MIDNIGHT OIL FACTS AND FAQs - EARTH AND SUN AND MOON

Notes on the earth, sun and moon extracted from a promo:

EARTH
The Earth, as a musical instrument, rings like a metal bell 12,742 kilometres in diameter. Mysteriously, Earth gongs at a period of 53.1 minutes and a 42.3 minutes with a flurry of overtones to 3.7 minutes. Her deep, torsional notes are pitched twenty octaves below human hearing. Earth's atoms, on the high end of the cosmic musical scale, are living notes vibrating twenty octaves above our hearing. Life is pitched in the middle of the macroscopic and microscopic worlds.

Life is the melody of awareness in space, a harmonic memory - dancing earth atoms with the energy of Sun and the beat of Moon on the deep pulsing breast of Earth. We are the song at the focus of awareness as sunlight flows through the chords of mind. We are life and life is music made visible.

Life is a melody that takes time to play. It exists as intervals of awareness in a patterned sequence of intercommunications flowing through focal point of I am. We are concepts, singing our own fields of communications, building larger symphonies form more and more complex chords and styles of being. There are concertos of Sea featuring whales and fish and corals supported by wind, water and waves, sonatas of Air woven by meadows of phytoplankton and tropical rain forests, and the rock and roll of civilisations amplified by the great electronic mind of humanity.

The atomic note, the solar power, the lunar rhythm, the riffs of DNA, the cellular tunes, are woven by the great composer of To Be, synchronised by the majestic beat of Change, and driven into greater and greater levels of knowing by the directionality of Meaning. We are a dynamic, learning, living symphony of awareness. We are Earthsong.

The cosmos sings through our souls. Our individual lives are the notes forming the core of Earthsong as it learns new styles of perception. But can the note hear the melody? No. When we hear the symphony of Earthsong we tune into a higher, larger, consciousness that exists beyond the layers of our individuality - we become the chorus listening to the music of the cosmos.

Humanity has passed puberty in the unfolding of life on Earth. And with maturity comes the realisation that we are standing up, centre stage, and have been given the lead role of Earthsong's grand performance. What we play becomes the way.

SUN
Earth soars through the upper atmosphere of the Sun, 146 million kilometres from its surface, buffeted by powerful solar winds, illuminated by the glory of a perpetual hydrogen fusion burst 1,392,000 kilometres in diameter. We orbit the Sun at 108,000 kilometres an hour while the Sun itself whirls around the galactic centre at 1,080,000 kilometres an hour and the galaxy rushes through space, at 2,160,000 kilometres an hour or roughly the square root of the speed of light. These velocities establish the tone of the music of the cosmos; the mode that assures no cycle actually returns again to the same place it began.

The Sun's surface sizzles at 1 million oC and broadcasts more than a hundred thousand tons of light per second. Eight minutes after its birth in the photospehre, sunlight illuminates the spinning Earth. From the viewpoint of the Sun, Earth is always full and bright, but on Earth, life is awakened - eternally surprised - by the crescendo of dawn, warmed and guided by the upbeat light of day, and diminished again into darkness.

The Sun's gigantic magnetic hurricanes, called sunspots, trumpet ionic winds into space. Thirty hours later, the ions harmonise with Earth's magnetic field, vibrating compass needles and disrupting radio communications, keying off the northern and southern lights and metering all weather and life. Scientists have measured 64 different solar cycles of which the 22 year reversal of the Sun's north and south magnetic poles is the longest. This is synchronised with alternating 11 year sunspot cycles. The Sun also pulses over a 212 day period that corresponds with cycles in human pulse rates. A six and a half day Sun cycle matches Earthly weather cycles. The other solar cycles are said to synchronise myriad social and physiological conditions in such a complex mix of scales that nobody can work out the extent of its influence.

The Sun provides. The Earth and Moon receive and a great musical score begins.

MOON
Although the moon is only 3,476 kilometres in diameter, its distance from Earth - 386,000 kilometres - makes it appear to be the same apparent size as the sun. They match so closely the disc of the moon covers the sun almost perfectly during an eclipse. Attuned to some musical score set by the cosmos, both Sun and Moon rotate in the same 27 day period. Which also happens to be the solar month, so the same side of the moon always faces Earth.

