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The song explores the band's negativity towards the music industry and the whole of industrialized society. The song centres around an aspiring musician who is getting signed by a seedy executive to the music industry, "The Machine". The voice predicts all the boy's seemingly rebellious ideas ("You bought a guitar to punish your ma, you didn't like school, and you know you're nobody's fool"). The boy's illusions of personal identity are further crushed with lines such as, "What did you dream, it's alright we told you what to dream". The lyrics also allude to the band's disillusionment with the music industry as a money-making machine rather than a forum of artistic expression. On the original LP, the song segued from the first 5 parts of the suite "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and closed the first side. On the CD pressings, especially the 1997 and 2000 remastered issues, it segues (although very faintly) to "Have a Cigar". This segueing is a few seconds longer on the US version than the UK version.