> Dynamic Earth: Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Dynamic Earth: Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon

I have to confess, I had never listened to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon before this event, not even to try to sync it up to The Wizard of Oz in a hazy afternoon for a laugh, and would be hard pressed to name any Pink Floyd songs at all. It’s an album that’s been ‘on my list’ for an inordinate amount of time and I thought coming to Dynamic Earth and viewing a specially made show on the dome, developed with Pink Floyd themselves, would be absolutely the coolest way to experience it for the first time, with fresh ears and mind. 

We filed into the planetarium dome room, sci-fi themed cocktails and mocktails in hand (such as ‘Life Finds A Way’ – a velvety espresso martini with a stencilled dinosaur egg floating on top), and listened to the exuberant Ally the Astronomer give an introduction. It wasn’t so much context for what we were about to experience, but more compassionate advice if it all got a bit too intense, like ‘close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and remember you are still on planet Earth’ and a kind reminder that they were just there outside those doors if we needed to leave. 

‘I thought I could touch the heartbeat of a rainbow and feel the dust and crust of the moon on my cheek and fly through a space station filled with floating televisions in zero gravity.’

Just as I was thinking he was being a bit excessive, the show began, and I thought I could touch the heartbeat of a rainbow and feel the dust and crust of the moon on my cheek and fly through a space station filled with floating televisions in zero gravity. And apart from my single cocktail, I was sober. I could only imagine the journey that those who elected to experience the show with any kind of chemical or herbal assistance might have been on.

The show was often realistic and grounded in science – zooming through asteroid fields, zipping round Saturn’s rings, floating along the sides of NASA space stations, and viewing orbital patterns around moons and planets. Each song had a new flavour, with cogs turning to the beats, flat colourful discs of galaxies contracting and expanding with the bass, pyramids and prisms pirouetting to the saxophone. Also, since I hadn’t listened to the album before, I had no way of knowing whether the laughter and the spoken quotes and the breathing sounds were part of the original music or not which added a surreal depth to my viewing.

‘Each song had a new flavour, with cogs turning to the beats, flat colourful discs of galaxies contracting and expanding with the bass, pyramids and prisms spinning to the saxophone.’

Much of the show was also whatever the opposite of grounded in science is. Constellation creatures – giant squids and jellyfish with bewitching brains – furled and unfurled; rainbow radio waves pulsed; stone pyramids became fluid. At least, that’s what I can make out from my notes – I wanted to take as few notes as possible to enjoy this to its fullest but also knew I wouldn’t be able to recall the details without some because everything shimmied and shifted so rapidly. 

In short, an evening well spent, doing something totally different and something you can only experience at a place like Dynamic Earth. They are reminding us that places like this aren’t just for kids – we can nurture our childlike wonder here too.

For details of Dynamic Earth’s Planetarium Late events:

dynamicearth.org.uk

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