The museum was home to a very unique guest for the first two weeks of February… the custom-made guitar boat SS Maton.
The extraordinary vessel which starred in the music video for ARIA-award winning singer/songwriter Josh Pyke’s hit single ‘Make You Happy’ was on display at the museum while it was being auctioned off for charity.
The SS Maton – named for the brand of guitar Josh Pyke plays – made headlines late last year when Pyke cruised around Sydney Harbour in it for the music video. During filming, images of the boat spread rapidly across the world on the internet. The video clip even became the #1 featured video on YouTube world wide.
The boat was custom-designed and measures an amazing 6.1 metres from the top of the neck to the base, and is just over 2 metres wide. In all it took a week to build at a workshop at Fox Professional Studios in Moore Park. Made from plywood, polystyrene and steel it weighs around 250 kgs. It also features a small outboard motor hooked over the back to propel it across the water and even a giant plectrum (guitar pick)!
The choice of a guitar boat for his music video is not such a strange one for Pyke … he admits to a strong seafaring influence in his song writing.
‘I’ve always been interested in maritime history… my ancestors were all whalers and Navy men, so I feel some kind of pull for that kind of life and history,” Pyke says.
And it’s not such a surprise to see Pyke and the guitar boat at the museum… the song ‘Make You Happy’ is from Josh’s new album ‘Chimney’s Afire’ which has a distinct nautical feel.
“Ever since I was a kid reading adventure books, especially Huckleberry Finn, I’ve always had the desire to jump on a raft and disappear down a river…I relate solid, seafaring adventuring tales as the romantic, alternate universe that I’d want to live in if I was ever to throw it all away and disappear,” he said.
It’s the language of the whaling era which seems to have struck such a chord with Josh and can be heard flowing through the album. ‘Chimney’s Afire’ is the cry whalers of yesteryear made when they harpooned a whale and a plume of blood and water would spurt from its blowhole.
“It’s a horrifying, brutal image, but the actual language is evocative and quite amazing,” says Pyke. Other songs on the album include ‘The Lighthouse Song’, ‘Where Two Oceans Meet’ and the title track ‘Chimney’s Afire’.
The guitar boat was on display at the museum from 2 to 12 February where it attracted a large number of visitors and publicity. The eBay auction was a success with a final winning bid of $7,100. All proceeds raised went to the Indigenous Literacy Project.