As time passes – or as what passes for time passes – I’m finding that my attention is increasingly drawn to matters nuclear. This week I began work on a scriptwriting project centred on a site I’ve mentioned in previous posts: Hack Green nuclear bunker. Hack Green as a site has origins in World War II and was heavily modified in the early 1980s at the height of the so-called ‘Second Cold War’, i.e. when Reagan-era America redesignated the USSR as the ‘Evil Empire’. The site was designed to serve as a Regional Government Headquarters (RGHQ) in the event of a nuclear strike on the UK and the subsequent (and probably inevitable) collapse of central government. As such, it was fortified against the effects of a nuclear blast and given enhanced protection against fallout and Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP). Theoretically, this would enable its full complement of 135 personnel (a mix of government ministers, civil servants, and scientific, technical and military staff) to survive for a period of 45 days before emerging to sift through the radioactive sludge like the rest of us poor mortals.
After being decommissioned in 1992 Hack Green became a museum. The current owner has managed to acquire an impressive stock of decommissioned nuclear weapons (the story goes that if they retained their warheads then Hack Green would be the world’s seventh largest nuclear power) and a host of monitoring and warning equipment from the UK’s Regional Air Operations Command based at RAF Fylingdales. This equipment formed part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) used to issue the national Air Attack Warning, as immortalised in the song “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. BMEWS (let’s call it bemuse or be muse) was linked to a network called HANDEL, which would issue the Attack Warning Red alert via 250 Carrier Control Points (CCPs) located at major police headquarters. In turn, the CCPs would alert thousands of Carrier Receivers at other strategic locations and activate sirens giving us the infamous “Four Minute Warning” to fuck ourselves silly.
In any event, just hours after I started researching Hack Green the usual madness began. It started with an attack on Hack Green’s website. One minute Google was listing the site as usual, the next a message appeared stating “This site may harm your computer”. According to Google’s Transparency Report “www.hackgreen.co.uk is not safe to visit right now” as it may attempt to install malicious programs, which typically take the form of a Trojan Horse. The obvious conclusion is that Hack Green has been hacked! Then, from out of nowhere, the media broke the story of the sudden deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman and…OK, let me explain…
What immediately struck me about the deaths of Bowie and Rickman is how much they remind me of the death of Freddie Mercury. Mercury’s illness, like that of Bowie and Rickman, was known within the industry and presumably to the media, who managed to exercise an uncommon and uncharacteristic restraint in not reporting it. The kind of restraint that was noticeable only for its absence in relation to, for example, the recent ‘outing’ of Charlie Sheen’s HIV status. Bowie and Rickman’s struggle with cancer seems to have been similarly shrouded in secrecy, as if subject to a media blackout. The Mercury connection (and its links to Mercury/Hermes as the winged messenger of the Gods) was picked up over at Merovee, where I linked it to NASA’s Mercury space program from the 1960s. Lest we forget, David Bowie was the Starman, not to mention The Man Who Fell to Earth. He was deliberately and consciously a Space Oddity.
The song is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut, and was released during a period of great interest in space flight. The United States’ Apollo 11 mission would launch 5 days later, and would become the first manned moon landing another 5 days later. The lyrics have also been seen to lampoon the British space programme, which had only launched rockets at that time and has never attempted a moon landing. Besides its title, which alludes to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the introduction to the song is a barely audible instrumental build-up that is analogous to the deep bass tone in Also sprach Zarathustra that is prominently used in the film.
Building on the Starman reference, it’s worth noting that both Bowie and Rickman died of cancer at the age of 69. If we rotate the number 69 through 90 degrees then we’re left with the symbol for the star sign Cancer.
That both stars died of the same disease at exactly the same age brings our attention to another star sign: Gemini or The Twins. Co-incidentally, Gemini was the name of NASA’s second space program. The basic purpose of the Gemini program was to perfect the rendezvous and
fucking docking procedures required to fulfil John F Kennedy’s vision of a moon landing before the end of the 1960s. Essentially, Mercury gave birth to Gemini and Gemini gave birth to Apollo. The twins of Gemini are Castor and Pollux, mortals who were elevated to the status of Gods after death and placed in the sky to become the brightest stars in the constellation Gemini. The mythological Apollo was a sun-god and the sun is also a star. When we consider what a star is and how it shines we’re brought full circle to the topic introduced at the beginning of this post.
A star is a luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity…a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core, releasing energy that traverses the star’s interior and then radiates into outer space.
At this stage it’s important to note that the history of space flight is inseparable from the history of nuclear weapons. The ‘nose cone’ in which today’s astronauts ‘ride the lightning’ was designed to house Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles rather than a life-support system for human beings. The ‘space rocket’ is simply a re-tasked ballistic missile. Its nose cone cover is referred to as a ‘shroud’.
On the subject of chain reactions and star signs, another Zodiac-themed story emerged this week about Leo-nardo DiCapri(corn)io at the Golden Globes.
