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Ten Songs

Space Rock The Final Frontier: Sir Patrick Moore On Pop
Joel McIver , June 29th, 2009 08:10

From 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun' to 'Supermassive Black Hole' Joel McIver played Sir Patrick - the greatest living Englishman with a monocle - interplanetary rock and pop and asked him about the science behind the songs

"It feels like a different age now," ruminates Sir Patrick Moore, the 86-year-old TV presenter, astronomer and xylophone player, when you ask him if the 40 years since the first moon landing have gone quickly for him. As well he might: he's packed more into his long life than any other three people, presenting The Sky At Night for over half a century, establishing a global reputation as a maverick eccentric and making the mysteries of the cosmos understandable for the populace in doing so. On the release of an anniversary DVD of the 1969 Apollo 11 landing, what better time to ask Sir Patrick for his views on the juxtaposition of science and rock'n'roll? We took 10 songs with a cosmic, planetary or otherwise scientific theme and presented them to the great man for his opinion.

Listen along to Sir Patrick with a Spotify playlist of the tracks (with a little help from Psychic TV)

The Prodigy 'Out Of Space'

Sir Patrick says: "I must be quite honest with you: this isn't my kind of music."

'Out Of Space', warbled Essex techno crew The Prodge, via the gift of a Max Romeo vocal sample (from 'I Chase The Devil'). Does space have a boundary, in fact, and if so what lies beyond it?

"Well, we're rather stuck here. Either space is finite or else it isn't. If it's finite, then what's outside it? Maybe there's nothing – no more space. If the other hand space is infinite, you can't think about something that goes on forever. My brain won't do it and nor will yours. You can't describe infinity in ordinary words: I can't and neither could Einstein. I know because I asked him. Ha ha!"

What is the furthest we can see with telescopes?

"At the present moment we can see over 13 thousand million lightyears. If the Hubble law is good – that the further away you are, the greater velocity you attain – then at about 13.8 thousand million lightyears you're going so fast that you're travelling at the speed of light, at which point all communications are cut off."...

...The full version of this article is available in Point Close All Quotes: A Quietus Music Anthology. Buy it now in the Amazon Kindle store.

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