20th July 1969
In my run-through of the songs, I neglected to mention a key moment (my ditties are all off the top of my head, not researched, I’m sure it’s no surprise to find out!).
Yes, small matter of the Moon Landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. There had been a long build-up to this, with the deaths of early Apollo astronauts and then the xmas 1968 Round-the-moon trip was a huge event in itself, even though the crew of Apollo 10 tend to be footnotes these days, they should be revered for being the first men in history to see the far side of the moon (24 in total by my reckoning have done it), orbiting another world. Apollo 11 is, as far as I’m concerned, still mankind’s greatest achievement. To set foot on another world, and return. I was 11, and unusually TV wasn’t closing down as usual that evening, it was staying live on air after a few tense days of updated news bulletins as they made their way to the moon.
What everyone who wasn’t around needs to bear in mind is…we had no idea if they were going to live or die, it really was a bold new frontier, a very risky enterprise (as we saw with Apollo 13) and it really genuinely was a positive moment in history for the whole planet to share live, for the first time ever. Not counting sporting events and other trivial events like royal weddings, of course. For me, mum wouldn’t let and my brother stay up to watch the coverage (they were due to land in the middle of the night UK time) but I got her to agree to wake me up when it was time. The TV and the living room at 3 Sheepwalk, RAF Swinderby as seen in the photo…
Next morning I got up and they were already on the bloody moon. Aaaaaargh! Not to take away from the import of seeing men bounding about on the moon on TV, but parents who think it’s more important that the kids get a good night’s sleep instead of sharing in the greatest moment in history, need a slap! The TV footage itself was disappointingly murky, the later missions in 1972 (with the moon rover) were technically more exciting, and in colour, but hey Neil Armstrong. Buzz Aldrin. Michael Collins, poor poor Michael Collins, so close, yet so far, watching but not able to join in. Heroes! I did however get to watch the blast-off from the moon’s surface which was live (at tea-time I think) and tense.
I don’t wish to be rude to all those non-believer moon-hoaxer theorists who have popped out the woodwork over the last 30 years, thanks to charlatans writing books and TV shows to get rich on other people’s gullibility and willingness to accept lies and rumours and scientific nonsense as proof of it all being a fake that fooled a whole planet (and I’ve spent exasperating time trying to explain to loved ones who weren’t around then why it’s a historical scientific fact, we weren’t all dupes taken in by scientists, they were the dupes taken in by non-scientists, to no avail). I’m going to be rude to the ones who perpetuated the myth though – the world doesn’t need any more lying, conniving, snivelling muck-spreaders who see an easy way to get rich. Get a job in an investment bank like the other ones and leave science alone. You clearly don’t understand it…
I can say that now, without fear of contradiction, now that the yawnsome argument “so why don’t they go back to then moon then and prove it happened” has been conclusively and definitively settled. They have been back, there’s a lunar satellite in orbit, and they have crystal-clear beautiful (and awesome) photos of every single footprint, lunar rover track, flag, piece of equipment and vehicle left on the surface of the moon, where they will stay perfectly preserved for centuries, if not thousands of years (assuming Man doesn’t pop back to the moon for a walkabout salvage operation in the meantime – Kerching! Genuine historical souvenirs!)
So, enough already with the nut-job theories! Appreciate the achievement for a change!