Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Romeo Echo Delta

There's something I've never told you, I'm afraid of Alien Invasion, no really… it may be related to my childhood fear of Jeff Wayne's disco-prog reworking of War of the Worlds. Still besides that I always enjoyed what they call 'genre' stuff and the weird bleed through there seems to occur when peoples imaginations are peeked.

When I see posts advertising a radio piece to be broadcast on Halloween called Romeo Echo Delta, homage to Orson Well's 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds I'm going to be interested. The unique selling point (though 20 miles away I can't see it) is a red light in the sky, to appear at the same time as the broadcast. Tuning in I catch the end of the disclaimer ensuring the fiction, the story unfolds of lights in the sky but mainly of confusion. One of themes of the piece is that despite a world of near immediate communication this doesn't provide us with any supernatural power to actually know or understand what's going on.

Or to protect you from any disastrous event and don't expect the authorities to protect you as they'll be as confused as you.

Of course Red Echo Delta is in the fine tradition of hoax broadcasts, such as Ghostwatch and Alternative 3 ( I mention Alternative 3 because though it's clearly a fake, as it features many well know character actors and references events that didn't happen, there is still a body of conspiracy theorists who see this as an expression of Goebbels dictum of 'hiding the truth in a lie' (just read some of the comments on youtube). What has this have to do with Romeo Echo Delta? Well it seems to me that the initial exploration of the failings of contemporary reporting, also becomes an exploration of how events both real and fictional are disseminated, mixed with our fears and passed on across a platform like the internet. Just think about the 'documentaries' regarding 9/11.

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard may of inadvertently(?) created a new urban myth about the time aliens came to Birkenhead, I mean not everyone who saw the light was aware of the broadcast they won't know it was a piece of Halloween fun, right? .

Time will tell keep watching the internet!

The original broadcast on BBC Radio Merseyside (its about half an hour in)

Alternative 3:

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