The Street Cafe at the End of the Universe

Just a throwaway post for the time being – there are other things in the works but they’re not done yet.

Many years ago, a friend and I tried an idle challenge to create a soundtrack for a (then nonexistent) movie based on a book we both knew – the idea was to create the soundtrack, then play it and let the other guess the book from the progression of music. This was before the internet, when CDs were still considered pretty cutting-edge so music stores had much larger cassette sections (with ankylosaurs roaming between the bins – one had to be alert in those days.) So I had to work from my personal music collection, much smaller than it is now of course.

The book I chose was Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, and for a closing credits theme, I selected the song below, largely because the last lines of the book have the characters heading off to grab a bite at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, later to become the title of the sequel. Also because it’s a nice mellow end-credit song.

Almost immediately, I was struck by how remarkably well the song really fit, but of course you need to be familiar with the sequel first to know this. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is not so-called because of its physical location, but its temporal one – you had to time-travel to the point where the universe was boiling off and dissipating into non-existence, whereupon you could sit at a table and watch this occurring through the big dome overhead, and later the entire restaurant would be pulled backwards in time a few hours and do it all over again – the ultimate dinner show, as it were. Ignore all the problems with paradoxes and trouser legs and how big the place would have to be to accommodate a few trillion years of potential customers, because Douglas Adams did and he’s worth taking cues from. But literally, this is a place where there’s no tomorrow.

Which is where the song comes in:
Street CafĂ© – Icehouse

It’s better if you listen to it without any visuals at least once, which is why I uploaded the MP3 file rather than sending you to the video. The song is Street Cafe by the band Icehouse, off the album Primitive Man and later Great Southern Land (and yes, dating from the 80s, but nearly all my music does.)

It’s almost disturbing how many of the lyrics fit so well into the whole idea of the end of the universe, if one allows a little poetic license. I toyed with the idea that Icehouse might have done this intentionally, but I’m more inclined to think it’s just a cool coincidence. The producers of the movie really missed the boat when they failed to use this song on their own soundtrack, but that’s what they get for failing to check with me first.

And if you went to the video and thought it seemed a bit familiar in style, almost derivative in fact, that’s because they have the same director: Russell Mulcahy, also known for Highlander. In this case, I guess there could be more than one…