What's the significance of Map Ref 41°N 93°W ?

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Other than the fact it's a Wire song that's been covered a few times, what's the significance of these coordinates? The actual location is in southeast Iowa in the US, so I would imagine the numbers have some significance to Wire, or were they random?

mike h. (mike h.), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:06 (fifteen years ago) link

geographic center of north america I believe, Centerville, Iowa

chris besinger (chris besinger), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:07 (fifteen years ago) link

Wire is composed of individuals with 3rd grade educations. I wouldn't try to decipher their material too much.

Michael Burble, Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:08 (fifteen years ago) link

also, they can't count. X and U aren't even numbers.

Huk-L (Huk-L), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:09 (fifteen years ago) link

Googling is giving me this:

http://ludb.clui.org/ex/i/SD3127/
The geographic center of the USA, including the lower 48, Alaska, and Hawaii. A bit awkward, perhaps. The geographic center for the lower 48 is marked with a monument in Kansas, and the geographic center of North America is also marked by a monument in North Dakota.

So there are two places that lay claim to geographic center, neither of which is in Iowa. I've been to Centerville and can't remember any landmarks or monuments there...

mike h. (mike h.), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:14 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't know if this is it, but here it is anyway.
ZERO

Zero was located in the far northeast corner of Washington Township. There's no trace of it today, although the site still is accessible via a road leading south off Highway 34.
Here's what the 1978 "History of Lucas County, Iowa" had to say about it:
"Located halfway between Melrose and Russell, Iowa, is the ghost town of Zero. Only a couple of old wooden buildings and a few foundations remain of the old town that was platted in 1883 by the Zero Coal Company. There were 61 lots, 5 streets and 3 alleys drawn into the town."
"Zero did have a post office operated by Aquilla Kern and there was a general store run by Henry Gettinger. The Zero mine was never a big mine. It never exceeded 20 railroad cars of coal a day and finally closed in 1886 because there was too much water in the mine."
"Today Zero, Iowa, is losing its contest with time. Fred Schreck is the last person living there in 1978 and he is 78 years old. The few buildings that remain have deteriorated past the point of ugliness and have achieved a weathered beaut of their own. The lovely countryside is closing in on the once proud house and sagging barn, and the shingle roofs no longer hold back the rain."

Closer to the map location than Centerville, at any rate.

Pleasant Plains /// (Pleasant Plains ///), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:35 (fifteen years ago) link

Wire is composed of individuals with 3rd grade educations.

*ROFL*

nathalie's body's designed for two (stevie nixed), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:44 (fifteen years ago) link

Yep, looks pretty wild...

StanM (StanM), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 18:04 (fifteen years ago) link

http://www.ultimatedisney.com/images/nowyousee6.jpg
"I know this one! Lebanon! Lebanon, Kansas!"

Draw Tipsy to see if you give a shit about art (Dave225), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 18:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Well, that is a wire fence.

Pleasant Plains /// (Pleasant Plains ///), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 18:29 (fifteen years ago) link

In Kevin Eden's book "Wire: Everybody Loves a History," Colin Newman explains that he got the idea for the song while flying from NY to LA (I think, or London to LA), and that it's about the vastness of the US. He had a more pithy observation about it, but I can't remember it offhand.

j. niimi (litotesia), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 19:25 (fifteen years ago) link

Melrose, Iowa should hold an annual Wire festival.

Pleasant Plains /// (Pleasant Plains ///), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 19:39 (fifteen years ago) link

"Rather flat here ... o I know, I'll write the best song ever."

Lukas (lukas), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 19:55 (fifteen years ago) link

:-D

willem (willem), Tuesday, 26 July 2005 19:57 (fifteen years ago) link

I thought Des Moines was the place that corresponded to the location in the title - I recall an article on the Wireviews website written by a "fan from Map Ref" as it were. But yes, it is one of the most perversely joyful songs I can think of, and one of the best.

Deluxe (Damian), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 09:33 (fifteen years ago) link

Indeed, my old noo wave band back in the day used to do a rather nifty cover of this. It was probably a tribute to the young Bill Bryson, who comes from around that way.

