Another enjoyable night out last night, as I went to the rather wonderful Shunt space beneath London Bridge station, to listen to upcoming Radio 4 Afternoon Play ‘Listen Up’.
Inspired by a recent Fortean Times article, the play deals with two Italian brothers, Achille and Giovanni Judica Cordiglia, who – in the late 50s and early 60s – managed to tune in to broadcasts from US and Soviet satellites and manned spacecraft.
Such was their ingenuity that they were actually better at tracking Soviet space missions than NASA; in fact, they apparently listened in on several pre-Gagarin manned spaceflights that – because each one ended in failure, and consequent fatality – were never officially acknowledged.
I really enjoyed it; it’s a very evocative piece, at once uncovering part of the hidden history of the space race and very effectively catching the paranoid spirit of the early 60s.
And afterwards, I managed to chat to author Glen Neath about it, so I’ll leave it to him to fill in the details – pausing only to note that it’s the Radio 4 Afternoon Play at 2.15pm on Friday 29th April, and will then be on iPlayer for a week or so afterwards. Make sure you listen in!