Thursday, 21 March 2013

O Superman

Two vids today, both short:

Click to tweet: . Back when i was a child, i had the opportunity to go on a plane to an island across a lake on a school trip, but a mix-up meant it didn't happen.  Later on, i almost went down a coal mine but again, things got in the way and i couldn't.  On numerous other occasions, it looked like i was about to go either up or down from the ground or the sea, but it never happened.  Planes would be cancelled, hovercraft would be full and so forth.  I eventually came to the conclusion that i was destined never to leave the surface of the Earth, and that if i ever did, something terrible would happen, not to me, but to other people.

Eventually, when i was thirty-four, someone bought me a plane ticket to Madrid.  I got on the plane, fully expecting the engine to break down or something, but it didn't.  We left the ground without incident, flew to Madrid, spent a week there visiting friends and came back to Heathrow (incidentally, there's another story about getting to and back from Madrid which i'll share with you all eventually).  The plane landed, nothing terrible seemed to have happened, and we went home without incident.

The date was September 10, 2001.

(hence the title - more of that in a minute), and:

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 This second one is my trailer video.  I hope it works better than the ad hoc trailer video i plonked there because it happened to be working quite well and it'd be really annoying (and typical) if the one explicitly intended as a trailer works less well.

So today's quite atypical.  The first video is a response to Wheezywaiter again.  The thumbnail it's showing me is the original one, which i changed because it shows a plane with livery appearing to be about to crash into me.  I decided this was bad taste, so i changed it.  The story is, now i come to think of it, remarkable.

Let's take this slowly.  First of all, the first video is to do with the title, not the second.  'O Superman' is a well-known, possibly the only well-known, Laurie Anderson song.  I was very keen on her in the early 'eighties along with a lot of other forgotten performance artists such as Sylvia Zaradic (i think) in an earlier incarnation of my identity, now almost completely submerged and unknown to anyone outside my family.  I alluded to it yesterday in the Aspie video.

Back to the point though.  Here are the lyrics to 'O Superman', copyright Laurie Anderson and Warner Bros i imagine:

O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
O Superman. O judge. O Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad.
Hi. I'm not home right now. But if you want to leave a
message, just start talking at the sound of the tone.
Hello? This is your Mother. Are you there? Are you
coming home?
Hello? Is anybody home? Well, you don't know me,
but I know you.
And I've got a message to give to you.
Here come the planes.
So you better get ready. Ready to go. You can come
as you are, but pay as you go. Pay as you go.

And I said: OK. Who is this really? And the voice said:
This is the hand, the hand that takes. This is the
hand, the hand that takes.
This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They're American planes. Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom
of night shall stay these couriers from the swift
completion of their appointed rounds.

'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justive is gone, there's always force.
And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!

So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. So hold me,
Mom, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.
In your arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms.
In your electronic arms. 

I can't say i'm any further forward than i was in 1981 in my understanding of this song.  Leaving everything else aside, it lends itself very much to the projection of different interpretations which say more about the listener than the composer, although of course some would say that's always so.  I long lost the qualification to comment meaningfully on that - i never, ever play basketball now.  I should also mention in passing that the name Big Science is also inspired partly by Laurie Anderson.  Notable projections of meaning onto the lyrics include my own understanding of a connection to Olaf Stapledon's 'Last And First Men', specifically the incident where an American invasion of Europe is stopped by a nuclear weapon, thereby dooming the human race to millenia of spiritual and moral bankruptcy (which come to think of it may not be too wide of the mark considering that it's apparently partly inspired by the Iranian hostage crisis), a friend's interpretation in terms of Jungian psychology, and most of all that it's a prophetic vision of 9/11.  It is of course possible with hindsight to look at my own attitude to flying in the same light, but in fact that's very much a post hoc interpretation.

Rather more interesting is the Nostradamus quatrain connected to the same incident.  First of all, here's the quatrain:

Cinq & quarante degrés ciel bruslera,
Feu approcher de la grand cité neufve,
Instant grand flamme esparse sautera,
Quand on voudra des Normans faire preuve.

The sky will burn at forty-five degrees,
fire approaches the great New City.
Immediately a huge, scattered flame leaps up
when they want to have proof of the Normans. 

This looks like gibberish of course, but what's interesting about it is that Erika Cheetham's interpretation, for which i have just ransacked the house unsuccessfully by the way, is that it's about an attack on a NYC skyscraper by a plane.  Even more interestingly, so-called "sceptics" have since claimed that this is an interpretation with hindsight.  Well, it isn't, which is one reason i put quotes around the word "sceptics" just then.  At some point i need to address the issue of the precise nature of scepticism, along with about fifteen billion other things.  There is a fake quatrain floating around of course, but it isn't this one.

 I sort of feel like i'm getting submerged into the nuts and bolts of making this channel work.  The Wheezywaiter response is fine, but it means i can't comment on the press regulation issue today and it's losing topicality.  The trouble is, i think both are forms of rigidity.  I would prefer to get a good run of on-topic videos, but i also want to participate in the YouTube community, such as it is.  Incidentally, i don't think this is what Craig really wants but it's what i've got.  It sort of treads on the toes of the bereaved as well, which feels risky.

 As to the trailer, it also makes me a bit nervous every time i post the "Custard Boobs" thumbnail:

...and there it is again.  Oh dear.  Then again, i need to make a video on non-Newtonian fluids, which has however been waylaid by my inability to track down any silly putty.

Holly Holdsworth approved my response, which is nice.  No interaction though.  Don't think that means anything at all.  I must stop being a drama queen.  Maybe that's something i can learn from doing YT.