Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So Where Are Our Rocket Packs?


I had a completely different post in the works today, when alert long-time reader & pal Rick Vaughn shared this 1984 retro-treat on my Facebook Wall –- a hilarious fan video of the song Rocket Packs by Daniel Amos, from their album Vox Humana.

Ah, 1984… the year of the Apple Macintosh, and the appearance of Ghostbusters. Shuttle Discovery took her maiden voyage that summer, and the space highlight of the year was astronauts Bruce McCandless and Robert Stewart making the first untethered space walk.

Kevin Bacon got all Footloose, Alex P. Keaton ruled the airwaves, and Wham! woke me up before they went-went… but somehow MTV missed this gem:

I love the footage from all the old movies! The montage of failed rocket launches at the end were particularly cringe-inducing... but I guess the good news is that George Orwell's novel "1984" hadn't manifested itself just yet (although it arguably has now).

And *sigh* ... now it's nearly 30 years BEYOND the 80s, still we have no individual backpack-rockets. Incidentally, I've always wondered why people zero in on that particular form of technology as a measurement of our space-ageness? Why not, say, satellite television or cellular telephones? No one could have conceived of those making antennae or phone booths disappear, but rarely are they credited as the space-age progress that they are – perhaps because they have simply become too commonplace.

Of course, the song isn't truly about technology at all… but rather human relations. Some of the lyrical highlights (words and music by Terry Taylor):

It's the Eighties, So Where's Our Rocket Packs?
Go anywhere, we strap them on our backs

I thought by now I'd walk the moon, and ride a car without no tires
And have a robot run the vacuum, date a girl made out of wires
No thing's don't change that much, do they?
We are still out of touch, by now we should discover
Just how to love each other, like Klattus' robot man
Your looks have killed again

I thought by now we'd live in space, and eat a pill instead of dinner
And wear a gas mask on our face; a President of female gender
Though progress marches on, (new day), our troubles will grow strong
And my expectancies, become my fantasies
You turn my blood to sand, the earth stands still again

My hopes are running low, things moving much too slow
No space men up above, and we're still so very far from love

I thought by now we'd build a dome
Around the world, control the weather
In every house, a picture phone; communicate a little better
But some things never change,
You are still acting strange
No way that I can see, this way we will be free
7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Lift off!