My Star

Space exploration for nuclear stations
NASA corrupters, jewelled abductors
Space exploration, excursion to the stars
On a military mission, on a military journey to Mars

I'll see you in my star
I'll see you in my star...

Solar system bases, the new world order
Lust for space dust, forming galaxy borders
Never seeking new life, only planning war
Sending satellites at new heights, satellites to destroy the poor

I'll see you in my star
I'll see you in my star...

Space exploration for nuclear stations
NASA corrupters, jewelled abductors
Space exploration, excursion to the stars
On a military mission, on a military journey to Mars

To boldly go where no man's ever been before
Astronauts the new conquistadors

See you in my star
I'll see you in my star
I'll see you in my star...

Lyrics by:
Brown / Ibrahim

Released 1997:
My Star (Radio Edit) (Polydor, MYSTAR 1, Promo CD)
My Star (Radio Edit) (Polydor, MYSTAR 1, Promo CD with slide)
My Star (Radio Edit) (Polydor, MYSTAR 2, Promo CD)

Released 1998:
My Star (Polydor, Promo video)

Released January 1998:
My Star / See The Dawn (Polydor, 569 334-2, CD)
My Star / See The Dawn / Fourteen (Polydor, POCP 7271, Japanese CD)

Released 12th January 1998:
My Star / See The Dawn / Fourteen (Polydor, 571 987-2, CD)
My Star / See The Dawn (Polydor, 571 986-7, 7")
My Star / See The Dawn (Polydor, 571 987-4, cassette)

UK chart position:

Also available on:
Unfinished Monkey Business (5.13)

We have lift-off. Using Murassi as a launch pad, Ian Brown's debut solo single is a seductive mix of snaking guitar lines, military beats and lyrics exploring the politics of American space exploration.

From Mir to Mars...
Top: 4th July 1997 - Sojourner rover, Mars Pathfinder, lands successfully on Mars.
Middle: Mir on 9th February 1998, as seen from the departing Space Shuttle Endeavour during STS-89.
Bottom: 16th January 1991 - US President George H. W. Bush, announcing war against Iraq, envisages the formation of a New World Order. "This is an historic moment. We have in this past year made great progress in ending the long era of conflict and Cold War. We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a New World Order - a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful - and we will be - we have a real chance at this new world order, an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the UN's founders." This concept also spearheaded the President's State of the Union Address later that month: "What is at stake is more than one small country, it is a big idea - a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law. Such is a world worthy of our struggle, and worthy of our children's future." In the secular arena, the New World Order means one world government under socialism; in the religious equation, a catalytic dissolution into one world religion.

Top: Commander Dave Scott during geology training in New Mexico, 19th March 1971.
Second row: Apollo 15 launches, 26th July 1971.
Third row: Jim Irwin salutes the United States flag on the Moon, 1st August 1971. Ian compares the role of astronauts to that of conquistadors, the Spanish and Portuguese soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain and Portugal in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492.

In the explanatory text from Ian Brown's official site (see below), the singer highlights how astronauts were culled from the US air force. This extends back even further; the very foundations of the Space Race had military origins in the shape of Operation Paperclip, set up in the immediate aftermath of World War II.