Leonardo DiCaprio embarrassed after his priceless reaction to Lady Gaga barging past him goes viral…
The Mail Online proceeds to describe how Leo ‘rolled his eyes’ at the ‘platinum’ blonde (and totally oblivious) Gaga. The point – or rather the pun – being that platinum is the least reactive of all metals.
At this point, it’s impossible not to mention the film Capricorn One. Anyone familiar with Stanley Kubrick and “2001: A Space Odyssey” will be aware of the conspiracy theory surrounding his role in the supposed faking of the Apollo moon landings. The suggestion is that NASA fulfilled Kennedy’s vision as Hollywood dream rather than reality. Capricorn One is a thinly veiled allusion to this, with the astronaut’s destination switched to Mars (think Ziggy Stardust) rather than the moon.
The Space Odyssey/Oddity theme is currently playing out above our heads in the cold vacuum of space. It seems that ‘Major Tim’ has cut the umbilical cord and freed himself from the womb of the ISS (i.e. ISIS) in order to change a ‘Sequential Shunt’ power unit.
This story mirrors a sequence from Kubrick’s film where HAL fakes a failure in the AE-35 control unit and astronauts David Bowman and Frank Poole are obliged to perform a spacewalk in order to replace it. Crucially, it’s the AE-35 unit that enables Discovery to remain in contact with Mission Control on Earth.
Major Peake and Flight Engineer Kopra began their preparations more than an hour ago by ‘prebreathing’ which means inhaling pure oxygen, to purge their bodies of nitrogen. The process stops astronauts getting a serious condition known as decompression sickness or ‘the bends’ when they leave the high pressure environment inside the ISS – which is similar to the Earth – to the lower pressure spacesuit.
The reference to breathing pure oxygen refers us to the Apollo 1 disaster caused by a stray spark in the capsule’s pure oxygen environment. The subsequent fire resulted in the death of all three astronauts and raised serious questions about NASA’s ability to achieve Kennedy’s goal.
The Mission Control theme appears in another story related to Bowie’s death. Specifically, to Madonna’s grief-stricken on-stage collapse, making her Bowie’s concubine as ‘The Woman Who Fell to Earth’. The location of her fall? Houston. The significance? NASA Mission Control is based at the Johnson Space Centre and is commonly referred to by the site’s location – Houston.
The Madonna incident comes as no surprise given that Bowie’s death coincided with the release of his latest single, Lazarus. The Raising of Lazarus is a key event in the life of Jesus, one that seems to pre-empt or foreshadow his own subsequent death and resurrection. There is a link here to ISS or ISIS and her husband Osiris, the ‘Green Man’, a dying/rising God associated with the cycle of birth-death-rebirth. The Christian Madonna and Child has its origins in the much earlier mother-child relationship of Isis and Horus. Again, another Space Odyssey theme can be seen here in the death of David Bowman and the subsequent birth of the Star Child at the very end of the film.
The iconography of Bowie’s Lazarus is very revealing. In the video, Bowie is shown as if being raised from the dead, but with his eyes buttoned shut. This echoes “Eyes Wide Shut”, Kubrick’s final film before his death in 1999 following a massive heart attack.
Another story that emerged after Bowie’s death seems to play with this theme.
Teacher who took class on black run faces investigation after two pupils among three dead in French avalanche
If there are three pupils and two are dead and unseeing then the other must be the Third or All-Seeing Eye…
All very well and good, but what of Bowie’s twin, Alan Rickman? Like Bowie, it seems that Rickman remained active throughout his illness and his latest film is due to be released in April. It’s all about Islam (eye slam) and the Electric Eye (or ‘I’) in the Sky.
Which is curious because the Electric Eye appears prominently in Bowie’s Moonage Daydream…
And Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, provided us with a Moonage Daydream in film form. In Moon, a clone named Sam Bell is responsible for harvesting helium-3 from the lunar surface. As mentioned above, helium is the by-product of a star’s thermonuclear fusion.
The Electric Eye is also a major theme in a certain Stanley Kubrick film…
There’s yet another link here between the ‘Major Tim’ ISS story and Kubrick’s Space Odyssey. The Mail Online article shows the below picture with the caption “This shot shows Major Peake grasping a tool in his gloved hand. It’s possible to see the Earth beneath him”.
In Kubrick’s Space Odyssey there’s a dramatic transition scene from the Dawn of Man to the modern era. The scene involves one of the apes learning how to use a bone as a tool, as a weapon. After using the tool to kill his mirror image from a rival ‘tribe’, the ape throws the bone into the sky where it turns into a satellite orbiting the earth. The film only alludes to the nature of the satellite in question, i.e. in relation to tensions between the US/USSR superpowers. However, Arthur C Clarke’s book makes it clear that the satellite is in fact an orbiting nuclear weapons platform in the vein of Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative, colloquially referred to as…Star Wars.
And if you read my previous post then the question I’ll leave you with at this point is: “Have you grasped the Tool yet…?”
Are you beginning to feel the electromagnetic pulse of Ra-dio-activity?
Part Two coming soon!