It seems totally appropriate that a copy of 'Hail Sisters of the Revolution' by my dear friend writer/poet/musician Caroline Gilfillan with photographer Andrew Scott should arrive in the post on International Women's Day. They met in the 1970s when squatting was a big thing In London and shared a squat in Stepney.
An alternative news and ideas channel on art, science, culture, politics and the environment, by freelance journalist, magazine editor and author John May.
Wednesday, March 08, 2023
HAIL SISTERS OF THE REVOLUTION
Wednesday, March 01, 2023
Nebra Sky Disc
It is the most valuable artefact yet discovered from the Únětice civilization, a large group of early Bronze Age communities in central Europe - especially Bohemia, Bavaria, south-eastern Germany and western Poland - which is believed to have survived from 2,300BC to around1600 BC.
The dots are thought to represent stars with the cluster being the Pleiades with the circle and crescent being the Sun and Moon.
There are various theories as the purpose of the disc - an astronomical clock, a religious symbol or a work of art.
Friday, February 24, 2023
LONDON ARTS LAB
'London's Arts Labs and the 60s Avant-Garde' by David Curtis.The Worthing Workshop is mentioned in the list of Arts Labs across the regions. This an excellent book, fully illustrated, and deeply researched. It gives valuable picture of a time and a space when all the arts were able to intermingle. Reading it one feels that a new network of Arts Labs would be very valuable in the times we live in.
Monday, January 30, 2023
THE MARQUEE CLUB
Harold Pendleton who died at the age of 93 in 2017 is perhaps a name not known to the general public but as this book shows he was a key figure in the development of music in the UK. A huge jazz fan he got the bug for promoting and staging bands in various venues leading to his establishment of the Marquee in 1958 which he ran for 30 years. The venue itself may have been pretty scuzzy but it became the place that every band wanted to play. In the prologue to the book his son explains why.
'A gig at the Marquee announced that a band has left the orbit of the suburban pub circuit and was on its way up. It was the place where agents managers and journalists went to check out new talent: contracts could be signed before the stage was cleared and a memorable performance could land a band their first notices in the music weeklies. It was the gateway to the big time.'
This classy book written by Robert Sellers is highly detailed and manages to give the reader a fantastic picture of this remarkable club that played host to literally thousands of bands of all types and styles. A Timeline at the end of the book highlights the standout nights and the most frequent performers. There is also a list of live recordings. The main text is peppered throughout with quotes from fresh interviews with leading figures in all the streams of music.
To give some idea of the intensity of the task of compiling this history take the year 1977. Sellers writes: 'It saw first gigs for the Jam, Ultravox!, the Only Ones, the Motors, Generation X, the Vibrators, X-Ray Spex, The Police, Squeeze, the Boomtown Rats, John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett, the Damned, the Buzzcocks, Wire, Tom Robinson, Japan, Sham 69, Adam and the Ants, and XTC.
The catholic booking policy meant that the in the same year there were appearances from 'the influential folkster Bert Jansch, the reformed Pink Fairies, Medieval progsters Gryphon, the old school rock of Edgar Broughton and Wishbone Ash and a nostalgic two-nighter in the company of Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. Not to mention what was supposed to be a farewell concert by Motorhead.'
Lemmy is quoted at the front of the book: 'The reason I liked the Marquee was because it was scruffy and a hellhole, and your feet stuck to the floor, and that's exactly what a rock and roll club should be like'
The book as a whole is beautifully put together with some great photos starting with a fab shot of Guns and Roses on their first gig in the UK. A valuable addition to the history of British music.
Saturday, October 29, 2022
MUSIC PRESS HISTORY
Saturday, October 08, 2022
Rock's Diamond Year
Friday, October 07, 2022
2001/Rob Godwin/Space and Music
Here at The Generalist Archive we love things like this email which arrived out of the blue from Rob Godwin in Toronto.
'Just watched your talk at the Printing conference on Youtube. Really interesting. It made me decide to reach out to you.[I didn't know at that time that a talk I'd given at the University of Westminster about mimeograph printers and the Underground Press had been filmed.]
'We have a few things in common. I briefly worked with Lucasfilm, ran Hawkwind's record label in the USA for five years, I have a pretty good collection of Friends/Frendz going way back to my misspent youth. I write and edit for a living, including books on science, spaceflight, science fiction and music. I'm also a historian on various aerospace history committees.
