Duncan here. The exhibition came down today. It was a little bit like this:
Thanks to everyone who came down to see the show and made it so enjoyable. Stay tuned to the blog as we will be showing more of our artwork here, as well as footage from the accoustic show, previews for the upcoming Vostok 5 Live Spectacular at the Wilmington Arms, and possibly other fascinating space paraphernalia we have found along the way.
Wernher von Braun: I aim for the stars (but sometimes I hit London)
Wernher von Braun is probably not the first name to come to mind when people think of space and astronauts, but to me he is where the story of space flight begins. Born to an aristocratic German family, Wernher was obsessed with rockets and the possibility of space travel from an early age. During world war two, he developed the V-2 rocket for the Nazis, and after surrendering to the Americans went on to oversee the Saturn rockets used for the Apollo program. It is very possible that without Wernher von Braun, Neil Armstrong would never have made that great leap for mankind.
Last week I was in the studio with my band, Tigercats, recording a song about von Braun. Here’s a picture of Jonny synchronising our drum machines. The recording went well, but Wernher is a hard man to write a song about. To many he is an American hero, to others he is a Nazi war criminal. It’s hard to get a handle on him. To me he is fascinating as man who was prepared to pursue his vision at any cost, no matter how ludicrous it may have seemed.
He never seemed like a vulnerable man, but I tried to imagine him at a vulnerable moment. After the war he and his team were effectively held prisoner at Fort Bliss, Texas. Criticised over his Nazi past by a hostile American press, and side-lined by the military, von Brauns dreams of exploring space must have seemed further away than ever.
I’m not the first to write a song about Wernher von Braun, so I’ll leave you with Tom Lehrer’s excellent, less than sympathetic take on the man.