From Nazi to NASA...
Top: A group of 104 rocket scientists at Fort Bliss, Texas, 1946. Operation Paperclip was the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) program used to recruit the scientists of Nazi Germany for employment by the United States in 1945. It was conducted by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), and in the context of the burgeoning Soviet-American Cold War, one purpose of Operation Paperclip was to deny German scientific knowledge and expertise to the USSR and the UK. Both the United States and the Soviet Union had built their postwar missile programs using the technology developed by German rocket scientists at Peenemunde, a Nazi submarine base on the Baltic Sea. There, Dr. Wernher von Braun had led the development of the V-2 rocket - the world's first ballistic missile. Reaching more than 100 miles into the atmosphere, it was invulnerable to Allied defenses, accounting for more than 7,000 civilian casualties during its brief battlefield history. So devastating were its strikes that, according to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, had the Germans developed operational rockets six months earlier, the course of the war would have been reversed. As the war neared its conclusion, von Braun made contact with American forces and arranged to surrender himself and 118 of Germany's leading rocket scientists in exchange for protection from the advancing Soviet army. The deal was struck and the Germans brought with them blueprints and enough spare parts to build more than 100 of the deadly missiles. According to Professor Robert Granger, who led the Vanguard's aeroelastic research team, the United States ended up with the vast majority of the available 'talent', but the Soviet Union managed to capture most of the rockets, thereby creating the dynamic that would extend into the Cold War. The US would hold the edge in technological innovation, while the Soviets would boast the more powerful booster rockets. Quietly settling in and around Holloman Air Force Base, near the White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, the Germans began to teach their new employers how to build rockets. The architects of Hitler's nascent missile program would become national heroes in their adopted country. "We weren't going to worry about where these guys came from," said Granger, who would go on to play an important part in the development of the Titan-II ballistic missile. "We were in a race with the Russians and we were far behind."
The career trajectory of Wernher von Braun illustrates the nefarious origins of the U.S. lunar missions. Von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that. A former member of the Nazi party, commissioned Sturmbannführer of the paramilitary SS and decorated Nazi war hero, von Braun would later be regarded as the preeminent rocket engineer of the 20th century in his role with the United States civilian space agency NASA. In his 20s and early 30s, von Braun was the central figure in Germany's rocket development program, responsible for the design and realization of the deadly V-2 combat rocket during World War II. After the war, he and some of his rocket team were taken to the U.S. as part of the then-secret Operation Paperclip. Von Braun worked on the US Army intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) program before his group was assimilated by NASA, under which he served as director of the newly-formed Marshall Space Flight Center and as the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon. In 1975 he received the National Medal of Science.
Second row: Walter Dornberger, Friedrich Olbricht, Wilhelm von Leeb, and von Braun at Peenemünde, March 1941.
Third row: U.S. soldier, Walter Dornberger, Herbert Axter, Wernher von Braun (with arm cast), Hans Lindenberg, and Bernhard Tessmann (partially cropped) after the scientists surrendered to the Allies in May 1945.
Fourth row (left): Wernher von Braun walking with President Kennedy at Redstone Arsenal, in May 1963.
Fourth row (right): Von Braun at his desk at Marshall Space Flight Center in May 1964, with models of the Saturn rocket family.
Fifth row: Von Braun with the F-1 engines of the Saturn V first stage at the US Space and Rocket Center, 1969.
Sixth row: Apollo 11 mission officials relax in the Launch Control Center following the successful Apollo 11 lift-off on 16th July 1969. From left to right are: Charles W. Mathews, Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight; Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center; George Mueller, Associate Administrator for the Office of Manned Space Flight; Lt. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Director of the Apollo Program.

The concept of the My Star video (top) owes much to David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' video (middle) and Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' (bottom). Ian is cast as Captain James T. Spender, back from a mission to Saturn. Three of the other crew members have died in suspicious circumstances. Spender wasn't involved in the deaths, but the authorities lock him up in a penthouse, under observation, fearful that he has information that could implicate them. On this note, one of Squire's Celebrity artworks from 2011 was named 'Stanley Kubrick' (ink & oil on canvas, 70cm x 90cm).

My Star bears the influence of 'Dear Prudence' by The Beatles and 'Jet Fighter' by The Three O'Clock.


Top left: Former Red Air Force Pilot Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into outer space, when the Soviet Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12th April 1961.
Top right: On The White Album, 'Dear Prudence' was sequenced as the second track on side one, its introduction cross-faded with the sounds of a jet aircraft landing (which conclude the opening track, 'Back in the U.S.S.R.'). During a performance of My Star in Tokyo in 1999, Ian sang the opening lines of this Beatles track: "The sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful and so are you." Anamorphosis by The Seahorses draws inspiration from another track on this LP, 'The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill' ("All the children sing...").
Bottom: Jet Fighter by The Three O'Clock, from their 1983 LP, 'Sixteen Tambourines'.

Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national security and symbolic of technological and ideological superiority. The Space Race involved pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, sub-orbital and orbital human spaceflight around the Earth, and piloted voyages to the Moon. It effectively began with the Soviet launch of the Sputnik 1 artificial satellite on 4th October 1957, and concluded with the co-operative Apollo-Soyuz Test Project human spaceflight mission in July 1975. The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project came to symbolize détente, a partial easing of strained relations between the USSR and the US. The Space Race had its origins in the missile-based arms race that occurred just after the end of World War II, when both the Soviet Union and the United States captured advanced German rocket technology and personnel.


Top: President John F. Kennedy reinforces his support for the Apollo program at Rice University in 1962. "The Cold War would become the great engine, the supreme catalyst, that sent rockets and their cargoes far above Earth and worlds away. If Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, Goddard, and others were the fathers of rocketry, the competition between capitalism and communism was its midwife." (William E. Burrows, 'This New Ocean', 'The Other World Series', p. 147).
Second row: My Star combines dialogue from two important 'firsts' in US space missions. Former United States Marine Corps pilot John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, in Friendship 7, which launched on 20th February 1962. Three months later, Scott Carpenter followed Glenn into space as the second American astronaut to orbit the Earth. It was Carpenter who uttered the famous "Godspeed John Glenn" line, as Friendship 7 took off; Ian uses the count-down from this launch in the My Star intro. Test conductor Tom O'Malley can also be heard saying "May the good Lord ride all the way", as he pushes the launch button for Friendship 7.
Third row: Charlie Duke (CAPCOM): "Apollo 11, Houston. You are looking good for separation. You are GO for separation, Columbia. Over." Michael Collins: "Columbia understands."
Fourth row: Houston: "Roger, Tranquillity. We copy you on the ground. You've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot." Ian incorporates dialogue from the Apollo 11 moon landing, when man set foot on the moon for the first time (20th July 1969). Launched on 16th July 1969, it carried Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin. This photograph of Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface was taken by Neil Armstrong, who is reflected in Aldrin's visor. John Squire used this image on the Rauschenberg-esque Second Coming artwork (a detail of which is shown, right), and it also features on Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti album sleeve.
Bottom row: "Bombs are falling as we're dancing to this man-made sonic boom..." On My Star's aeronautic theme, Ian Brown's The Feeding Of The 5000 jumps from the miracle of this title by Jesus to a modern 'spectacle', that of the first man-made sonic boom. The year was 1947. Nobody knew if a fixed-wing aeroplane could break the speed of sound or whether a human could survive the tremendous force of that kind of speed. World War Two fighter pilot Chuck Yeager took off in the X-1 on 14th October 1947, over Rogers Dry Lake in California, attached to the belly of a B-29 bomber, to an altitude of 25,000 feet. After releasing from the B-29, he rocketed to an altitude of 40,000 feet. Moments later, he became the first person to break the sound barrier, safely taking the X-1 he called 'Glamorous Glennis' to a speed of 662 mph, faster than the speed of sound at that altitude. His first words after the flight were, "I'm still wearing my ears and nothing else fell off neither." Not only did Yeager reach Mach 1 and create the first man-made sonic boom, he did it again 50 years later in an F-15 fighter.

The solo ends tentatively with the following dialogue between Charlie Duke and Buzz Aldrin, before the song 'takes off' again:

Apollo 11 capsule communicator (CAPCOM) Charlie Duke talks to the Apollo 11 crew during the powered descent (PDI) of lunar module Eagle. At this point he relays the message from Flight Director Gene Kranz (audible on channel 2) that they are go to continue the landing attempt following a series of alarms. Above is the transcript from air to ground flight loop (time on the left denotes ground elapsed time, or GET; 1 - Air to ground flight loop; 2 - Flight Director's loop). On 20th July 1969, the Lunar Module, called Eagle, separated from the Command Module, Columbia to make its descent to the lunar surface. As the landing began, Armstrong reported they were "running long"; Eagle was 4 seconds further along its descent trajectory than planned, and would land miles west of the intended site. Armstrong's first words after landing were: "Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed."

My Star cover artwork.

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