Sunday, 29 September 2019

Pricks in Space!

Here's the most curious story I've ever read about Andy Warhol. There is, allegedly, a secret art show installed on a hatch on a leg of the Apollo 12 landing module Intrepid. And one of the artworks on display is Andy Warhol's cock.

Artist Forrest ‘Frosty’ Myers tried to arrange for a ‘Moon Museum’ - a small collection of artworks - to be taken to the Moon on Apollo 12 but NASA rejected the idea. He therefore enlisted the help of an unnamed engineer at the Grumman Corporation and did it as guerrilla art. Work by Robert Rauschenberg (a wavy line), Andy Warhol (stylised initials), John Chamberlain (a geometric pattern), Claes Oldenburg (a mouse), David Novros (a square) and Myers (a computer generated shape) were miniaturized and baked onto an iridium-plated ceramic wafer measuring just 3/4" x 1/2" x 1/40", with the assistance of engineer Fred Waldhauer at Bell Labs.

Waldhauer knew an engineer at Grumman - only ever identified as John F - who agreed to attach it to Intrepid. Consequently, it was then allegedly taken to the Moon where it remains to this day. It was only later that NASA discovered what had happened, and that the supposedly ‘stylised initials’ drawn by Andy Warhol were, in fact, a drawing of a penis. At least 16 Moon Museums were created, making it one of rarest of 1960s multiples. Here's a better image of the postage stamp-sized 'Museum' where you can see the details more closely:

So, is the story true? NASA has never confirmed it. But, in 2010, the US PBS TV network did a documentary about the alleged lunar artwork and tracked down Apollo 12’s launch pad foreman, Richard Kupczyk, who confirmed that it is indeed on the lander - along with plenty of other smuggled items. 'Apollo was something bigger than life, and we were all part of it,' he said. 'We wanted to leave a mark.' And Frosty Myers is happy to show people a telegram dated 12th November 1969 from 'John F' stating: 'YOUR ON A.O.K. ALL SYSTEMS GO'. And the event was reported at the time. Two days after Apollo 12 left the moon (and two days before they splashed down) Myers broke the story to The New York Times which ran the article accompanied by a photograph of one of the 'Museums' - with a strategically placed thumb over Warhol's contribution.

If it was a hoax, it has lasted remarkably well and no one has ever managed to successfully debunk the story. I guess we'll only truly know the truth when we return to the Moon and someone goes and checks. But I hope it's true. I really hope it's true.

One small cock for a man, one cheeky act for Mankind.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Please Mummy, can we play indoors today?

Note: This post originally appeared on my old blog in 2014. But I decided it was worth reprinting it just for the sheer naked HORROR of it. Enjoy! 

I did a spot at Museums Show-Off a month or so ago. This is a London-based open mic event for people who either work in museums or have a connection to one. I was able to 'get away with it' by representing BBC Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity, for which I research content and co-write scripts.

Anyhow, the event is a spin-off from Science Show-Off and both were the brainchild of comedian and science geek Steve Cross. Steve acts as MC to the shows and, during the show I did, he shared some photos with the audience. Now I'd like to share them with you.

These are genuine items of 'playground equipment' he'd found on a housing estate in North London.

Who designs stuff like this?

As art, it's not even pleasant to look at. And what function do the pieces perform?

Do you climb on them? Throw things at them? Have nightmares about them?

Steve wouldn't be drawn on where exactly they were so I googled 'scary playground equipment' out of curiosity ... and discovered a whole exciting world of terrifying slides, revolting ride-ons and criminal climbing frames. Look!

(Photo: Flickr)

(Source: Strange and Interesting Things (link now defunct))

(Source: Fugly)

 (Source: Funelf (Link now defunct))

(Photo: Flickr)

(Photo: Flickr)

(Source: Tokyo Times)

Because nothing says fun like a dolphin with bleeding eyes, a demon-haunted roundabout and a giant red monkey that's been shot in the face.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Picture This

I'm not a photographer and I don't pretend to be. I leave that to my brother Si who IS a photographer and a very good one too. You can go look at some of his stuff here or here. However, I usually have a camera about my person and, every so often, I get a shot that pleases me immensely. I thought I'd share a few today. Not unsurprisingly perhaps, most are from my native Cornwall. The damned place is just so photogenic.

All shots (c) Stevyn Colgan and taken on a Canon EOS 550D.