Island Life by David Slack

23

We have ways of making you torque

Cruising down the Information Super Highway in the people’s browser, I came upon these lyrics a moment ago.

Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn

Vor uns liegt ein weites Tal
Die Sonne scheint mit Glitzerstrahl

Die Fahrbahn ist ein graues Band
Weisse Streifen, gruener Rand

Jetzt schalten wir ja das Radio an
Aus dem Lautsprecher klingt es dann:
Wir fah'rn auf der Autobahn...

In English:

We are driving on the Autobahn

In front of us is a wide valley
The sun is shining with glittering rays

The driving strip is a grey track
White stripes, green edge

We are switching the radio on
From the speaker it sounds:

We are driving on the Autobahn

Ah, Kraftwerk, you enigmatic Germans. I first knew that song as a teenager. Decades later I stood in the Boiler Room at Mt Smart to hear it again. Men stood upon the stage in shadows in front of a vast multimedia screen, faces down, working their laptops.

I had not the first idea, in 1975, what they were singing about, save for the inescapable sense that the song concerned itself with the Autobahn experience.

Thanks to the Internet I now see that the song concerns itself with the Autobahn experience.

I just thought I would share that with you, firstly because I find the Internet ever-giving, ever-surprising, and secondly because I find that if I write something about the Germans, I get an email from Philip Temple. Generally he writes to correct or chide me, but it is nonetheless nice to know that in a world littered with bloggers, an eminent man of letters cares.

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