Lady With the Spinning Head

  1. On page 14 of Charles Bukowski's "Hollywood" it reads:

    "On the table he had a little roulette wheel, electrically controlled, it was set off whirling with the push of a button. He had stacks of chips and a long sheet of paper full of calculations. There was also a betting board. He placed the chips, pushed the button, said, 'It is my Lady with the Spinning Head. I am in Love' Jon came out with the drinks"

    Now, this does not give the "meaning" for the song, but as an English teacher I hesitate doing this with any text... This clear allusion to Bukowski permits a clearer understanding of the conceit Bono uses in the song. The extended metaphor of luck/providence/fate to a woman uses the line from Bukowski as a starting point. Since it is a comparison, the images in the song describe both a woman and the roulette wheel/gambling. E.g.: "Here she comes / Lady luck again / Figure of eight / Six and nine again"

    As many people have pointed out, the six and nine form the eight when placed together, a symbol of infinity, and a sexual conjoining between man and woman. These are also numbers from the roulette wheel, an image furthered by the colors mentioned in the lines "She's got the red/She put me in the black." Luck, like a lady or a gambler's bet, comes and goes, hopefully forming the 8 mentioned at the end of the song.

    Given Bono's penchant for Bukowski, dedicating "Dirty Days" to him, and the subject matter of the novel, a writer drinks his way through selling out to Hollywood by writing a screen play, I think the interpretation works quite well.

    Ian Doreian iwdoreian@hotmail.com (15th of July 2006)