Ganymede Lights


I was involved with a UK lightshow called Ganymede Lights.

We were basically a jobbing lightshow but our claim to fame was that we converted Hawkwind to using more than the one strobe and did several shows with them (the bit on the "In Search Of Space" album about projecting on smoke was an idea I put to the band together with an idea for an inflatable venue with passing stars projected on the windows - it didn't get anywhere due to a severe lack of money).

If I can remember right, and memories tend to be a bit hazy, we had 4 strobes, 3 variable speed colour change wheels, eight projectors, six floods (converted ammo boxes) played with a keyboard, two vitrina slide projectors (very mucky), and an 8mm projector. We made our own slides, colour wheels and motorised oil wheels.

I remember once playing the keyboard lights with Hawkwind - the riff seemed to go on for longer than usual. I found out after that they were following the lights. If I hadn't got cramp in my arm we might still be going now...

I do remember gigs where we didn't get paid. On one occasion we were offered a plate of brown rice and told that it was a free gig - rather annoying as two of our large floodlight bulbs (£5 then!) had broken on the way there due to our non-existent Landrover suspension.

On another we found that we had been booked at a festival of light meeting, where the star of the show was all dressed in white and had bleached his hair to show his purity and we were told that we were doing the show for Jesus who apparently was broke at the time. The Lord's disciple's manager wanted a clear white light "for ma boy" (which he didn't get). We just showed a few grotty slides to piss them off...

We were signed up with United Artists who kindly provided us with mostly unpaid gigs. The paid gigs we tended to find for ourselves.

We did a light show for a disco at the BBC Club which appeared to to be something like the RAC Club for wealthy people and their bouncers only and definitely no staff or punters.

I got a dance with a woman who I was later told was the Queen's cousin and was told by one of the posh bouncers to bugger off - as he was about 7 feet tall, I didn't argue and retired to behind our setup - we did get paid for that gig.

We did a light show for a private party, which did pay very well but we got very nervous about it as there was just light rain but we were not sure if the polythene covering the lights and projectors would keep the rain off or catch fire - luckily it was the former.

Of course there was always the harassment by Fire Officers at many gigs.

I think we got several tips from Fox Lites when we were making our discs and slides for the projectors, including using polarised discs with slides made from mica from old irons or stretched cellophane from fag packets.

Another useful one was using paper doilies in the discs in three projectors with our multi-coloured rotating wheels in front - it looked quite complex but was basically very simple.

I remember our supplier of coloured oils for our projector discs made the oils in a shed in his garden.

It broke up when the guy who owned most of the equipment went to work with Can and Amon Duul in Germany.

Mike Preston - June 2002 (Updated January 2021)


If you can help with more information about this Light Show we would love to hear from you.

Ganymede Lights