IN the days when the equivalent
of £3:50 could provide a high tea, a night at the cinema for two and a
packet of premier cru wine gums, I occasionally took girlfriends to
Edinburghís Odeon cinema which had an auditorium ceiling that indicated,
decoratively but inaccurately, the starlit heavens.
That was no
barrier to me. I would point out what I claimed were the Great Bear,
Orionís Belt, Pegasus and the Pleiades. "Gosh, Albert, you must know just
about everything," said one lass, an assertion I did not deny.
early, childrenís matinee, cinema-going days when, scrutinising the Moon,
I could work out where Wanda, the Venusian witch queen met the crab men
from Mars, to the present pictures of the Red Planet, a study of which has
familiarised me with practically every revealed pebble, I have been an
The universe has, however, disappointed me. I have
seen awesome pictures of Saturn and Jupiter, the tortured, twisted or
frozen surfaces of planetary satellites, astonishing Hubble telescope
photographs of colourful chaos, and I know that the star-powdered heavens
are pulsating with deaths and births of galaxies, are strewn with asteroid
belts, radiation fields and black holes, but I want some intelligent-life
contact because there is not too much on Earth.
Wellsís novel, The War of the Worlds, fiction and films have often
postulated the inherent malevolence of Earth visitors shaped like
hyperactive tapioca puddings trying to ingest the planet, pods seeding
human likenesses and others, exhibiting all-too-human characteristics,
merely attempting to blast the planet into jigsaw puzzle fragments.
A fear that
extraterrestrial beings may not like us or are waiting to take us over,
has helped to fuel interest in so-called flying saucers.
flying object sightings began in the United States in 1947, but from 7
January, 1948, when a US National Guard pilot, Captain Thomas F Mantell,
chasing an apparently metallic, circular object over Kentucky, radioed,
"Itís huge. Itís ..." before his plane crashed, UFOs in atomic-age skies
began to be reported worldwide.
UFOs have resembled saucers,
cigars, tea cosies, large, flashing lights, chamberpots and psychological
test Rorschach blots. Most have been identified as bright planets, stars,
aircraft, unusual cloud formations or balloons, but some have not been
explained and the possibility remains that nightmarish, bug-eyed creatures
with fearfully-high IQs, possibly living on a diet of electrons, which
probably accounts for much of our radio static, have been trying to
discover how humans tick.
If so, they may be losing patience. Flying saucer
spottings have fallen so much that UFO Magazine, which has featured
sightings, abductions by aliens and close encounters, is to close. Two
years ago, the British Flying Saucer Bureau was shut after UFO visitations
and membership decreased.
That prompts the dismal question: have airborne
aliens become so disillusioned by what they see on this tortured planet
that they are going into hyper warp drive, adjusting their cosmic-ray
diffusers and heading for more congenial climes?
supporter of galactic amity, I still hope that, one day, some outer space
visitants will land on earth and stop the inhabitants from tearing
themselves and the planet to pieces The fact that remedial aliens could
resemble man-sized tadpoles with limbs, would not disguise the fact that
they could be new Labour in political outlook and, therefore, virtual
Tories. They would, I am certain, expand and improve global public
services, for the many, not the few, and, in a very real sense, create a
Swedish welfare state version of Utopia.
Non-smokers, they would be
caring and compassionate, devoted to free health care, community arts,
family planning, race relations, further education and pensioners.
favour theatre workshops and social-inclusion discussion and outreach
groups. In religious matters, they would initiate an ongoing and
open-ended dialogue in the context of the day and age.
Pie in the
sky? I hope not. All I say is that this explosive planet, with its
imploding civilisation, needs urgent visionary intervention. Donít desert
us, UFOs. Have a wine gum. If you want one word from us, written in crop
circles or otherwise, it is, "help".