The Hunter’s Moon, “The Killing Moon” and Echo & The Bunnymen

Since discovering that all full moons have a name (given to them by the Native Americans who kept track of the months by the lunar calendar), I have written about each one as they appear in our skies. To accompany the post I always include one of the numerous songs that have been written about the moon and its many foibles.

Well, this is a landmark “moon post” as it is the 13th in the series and brings us full circle (no pun intended) to the end of a calendar year of full moons. I started this series last November as we had been witness to the most spectacular supermoon on Bonfire Night and it made me want to investigate our only satellite a little further. Since then I have found out so much about the moon I had hitherto never bothered to question, and hopefully those of you who have followed this series, have gleaned a lot from it also.

The reason why this is the 13th full moon in a calendar year, is because the lunar cycle is 29.5 days – A full moon in early November last year has meant we are going to witness the Hunter’s Moon tonight, just sneaking into the tail end of the month of October. This is a series that just keeps on giving however, as no two years are ever going to be the same, and I’ll never run out of moon-themed songs. I fully intend to keep going with this one ad infinitum.

Over the last year, we’ve had two Blue Moons, three supermoons, two lunar eclipses, a month with no full moon at all (February with its 28 days), a September Harvest Moon and a Super Blue Blood Moon. The most interesting thing of all for me however is that each one has a name, and of course it’s been fun choosing a relevant song for each post from the “tracks of my years”.

The Native Americans called this month’s full moon the Hunter’s Moon for obvious reasons. Now was the time for hunting, and laying in a store of provisions for the long winter ahead. The leaves were falling and the game was fattened. I still have many songs to feature in this series (which is why I’m going to keep going with it), but the one that jumps out at me for this month is of course The Killing Moon by Echo & The Bunnymen.

The Killing Moon by Echo & The Bunnymen:

The song was released in January 1984 as the lead single from their album “Ocean Rain” and reached No. 9 in the UK Singles Chart. Lead singer Ian McCulloch apparently attributed the use of astronomical imagery in the song to a childhood interest in space. He has even come out and said, “When I sing The Killing Moon, I know there isn’t a band in the world who’s got a song anywhere near it” – Others of course may choose to disagree but good to hear of an artist who thinks so highly of their work and freely admits to it. The chords of the song were even based on David Bowie’s Space Oddity, played backwards.

thS8LMZTY6Whenever I watch old footage of Echo & The Bunnymen I am always reminded of the crowd I hung around with back in 1984. The student boyfriend and his friends all looked and dressed like Ian McCulloch & Co, acquiring their outerwear at any rate from one of the charity shops that were around at the time. There weren’t nearly as many back then (only the Oxfam Shop really) as I think we all used to buy far fewer clothes. They were relatively expensive compared to now, so had to be looked after and worn for longer. Many a charcoal Great Coat or black 1960s Car Coat was sported by the guys in our crowd. They had all been students and although those days had now come to an end, they were spinning out the student lifestyle for as long as possible before entering the real world. Sadly, by this time I had entered the real world, so the charity shop wardrobe was now being infiltrated with smart office-wear. My social life was also changing, so pink and white sweatshirts started to make an appearance as well. Yes, student life was firmly behind me and so it seemed was the student boyfriend. We no longer “matched”, and never would again.

So, “What’s It All About?” – I am conscious of the fact I’ve been absent from the comments boxes of the other blogs I follow of late, but as regular visitors to this place know, I have a lot going on at the moment within my family. I did however manage to fit in a trip to Belfast last week (I plan to write one of my travelogue style posts about it soon) which gave me a much needed break. One of the things we did there was to go and see the newly released film First Man, about the life of Neil Armstrong. I won’t say too much about it as many of you won’t have seen it yet, but as I have been immersed in all things lunar for the last twelve months, it was a must-watch for me, and I really enjoyed it.

It was made even better for me because a few months ago I’d read the book Moondust by Andrew Smith – He had gone in search of the remaining 9 “moon walkers” and it was a fascinating read. It is bizarre indeed to think that soon there will be no-one left on Earth who has actually set foot on the moon, and looked down at our planet from up there. The chapter on Neil Armstrong meant I already knew much of his back story before going to see the film, which I think was a good thing.

For me, what came out loud and clear from the book was: a) it wasn’t much fun being a moon walker’s wife; b) the person operating the lunar module didn’t have the same “spiritual experience” as the commander, who could really take in the enormity of what they were doing, and finally; c) the Apollo moon landings were less about beating the Russians at their own game but more about President Kennedy and a bunch of others engaging in the biggest Boy’s Own adventure ever. These missions could never happen today as the public are far more savvy about how their tax dollars are spent and no administration could justify what it took to get those 12 moon walkers up there.

I hope the clouds clear and we get to see the Hunter’s Moon tonight and I plan to return next month with another “moon post”, as fortunately for me, they all seem to have an alternate name. Happy days.

Until next time….

The Killing Moon Lyrics
(Song by Will Sergeant/Ian McCulloch/Les Pattinson/Pete de Freitas)

Under blue moon I saw you
So soon you’ll take me
Up in your arms
Too late to beg you or cancel it
Though I know it must be the killing time
Unwillingly mine

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

In starlit nights I saw you
So cruelly you kissed me
Your lips a magic world
Your sky all hung with jewels
The killing moon
Will come too soon

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

Under blue moon I saw you
So soon you’ll take me
Up in your arms
Too late to beg you or cancel it
Though I know it must be the killing time
Unwillingly mine

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him
You give yourself to him

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him
You give yourself to him

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

Fate
Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

Postscript:

Well, I’d never heard of such a thing, but it seems we were also treated to a “moonbow” the other night up here in the north of Scotland – The particular combination of a full moon, a bit of rain and a very black sky made this phenomenon possible. My friend with the fancy-pants camera didn’t actually get a shot of it himself, but he did share on social media a couple of shots taken by other locals. Wish I’d seen it and something I am hell bent now on witnessing in the future. Enjoy.

