of passing sights as you descend, and these collective images translate into a multitude of thought, both personal and social. The season only amplifies what's going on around you, and brings out the feelings of what you, or the world, may or may have done right or wrong.

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restless shadows
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