Hearing What You Want to Hear

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17Earlier this week, Will bought Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. Yesterday, I was listening to it as I was attempting to do some work. Actually, I was thinking about the stars. I’ve been binging on science-fiction and it’s friend Cosmos recently, and as a result, I’m frustrated by my 21st century earthbound existence. When I was little, I used to sit watching the computer screen-saver with the stars rushing past, and pretend that I was at the helm of some craft – whether it was an x-wing fighter or a constitution class exploration vessel altered from day to day.* I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s done this. And I haven’t changed much. When the ISS passed overhead a few months ago, with a Russian supply vessel zipping behind it, I cried, a little bit, at the thought of all those people up there, seeing another Earth than the one I know.

It seems unfair that I’ll probably never get to see the stars close up, or the Earth from far away – a fact I became more acutely aware of after learning of Project Orion. But I do have a telescope at hand, and I can see through it planets and constellations. Funny things, constellations – the way humans configure them into patterns and pictures says as much – more, really – about them, and their romances, as it does about the fundamental nature of the universe.

So does listening to feedback. Which is precisely what Metal Machine Music is. So perhaps it is unsurprising that as I sat there, I could hear in its tangled loops Luke’s Theme, the Rebel Fanfare, bits of Vangelis’ Score for Blade Runner, and Superman’s March.

Strange that, given that Metal Machine Music was released two earth years before the earliest of these. Film history and imagined futures got jammed together in the mind of someone listening to a genre of music which didn’t even know what it was yet.

You hear what you want to hear, I suppose.

*The screensaver in question was called ‘Warp’, and it was produced by After Dark. Damn, I miss that screensaver.