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Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

20 thoughts on “The Hunter’s Moon, “The Killing Moon” and Echo & The Bunnymen”

  1. As someone who wore a car coat in the mid 1960’s, I should point out that mine had large checks and a fake astrakhan collar, which made a very brave wee boy. It was the last item of clothing bought for me in the company of my mother. Around the time of the Summer Of Love, I’d ditched it and wore a reefer jacket or a World War II US officer’s coat (see below link) without the insignia. Hip as anything!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow – that’s a big jacket for a little comments box. Not sure how you did that but thanks for sharing. Your original ’60s car coat sounds as if it was more from the latter part of the decade whereas I think those short coats the boys all used to wear (with their dad’s old trousers) in the ’80s were from the beginning of the decade. Whatever, I certainly didn’t see Echo & The Bunnymen in checked coats with astrakhan collars! As for the WWII jacket, yes I remember students wearing them around that time which looked incongruous with the long hair and flared jeans (but maybe that was the point). When I was a student, the film Private Benjamin came out and I took to wearing a khaki American army shirt and khaki trousers – From Robert Rae in George Street! Is that shop still there?

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      1. Sorry – thought it was just the link to the pic that I’d posted. Robert Rae’s long gone from George Street (as have most small stores) and I think they had a shop on Marischal Street too.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s ok – it seems that like with the YouTube clips, the visual comes up and not just the link. Good to know for future reference.

          Of course Robert Rae has gone – where we used to get our student clothing supplies and our “piece bags”, those blue canvas bags used for books (and pieces).

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  2. Terrific essay. I liked reading about the guys who dressed in Echo’s style. And then I liked reading about First Man, because It hadn’t even dawned on me that this new movie is a perfect fit for your moon stories. Anyway, I’m not sure that nobody will attempt a moon landing again. Maybe China will.
    Bye —
    Neil

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    1. Yes it was a bit of a coincidence that the movie came out just as I had completed a whole year of full moon posts and after I’d read about Armstrong in the Moondust book.

      You may be right – I suppose the technology is there for a moon landing nowadays as opposed to back in the ’60s when they were having to make it up as they went along. True pioneers of which we will never see the like again.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – Yes I wrote about that theory a few months ago but no, having read the book Moondust and watched the film First Man I am now totally confident it did all happen – They were brave souls those first moon walkers. At the time they didn’t even know what the surface of the moon was like – They could have landed the lunar module and just sunk into the moon’s surface like on quicksand. Fortunately for them it was just like the Nevada Desert (thus the conspiracy theories!).

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  3. I can absolutely imagine your boyfriend in the Echo & the Bunnymen chic, I went to college with several too! And we all – male and female – got through a lot of hairspray…. One of my old schoolfriends saw them at the London Palladium last week, she said Ian still has hair but no longer massively high. I read once that the key to getting it so high was to hang his head upside down when drying it having tried that myself a few times too I can confirm it worked!
    The big old coats too… I do love a good coat/big jacket (both for myself and on men)…absolutely love the one Lynchie pictured. I still go weak at the knees at a man in a Reefer jacket (check out Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail).

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    1. Oh yes it was definitely the look of choice for a certain type of young man back then. Drying the hair upside down works for a certain type of hair but my very fine hair just flopped the minute there was a bit of dampness in the air. I’ve seen the boys ask for a bowl of sugar water in a bar to get the hair upright again – ’twas the times.

      I had a fair few old coats myself – A fur one in 78/79 which I adored at the time but different times and I couldn’t wear it now. It was vintage even back then though. I also had a big checked jacket that probably belonged to someone’s dead grandad but I loved it too. Will have to check out Jack Nicholson in that jacket but I’m pretty sure I know the one you mean.

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    2. I seem to have repeated myself a lot in that reply – A certain type of young man and a certain type of hair – A check jacket and having to check out Jack! In a hurry though so being sloppy – My mum still in hospital so I’m off the see the Freddie Mercury movie. Might be the last time I’m free for a while.

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  4. More moon posts… woo-hoo! Ian has never had a confidence problem, has he? Some days I admire it, and I might even be with him on the Killing Moon. Looking forward to reading about your trip. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.

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    1. Indeed – a lovely full moon in our skies last night again (well maybe with a smidgen removed but still beautiful). Yes, I read somewhere else that Ian really said that just to “big up” the song, to make others take note of it and perhaps by osmosis, think the same way!

      A good trip away just before we get to the sharp end, in terms of my current family dilemma – I know you’ve been there so will understand.

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  5. Just wanted to let any comments followers to this post know, I have now added a Postscript with two pictures of a “moonbow” which apparently appeared in our skies on the night of the full moon. Something I had never heard of before but very beautiful. As I said above, this is the series that just keeps on giving.

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  6. Glad you found a way to keep this series going and that you had a nice break. This is another song which often crops up very effectively in spooky soundtracks, so it’s an appropriate choice for Halloween week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, as I say every year is going to be different and so many “moon-related” songs not yet featured.

      When I wrote this post I wasn’t even thinking about Halloween but it has crept up on us hasn’t it. DD not so involved nowadays but I did have to help her with her costume this morning – Not for trick or treating/guising but for a big (probably drunken) bash for 20-somethings. Changed days!

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    1. Indeed I have – Great moon in our skies tonight actually but a waning gibbous now (I have all the jargon off pat now).

      Gosh they are certainly getting about a bit – C (above) had friends who saw them in London recently and I have friends from here who were due to see them in Dublin the other week, but due to a problem with their plane, they got there too late and missed the show! Hopefully you will get to see them in Boston.

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