In anticipation of Thom York’s  new band “Atoms for Peace’s,” first tour, I have decided to take a look at the ways in which the this itty bitty nuclear particle has influenced the output of other admired creatives. This is a only a taster of what I have found…

ATOM PIECE (Model for Nuclear Energy) by Henry Moore

A bronze sculpture by Henry Moore that featured in his recent exhibition at The Tate Britain. Its permeant home is the University of Chicago and the spot where the world’s first nuclear reactor was made. In 1934 Enrico Fermi, the Italian nuclear physicist carried out the first successful controlled nuclear fission in a shed on Chicago University campus in complete secret. This was an event of extreme historical significance as it meant that for the first time Man was able to control this huge force for peaceful purposes. In 1964 The talents of Moore were enlisted to commemorate the success of Fermi’s experiment. The sculpture bears heavy connotation; its shape alluding to both the human skull and the atomic mushroom cloud, thus an apt reflection of the morbid and scientific potential of the atom.  Moore’s choice of “Atom piece,” as the title of the sculpture is a devious play on words that reveals the artists own stance as a nuclear disarmament activist. Resultantly viewers are encouraged to assume the same approach to consideration of the theme.


The Madonna of Port Lligat 1949

Until the the atomic age, Salvaodr Dali, one of the greatest Spanish artists of all time, was consumed with his pursuit of the surreal. However the global fear and uncertainty that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki instigated, catalyzed drastic thematic change within Dali’s artistic output. He recognized that the nuclear age had irrevocably changed humanity’s perception of natural existence. Instead of focusing on the internalized realm of human psyche, he began to look at the human psyche in connection with the outside world; its realities, religions and sciences. Dali developed a profound interest in the ideas of Werner Heisenberg and his Uncertainty Principle of Quantum theory. From this was born a new artistic manifesto; the “Anti-Matter Manifesto,” and in turn a new artistic movement that Dali called Nuclear Mysticism. His paintings became hyper-real and increasingly elemental, often featuring material objects in the process of particular decomposition. Religious imagery and iconography became a heavy feature as Dali expressed his own renewed interest in religion and the divine, as well as his believe in the benefits of regarding quantum physics with a metaphysical eye. Such is evidence of Dali’s position as a visionary as well as an artist.

Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove or: how I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Dr Strangelove is a perfect spoof of the military and political mayhem that provoked the birth of the atomic age. The movie tells the tale of General Jack D. Ripper, a maniacal U.S military leader who goes behind the President’s back to mount a campaign that will eradicate communism by sending a squadron of B-52 bombers to blitz the soviet union. Total farce ensues as the President, played by Peter Seller’s, and his war council unveil and try to rectify the insane actions of one of their much trusted generals. During the movie as well as the part of the President,  Sellars masterfully plays the part of a highly strung British army captain and Dr. Strangelove the mental bomb maker. Shot in monochromatic colours, the movie is a stark and completely hilarious insight into the insanity of the threat of nuclear holocaust. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are missing out on one of the greatest satirical comedy’s of all time.

Two Suns in the Sunset – Pink Floyd

A metaphor for the fireball surrounding an atomic bomb. This song is bittersweet…

Ill end on something I love by Gregory Corso. For anyone who doesnt know, Corso was a key player in the Beat scene, (meaning he was driven by a philosophy that slammed the  lethargic  and decadent attitude of mass consciousness during this era.) Its pretty long but worth reading. Enough said. Ill let the poetry do the talking.