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 27 July 2005 09:38 (fifteen years ago) link

Graham Lewis: "'Map Ref 41°N 93°W' - There's actually a place called something like Centretown, Iowa. The song is about travelling. I flew from L.A. to New York in 1978 and crossed the mid-west, and it went on and on and on and on. It was just incredible that this grid system was imposed on an enormous stretch of land. The other verse refers to travelling through Holland, by road, seeing all the dykes which is another grid system. 'Curtains undrawn' -- seeing these blocks of flats, like dolls houses with people sitting in them all day with curtains undrawan. It's a travelogue." (Wire...Everybody Loves A History)

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 09:43 (fifteen years ago) link

This is about SLIPKNOT.

Tumililingan (ex machina), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 11:49 (fifteen years ago) link

Centreville: A real nice place to raise your kids up

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 12:30 (fifteen years ago) link

How big was the UK popularity of Wire? Someone care to wax about their career trajectory?

Tumililingan (ex machina), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 12:34 (fifteen years ago) link

Centreville: A real nice place to raise your kids up - NICE, I love to start the morning with a Zappa quote!

SoHoLa (SoHoLa), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 12:57 (fifteen years ago) link

The significance is that it's the best song on 154.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:00 (fifteen years ago) link

How big was the UK popularity of Wire? Someone care to wax about their career trajectory?

They almost had a hit with "Outdoor Miner". They were due to appear on Top of the Pops but somebody went on strike (ah! the 70s, when the workers ruled!)

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:19 (fifteen years ago) link

"Eardrum Buzz" was a US college radio hit.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:21 (fifteen years ago) link

Also, re: Outdoor Miner, there was some sort of 'EMI buying it into the chart' taint that stopped their 'chart' career...

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:29 (fifteen years ago) link

Hmmmm, well EMI were very very keen that they become a big selling band, it's one of the main reasons they split up in the first place

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:31 (fifteen years ago) link

Well, if they'd have made "Dot Dash" the object of their attention, they could have done it...

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:33 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh no, I think "Outdoor Miner" could really have broken through

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:36 (fifteen years ago) link

"Eardrum Buzz" was a US college radio hit.

I've heard it on a "alt rock" station's "retro lunch".

Tumililingan (ex machina), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:36 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah, EMI got Wire to lengthen "Outdoor Miner" for airplay (the piano and backing vox bridge). Got to #51, apparently - and then came the BMRB ban.

Michael Jones (MichaelJ), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:42 (fifteen years ago) link

It wasn't EMI's idea so much as Mike Thorne's (with Colin Newman's connivance)

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:44 (fifteen years ago) link

What I mean is, "Dot Dash", followed by "I am the Fly" and then "Outdoor Miner", would have been a big push.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:49 (fifteen years ago) link

"I Am the Fly" on the back of Tiswas of course!!!!!!!!!!

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 14:50 (fifteen years ago) link

oooh I love the extended Outdoor Miner.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 15:06 (fifteen years ago) link

BMRB ban.

WOT?

Tumililingan (ex machina), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 15:15 (fifteen years ago) link

British Market Research Bureau (compiled UK pop charts until Gallup took over in '83 or so); they decided "Outdoor Miner" showed signs of being hyped (EMI employees buying fistfuls of the 7" in chart-return shops) and deleted it from the chart.

Michael Jones (MichaelJ), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 15:19 (fifteen years ago) link

All that stands between Wire and megastardom is an appearance in a commercial, really.

Maxwell von Bismarck (maxwell von bismarck), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 15:25 (fifteen years ago) link

I remember "Kidney Bingos" being the 80s "hit" for Wire in the U.S., at least.

Actually, "Kidney Bingos" kinda prototypes the more poppy Disco Inferno numbers like "The Last Dance" a bit.

donut ferry (donut), Wednesday, 27 July 2005 16:33 (fifteen years ago) link

fifteen years pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-J7G7uGhBg

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 1 May 2021 08:48 (one week ago) link

Aw

imago, Saturday, 1 May 2021 08:58 (one week ago) link

Sweet.

Authoritarian Steaks (Tom D.), Saturday, 1 May 2021 09:22 (one week ago) link

Iowa is pig latin for Wire

hiroyoshi tins in (Sgt. Biscuits), Saturday, 1 May 2021 09:48 (one week ago) link

I love this song so much

brimstead, Saturday, 1 May 2021 16:28 (one week ago) link


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