Friday, 12 March 2010

Astronaut: A Short History of Nearly Nothing by Amanda Palmer

I know that Amanda Palmer put out a companion to her album. So I am sure if we paid the pennies we could grab her explanation of the song and see some witty asides from Neil Gaiman. However you are reading my blog, so you will be getting my thoughts upon it for free!

The song starts by posing a question. Taking the voice of the Astonaut's lover, Amanda asks if it is enough to have some love? Then declares that she is still not getting what she wants as if it's an answer. No, it is not enough. However the entirety of the song is about how missing the astronaut has become their existence, how they are prepared to live their their life as an afterthought. They may not be getting want they want, they may not be happy now but there was time so perfect that it justifies the wait. Surely that kind of love, no matter how small, is enough?

The line that sticks out the most for me is "I want to touch the back of your right arm". I imagine there is a specific story behind why she wants to touch them there but for me it captures a key aspect of relationships; the little things. Those mannerisms which your learn over time and can't help but find cute, being able to tell what is on their mind or maybe just a certain smile. That simply being able to touch their arm or embrace them can be enough.

The final verse, where Amanda's voice becomes barely audible, she proposes that the lover left behind is left exploring as deep and dark a void as the astronaut. I think the metaphor is clear enough.

Right now for me though, it raises the question of how a life should be lived. The astronaut had career and ambition, which we accept and applaud and yet we deem the lover who stayed at home an afterthought. They both found themselves alone in the emptiness, is it really justified to differentiate them?

I had been on a path to being my own form of astronaut in my chosen industry. It has left its mark, the nodes of my neural network have strengthened so that the business words roll more easily off my tongue and the ideas and values lurk in my consciousness (There is a bit for £@#%ing me L.E.B.). If I were to truly succeed, I would have had to commit myself completely to the company. Now my development along that trajectory is at a standstill I wonder, am I still heading to that void? Am I in one now?

I wish you could remind me who I was / because every day I'm a little further off

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