Budger of history Brake of time You Bomb
Toy of universe Grandest of all snatched sky I cannot hate you
Do I hate the mischievous thunderbolt the jawbone of an ass
The bumpy club of One Million B.C. the mace the flail the axe
Catapult Da Vinci tomahawk Cochise flintlock Kidd dagger Rathbone
Ah and the sad desparate gun of Verlaine Pushkin Dillinger Bogart
And hath not St. Michael a burning sword St. George a lance David a sling
Bomb you are as cruel as man makes you and you’re no crueller than cancer
All Man hates you they’d rather die by car-crash lightning drowning
Falling off a roof electric-chair heart-attack old age old age O Bomb
They’d rather die by anything but you Death’s finger is free-lance
Not up to man whether you boom or not Death has long since distributed its
categorical blue I sing thee Bomb Death’s extravagance Death’s jubilee
Gem of Death’s supremest blue The flyer will crash his death will differ
with the climbor who’ll fall to die by cobra is not to die by bad pork
Some die by swamp some by sea and some by the bushy-haired man in the night
O there are deaths like witches of Arc Scarey deaths like Boris Karloff
No-feeling deaths like birth-death sadless deaths like old pain Bowery
Abandoned deaths like Capital Punishment stately deaths like senators
And unthinkable deaths like Harpo Marx girls on Vogue covers my own
I do not know just how horrible Bombdeath is I can only imagine
Yet no other death I know has so laughable a preview I scope
a city New York City streaming starkeyed subway shelter
Scores and scores A fumble of humanity High heels bend
Hats whelming away Youth forgetting their combs
Ladies not knowing what to do with their shopping bags
Unperturbed gum machines Yet dangerous 3rd rail
Ritz Brothers from the Bronx caught in the A train
The smiling Schenley poster will always smile
Impish death Satyr Bomb Bombdeath
Turtles exploding over Istanbul
The jaguar’s flying foot
soon to sink in arctic snow
Penguins plunged against the Sphinx
The top of the Empire state
arrowed in a broccoli field in Sicily
Eiffel shaped like a C in Magnolia Gardens
St. Sophia peeling over Sudan
O athletic Death Sportive Bomb
the temples of ancient times
their grand ruin ceased
Electrons Protons Neutrons
gathering Hersperean hair
walking the dolorous gulf of Arcady
joining marble helmsmen
entering the final ampitheater
with a hymnody feeling of all Troys
heralding cypressean torches
racing plumes and banners
and yet knowing Homer with a step of grace
Lo the visiting team of Present
the home team of Past
Lyre and tube together joined
Hark the hotdog soda olive grape
gala galaxy robed and uniformed
commissary O the happy stands
Ethereal root and cheer and boo
The billioned all-time attendance
The Zeusian pandemonium
Hermes racing Owens
The Spitball of Buddha
Christ striking out
Luther stealing third
Planeterium Death Hosannah Bomb
Gush the final rose O Spring Bomb
Come with thy gown of dynamite green
unmenace Nature’s inviolate eye
Before you the wimpled Past
behind you the hallooing Future O Bomb
Bound in the grassy clarion air
like the fox of the tally-ho
thy field the universe thy hedge the geo
Leap Bomb bound Bomb frolic zig and zag
The stars a swarm of bees in thy binging bag
Stick angels on your jubilee feet
wheels of rainlight on your bunky seat
You are due and behold you are due
and the heavens are with you
hosanna incalescent glorious liaison
BOMB O havoc antiphony molten cleft BOOM
Bomb mark infinity a sudden furnace
spread thy multitudinous encompassed Sweep
set forth awful agenda
Carrion stars charnel planets carcass elements
Corpse the universe tee-hee finger-in-the-mouth hop
over its long long dead Nor
From thy nimbled matted spastic eye
exhaust deluges of celestial ghouls
From thy appellational womb
spew birth-gusts of of great worms
Rip open your belly Bomb
from your belly outflock vulturic salutations
Battle forth your spangled hyena finger stumps
along the brink of Paradise
O Bomb O final Pied Piper
both sun and firefly behind your shock waltz
God abandoned mock-nude
beneath His thin false-talc’s apocalypse
He cannot hear thy flute’s
happy-the-day profanations
He is spilled deaf into the Silencer’s warty ear
His Kingdom an eternity of crude wax
Clogged clarions untrumpet Him
Sealed angels unsing Him
A thunderless God A dead God
O Bomb thy BOOM His tomb
That I lean forward on a desk of science
an astrologer dabbling in dragon prose
half-smart about wars bombs especially bombs
That I am unable to hate what is necessary to love
That I can’t exist in a world that consents
a child in a park a man dying in an electric-chair
That I am able to laugh at all things
all that I know and do not know thus to conceal my pain
That I say I am a poet and therefore love all man
knowing my words to be the acquainted prophecy of all men
and my unwords no less an acquaintanceship
That I am manifold
a man pursuing the big lies of gold
or a poet roaming in bright ashes
or that which I imagine myself to be
a shark-toothed sleep a man-eater of dreams
I need not then be all-smart about bombs
Happily so for if I felt bombs were caterpillars
I’d doubt not they’d become butterflies
There is a hell for bombs
They’re there I see them there
They sit in bits and sing songs
mostly German songs
And two very long American songs
and they wish there were more songs
especially Russian and Chinese songs
and some more very long American songs
Poor little Bomb that’ll never be
an Eskimo song I love thee
I want to put a lollipop
in thy furcal mouth
a wig of Goldilocks on thy baldy bean
and have you skip with me Hansel and Gretel
along the Hollywoodian screen
O Bomb in which all lovely things
moral and physical anxiously participate
O fairylike plucked from the
grandest universe tree
O piece of heaven which gives
both mountain and anthill a sun
I am standing before your fantastic lily door
I bring you Midgardian roses Arcadian musk
Reputed cosmetics from the girls of heaven
Welcome me fear not thy opened door
nor thy cold ghost’s grey memory
nor the pimps of indefinite weather
their cruel terrestial thaw
Oppenheimer is seated
in the dark pocket of Light
Fermi is dry in Death’s Mozambique
Einstein his mythmouth
a barnacled wreath on the moon-squid’s head
Let me in Bomb rise from that pregnant-rat corner
nor fear the raised-broom nations of the world
O Bomb I love you
I want to kiss your clank eat your boom
You are a paean an acme of scream
a lyric hat of Mister Thunder
O resound thy tanky knees
BOOM ye skies and BOOM ye suns
BOOM BOOM ye moons ye stars BOOM
nights ye BOOM ye days ye BOOM
BOOM BOOM ye winds ye clouds ye rains
Go BANG ye lakes ye oceans BING
Barracuda BOOM and cougar BOOM
Ubangi BOOM orangutang
BING BANG BONG BOOM bee bear baboon
the tail the fin the wing
Yes Yes into our midst a bomb will fall
Flowers will leap in joy their roots aching
Fields will kneel proud beneath the halleluyahs of the wind
Pinkbombs will blossom Elkbombs will perk their ears
Ah many a bomb that day will awe the bird a gentle look
Yet not enough to say a bomb will fall
or even contend celestial fire goes out
Know that the earth will madonna the Bomb
that in the hearts of men to come more bombs will be born
magisterial bombs wrapped in ermine all beautiful
and they’ll sit plunk on earth’s grumpy empires
fierce with moustaches of gold

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