The Moon has always been Earthsong's metronome. Lunar rhythms harmonise and modulate solar phrases to provide a mixed tempo of gravitational, radiational rhythms. These saturate the atmosphere, the sea, the crust of Earth, and ripple through the entire symphony of Earth's awareness. Sun and Moon unite to sequence our sexual and physical hungers in biorhythms lasting hours, days, and weeks. While the Sun dominates our daily affairs, illuminating and energising our working minds, the Moon sings the seductive melody of our nights, weaving her songs seamlessly into our emotions and dreams.

In 1970, Apollo 12 Astronauts struck the 81,000,000,000,000,000 ton Moon with their discarded lunar module. The Moon rang like a great silver bell for several minutes. The tolling of the Moon symbolised the release of a new wave of awareness in humanity. When astronaut Michael Collins was asked how Earth looked from the moon he replied with a single word: "Fragile". Millions of people looked at the photograph of the whole Earth taken from the surface of the Moon and, like all of the astronauts, were moved with a deep lyrical sense of the Earth as living unity.

Wherever we are in the song of life on Earth, whatever part we are playing, the Moon remains an impartial consort - a witness and a constant companion to Earthsong's natural splendor.

What is BUSHFIRE about?
Peter Garrett has said "Looking down upon Australia from the air you realise the vastness of the country. This incredible southern continent that's so far from anywhere else - and of course the bushfires which we've come to dread in Australia but which are essential for the regeneration of the bush."

What is DRUMS OF HEAVEN about?
Peter Garrett has said "It's got a lot of real Armageddon-type imagery at the front half of it and it's matched up with a chorus we had sitting around. It was one of those songs that nobody thought would make it but it had a life of its own."

Note on DRUMS OF HEAVEN:
There sounds like a glitch at the start of the track. The song takes a few seconds to start and during that time, some says "Oh hang on" in the left channel.

What is EARTH AND SUN AND MOON about?
James Moginie has said "It was inspired by a TV show I saw about NASA astronauts who have gone into space looked back down on earth. You can see the outline of the continents, the rivers, the weather patterns and of course you see the stains, the oil spills in the gulf or whatever else is wrong."

What is FEEDING FRENZY about?
Peter Garrett has said "We wanted something slimy and sleazy, something that had a lot of different images running across it and which could sum up what was happening to the world."

What is IN THE VALLEY about?
Peter Garrett has said "It's just a simple story of someone talking about what's happening to their family and the passing of generations - and how that stays with you."

Peter's father, a company executive, died of "overload" (work stress) and his mother died in a house fire. The cover of the In The Valley CD single portrays his mother at the house.

What is the Montevideo (IN THE VALLEY)?
The Montevideo Maru was a Japanese POW ship during WWII. When the Japanese overran the northern coast of New Guinea, many of the prisoners were put aboard this ship which had very few of the amenities of life. A few days after leaving New Guinea to return to the Japanese POW camps, the ship sank. From the lyrics, it is assumed that Peter Garrett's grandfather was among those lost.

Did Peter's grandmother move to the north shore of Australia (IN THE VALLEY)??
Unknown. There are two theories here:
  1. the North Shore region of Sydney has long been associated with the upper middle class and upper class. A "North Shore Matron" would have been a very prim and proper lady of a pleasant suburb.
  2. She moved to the North Shore and began work at the North Shore Hospital in St Leonards (Sydney).

What is the Southerly (IN THE VALLEY)?
This refers to the weather. "Southerly blusters" are severe thunderstorms with strong winds that follow hot days in Sydney.

Who is Menzies (IN THE VALLEY)?
A former Australian prime minister who sided strongly with the English much to many Australian's displeasure.

What is MY COUNTRY about?
Peter Garrett has said "It's not an anthem in favour of any country - it's more like a song about how the flag is often used to cover a multitude of sins and crimes - and how people hide behind the patriotism."

For non-Australians, there has been a strong debate over whether or not Australia should sever ties with England and become a republic, with the main symbol of this argument being the current flag which features the Union Jack in the corner.

