I love Elton John, and I think he puts terrific music to marvellous lyrics by Bernie Taupin (a song called “Curtains”, the last song on Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, is one of the loveliest things I’ve ever heard), but the more you listen to the lyrics of Rocket Man the more you conclude that it was written in a hurry, or for a bet.
To start with, Rocket Man packed his bags last night, pre-flight. Since most people start packing at least two weeks before they go only as far as Majorca, packing your bag just one night before you go to Mars sounds a bit casual. I know you’re won’t need to pack sun-tan lotion, and will need just one outdoor outfit, but you will need some indoor clothing (for example, you may have to change your underwear immediately after take-off). Also, it is a very long trip, so you’ll probably need more than just the one Jeffrey Archer novel.
Rocket Man must have slept through most of the briefings, since the fact that Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids seems to come as a surprise to him. Perhaps he expected crèches, Cartoon Network and a drive-thru McDonalds. He also bemoans the fact that there’s no-one there to raise them if you did. Now I’m not an astronaut, but even I know that (a) there are no Martians and that (b) if there are, they do not raise your children, they attack your planet.
Rocket Man’s most startling revelation, though is that “all this science I don’t understand, it’s just my job, five days a week.” The second half of this line implies that he takes Saturdays and Sundays off, sitting in the module doing sudoku and re-tuning computers that are supposed to be gathering valuable data so that he can pick up Premier League Football on Norwegian TV.
The fact that he doesn’t understand all this science, though, makes you wonder about NASA’s interview process. A spaceship capable of reaching Mars cannot come cheap, and it seems a little careless to entrust it to a guy who might accidentally switch off all contact with Heuston while trying to turn up the air-conditioning, roll down the driver’s window to throw out the skin of his just-eaten banana, or try to take a shower while the zero-gravity is on.
All in all, not your best effort, guys, but don’t worry about it. No-one can be brilliant every day (yeah, we’ve noticed that, Tinman), and even the best lyricists have off days.
Sting, for example, who wrote “Fields of Gold” and “Every Step You Take”, also wrote “’de doo doo doo, de da da da‘”, is all I want to say to you.”
Perhaps it means something in Tantric.