Monday, July 20, 2009

apollo 11

40 years ago today/tomorrow, I have vivid memories of sitting transfixed watching the first moon landing and the subsequent moonwalk (at about 4am) on television. I can distinctly remember thinking at the time that I was witnessing history. We take so much for granted now, but less than 10 years earlier the world was amazed that they were able to achieve “live” television pictures from half way round the world – now they were televising from the moon!
I’ve recently been re-living the sense of excitement/adventure by watching various programmes on BBC4. It now seems very strange seeing images of Mission Control at Houston and noticing that a) there’s not a woman in sight (they’re probably all at home doing the housework?) and b) that lots of the blokes appear to be chain-smoking! At the time, I remember thinking that one of the astronauts would fall, rip his suit and die whilst larking about on the surface of the moon. I also recall feeling a little uneasy by all the celebrations because I was convinced they wouldn’t be able to re-launch The Eagle moon module from Tranquility Base!
1969 was a pretty amazing year (I’ve previously blogged about Woodstock and Easy Rider). That summer I’d just been awarded an Architectural Student prize at the end of my second year at college. In the Autumn, Moira and I got together. I also seem to remember owning a great pair of bottle-green flaired trousers and a bright orange jumper (and also sinking in the annual architects’ punt race punting on the River Cherwell)! Those were the days when students KNEW how to be students!
PS: the moon landing seemed somewhat familiar territory because, in the previous year, we’d all become fascinated by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
PPS: My lovely brother Alan made a wooden sculpture to commemorate the landing (I think he’s still got it somewhere?).
PPS: On a more disturbing note, it was 20 years ago today that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was first put under house arrest in Burma.

1 comment:

just Gai said...

I remember being impressed that Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon on my birthday.