Toronto #4 references

 




"Did you know you were the rock plug for all of us
Did you know in the conduit of Vesuvius
You were far more unifying than you know
I'm not a judge of suitable
But, you almost had it all.
Now you'll have to tell me when
Tell me when it's imminent
So you won't have to rise and fall alone
Or endure the wonder of survival
The wipe-out loss, the elation of free fall
The rock bottom, the sweet betrayal
alone
hello"

During the world album premiere for Music @ Work, Gord explained how a phone call from his brother, a call bearing bad news about their ailing grandmother, was the inspiration for this tribute song. "Toronto #4" sings the praises of this matriarch and expresses a grandson's desire to be at her bedside when the final moments arrive. The entire song reads as a touching poem; praise, acknowledgment and esteem from those left behind.

Mount Vesuvius is a towering Italian Volcano best known for it's devastating 79 A.D. eruption which covered the ancient city of Pompeii. The blast brought 3 meters of molten tephra and lava down on the city, freezing its people and places in time.       

Hip Head Rod Kervin adds the following:

"I have some thoughts about the song Toronto #4 that I would like to share with you.

"Did you know you were the rock plug for all of us
Did you know in the conduit of Vesuvius
You were far more unifying than you know
I'm not a judge of suitable
But, you almost had it all."

A rock plug occurs when magma cools in a volcano's vents. It actually contributes to the buildup of pressure and explosive eruptions of volcano's like Vesuvius. It has always baffled me that Gord describes his beloved grandmother in this way.

In trying to sort out this imagery, I can only conclude that Gord is describing his family as a volatile volcano, where various members are building up pressure that could blow at any time. His grandmother must have been the near perfect (you almost had it all) rock plug, able to keep things in balance and contained more than one would expect (you were far more unifying than you know.)

To describe family relations as "the conduit of Vesuvius" really communicates the gravity of things. The pressure released from the plugged vents of Vesuvius caused the utter destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum. He seems to be saying that the buildup of pressure in his family could have been disastrous were it not for the unifying rock plug that almost had it all.

But to go back to the first part of what I said, the rock plug actually contributes to the buildup of dangerous pressure in a volcano. Gord seems to acknowledge this, that family tensions are often passed down from the parents and grandparents. But that somehow, even bearing much responsibility herself, his grandmother was able to unify family relations in an admirable way."