"The oil towers stand sentinel, bone-empty, in the dark. Hunchbacks, lepers, hebephrenics and amputees of all descriptions have come popping out of their secret spaces to watch the fun. They loll back against the rusting metal flanks of refinery hardware, their whole common sky in a tessellation of primary colors. They occupy the chambers and bins and pockets of administrative emptiness left after the Revolution, when the emissaries from Dutch Shell were asked to leave, and the English and Swedish engineers all went home. It is a period now in Baku of lull, of retrenchment. All the oil money taken out of these fields by the Nobels has gone into Nobel Prizes. New wells are going down elsewhere, between the Volga and the Urals. Time for retrospection here, for refinin the recent history that's being pumped up fetid nad black from other strata of Earth's mind. . . . "
Gravity's Rainbow, p. 354
...found while looking for something else (after talking yesterday with a friend who spent time with Cliburn and his formidable mother, Rildia Bee, in the 70s, after recently meeting a Julliard classmate of Cliburn's):
" [...] In the United States, this period followed the McCarthy Senate Hearings where anybody with the slightest, or even imagined, affiliation with communism was branded as subversive. To complicate matters, a few months prior to the Competition, on October 10, 1957, the Soviets had shocked the world by launching Sputnik, the first man-made satellite ever to orbit the earth. Americans had been beaten in the race to space. It was a devastating psychological blow. Sputnik symbolized the technological superiority of a totalitarian government. Even more frightening was the possibility that such rockets could carry atomic bombs. Americans feared communism would soon take over the world.
Enter 23-year-old Van Cliburn, child prodigy pianist from Kilgore, Texas. [...]
Cliburn had the chance to perform in Baku only once. It was his first trip back to the Soviet Union after the Competition. Actually, he had expected the entire concert to be canceled because of the U-2 Affair that had occurred in early May when the Soviets shot down the U.S. reconnaissance plane and captured pilot, Gary Powers, whom they imprisoned as a spy.
Relations between the two countries broke off. An Official State Visit by Eisenhower was canceled. Since Van's trip had been organized by the U.S. State Department as part of a cultural exchange, he expected the same until a special directive from Khruschev told him to proceed with the concert tour as originally planned.
He toured various cities in the Soviet Union on that trip including Moscow, Riga, Minsk, Kiev, Sochi, Leningrad, Yerevan, and Tbilisi. He managed to squeeze in two days in Baku where he gave a single concert-June 28, 1960. [...]
One of the most vivid memories was the ride into the city from the airport-passing miles and miles of oil derricks. "The Azerbaijanis asked me whether I had ever seen anything like this before? I told them my father was an oil executive with Magnolia Petroleum (which later became known as Mobil Oil Company) and besides, I had grown up in Kilgore in East Texas which, in 1930, had had the largest oil boom up to that time in the history of the U.S. The oil wells in Kilgore are packed together so closely; it's amazing! They found it hard to believe that I was so familiar with similar fields like their own. Small world, isn't it?"
"By the way," Cliburn added at the conclusion of our interview. "Are those wonderful old oil derricks still standing in Baku? And are they still stretching far out into the Caspian Sea?" [...] "
The Era of Van Cliburn Musical Phenomenon in the Midst of Cold War
by Betty Blair
Azerbaijan International (3.3) Autumn 1995.
....and on that serendipity tip, just for fun:
Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) has been observed again over Baku this week.
UFO was flying, different colors lights were brightening around it.
According to the information given to "olaylar" news agency by expert in UFO Fuad Gasimov, chairman of Cosmic Seismological Department of Azerbaijan National Aero cosmic Agency, appearance of UFOs in the sky is symbolic and it is an alarm signal.
"Something must happen," he said. “If we analyze the processes going on in the world, we would observe that probability of war becomes high in Iraq.”
F.Gasimov stated that the appearance of UFOs is reason for probability of outbreak of Iraq war. “They try to prevent the war,” expert said.
The appearance of UFOs in Azerbaijan sky may be estimated as a warning against the republic too expert in UFO says. In case war outbreaks the objects are against of use of the Azerbaijani airport.
Some scientists claim that UFOs were also observed before and warned about natural disaster. Mr.Gasimov stated that UFOs hinder the prediction of earthquakes and researches carried out in this field.
"They don't want mankind reveal their secret. But there are some facts stating that UFOs keep in touch with the scientists. Though most approach this unserious, objects keep in touch with selected persons by the means of Morse alphabet or telepathy signals and transmit information related to the future".
According to Mr.Gasimov, Einshteyn dreamed about the idea on A-bomb. Besides it, German scientist who invented bomb wrote in his memories that he invented it in his dream. "All this ground that these claims are true,” expert insists.
information provided by Olaylar.