'About two years ago I decided to start writing a paper (not a newspaper, but a "paper" to submit at a conference) about the crossover between the Space Race and rock music in the 60s and 70s. The limit for such a paper was only 15 pages, and by the time I got to 50 pages I knew it would likely never see the light of day. However, I can't give it up because it has become too much fun. It roams around between primitive astronomy, pirate radio, underground press, alternative clubs, Kubrick, Ginsberg, Stockhausen and of course Hawkwind.
'I've drilled down to the point where I realised that Space Ritual was the nexus for all of this stuff and it has become the focal point of my essay. I believe you were on the road (and the stage) for some of the early shows. I read about you in a copy of The Snail (I think) from the start of the tour. I missed the Space Ritual tour by a few weeks (I was at a show in Southampton the previous August). I wondered if you might share any anecdotes about those nights?'
All the best
A day or so later we had at least a two-hour phone conversation which was followed by an exchange of further messages over the following weeks.
First stop was Rob Godwin's Wikipedia entry which is impressive and extensive and complete with References and numerous External Links. Rob set up his own music business and publishing operation and produced a large number of books and publications on space and music.
Between 1987 and 1998 Collector's Guide Publishing released books on many different rock artists including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Kate Bush, Alice Cooper, Wishbone Ash and Kiss.
In 1998, at the invitation of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Godwin would begin his imprint Apogee Books.
Between 1998 and 2018 Apogee Books published over 150 book titles about space flight with contributions from Buzz Aldrin, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, David R. Scott, Harrison Schmitt and Wernher von Braun
In addition vintage science fiction and 40 NASA Mission reports
Action on TV/Video and web
Rob promised to send me two books both entitled '2001: The Lost Science'. Some while later a large package arrived from C.G. Publishing, 2045 Niagara Falls Blvd containing the two oversized books.
You can purchase copies here:
2001:The Lost Science/Introduction
Adam K. Johnson
In January 1965, while staying at the Harvard Club in Manhattan. Frederick I. Ordway Ill arranged a social meeting with his 'old friend' Arthur C. Clarke. The next day, at Clarke's insistence. Ordway. and his associate Harry Lange, met with famed film director Stanley Kubrick who quickly invited Ordway to be the Senior Science advisor on his proposed new science fiction epic provisionally entitled 'Journey to the Stars'. Within two days. the project that would eventually evolve into the film '2001: A Space Odyssey' emerged from the meeting between the four men.
In the following 2 I/2 years spent working on the film, Stanley and Frederick worked painstakingly on a daily basis to ensure scientific realism. Working at the zenith of the 'space race' their efforts drew upon the most current space travel 'hard science' available.
Between January and August 1965, working from Stanley's New York Office "Hawk Films" (also known to the contractors as Polaris Industries). Fred contacted a multitude of companies known to be on the forefront of aerospace technology and asked for their assistance on the film. By Early 1966, over one hundred companies had submitted engineering and design proposals to aid the vision of Kubrick and Clarke.
This book is intended as a companion to viewing the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as a resource for modern day aerospace engineers interested in how the proposed 21st century technologies might have worked if so implemented.
Creating the designs for the film involved over 2400 detailed schematics that were drawn 4 x 6 feet or 3 x 5 feet. These drawings were saved as blue-line prints using ammonia based blue ink that replaced the original pencil or ink lines. Over time. this blue ink fades, and if exposed to light, completely vanishes. The U.S. SPACE & ROCKET CENTER archives still possess about 100 of the known existing 200 blue-line prints (in various states of condition) created for 2001.
2001: THE LOST SCIENCE/Scientists, Influences and Designs from the Ordway Estate
Volume 2 of material from The Ordway archives profiles the space flight pioneers and the long history of space craft imagined if not built over many years. This book is packed with blueprints, backstage photos. Kubrick spent two years researching everything he could on the subjects of space flight and alien intelligence decided to have the top scientific minds interviewed for his film. He examined all past science fiction movies.
In this book's Introduction Adam K. Johnson writes:
Ordway and Lange bought a massive collection of rocket and space science data from the Future Projects office (Marshall Space Flight Center) in Huntsville, Alabama to Borehamwood studios. This was later referred to as 'NASA East' by the Kubrick team. Even after arriving in England, during the preproduction stages, the team continued to collect aerospace data from all of the British contractors. Much of the concept information is here in this second volume of 2001: The Last Science. It is important to know that the best scientific minds on earth contributed to these designs.
