The Story of JOHNNY ROCKET - A read-as-you-listen guide...
Image © Steevi Bacon / Andy Kitson 2019
Print these liner notes off to follow the story on side 2 - keep it with your albums or even pop into your Narnia Box.
'The Story of Johnny Rocket', a young bespectacled lad that knew no boundaries when it came to following his dreams...
“I’ve seen the big cat in the sky and I wanna go and find it...” ( Johnny age 6 ¾ )
It was the 1960s - Johnny was an only child. An ‘A-grade student’ but a loner, who was teased at school. His only companion was a stuffy, old toy cat that he took everywhere. Johnny was a dreamer, and he dreamed of Space. Every clear night he would gaze up into the sky, making out the shapes of the star constellations - one of which he knew was the ‘Great Cat’. When he wasn’t star-gazing, Johnny often spent his time alone, acting out Space stories in his bedroom - with his hand-made pair of cardboard ‘space wings. Johnny was going to be a Spaceman (or so he told everyone who would listen) and one day he would fly to the stars... they all laughed at him and dubbed him ‘Johnny Rocket’. (cue ‘JOHNNY ROCKET’)
It was now the late 1970s and Johnny had worked his way through college and made it to ‘Space Camp’, a privilege reserved only for the elite. He was finally going to be a spaceman and to celebrate before camp started, he reluctantly followed his fellow graduates to a DISCO in the city. He hated everything about it, but as he was about to leave, he saw her - Twilight! - could the timing have been any worse? (cue ‘THUNDER IN THE NIGHT’)
His new found love had to wait for him whilst he trained hard. They barely had any time for each other, but they did have the promise that, after his mission, they could settle down and live happily ever after. (cue ‘ONE SMALL STEP’)
Move forward to the 1980s, the ‘Space Race’ was hotting up, and growing tensions around the world meant that the USA had to be number one. But Johnny was entering a world of fakery, conspiracy and deceit. Did man really land on the Moon or was it all just a ruse?
It was not long before Johnny and the crew were sworn to secrecy as the mission ‘had’ to end in disaster. It was no more than an elaborate way of fooling the world, boosting TV ratings and putting America back at the top. A national tragedy concocted to keep the country on side and supportive. Everyone loves a disaster...
This heinous hoax was supposed to be a secret from everyone. Johnny, however planned to send a letter to Twilight explaining that he had never really been in any Spaceships, he had in fact just been acting the part in a small TV studio and, after some time in a secret hideaway, he would eventually come home, without celebration or acknowledgement. (cue ‘TWILIGHT’ - EXPLOSIONS...)
The letter, for whatever reason, was delayed for many weeks. The disaster, as planned, was broadcast worldwide and Twilight’s heart was broken, along with a grieving nation. It was on the day of the funeral for the fallen heroes that the letter finally turned up on the doormat… So now, whilst relieved and overjoyed, Twilight had to play along, acting as if he was lost forever... (cue ‘YESTERDAY’S NEWS’)
Time passed, and as planned, Johnny returned in secret. Tiptoeing back into the arms of his beloved. With no time to spare he was transported to a ‘destination unknown’ to start life again, with his new bride-to-be and their new identity - no more Mr & Mrs Rocket, no more silly ideas about becoming a spaceman. Just a normal life in suburbia with no aspirational hopes and dreams, just a ‘happy ever after’. ( cue ‘DESTINATION UNKNOWN’)
“Johnny didn’t go to space, so he never got the chance to find the big cat in the sky - but wherever he is, you can be sure that on every clear, moonlit night, he’ll be out there looking up at the sky… just in case”