The Brighton Festival Fringe is fast approaching and I’m hard at work, devising a new solo show Horlicks and Armageddon which will be taking place in a city sub-basement from 7-15 May. Here, I’ll be mixing music, film, robotics and readings from the archives to tell the little known story of Britain’s nuclear ‘survivalists’. In the 1980s, while most of us lived in fear of nuclear war, this secretive band of enthusiasts prepared for it with relish, as though it was an extended underground caravanning holiday.
This show includes a musical performance in which sounds are triggered and modulated live by a Geiger counter sensing radioactive materials. I’m looking for someone with expertise in nuclear physics to cast an eye over this performance, in rehearsal, and offer some informal advice. I can offer a small fee for your time. If you’re from a progressive science communication institute who might be interested in sponsoring such a venture – I’d love to talk. Do get in touch!
Seen at this year’s Port Eliot Festival, the Odditorium is a collaboration with a handful of other salon speakers who share an interest in the arcane.
The Odditorium is curated by David Bramwell, host of Brighton’s long-running Catalyst Club. David and I have performed together at The Last Tuesday Society, The Horse Hospital and TEDx – here’s how David describes our latest venture:
“The Odditorium is a portal to the fringes of culture, its mavericks, pranksters, adventurers and occultists.
Our team comprise Sony Award-winning broadcasters, musicians, best-selling authors, roboticists and comic-book heroes, here to share their passions through slide show lectures, musical performance, live experiments, audience participation and mischief.”
I’m back in Brighton after performing at QEDCon, a festival of talks and performances exploring science, technology and skepticism. Thanks so much to the organisers and volunteers for making the weekend run so smoothly – Stephen Hiscock and I had a fine old time.
Those of you who saw my talk ‘Voices of the Dead’ might enjoy this video. It features the voice recording I made on wax during the show, using an Edison phonograph. You can hear three voices. The first is Helen Chorley, reciting a poem, and the last is me, signing off. If any of you can pass on the name of the plucky individual who talks between Helen and me, I’d be really grateful.
This year we’ll be celebrating two thirty-fifth birthdays. In November 1977, Columbia Studios released their blockbuster Close Encounters of the Third Kind, arguably the film with the most gratuitous use of the Arp 2500 modular synthesizer. And just a few weeks earlier, NASA launched Voyager 1 and 2, probes which took stunning images of the outer planets before taking a slingshot around Saturn and Neptune to journey out of the solar system. Voyager 2 is now around 11 billion miles from Earth, in the outer reaches of the heliosheath, the bubble of solar wind which envelopes the solar system. It will soon be out of the heliosheath and travelling into deep space.