Time travel is impossible. Yes, that’s an unusual response after my call-out for your favourite songs about time travel, I'll accept. But my studies have led me to this incontrovertible conclusion.
Behold, I have a vase upon my mantel – I smash it. I ask you, can these broken pieces ever exist in a period before the completed object was made? Or simultaneous with my one-whole vase? No, the pieces are pieces and cannot come before the whole, nor can a shard exist both within the vase and outside it at once.
Sorry to have shattered your illusions. But I propose to you that with the judicious application of my research I shall create something which – to the untrained eye – is indistinguishable from genuine time travel. I shall outline my methods, and am trusting but a few with this information – people of discernment, impeccable taste, unrivalled intellect and shrewd discretion. I am quite sure that despite its entirely harmless applications, certain unsavoury characters would attempt to corrupt my research and squander resources better used in the present in blundering and futile attempts to change the past.
But first, a word on the process. Having studied the background music of the universe for many years, and having input the data into a supercomputer of not insubstantial power I have identified certain facts. The radiation emanating from the creation of our universe is not unique. Identical signals, with identical peaks and troughs, repeat constantly. They are indistinguishable from that which we pick up, excepting only the fact that they are out of synch with our own radiation spikes by infinitesimally small degrees.
The fact this has not been remarked upon sooner is not surprising, the differences have until recently been too small to measure. However modern applications have allowed my team to ascertain without doubt that there are near infinite identical sources of radiation within our known spacial dimensions.
In layman's terms, our own universe is but one of infinite identical universes existing parallel with each other, but slightly ahead or behind the time signature of the others. In a near-infinite number of universes the same events which we have already experienced are currently being undertaken. And we are currently following in the footsteps of another, near-infinite number of universes.
That is the crux of my discovery. The practical applications are again so much harder to state. Suffice it to say that through precise calculations, and with extreme expenditure of energy, it is possible to twist the fabric of space in such a way that two universes overlap.
You sometimes may have seen evidence of such overlaps in the past. A shadow in the corner of your eye, movement in an otherwise empty room, or disembodied voices which seemed to call out. These are merely the footprints left in our reality of another universe's presence.
It should be stressed that we cannot influence the actions of these other universes, the ones which run behind us will follow the same path we had trod, as we follow the paths of those which run ahead. To attempt to alter any aspect of the other universes would be futile. We can merely observe.
So, you may ask, what was the point of our task this week? Given we can do nothing meaningful to change what is, was and will be. I can think of only one profound and important application of my endeavours.
I propose to hold a concert.
We shall be manipulating the very nature of reality so that we may enjoy, in its most pure form, music. We shall interact with other universes at the exact points of origin of each song. And we shall witness history.
Alas, I cannot incorporate songs not yet written, as I lack the coordinates required to bring the Not-Yet-Occuring Universe inline with our own. We shall have to enjoy only those which currently exist to us.
It will not be a long concert, merely 12 artists each playing one song. The constraints upon our world's meagre energy resources must curtail our frivolity. But it will – to our universe – be as yet a unique experience. Perhaps one day someone will repeat my experiment. In other universes, perhaps they already have. But for our own time, this will be a singular occurrence. The energy requirements to make this happen are immense, and after it is over I shall be destroying the program. Lest others attempt to vainly interfere with the past.
I enclose our itinerary for your approval.
And so my friends, please accept my invitation. It will not be extended again in my lifetime.
The “Time Traveller”
The Astrophysical A-list Playlist
Black Sabbath – Iron Man
Busted – Year 3000
MC Lars – If I had a Time Machine, That Would Be Fresh
Cast of Groundhog Day Musical (by Tim Minchin) – If I Had My Time Again
AKB48 – Halloween Night
Average White Band – Let's Go Round Again
David Childers – Time Machine
The Grateful Dead – Sing Me Back Home
Buzzcocks – Nostalgia
Momus – Walter Carlos
Vernian Process – The Consequences of Time Travel (Part 1)
Secret Chiefs 3 – The Electromagnetic Azoth -UBIK
Time-bending B-list Playlist:
Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle – Time Machine
Eddie Money – I Wanna Go Back
Man – Back Into the Future
Peter Hammill – The Future Now
Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out
Guster – One Man Wrecking Machine
The Steppes – Tourist From Timenotyet
Uriah Heep – Traveller in Time
The Yardbirds – Happening Ten Years Time Ago
Tony Bennett – Once Upon a Time
Beggars Opera - Time Machine
Time Traveller's Wildcard Pick:
Tyla J Pallas - Passenger of Time
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Second nature: songs about travelling in time. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.