Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Laika Rolling Stone

Once more I have been found misleading my bandmates. Laika didn't make it back. Laika didn't even come close to making it back. For years they pretended she had lived for a few days but one of the main scientists involved disclosed in 2002 that she had lived for only 7 hours in space as the thermal control system in the cabin had malfunctioned. You can get the whole sorry tale here. I find the image of this local furry squid stading alertly and happily to attention in her smart space harness quite affecting next to the story.

Poor old Bars and Lisichka didn't even last seven hours as their rocket exploded 28.5 seconds after launch. At least they had each other. I could only find one photo that might have been of one of them.

Finally Belka and Strelka made it back alive! They travelled with a grey rabbit, 42 mice, 2 rats, flies and a number of plants and fungi. What a gay time they must have had during their day in space. Interestingly Belka and Strelka, pictured below, get the guernsey of first earth bound animals in space to return happily and not the rabbit or one of the anonymous 42 mice.
By contrast to Laika, Belka looks suitably concerened about the mission (perhaps someone had told her about the first two attempts?). She doesn't, to me, look panicked, despite the wide eyes, so much as resigned and melancholic. Strelka on the other hand looks stoicly resolute about carrying out the task, not unlike Animal Farm's Boxer.

For more on Russian space dogs (for there are many) look here and here.

Ham the chimp, our first American entrant, made it back! And can be seen here giving the handshake upon return...although knowing the Americans penchant for faking moon landings this may not be Ham and they just pretended and used another chimp.

This is band blog worthy as hopefully the working titled song, Words from Ham, will be produced shortly.

Labels: , ,


Blogger silky-D said...

firstly: nice post.

secondly: with regard to Laika, I told you so.

thirdly: I think my theory about Teenage Fanclub's hit 'Sparky's Dream' being about a certain space ape may be on the money. A little googling has produced nothing definitive but some strong circumstantial evidence.

SD featured, of course, on the excellent 1995 release Grand Prix, which most critics rank below Bandwagonesque and Thirteen but which I feel is the equal of their outstanding debut.

A year later the band collaborated with Eugene Kelly (from fellow Scottish indie scenesters The Vaselines) on a side project album. The Vaselines were memorably name-checked by Kurt Cobain on Nirvana's MTV Unplugged album and Cobain has said Kelly was one of his two favourite songwriters (which is sightly ironic given that the Vaselines song covered on the unplugged album is, in turn, a cover of an old Anglican hymn that, incidentally, my mother used to sing at school.)

It's like saying you're in awe of Modern Doug Park's songwriting chops and then launching into a note-perfect version of Panic In Detroit.

Anyway, enough rambling: What was the name of the Fanclub/Kelly collaboratiion project released just a year after Sparky's Dream?

Astrochimp. Nuff said.

8/1/08 13:23  
Blogger Fluffy said...

Are you sure Sparky's Dream is about a space ape not coming back? It seems a most adveturous reading of the lyrics.

My work is releasing a tribute in bag form to The Reliable Gordo very shortly. Gordo was a squirrel monkey and would have easily fit inside the bag in question with much space to spare. In fact Gordo's little capsule probably would have been far more cramped.

8/1/08 14:55  
Blogger Unrelenting Tedium said...

Nice to see I have inspired some comments...I realise recent posts have been lack lustre but being met with silence always causes a small part of me to wither and die.

"Most critics rank below bandwagonesque and thirteen"...this has not been my experience at all. As far as I have read it is the critic's fav. Poor old Thirteen gets derided by everyone including the band who didn't even include the lead single, Escher, on their best of (in fact a quick check shows only Hang On and Radio made the cut on a 21 track album). I have always liked Thirteen very much and feel it has been unfairly attacked. In publicity for Grand Prix the band basically apologised for it.

Sorry, you touched a sore point. Anytime anyone mentions 13 it is like dropping a coin in the slot and I am away. Don't get me started on Henry's Dream.

I have seen Eugene Kelly open for Teenage Fanclub 3 times and he is a lucky twerp...and now a very conceited lucky twerp as everyone is on his willy...well they were 15 years ago. For boring drivvel see his side project Eugenius.

Fluffy, that is truly touching and appropriate tribute. May I suggest 5 pockets to recognise the "5 monkeys called Albert" who preceded Gordo?

8/1/08 16:01  
Blogger Unrelenting Tedium said...

Also, I think Eugene Kelly did write Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam...it is just based on the hymn(?) I'll Be A Sunbeam which has Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam as its first line. Kurdt inserted the cheeky "Doesn't" in to the title when he covered it, although his American patois curupted the word to "don't" when sung.

Also I didn't write Panic in Detroit, Paddy did, hence its popularity.

8/1/08 16:29  
Blogger silky-D said...

I've always felt sneered at for liking Grand Prix. Most references to it are usually preceded with something like, ''the band's most accessible/radio friendly offering'' which I take to be a reproach/music critic slapdown, referring to the Fannies as having sold out/gone mainstream. But I take your point on thirteen...

no mention, I see, of Songs from Northern Britain, which is as it should be. Oops.

And I realised Panic in Detroit wasn't quite right but I couldn't remember how to spell Sibella and couldn't be asked looking it up or getting it wrong.

And Fluffy, surely you'd admit that Astrochimp is too uncanny to be coincidence?

8/1/08 17:51  
Blogger Unrelenting Tedium said...

That is a fair point about Grand Prix and I am very fond of it. I think certainly their most consistent album...I actually enjoy it, Bandwagonesque and 13 equally and can't pick a fav. (Songs From Northern Britain, Man Made and Howdy are all definitely second tier by comparison BUT they have all grown on me over time).

To defend Fluffy from your vitriol, I think, after looking at the lyrics closely, she has a point that it is an adventurous reading, even with the remarkable Astrochimp fact...to end this I think you should post your thoughts here at:

and let the experts decide.

Think of it as a lyrical chinese downhill...it is the only way to settle this.

8/1/08 18:26  

Post a Comment

<< Home