"'Tis A Pity She Was A Whore" as written by and David Bowie....
Man, she punched me like a dude
Hold your mad hands, I cried
'Tis a pity she was a whore
'Tis my curse, I suppose
That was patrol
That was patrol
This is the war

Black struck the kiss, she kept my cock
Smote the mistress, drifting on
'Tis a pity she was a whore
She stole my purse, with rattling speed
That was patrol
This is the war
'Tis a pity she was a whore

Man, she punched me like a dude
Hold your mad hands, I cried
'Tis a pity she was a whore
'Tis my fate, I suppose
For that was patrol
That was patrol
'Tis a pity she was a whore

'Tis a pity she was a whore


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"Tis a Pity She Was a Whore" as written by David Bowie

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'Tis A Pity She Was A Whore song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentSupposedly acknowledges the shocking rawness of WWI according to the post on Bowie's official facebook for the initial demo release in 2014.

    Seems to be a chance meeting with a woman who impressed a soldier in a rare moment of 'pleasure' but even then he's punched and has his purse stolen as the woman is a prostitute.

    But the soldier is resigned to his fate, after all there's a war on.

    Storming version on ★ much better than the demo. One of my faves from the final album of this genius.
    Longpigon January 15, 2016   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI like an interpretation I've seen elsewhere on the web (posted by Yakbutter).

    "I think this song is about time and references his earlier song of that name. In the lyrics of ‘Time’ is the line ‘he flexes like a whore’. Don’t worry that the fact that the whore is now a ‘she’. Time has no gender. In the second line he writes ‘hold your mad hands’. These are the hands of a clock. The ticking of a clock is represented by the accelrating electronic beat as time goes by faster and begins to draw to his end. I feel that the line ‘that was patrol, this is the war’ contrast his perception of time now compared to how he perceived time when he wrote the earlier song. There is a final clue in the subject of the John Ford play on which the title is based. The central theme of that play is incest which resonates with the famous line from ‘Time’ – ‘incestuous and vain’.

    Just to add to that, 'kept my cock' could refer to the loss of the libido and of the cockiness of his youth.

