Got a gripe about a piece of well-known popular music? Geoff Agony, Doctor of Music, answers your questions.
Dear Uncle Geoff,
In Queen's overly cheerful 1979 classic "Don't Stop Me Now", Freddie Mercury confidently sings "I'm travelling at the speed of light". According to Einstein's theory of relativity, this would require an infinite amount of energy and would give Mr Mercury an infinite mass, at which point he would certainly perish.
In the same verse, he sings that he is "burning through the sky [at] 200 degrees". This appears to contradict the other statement about his velocity, as he would certainly be much hotter than that if he was travelling anything close to the speed of light, particularly if it was through a non-vacuum medium such as the Earth's atmosphere - "the sky".
Even if his acceleration only warmed him to 200 degrees, it would still be perilous, no matter which scale is used - in the Kelvin scale, 200 degrees is too cold! In the next line we are meant to infer he is using the Fahrenheit scale. At such a temperature he would certainly perish.
Why couldn't Freddie Mercury ask his physicist bandmate Brian May for advice before writing such an unscientific song?
Thanks, Herbert. The lyrics should of course say, "I'm travelling at a significant fraction of the speed of the light," and "I'm burning through the sky at a comfortable 20 degrees Celsius"
In the lyrics to the annoying Wham song "Club Tropicana", George Michael states that at the eponymous resort, "drinks are free".
As there is no mention of a time limit to said offer, we are led to assume that all drinks are always complimentary, particularly as he adds "there's enough for everyone."
How can the resort cover the cost of such a poorly thought-out business model? Even if Mr Michael himself was paying for everyone's drinks, the bar would run out of money eventually, and I expect it would be a rather popular venue.
Then again, he probably spent all the time in the toilets, so he wouldn't be able to keep an eye on the bar.
Thanks, Alan. You're completely right of course. The lyrics should say "Club Tropicana, drinks are free on a limited time only basis."