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Wires

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OKLAHOMA CITY – With Robert Zemeckis’s new film The Walk scheduled to be released in early October – 30 years to the month after the release of his blockbuster Back to the Future (which we addressed here) – the idea of “the wire” has been coming to the fore, as syncing with events surrounding September 11, 2001.

Recall how Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd), nearly fails in his attempt to send Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) back to the future, by powering the DeLorean time machine with a bolt of lightning, which is scheduled to strike the Hill Valley courthouse clock tower. When the wire comes undone, Doc must slide down the length of the wire, from the clock tower to the ground.

The Walk, about the high-wire walker and French daredevil Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) walking a wire between the north and south towers of the World Trade Center, is also based on the 2008 documentary Man on Wire, about Petit’s feat in August 1974.

A month after Petit successfully walked the wire between the two towers, British rock group Supertramp would release their commercial breakthrough, Crime of the Century, which featured the hit “Bloody Well Right” and the album cut “If Everyone Was Listening,” written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson.

Well, what is your costume today? Who are the props in your play? / You’re acting a part which you thought from the start, was an honest one / Well how do you plead? An actor indeed.”

All the world’s a stage, as the Bard tells us.

And it’s the title track, "Crime of the Century," also written by Davies and Hodgson, that is really most compelling:

Now they're planning the crime of the century
Well what will it be?
Read all about their schemes and adventuring
It's well worth a fee
So roll up and see
And they rape the universe
How they've gone from bad to worse
Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory?
Rip off the masks and let's see.
But that's no right - oh no, what's the story?
There's you and there's me
That can't be right

The album cover art, by Fabio Nicoli, is notable for its image of hands gripping the iron bars of an unseen prison, against the backdrop of the universe. The image is later alluded to for the 1990 “best of” collection featuring the iron bars with a hand holding a dish and a glass of orange juice, reminding us of the 1979 album cover for Breakfast in America. That is the album cover that caused a lot of controversy in recent years since the Twin Towers are featured (as breakfast items – cereal?) and a waitress (Libby) is holding the torch-like orange juice like the Statue of Liberty.

And while that is something we (and many others) have addressed before, it is the October 1982 Supertramp album, …Famous Last Words… which caught my attention.

The FLW album covers features a high-wire walker (syncing with the Twin Towers imagery in Breakfast in America and the Crime of the Century – 9/11 – album and the “universe behind iron bars” artwork) connecting two unknown points while below him is a sunset (or is it a sunrise) and a hand holding scissors is about to cut the wire, or rope.

It’s certainly curious, in a synchromystic way, considering the Twin Towers sync both Supertramp and the Twin Towers, along with Back to the Future and “men on wire.” The second single from ...Famous Last Words... was "My Kind of Lady," where the band - like Marty McFly - changes their look and goes back to the 1950's as a doo-wop group. A bit of Supertramp time traveling, as it were. 

Additionally, in 1973, the year the dystopian West German film World on a Wire was released by Janus Films, the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the WTC Twin Towers was held. The fllm asks deep questions, about the nature of reality in a far colder and more artificial technocracy. It was the following year, '74, that Philippe Petit would commit his unauthorized high-wire “feat,” which he proudly referred to as “le coup” or the coup.

And since we’re on the subject of album covers, the radical, political hip-hop act The Coup gained notoriety by featuring Coup members Boots Riley and Pam the Funkstress using a tuner to detonate and destroy the Twin Towers for the cover of the album Party Music. The album cover was created in June 2001 and the album was scheduled to be released in September 2001. The album art was later changed and the album was released, instead, in November. 

In a way I see "wires" connecting all of these synchromystic events via popular culture and magic. 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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