Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of a New Day) Lyrics

Meanwhile back in the year One --- when you belonged to no-one ---
you didn't stand a chance son, if your pants were undone.
`Cause you were bred for humanity and sold to society ---
one day you'll wake up in the Present Day ---
a million generations removed from expectations
of being who you really want to be.
Skating away ---
skating away ---
skating away on the thin ice of the New Day.
So as you push off from the shore,
won't you turn your head once more --- and make your peace with everyone?
For those who choose to stay,
will live just one more day ---
to do the things they should have done.
And as you cross the wilderness, spinning in your emptiness:
you feel you have to pray.
Looking for a sign
that the Universal Mind (!) has written you into the Passion Play.
Skating away on the thin ice of the New Day.
And as you cross the circle line, the ice-wall creaks behind ---
you're a rabbit on the run.
And the silver splinters fly in the corner of your eye ---
shining in the setting sun.
Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story's
too damn real and in the present tense?
Or that everybody's on the stage, and it seems like
you're the only person sitting in the audience?
Skating away on the thin ice of the New Day.
Song Info
Submitted by
Submitted on
Dec 18, 2001
36 Meanings
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sirdon is spot on.

This song is about shallowness in society, about forgetting the basic things about life and getting lost in society. People forget who they really want to be, they get caught in meaningless jobs and triviality. "a million generations removed from expectations..."

This song, to me, is about realizing that life's really a fragile thing... and that we must seize the day, instead of "being the only person sitting in the audience", and make the most out of each day... striving to be who we really want to be.

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Man's existence in modern times is accented by meaninglessness and alienation from the true, primordial purpose of life. In addition, many move through this life in cavalier disregard for the qualities of its inexorable brevity, allowing their attention and intents to be (dangerously) diverted by means of leisure and shallow entertainment, from finding that purpose.

@sirdon Good analysis.

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I think this song is, as many Tull songs are, about casting away conventional thought and forced beliefs and then dealing with the pressures of being an individual with different views.

As in the case of religion, when you start believing in what so many others around you do not (and they believe it very important), it feels like you are leaving them, mentally and spiritually.

Who else views things the same way you do? If there aren't big buildings to collect in, signs, and evangelists telling you what to believe in, how do you know? Typically, independent thinkers feel alone for this reason. However, I think there is a much deeper meaning to the "only person sitting in the audience" line.

My Interpretation
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Hmm... the Circle Line is also a section of the London Underground...

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I believe that the album A Passion Play is crucial to understanding this song. As I haven't listened to A Passion Play yet, I therefore can't give you a full interpretation. However, it seems to me that the lyrics can be taken fairly literally. As a whole, it seems like the song is about expectations of society shaping who a person becomes. In particular, the speaker believes that in the present day, people can't really expect to be who they want to be, but rather what society wants them to be. The character doesn't like this, and tries to get away from those expectations ("...push off from the shore..."). In this case, the shore would be the safe life of living up to people's expectations, and going against those expectations would be, well, skating on thin ice!

Favorite line from this song: "...get the feeling the story's too damn real and in the present tense."

My Opinion

I agree with you on most things but I don't think the album Passion Play is necessary to understand the song (You haven't heard it and seem to understand the song) I also think it's a song a little like Pink Floyd's Time From Dark Side. About how we race to make our life meaningful before the sun sets. I like your line, mu favorite is what follows "....that everybody's on the stage, and it seems like you're the only person \ Sitting in the audience?"

@Kopachris Yup, mine too.

@Kopachris Yup, mine too.

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I think it's about making a new start... throwing everything aside, and starting over. The line that always hits me is "looking for a sign that the universal mind has written you into the passion play". To me, that refers to somebody who is (so to speak) on the sideline, watching other people taking risks, living their dreams, going outside themselves; and finally realizing that you have to jump into life with both feet. And the person then "skates away" on the "thin ice", which is a metaphor for moving off into emotionally dangerous and uncharted territory.

It's similar in that to CSNY's "Wasted on the Way", when they sing "did you envy all the dancers who had all the nerve".

The Universal Mind is of course just an alternate expression for... what? Fate, God, destiny, etc. So this line, I think, means that the person is waiting for life to reach out and grab him, rather than taking the plunge. And finally realizing that it ain't gonna happen.

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what a great song. WHAT A FUCKING AMAZING SONG!!!!!!

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Humane is a word invented by beings Who have no clue as to its meaning

I've written that into the lyrics for what will hopefully be a song someday, and it was inspired by this song (I'm not sure why, but it just popped into my head after hearing this song one day).

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Can I just say isn't it obvious? This song was written in the writing sessions that would eventually produce passion play. Therefore the part about the play is referring to the passion play. Passion play is even mentioned in the song! In fact a few songs from war child mention passion play sealion being another one. I think that there was a lot of material that would have gone on passion play but due to timing couldn't make it on. As such this song is about death and reincarnation as is the rest of passion play. The opening lines represent a man nearing the end of his life looking back at who he has become. the actual title refers to new beginnings as his new life begins.

My Interpretation


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I think this song is a personal expression of the revelation and imagery Ian gained through re-connection with 'self'

One day you wake-up, in the present day... a million generations, removed from expectations...

This world has been messed up by greed and ignorance.. and so, as he skates away, he turns back and makes his peace with the thin ice of the present and then skates his way back to eternity.

Song Meaning
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