    A pity that time has moved on so easily from him and into other's embrace.
    Macanoneon March 04, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment... and, of course, given the other songs, Rome was a whore.
    hejira02on May 06, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWOW!, I believe I know what this song is about.
    OKAY, OKAY, I’m pretty sure I know what this song is about.
    ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, I’m 99.9% sure that I not only know what this song is about, I also know who this song about, and, importantly, why David Bowie even wrote this song.
    To understand what this song is about or, for that matter, who this song is about, one must first understand the clues for the song which David Bowie left on his Facebook page on November 9, 2014. If you don’t first understand these clues and how Bowie is using them, you won’t fully understand exactly who or what is the subject matter of the song.
    With this in mind, let’s examine and break down the clues on Bowie’s Facebook page.
    David Bowie
    November 9, 2014
    DAVID BOWIE ‘TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE’
    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD AVAILABLE NOW
    ‘TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE is a brand-new demo track from DAVID BOWIE available for digital download now and taken from the forthcoming limited edition 10” single of SUE (OR IN A SEASON OF CRIME) which is released on Parlophone on November 17th.
    ‘TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE is described by Bowie as “If Vorticists wrote Rock Music it might have sounded like this”.
    The song acknowledges the shocking rawness of the First World War and the title is a play on ‘Tis Pity She's A Whore’ a John Ford Restoration play first performed in 1629 at the Cockpit Theatre in London. The demo track was recorded, played and written by David Bowie in his home studio.
    The artwork for ‘TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE was again designed by Jonathan Barnbrook continuing the linking theme of the NOTHING HAS CHANGED sleeves of Bowie looking into a mirror.
    ‘TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE is also featured on the limited edition 10’ single and digital bundle of SUE (OR IN A SEASON OF CRIME) which was described by The Daily Telegraph as “the latest example of Bowie’s genius
    for self-reinvention. Yes, there’s the sound of a big band in the background, but it’s a deeply strange sound, without a trace of nostalgia. And as for the voice, it’s as uncanny as ever, but freighted with decades of experience. The song seems familiar and deeply strange at once, with an extraordinary blend of nostalgia and irony. If jazz is the “sound of surprise”, then Bowie has certainly found it”.
    After reading the post above, we find that David Bowie left five clues for this song on his Facebook page. These clues are as follows:
    1) Vorticists.
    2) The song acknowledges the shocking rawness of the First World War.
    3) The title is a play on ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, a John Ford Restoration play.
    4) The artwork for ‘TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE.
    5) The linking theme of the NOTHING HAS CHANGED sleeves of Bowie looking into a mirror.
    Chapter 1: The First Three Clues
    The First Clue
    Question: What is a Vorticist?
    Answer: A Vorticist is an artist who practiced the art of Vorticism.
    Question: What is Vorticism?
    Answer: Vorticism was a short lived modernist movement in British art and poetry of the early 20th century partly inspired by Cubism. Founded by Wyndham Lewis, it attempted to relate art to industrialization. The movement was announced in 1914 in the first issue of BLAST, which contained its manifesto and the movement’s rejection of landscape and nudes in favor of a geometric style tending towards abstraction. Ultimately, it was their witnessing of unfolding human disaster in World War I that “drained these artists of their Vorticist zeal.” In the visual arts, Vorticist
    compositions were abstract and sharp-planed, showing the influence of Cubism and Futurism. Artists involved in the movement included the poet
    Ezra Pound and the sculptor Jacob Epstein. Vorticism was based in London but was international in make-up and ambition.
    The Second Clue
    The song acknowledges the shocking rawness of the First World War.
    However, the song is not, as some people believe, about the First World War. The song is about a war; just not the First World War.
    The Third Clue
    Question: What is the John Ford Restoration play, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore about?
    Answer: The play is about a brother (Giovanni) and sister (Annabella) who developed an incestuous passion for each other which they eventually consummated.
    The play examines the tragedies which occur within their family after their forbidden relationship is consummated.
    Annabella has three suitors Bergetto, Grimaldi, and Soranzo (a wise, rich, and kind nobleman). She is not interested in any of them but when she becomes pregnant with her brother’s child she marries Soranzo (the most eligible of the three to whom her father had already promised her hand in marriage) to cover up the illicit affair and to hide the fact that she is now pregnant. When Soranzo discovers Annabella’s pregnancy, the two argue until Annabella realizes that Soranzo truly loved her, and finds herself consumed with guilt. She is confined to her room by her husband, who plots with his servant to avenge him of his cheating wife and her unknown lover. Once Soranzo finds out the identity of the baby’s father, Annabella writes a letter to her brother warning him that Soranzo knows the truth and will soon wreak his revenge. Giovanni, too arrogant to believe that he can be harmed, ignores her advice to decline the invitation to Soranzo’s birthday feast. On the day of the feast, Giovanni visits Annabella in her room and stabs her when she tries to end the affair with him. He then enters the feast, wielding a dagger on which his sister’s heart is skewered, and tells every one of the incestuous affair. His and Annabella’s father, Florio, dies immediately from the shock. Soranzo begins to attack Giovanni, but
    Giovanni manages to stab and kill him. Soranzo’s servant intervenes, wounding Giovanni before ordering bandits to finish the job.
    Essentially, the play is about the rawness (or horrors) of war within a family; what happens when people cross lines (which should never be crossed) within a family.
    Question: Why is Annabella called a whore at the end of the play?
    Answer: Annabella is called a whore at the end of the play because she is a deceitful, manipulative woman who (1) married her husband to cover up her ongoing affair with her brother, (2) married her husband to hide the fact that she is pregnant by her brother, (3) married her husband, Soranzo, for money (Soranzo was rich; he had his own money), and (4) she married Soranzo for a higher position in society (Soranzo was a titled man).
    Annabella’s decision to marry Soranzo was based solely on cold calculation; not emotion; not love.
    Soranzo married Annabella for love; he fell in love with her.
    She, however, never loved him.
    Essentially, Annabella committed marital fraud against Soranzo when she married him
    I believe that with the first three clues on his Facebook page, David Bowie is telling us that he is using Vorticism poetry (not art) set to Rock Music to tell us a story about the shocking horrors of war.
    However, as I said earlier, I don’t believe that he’s talking about World War I. He specifically says in the second clue that the song acknowledges the shocking rawness of World War I; not that the song is about the shocking rawness of World War I.
    I believe that the war David Bowie is talking about is much more personal. I believe that, like the John Ford play, Bowie is talking about the horrors of war within a family; specifically, the horrors of war within a marriage (what happens when lines (which should never be crossed) are crossed within a marriage (the very foundation of the family)).
    I think that this song is about domestic violence; domestic abuse. However, the person being abused is not a woman; someone’s wife. The person being abused is a man; someone’s husband.
    In other words, I believe that this is a song about a man who is abused by his wife.
    Essentially, this is a rock song about domestic abuse wherein the abuse victim is confiding in a Friend about the ongoing physical and mental abuse inflicted upon him by his wife.
    See details for this book (THE DAVID BOWIE PROJECT: AN ANALYSIS OF DAVID BOWIE’S SONG: “TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE. THE BLACKSTAR VERSION by Karen A. Fields) in the Amazon Kindle Store.
    karen11742on April 19, 2018   Link
  • -2
    General CommentI believe that, in this song, David Bowie is using Vorticism Poetry (not art) to tell his audience a harrowing tale of domestic abuse from the point of view of an abused man.
    For more information, check out my report for this song in the Kindle Store on Amazon.com. The title of my report is THE DAVID BOWIE PROJECT. AN ANALYSIS OF DAVID BOWIE’S SONG: ‘TIS A PITY SHE WAS A WHORE. THE BLACKSTAR VERSION by Karen A. Fields.
    karen11742on April 19, 2018   Link

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