Space Rocks Launches With Lonely Robot And Tim Peake


Space Rocks launches at Indigo at south London’s O2 on April 22 with live performances from Lonely Robot and former Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley.

The new initiative – created in partnership with European Space Agency (ESA) and Twin V Ltd – explores the impact that space has on music and culture. The very first event also includes appearances from Tim Peake, science fiction author Alastair Reynoldsand Matt Taylor from the Rosetta space mission that inspired Vangelis’ most recent album Rosetta.

Says co-founder and Twin V director Alexander Milas, “Space Rocks came about because we all had a belief that space exploration is something that inspires imaginations, not just of scientists, but it pertains to some of the most profound literature, the greatest art and a lot of music. We feel there’s this inexorable link between space and everyone’s imagination, but we thought that what didn’t exist right now was a family-friendly event that brings all those things under one roof.”

Piloting in April, the one-dayer will be split into three sessions with static exhibits and a space lounge for space enthusiasts to enjoy. The sessions are:

Session One (12.30pm - 2.30pm) – Space Academy
Featuring demonstrations and discussions by ESA scientists, engineers and friends, including Major Tim Peake, astrophysicist Dr Maggie Lieu, Antarctic medical researcher Dr Beth Healey and Rosetta comet-lander project scientist Dr Matt Taylor.

Session Two (3.30pm - 6pm) – Science Fiction vs Space Fact
Featuring ESA senior science advisor Professor Mark McCaughrean and science fiction bestseller Dr Alastair Reynolds, with more special guests to be announced.

Session Three (7.30pm - 10.30pm) – Space Rocks Live with Charlotte Hatherley and Lonely Robot
Live music from artists whose love of sci-fi and space travel has influenced their most recent albums.

The idea came about while Alexander Milas was Metal Hammer’s Editor-In-Chief.

He says, “It’s no secret that I’m a huge space fan and one of the things I was involved in [while at Metal Hammer] was the Golden Gods Awards. We had the Spirit Of Hammer Award for people who we felt were inspiring but who weren’t necessarily heavy metal musicians. In 2015, I invited Dr Matt Taylor to come down because he wasn’t just the project scientist involved in the Rosetta comet mission, but he’s also a huge music fan.

“It got me thinking, it got Matt thinking and other fantastic people at the ESA thinking, is there anything else we can do? The conversation was originally all about the Rosetta mission; they did an amazing thing, they landed a probe on a comet. We said, ‘It’s kind of sad that this robot is going to land on this comet then run out of juice and just float in space for the next billion years.’ We started talking about a going away party for it and maybe we’d get some bands to play, and here we are, a little while later, with this fantastic event.”

Visit the official Space Rocks website for more information and ticket options.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.