Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Minutes to Midnight -- great discussion

ribman at manthey.com.au ribman at manthey.com.au
Mon Apr 12 19:17:31 MDT 2004

hi all

yet another famous 88 ...
the most renowned free-standing canon used by the Germans in WW2 
was the '88' - 88 millimetre barrel diameter ... those barrels get 
searingly hot when fired repeatedly ("very rapid rate of fire: 25 
rounds per minute") ... fingers would indeed blister on the 88. for a full 
dissertation on how well-noted the 88 is ... 

and given that Oils are singing about military issues in MTM, it is pretty 
sweet that they'd write in as many dualistic ambiguous terms as 
possible, musos are such poets ... double / triple meanings 

the '88' is very iconic in military hardware lingo ... like 'everyone' knows 
a 'U-boat' is a German submarine and a '303' is a rifle (the aussie 
military rifle of choice, WW1, WW2).  funny that 303 never appeared 
in an an Oils song given their penchant for slipping in iconic, evocative 

love those hidden layers ... 

On 12 Apr 2004 at 9:11, tfrommer at mindspring.com wrote:
> I initially wrote:
> >> I think "88" has to be piano -- 88 keys on a standard. 
> Phil replied: 
> >i always thought it was connected to ICBM's, SS-20's etc... the AGM-88 
> >was officially put into production in 1983, 1 year before Red Sails.. I 
> >know this was also discussed a few years back, but i dont have anything 
> >archived.... will have to check elsewhere for that....
> >
> Wow, very interesting take and something I never knew about (AGM-88). That verse ends "the dancer's hand grips the rail/and fingers will blister on the 88s/Hope drains out of the side of the page" I always took 88s as a piano. And the whole lyric as similar to the band playing on the Titanic as it sank. You just keep fiddling, dancing, playing the piano and don't mind the missile silos over here.
> --Tim 

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