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But far from overcoming his 'paranoid, bitter introspective period' Numan's songs could be said to become progressively more paranoid, bitter and introspective as he goes on. Nothing he says about 'War Songs' explains the old man (his own fan base was very young) or Vera Lynn. But even in some of his earliest songs, Numan seems to be haunted by the presence of an old man, an old man who may also be a 'hero', presumably someone who has lived through the war, perhaps the 'torn old queen' of 'Praying to the Aliens':

'Grey overcoat
and he could be anyone
A random poll check
"Do you ever think of women"?
They broke him down
into a torn old queen
living somewhere
between dead and dying.'

Or the wrecked hero in 'You are in my vision':

'Delicate bodies
that decay beneath their clothing
play cards in an empty house in Paris
The wreckage of a hero
lies broken in a corner
and everyone pretends they like to live that way.'

He comes more clearly into focus in 'Only a downstat' (downstats, for those who take the sci fi side of things seriously being a variety of android):

'Only a downstat
Personality problem
He would say things like "I love you"
and cry real tears

'Met him in some place
like a home for old mothers
where the cure is always death
but no-one ever leaves

'He wore a number 7
badge on his collar
He would show it with pride
and say "it means I can feel"

'He'd bribe the warders
to send letters to someone
who didn't even know his name
but said she's read them anyway.'

Some android!

The theme continues with the next song on Replicas, 'We have a technical' ('technical' being another term in the sci fi version of the story, meaning something has gone wrong). Here the 'personality problem' of the downstat becomes a 'personality malfunction':

He's in a hotel room where they all go
saying "Boy, I've lost my memory"
It's so surprising
just how quickly things can end
like a hero on a platform of friends
this table is so crowded
with people that I don't know
and I never really turn
my thoughts on you
so the image breaks down again

'We have a technical
We have a technical'

Armed with all that taken from Replicas, we can go back to The Plan, the songs on the first demo discs Numan's friend and bass player Paul Gardiner gave Beggars Banquet, and 'Thoughts No 2' (a very teenage title!):

'Frown in my eyes showing nothing
But surprise about you
And what are you thinking
About my life and
her drinking to you too
A dying non-human writes
unkind words for unkind friends
And as for the tears, they'll never show
Asylum people calling on my door
From day to day the image must fall
I've had my time.'

This is Gary Numan in his 'punk' phase. Is there anything like that in any other punk song?

The phrase 'I've had my time' recurs in 'The Life Machine' (Tubeway Army. An earlier version without the line 'I've had my time' is on The Plan):

'Me I've just died
But some machine keeps on humming
I'm just an extra piece of dead meat to keep running
Why won't you let me die in peace?
Why won't you let me die with some kind of honour?
Why won't you let me die at all?
I know
You've got your principles'