SFF Song of the Week: Adrian Reynolds

Screenwriter and blogger Adrian Reynolds has been a regular visitor to this site, and contributed a fabulous guest blog about Spider-Man not so long back.   I asked Adrian to come up with an SFF Song of the Week, and he came up with this amazing choice.

Adrian Reynolds writes:

There’ve been a few of these SFF songs now, and one name is conspicuous by its absence. The band I’m thinking of did one album with a gatefold sleeve that folded out into a warrior’s shield, of all things. They frequently sing about spaceships, and their live shows feature a wealth of original and plundered sf imagery. OK, so they’ve not troubled the charts much, but they’re still remembered fondly for a single about a marvellous device that helps its owner ride through space and time — a Silver Machine.

The band is Hawkwind of course. They didn’t just dabble in science fiction — they lived it. Early on, the band were based in Ladbroke Grove, where they got to know another Notting Hill resident in the form of Michael Moorcock. It’s the stale aroma of science fantasy paperbacks and bearded writers that probably keeps people at bay from Hawkwind — Half Man Half Biscuit nailed popular response with their lyric “Mention the Lord of the Rings once again/And I’ll more than likely kill you/Moorcock Moorcock Michael Moorcock/You fervently moan.”

Stick with them though, and Hawkwind — particularly early Hawkwind — reward attention. To my ears there’s not a lot to distinguish between some of their music and that of celebrated German hipsters Can. Only, where Can’s electrifying primitivism was produced by musicians who had jazz chops and classical training, Hawkwind’s was the result of giving electricity to primitives. The results were intermittently brilliant, particularly on the celebrated Space Ritual tour of 1973, which is where this Michael Moorcock penned piece comes from. Sonic Attack is an interlude in the chaos of their show, delivered by Robert Calvert with a backing you could either describe as musique concrete, or what happens when drug-addled loons are given primitive synthesisers. Put on your loon pants, light up a joss stick, and enjoy…

In case of Sonic Attack on your district, follow these rules…..

If you are making love it is imperative to bring all bodies to orgasm
Do not waste time blocking your ears.
Do not waste time seeking a soundproof shelter.
Try to get as far away from the sonic source as possible,
but do not panic…..

Use your wheels. It is what they are for.
Small babies may be placed inside the special cocoons,
which should be left if possible, in a shelter.
Do not attempt to use your own limbs.
If no wheels are available, metal, not organic, limbs
should be employed whenever possible…..

Remember, in the case of Sonic Attack, Survival means every man for himself.
Statistically more people survive if they think only of themselves.
Do not attempt to rescue friends, relatives, loved ones.
You have only a few seconds to escape.
Use those seconds sensibly or you will inevitably die.
Do not panic.
Think only of yourself….

These are the first signs of Sonic Attack:
You will notice small objects, such as ornaments, oscillating.
You will notice a vibration in your diaphragm.
You will hear a distant hissing in your ears.
You will feel dizzy.
You will feel the need to vomit.
There will be bleeding from orifices.
There will be an ache in the pelvic region.
You may be subject to fits of hysterical shouting, or even laughter.

These are all sign of imminent Sonic destruction.
Your only real protection is flight.
If you are less than ten years old, then remain in your shelter and use
your cocoon.
But remember:
You can help no-one else, No-one else, No-one else……

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