Thursday, May 20, 2010

the children from Zoo Station got off drugs by elevated time travel

Bottom line: prayer and God are the best way off drugs.

I knew that.
But a fresh look at a vintage U2 song helps me see it anew.

"Toto, we're not in Dublin anymore."

That's what the grungy opening bars of U2's "Zoo Station" boldly announced:

We're in Berlin. And it's a whole new day.
U2 is dead. Long live U2.
Not in the 1980s U2 anymore.
Some have claimed they haven't been U2 since!
(Maybe they became U3 at that point..more on that in a sec).

Understatement: If we only
knew then what the fullness of 1990s U2 would look like.
So that was was what the "dream it all up again" New Years Eve 1989 comment was all about!

What I didn't really get about the song until now, is that the song may well be:
1) in a long tradition of U2 songs, before and since, that are commentary on the bankruptcy of drug use (a line from"Bad" to "Unknown Caller" by way of
"Running to Stand Still")
2)in a long line of songs about time travel..uh, I mean the Kingdom of God, which,as all theologians know, is the same thing. (:
Many fans have suggested that the song is based on a real subway station in Berlin, one where the "U2" and "U3" lines meet...Googling the U3 Station is interesting.
(by the way, the "U2" station is elevated ....Wikipedia: 'The 'elevated station' of today's U2 remained completely unchanged"....which of course connects to another U2 song).

Here are some comments from "Song Meanings" (as often, a grain of salt is necessary, but a grain of truth looks to be there..the 2nd comment in particular just sounds like Bono):

The song is about Zoo station in Berlin that is the pick up place for those getting off heroin.
Alphaville's song Big in Japan mentions it which is about a couple trying to get off heroin - should I stay here at the Zoo or shall I go and change my point of view...

There is a German book called "Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo". This means "The children from Zoo Station". It is a story about a teenage girl who is addicted to heroin. In Berlin there is a well known drug scene at Zoo Station, where young children get money for prostitution.


No. It's from the Communists. You know the 4 parts from Berlin, in that time? Well, there was a train station (Zool�gischer Zugbahn) in the west part of Berlin, but it belongs to the Russians. So what have happened there? The station was full of glass. And the Russian and east-German teenagers had their free cocain from the communist state, to attrack the west teenagers to communism. This is at least the meaning of "Zoo Station". But if it's meant in the song or not, I don't know

On the "Children of Zoo Station" book, it's true. And the movie synopsis has further U2 connections..if you remember the songs "Discoteque" "Vertigo" and "Boots"/ "Fez" (Let me in the Sound)

Fourteen-year-old Christiane lives with her mother and little sister in a small apartment in a typical multi-storey concrete apartment building in a dull neighbourhood in the outskirts of West Berlin. She's bored and lacks things to do and is sick and tired of living there. She hears of Sound, a new disco in the city center, called the most modern discothèque in Europe. Although she's legally too young to go to the disco, she dresses up in high heels and make-up and asks a friend from school to take her. At the disco she meets Detlef, who is a little older. He is in a clique where everybody is experimenting with various drugs. At first she takes pills and trips, but gradually she becomes drawn deeper into the drugs, eventually ending up as a heroin-addict and prostitute.

Hmmm .. "We're at a place called'Zoo Station'. "
That station as an innocent-looking station,,It is the station for the Berlin Zoo, by the way:

The Berlin Zoo is the most visited zoo in Europe with approximately 3.0 million annual visitors from all over the world. It is open all year long and can easily be reached by public transportation. The Berlin Zoologischer Garten railway station (also simply known as Zoo) is one of Berlin's most important stations. Several modes of transport such as U-Bahn [U2 and U3 etc], S-Bahn and buses are interlinked here.

also being a Vertigo/vortex portal into temptation. Here's a comment which ties the song to two other albums, an early era ("Boy") and late era ("Dismantle") which are about innocence, losing it, and finding second innocence in moving on:

I'm ready for what's next... ready to say I'm glad to be alive, I'm ready for "the push," I'll be crawling around on my hands and knees... the whole first verse and bridge is simply about being born.

The second verse deals with the middle teenage years, as the child-becoming-a-man/woman is forced to come to terms with the angst of soon having to leave the safe cocooned life he/she knows (Zoo Station), and go out into the world (The Zoo) to find his/her own way (face pressed up against the glass in anticipation). The train (time) is what carries us along on life's journey.

Pretty straightforward stuff for Bono, IMHO. So the band's new direction, subjecting them to those same feelings of anticipation, uncertainty and insecurity as the child in the song, could well be another level... a metaphor on top of a metaphor.

Oh, the time travel connection?

"Time is a train, makes the future the past
"standing in the station/with your face against the glass"

Whether one commenter's thoughts relate or not (that Zoo Station in communist days was "full of glass"), the future becoming past can only technically happen via time travel.
And on the innocence/new innocence connection ("I'm alive, I'm being born/I'm at the door of where I started out from/And I want back inside"- from the prayer/song"All Because of You".
Once travels "backwards" in time, yet with knowledge from the present and future, to make that happen.

Since the Kingdom of God IS time travel ("Before Abraham was, I am."... That is the gospel/Kingdom/Trans-time message. The future has invaded the present time, as George Ladd and John Wimber often phrased it.), remember U2 have been preaching time travel from the beginnng: "Another Time, Another Place." Just don't get "stuck in a moment" on your way there.
How nonlinear is all that.

Of course:

"Music is time travel"


1 comment:

Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!