Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Silver Machine

I just took a ride
in a silver machine
and I'm still feeling mean
I got a silver machine
Do you want to ride
see yourself going by
other side of the sky
Well I got a silver machine
It flies sideways through time
It's an electric line
To your Zodiac sign
It flies out of a dream
It's anti-septically clean
You're gonna know where I've been
In my silver machine

I found out today thanks to my friend and colleague Dr Teknikal, that Hawkwind's Silver Machine, is actually about a silver bike. The lyrics were a sort of joke at other bands writing songs about science fiction.

Its based on Robert Calvert's interpretation of Alfred Jarry's essay How to Construct a Time Machine as not how to construct a time machine, but a bike. He suspected that Jarry's essay was a joke, a description of a bicycle hidden behind some complex physics, so Silver Machine is a song which suggests that it is about space travel, when it is actually just about a bike.

Pretty weird that, although I would have known if I'd done my homework I suppose. The naming of the piece silver machine came from someones suggestion of Silver Dream Machine, some David Essex song with a tenuous link to a bicycle. I shortened it to Silver Machine after the Hawkwind song, after all who the hell with any self-respect would name an artwork after David Essex?

Anyway with this revelation a lot of things have fallen into place, a lot of aspects of the show make more sense, so I'm quite chuffed (The initial feeling of dread and doubts about the work had began to set in) and its given me a bit of a second wind for the show.

No comments: