Song Of The Day 7/27/2016: Hawkwind – “Silver Machine”

Wide Room of Sports – Being from Hawkwind you'd assume this song would be about -- I don't know, spaceships, cars, some sort of high-speed flotation device. But it's not: It's about a bicycle. Rather, it was intended to be about a bicycle, but it partially happened because songwriter Robert Calvert was reading an essay called "How to Construct a Time Machine" by French writer Alfred Jarry, who among other things came up with the concept of "pataphysics," which is a form of study I'd go into but it's far too late in the evening for me to devote much attention to specifics. It's mentioned in the Beatles song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." Which gets us back to the Silver Machine of the title. Calvert thought -- and I don't know how he could possibly have mixed this up -- that Jarry's essay was about building a bicycle. Or, rather, I think technically, he knew it was about space travel but thought it read like a lesson on how to build a bicycle. That's what French faux-scientists will do to a man. Anyway, this song, which was quite popular in Britain, sounded to the layman like the next logical step from all that Space Oddity business. But it's secretly about a bike, and Lemmy's singing it. Which means it's about pretty much whatever you want. Or what Lemmy wants.

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