Life on Venus – the song

It’s exciting to hear that evidence has been found for extra-terrestrial life – not on Mars as most assumed, but in the clouds of Venus. This was a plot point in my Edwardian Glam Rock musical HG Wells & The Spiders From Mars.

Poster by Slim Smith

HG Wells & the Spiders From Mars was a one man play which was to star Oliver Senton as Wells. He was to act alongside an invisible man, or possibly a ghost, or possibly a figment of his imagination. Or – just possibly – alongside the transgressive liberating spirit of Ziggy Stardust, who fell to earth 70 years too early and found the wrong boy genius from Bromley.

The play was due to be directed by Daisy Campbell and performed at the Cockpit Theater in London in April. But the pandemic happened and, as you can imagine, all plans were scuppered.

Oliver Senton as HG Wells. Photo from producer Kate Alderton

Composer Tim Arnold, however, had already written music to my lyrics, and the song ‘Life on Venus’ was recorded before the whole thing was cancelled.

In the play, Wells has come up with a brand new idea, one never before put to paper – an invasion from an alien planet. The invisible spirit of Ziggy, however, knows that the first story of inter-planetary contact will frame mankind’s thinking about such things for centuries to come. As such he is adamant that Wells’s aliens should not come from Mars, the planet of war, but from Venus, the planet of love. The sexually-liberated Wells is tempted, but he ultimately doesn’t think his late-Victorian readership could accept an encounter with a planet of love, and all that entails. For the sake of decency and his career, he chooses fear over love, and the split with his muse begins.

That’s the background for the song ‘Life on Venus’. So you can imagine how hearing evidence of alien life from Venus rather than Mars, in this context, sounded like a positive omen of… well, something or other. It was welcome, put it that way. To celebrate our cloud-based Venusian neighbours Tim Arnold is putting the song Life on Venus online. You can stream it now on his Bandcamp page. We’ll leave it up for 23 days, and if you do want a permanent copy, there’s a Pay What You Want option available.

Art by Slim Smith

Welcome to the neighbourhood, Venusians!

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