Fred Ordway created and sustained relationships and correspondence with all all the individuals described in this book. Through these connections he was able to document the history of rocketry and space travel accurately in his writings.
Fred Ordway's collection is extensive and has taken many years to collate, identify and catalog. For example, his 'pulp' science fiction and fantasy stories collection (over 900 editions) were donated to Harvard University. His 2001 collection went to the USSEC and the remainder...stayed hidden in his private residence until his passing in July of 2014. This book represents a glimpse into his private work, research and studies into the history of space travel. It has been a joy and honour to 'discover' all these well-hidden artefacts waiting for their stories to be told. Most importantly, it was an honor to spend time with Fred. Our similar backgrounds in aerospace and out interest in science fiction made our relationship wonderful.'
2001: A Space Odyssey/Frederick I. Ordway III/Stanley Kubrick/Adam Johnson
I asked Rob for more information as to who Ordway and Johnson were. He wrote:
I was very close friends with Fred for the last 15 years of his life. I met him at the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission. I had been reading his stuff for years before that. When Fred found out I was writing and publishing Space books he asked me if I would republish his NY Times bestseller "The Rocket Team", which I jumped at.
Fred used to be Wernher von Braun's speechwriter in the 1950s and 60s.
He was the absolute epitome of the American gentleman. Polite and dignified to a fault. I never heard him raise his voice or say a bad word about anyone.
Incredibly knowledgeable. He had one of the largest collections of space and science fiction books in America before he ever met von Braun. When America began its space program Fred got a job at Reaction Motors. At the time von Braun was still a prisoner in the US desert.
As progress began on rocketry Fred was writing journals and news sheets and magazine articles.
Eventually when von Braun was "rehabilitated" and given work to do for the US Army he met Fred and asked him to come and work for him. For a young engineer it was the opportunity of a lifetime to be brought into the heart of the rocket and missile program.
Von Braun quickly realised that Fred knew everybody, including the Soviets, because Fred was the only American in attendance at the first international astronautical congress in Paris in 1950.
He was one of the main people who brought the world's peoples together to explore space peacefully because he was an officer in US Air Force intelligence and he used to meet with Soviet colonels in Greenwich Village where they would feed him information about what they were doing. This allowed him to have almost unique perspective on every missile and rocket system in the world.
Eventually when von Braun was allowed to travel, and make appearances, he got Fred to prepare and write his speeches because Fred had both the knowledge and the clearance.
Later in his life Fred was condemned by some people for working with the "Nazi", which was very sad. Fred was a liberal democrat. Kubrick initially considered approaching von Braun for 2001, but for obvious reasons chose not to. When Arthur suggested to Kubrick that he call Fred, that's what he did. The rest is history.
I introduced Adam to Fred. Adam was a keen 2001 enthusiast and had spent some time digging through Fred's enormous archive, which Fred had donated to the US Space & Rocket Center. He asked me to help him, so I did.
I am currently writing Fred's biography which he asked me to do before he died.
When 2001 opened in 1968 the critical reviews were mixed. Kubrick had deliberately understated every single message in his story, often leaving his viewers and the critics baffled. But as time has passed the critics have honed their observational skills and gradually come to realize that 2001: A Space Odyssey is truly one of the greatest accomplishments in cinematic history.
In the last four decades Kubrick's triumph has been dissected in books and theses from every conceivable perspective and until humanity actually encounters extraterrestrial intelligence, his movie will continue to draw attention to this most tantalizing subject.
However, what is often overlooked in all of these critical studies is the almost flawless scientific facade constructed by Kubrick, Clarke, Ordway, Lange and the hundreds of other engineers and scientists who contributed to the production.
Author and engineer Adam Johnson has spent years accumulating information, believed to have been long since destroyed, to create a detailed and unprecedented analysis of the technology envisioned in Kubrick's masterpiece. From British designers and model-makers to Soviet astronomers; from Canadian special effects wizards to German artists; from American spacecraft engineers and artificial intelligence scholars to French stylists; this is the Lost Science of 2001
Sleeve notes and email from Robert Godwin