I was listening to an old album by Sugar on my way into work this morning. I was introduced to Sugar back in my university days at Swansea and the one thing that has always stuck in my mind about the band is an apparent discrepancy in the song Hoover Dam. In this song Bob Mould references both the Hoover Dam (naturally) and the Mississippi River.
It starts with the lines:
“Standing on the edge of the Hoover Dam”
And a bit later a new verse starts with
“If the Mississippi should wash me away”
The astute geographers among you will notice that the Mississippi is in fact nowhere near the Hoover Dam, which runs over the Colorado River. At university I knew a geographer who thought this was an hilarious display of Bob Mould’s ignorance. I can still remember vividly how he used to snicker when he told me about it (he told me at least twice). He would chuckle in a manner that made me think of lecherous old men perving over semi-naked girls on the Benny Hill Show. It was an annoying trait, the forced chuckling, which is maybe why it always stuck in my mind.
Anyway. I tried really hard to listen to the lyrics this morning to see what on earth Bob was talking about. No joy, so I looked them up on the Internet. Turns out Bob’s verdict himself is that the song is a form of travelogue, and if you read the lyrics, the part about being washed away by the Mississippi can actually be read as totally separate from the bit about the Dam. It’s two different concepts. So he hasn’t made a giant mistake, he’s just talking about two big entities as a means of destruction.
I feel really happy about that. Of course, there is always the possibility he’s just covering up the fact that he has no idea of the layout of his own country, but I like to think that’s not the case.
P.S. Apparently Bob once said “I don’t like the dislocation of being away for months at a time. It’s not conducive to having a life.”
If I’d been able to phrase it that concisely when I was trying to explain to the Software Director in November last year why we didn’t want to remain working in the US, it would have made things much simpler.
P.P.S. Bob has a Blog! You can read more here.