Southern Star

The Southern Star Observation Wheel, an enormous rotating viewing platform in the style of the London Eye, was constructed in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct (at a cost of AU$100m) between 2006 and 2008. It opened on December 20, 2008, just in time for a rolling summer heatwave; they’re always pretty intense in southeastern Australia, but 2008-09 was a particularly savage season. The heatwave culminated in the horrific fires of Black Saturday (where 173 people died); by then, the Wheel had already been closed down. It had lasted all of 40 days as a Grand Tourist Attraction before cracks and buckling (initially blamed on the heatwave) were detected, and it was promptly dismantled. Meanwhile, on the last day of that summer, my long-time partner and I were married. So this is a song about all of that.

The Wheel is still in pieces as of July 2010, but you never know.

Southern Star

In just a while I’m hoping I’ll begin
To shake this rude and distant mood I’m in
To quantify how drunk a guy can get
Sequestered in his vespertine regret
I should have fled for home and bed by ten
It’s not as if I felt much diff’rent then
Been overbored from well before dessert
And now I know tomorrow’s gonna hurt

And the evening spins like a ceiling fan
And I drink it in like a drowning man
Knowing all I want is to hold your hand in mine

To be lifted up – on a southern star –
at the water’s edge – looking out afar –
May the time return when we both alight
on a southern star in the Melbourne night

We end affairs and no-one bears the blame
Beneath your skin your heart bursts into flame
You might dig deep and somehow keep your feet
You might begin to buckle in the heat
When I return and love has burned away
I stumble back in shades of black and grey
I’m tossed about and lost without a trace
My weary eyes don’t recognise the place

But if I should sift through the charred debris
For a single sign of humanity
Even in despair, I can swear I see a time

When we rise again on a southern star
Though it’s hard right now looking out that far
Still the wheel will turn and return to flight
on a southern star in the Melbourne night

We reach our door and fumble for the keys
We slip in, slide in closer by degrees
We can’t be sure we’re destined for delight
We might as well play merry hell tonight

This is what we’ve learned in the time we’ve shared:
When we both look down, then we both get scared
But we’ll never fly if we’re not prepared to fall…

So I make my wish on a southern star
That her light will shine anywhere we are
Yes, I make my wish, and I hold on tight
to a southern star in the Melbourne night
Yes, I make my wish and the world seems bright
from a southern star in the Melbourne night

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