Wednesday, January 28, 2009
"Ground Control to Major Tom"
Today, on day 2 of our 40 day journey, Tammy and I are going back to the year of my birth and finding a song to reminisce about. I chose David Bowie's "Space Oddity." Luckily for me, the original video released with the song in 1969 is on youtube:
Wikipedia summary: "Space Oddity" is a song written and performed by David Bowie and released as a single in 1969. It is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut who becomes depressed during an outer-space mission. Supposedly released to coincide with the Apollo 11 moon landing, it appears on the album Space Oddity. The BBC featured the song in its television coverage of the lunar landing.
I had heard the song but had never watched the video. (Funny how young David Bowie looks!) I chose it partly because the first moonwalk by American astronauts in 1969 was such a historic moment, I wish I had been cognizant enough to remember it. I have no idea if my family watched the newscast on TV. I'll have to ask mom and dad. Having just moved across the country to a new city with a newborn and four other kids where they knew not one soul, I wouldn't be surprised if they missed this event.
Tammy and I were recently talking about what it must have been like to see those first pictures of the earth taken from space, for the first time. We grew up with those pictures, and take them for granted. But before then, though everyone knew the earth was "round" - despite the illusion of a flat horizon - imagine seeing those pictures for the very first time and saying, "THAT is the earth." Wow.
Besides the fact that I really like the song itself, I guess I like it too because it's also a dark sort of song...Major Tom floating off all by himself into space...the ultimate isolation and alienation. And how prophetic are these lyrics as we confront the melting polar ice caps (and increasingly "blue" surface area):
"Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do."
Little did we know!