What is NOW OR NEVER LAND about?
James Moginie has said "I think I was partly inspired by the frustration of hearing this constant doom and gloom about Australia and it's like - look around you, this place is fantastic."

What is OUTBREAK OF LOVE about?
Rob Hirst has said "The Oils haven't been known for their love songs, but I think it's something we would like to be able to do. I particularly like dark ones, whether it's Leonard Cohen or even Nick Cave. I love Neil Finn's writing where everyone is always going through some awful trauma."

What is RENAISSANCE MAN about?
Peter Garrett has said "Yeah, it's psychedelic but not wimpy flared jean psychedelia. It's brain shattering transmorphic psychedelia."

What is TELL ME THE TRUTH about?
Peter Garrett has said "it's a song about the media."

What is TRUGANINI about?
Rob Hirst talked a lot about the single saying it was about Republicanism and it was now time for Australia to take on it's own identity and its own flag. Even though we are immature and young compared to many other countries we have our own unique history, way of communicating, sense of humour and way of tackling issues, and we should acknowledge this. (roughly paraphrased from JJJ interview in MARCH 1993).

Another quote of Hirst is "I was trying to draw together the stories of two Aboriginal Australians whose lives had been irrecovably changed by British invasion."

Who/What is TRUGANINI?
From 1804 through 1830, the Government and white settlers of Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania) engaged in a guerilla war with the Aborigines. The whites committed unspeakable acts of violence, slavery and murder against the natives who retaliated with spears against the pastoralists and settlers who were denying them access to kangaroo and other game.

In 1830, the Government instigated an operation called the "Black Line", bringing together some 2,200 white men, settlers and military in a concerted effort to move the aborigines from the settled area of the island up to the Tasman peninsular. Taking seven weeks, the operation netted just two Aborigines.

Moving from a military strategy to one of "pacification", the Government employed an immigrant house builder from London, George Augustus Robinson. Robinson set out from Hobart on an eight month trek through the wilderness of Tasentua with a group of convict servants, two Aboriginal chiefs, and a group of four male and three women Aborigines searching for the last surviving tribal groups. Robinson saw himself as a Conciliator who would liberate the remaining Aborigines who were left hiding and bring them into a haven safe from white persecution.

Robinson undertook five more similar expeditions, eventually making contact with every tribe and group of Aborigines left in Tasmania.

Truganini, one of the women who joined Robinson on his trek, was an 18 year old girl who stood a mere 4' 3" tall. Her mother had been stabbed to death by whites, her blood and tribal sisters kidnapped for slavery, her stepmother abducted by convict mutineers, and Truganini herself had been raped by the same whites who had killed the Aboriginal male she was betrothed to. Prior to the trek (which brought in 16 Aboriginal warriors), Truganini was a bright, promiscuous girl who, in order to survive, sold herself to whites for tea and sugar.

In 1869 the last Tasmanian male Aborigine, William Lanne (believed to be Truganini's husband), died. His remains were subjected to a bizarre tug-of-war between rival surgeons and museums. By 1873, Truganini was the sole surviving Tasmanian Aborigine and was taken by the whites to Hobart where she was exploited as the `Queen of the Aborigines'. Long frightened of death and enraged by the fate of Lanne, Truganini begged a clergyman to ensure that when she died, she would be wrapped in a bag with a stone at her feet and dropped into the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.

Truganini died from a stroke in 1876, the government burying her corpse in a vault in the Hobart Penitentiary. In 1878 she was dug up and her bones boiled and stored in an apple crate. Found some years later, the bones were strung together and Truganini's skeleton went on display at the Tasmanian Museum until 1947. In storage until 1976, the centenary of her death, Truganini was cremated and finally, as she wished, her ashes scattered on the waters of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.

Note: these are the original liner notes from the Truganini single. Later additions have been changed because of complaints from the modern descendents of the Tasmanian Aboriginals. It is a popular misconception that the race/culture died out with William Lanne and Truganini, but modern aboriginals strongly protest this fact.


Click here to Oilbase Main Index.