If you consider the thousands of people who are closely involved-and remotely we are all involved-in the space programme, if you consider this and ask yourself “why?” then you are getting to close to where the poet stands.
Fairfax continues by stating that this questioning is the essence of all poetry. The need to make sense of the times the poet finds himself (or herself-oh 1969 and the maleness of our language!)living in.
I love this slice of unwitting testimony, Fairfax’s words take for granted a continuing commitment to space, he talks of progress, assumes that a mythology will grow around the space programme as space travel becomes more commonplace. From 2012 these thoughts and the numbers involved in the space programme seem both naive and optimistic. Hell! In 1969 we were all optimistic, (to quote my favourite person from Saturn) space was the place. Not anymore.
Anyway I digress, onto one of my main moans, the death of the space programme. A quick line search surprised me that there was more science fiction poetry out there than I had supposed. There is a Science Fiction Poetry Association (http://www.sfpoetry.com/ ) and there are some fine poems there. It’s well worth a look.
Then I thought I’ll write about my favourite space songwriter, Pearls Before Swine main man Tom Rapp. Then I found a very informative interview with Tom here (http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/pearls-before-swine-interview-with-tom.html). There was in the 1970’s much mystery around Mr Rapp and his band. One story I heard from Bob Pegg (http://www.bobpegg.com/ I know when to name drop for maximum effect), was a rumour that Tom was a rich American who lived in Italy and only returned to the US to record the lps. The other rumour was that he was a grave digger. If you are anyway interested in acid folk or psychedelic music then read this interview, it very good.
Here is a youtube post of Stardancer.
His best lp was either Stardancer or Balaklava, side one of which is amazing, multitracked vocals, who else would quote Herodotus? The Balaklava portions of the record are bookended by two historic recordings Trumpeter Landfrey (the inspiration for same name character in the soon to be published by Corvus steam punk novel The Jowler)and Florence Nightingale. If you have not heard this album then you are in for a treat.
Phew, I’m going to stop there, put Blaklava on the turntable, my headphones on and hopefully I’ll be back next week.