“china in your hand”

Recently I stumbled across the song “China In Your Hand” (T’Pau) again and for the first time learnt that it wasn’t actually about the country China (as I had believed when I was a child), but about a teacup and Frankenstein’s monster.

It’s harder to see the Frankenstein reference when listening to the popular single version, which was shortened with some of the more obvious parts left out. Some missing lines in the shorter version are

“And we could make the monster live again
Oh hands move and heart beat on
Now life will return in this electric storm”


“A story told
A mind of his own
An omen for our time”

If you put these back in (for the full lyrics of the album version you can go here: http://www.lyrics.net/lyric/22918591) the picture gets much clearer.
And I was joking, well, semi-joking when I said it was about a teacup. I’m going to quote Wikipedia for this:

“The song’s lyrics refer to the novel Frankenstein and its author Mary Shelley.
This is more readily heard on the longer album version of the song, as the re-recorded single edit omits most of the more obvious references to the book.
Lyric writer Carol Decker explained that it is the effect that if you hold a china cup to a light, you can see your hand through it
– therefore ‘china in your hand’ means something that is transparent”

Teacups, monsters, Prometheus … whatever. It’s a really beautiful song.