Ten Reasons ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ was better than the actual eclipse

In case you were in any doubt I am comparing Bonnie Tyler’s song to the recent astronomical phenomenon in Europe, which was, at least in Geneva, massively disappointing where cloud cover obscured anything that might have been vaguely interesting.

1.Durability.  The single was released in 1983 and it’s still widely known today 30+ years later, whereas the eclipse only lasted a few minutes.

2. A Solar eclipse blocks out the sun’s heat and light, on the contrary Bonnie’s song brings warmth and light into the hearts and lives of so many.

3. Bonnie’s song features the memorable, if somewhat bizarre, lyrics ‘turnaround bright eyes’, which implores bright eyes to turn around so she can look at the brightness, but you can’t look at the brightness of the eclipse without risking sight damage. Although judging by those in the music video their bright eyes might in fact result in or be the result of sight damage.

4. Bonnie is something that Welsh people can be proud of and unite around that is more impressive to non nationals than leeks and daffodils and less reputationally damaging than sheep. The eclipse doesn’t really belong to any one group to get all teary eyed and emotional about.

5. You don’t have to wait decades to listen to Bonnie Tyler, you can play that single whenever you want whereas the UK seems to be averaging an eclipse every 12-15 years (last one 1999, now 2015, next one 2026). Please note I take no responsibility for any legal action that might ensue if this blog post inspires you to play the song on repeat at 3am and your neighbours decide to sue.

6. ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ has sold over 9 million copies, which probably amounts to more money than people selling eclipse glasses made.

7. The single probably inspired loads of girls, and boys too (no gender sterostyping here thank you very much), to pursue dreams of singing their little hearts out. If the eclipse inspired anyone it’s to eat so much they become rotund enough to create eclipses for people on a daily basis by eclipsing their view at the bus stop or wherever. This is probably a less healthy aspiration than wanting to be a famous singer.

8. According to Wikipedia, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ was meant to be a Vampire love song and everyone knows that vampires are cool (literally, because of the whole dead thing, and figuratively, because I’m old enough that I still think cool is a cool word to use). So the song is Vampire friendly, which is non judgmental and inclusive. But the eclipse wasn’t vampire friendly because it wasn’t a total eclipse so it’s not like vampires could even come out and have a look at it if they’d wanted to (unless we are talking sparkly Twilight vampires, but we aren’t because that’s just silly).

9. You can bond with friends by loudly shrieking the song lyrics at one another, you can’t bond with friends as a result of the eclipse because either the eclipse wasn’t rubbish but you couldn’t see them or it was such a non-event you weren’t sure it was really happening and there was no moment to inspire communal karaoke.

10. And finally, my absolute trump card which is worth all the preceding nine reasons put together, and really the only reason I started this ridiculous list, is that Total Eclipse of the Heart wins hands done because it’s whimsical music video inspired the truly fantastic literal version of the video. If you haven’t seen it already check it out and prepare to snort out your tea with amusement.



Unstuck in time

This week I have been trying to plan a number of international calls for my boss. I have a useful device on my computer where I can easily compare the times of our office with those he regularly connects with around the world. So usually this is pretty straight forward, except that I have been trying to coordinate calls that will happen after the clocks have changed in Geneva. In some countries clocks don’t change at all and in others they don’t change when ours do. And for some reason trying to figure this out makes my brain bleed.
I can check a hundred times that in a particular week Geneva will be an additional hour ahead of New York but when I look at the time scroller I can’t compute the adding on of that extra hour and have to start again. It’s like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face and I can’t get it to slow down enough for me to figure it out.
P1000461The concept of time is a strange thing and I’m not 100% sure that I believe in it as I am supposed to. A month or two back we read Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ for book club. The book is told in a non linear fashion and centres around the character of Billy Pilgrim who becomes ‘unstuck in time’.
I read the book and listened to the club debate whether it should be classified as science fiction, whether Billy should be considered to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or whether the unsticking in time is simply an old man reminiscing. Being the somewhat simple person that I am I read it and just accepted the time travel as a perfectly normal aspect of the narrative.
To be honest it kind of made sense. I think I know that time moves in a regimented, chronological, one-minute-follows-another-minute sort of way, but that’s not how we experience it. So I wonder if the concept of time that I think I know is just one version of the reality of this?
I’ve been experiencing déjà vu quite a lot recently, that sense of half-remembered names and faces that I’ve already encountered some time ago. I looked online and found a lot of simple(ish) scientific explanations for déjà vu. But what if the explanation is even simpler, a moment or experience feels familiar because you actually have seen or experienced it before at another time?
Perhaps time is much more like a wheel within a wheel than the straight line we think, and every so often whilst spinning around one wheel we might get teeny glimpses of something that’s on another wheel we aren’t supposed to be circling yet? Like the fleeting moment of identifying a face in the crowd when on a ride at a fairground before the image is snatched away.
When they first turned on the large hadron collider at CERN, which I visited last weekend, there were fears that it would create a black hole and destroy life as we know it. The scientists involved said that was ridiculous and wouldn’t happen but when asked what would be the outcome of their work they didn’t, and still really don’t, know what the effects might be. Nerds (myself included) across the world are mostly keeping our fingers crossed for the coolest possible scientific outcome, that is to say time travel.
LHCbI like time travel stories and the fiancé and I have just decided to start watching all the rebooted Doctor Who (from 2005) from episode one, series one. I love the show but it always leaves me with a lot of questions.
Like how is anything ever a surprise for the Doctor? For example when he meets a potential new companion, how does he not instantly recognize them from future memories? When he’s in a sticky situation why can he never remember how to get out of it? And also, why are his companions always pretty young women? My constant questions become words that jangle in my head and are probably evidence of my tendency to over-think things rather than just go with the flow but the whole concept of time travel is just a circle in a spiral that keeps on spinning!
The idea of being able to visit different ages and different periods in history is definitely appealing. I’m pretty sure I’d make an excellent Tudor and would obviously love to see if hover cars ever do become the reality futuristic films promise.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut if you had the ability to time travel would you be able to avoid the temptation to visit your own history? If you could change the things you are not proud of or glimpse into the future to see what happens, would you? And if you could time travel and could make the odd adjustment here and there would this change who you are? If you knew your future would you experience your life differently?
And if time isn’t altered so easily and isn’t so much a line as a circle would we, like Billy Pilgrim, live our lives on a constant loop, that never really ends or begins but rather lurches from one key moment to another? Would life become a trap, a nightmarish existence of endlessly reliving every moment?
Would I at least be able to figure out what time zones Geneva and connecting cities are in, relying on future successes, or would I have to experience the pain of figuring this out for an eternity?