Is There Enough Space To Have Time…?
“The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be… We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries…” – Carl Sagan.
For me, it all began with Cosmos.
That ultra-rare occasion when a TV programme fulfilled the aim of providing something both educational and entertaining, Carl Sagan helped make astrophysics accessible, and instilled in this gawping infant, the need to learn/discover so much more.
Off and on, through this boy’s life, the stars have continued to fascinate. Now, most nights, after finishing my writing – or those moments when the words don’t flow the way they should – it’s great to just step outside, after the street lights have switched off, and marvel at the inspirational – and staggering – wonders of the universe.
After a very trying month, maybe its just as well that this Post blasts off to be among the stars (even if it may be with only one-quarter impulse power).
Away from it all…
Rather than perplex you with something deep and philosophical (such theses will appear on this site at some point!) let’s gradually revitalise my creative powers with an easy vids n’ gifs compilation! 🙂
Looking for groovy tunes represented with a vid of suitably spacey visuals turned out to be quite a chore; annoyingly, a few of my initial choices have been removed from YouTube, or are simply unloadable, but when you consider how we all live “on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam – a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena” my problems – whether they be psychological or technical – are really so inconsequential!
Dr. Hans Reinhardt: “Well, Mr. Booth, what’s new on Earth?”
Harry Booth: “Well, I don’t think it’s changed very much since you left, Doctor.”
Dr. Hans Reinhardt: “Nothing much ever changes. Same news, different names…”
It’s Mingo Mean Time for some classic movie magic with that Quarterback New York Jets saviour of the universe himself. When the Flash Gordon movie was released (in 1980!), this iconic character rapidly became my new favourite. Gorged myself on Weetabix every breakfast in order to accumulate all 18 Official Movie Photo-cards; bought ANY sci-fi book that reprinted original pages (or merely one or two panels) of Alex Raymond’s original comic strips; even avidly watched episodes of those ancient serials starring Buster Crabbe as the titular hero; moreover, everyone in my year at Primary School was expected to know all the movie’s lines off by heart!
Absolutely nuts – it’s best to regard this as not so much a movie but a 100-minute Queen video!
Nothing like a dramatic blast-off, and this following clip is one of the best blast-off sequences in scif-fi cinema. What better to hurl yourself into the Imperial Vortex with than the pulse-pounding percussion of Queen’s Roger Taylor?
“Check the angular vector of the moon!” – Dr. Hans Zarkov.
One of the unexpected hits of last year came in the form of Life.
Such a thrill, for a change, to watch a sci-fi movie that is NOT a sequel or a remake!
A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover an organic lifeform amidst soils samples collected from Mars, but following sci-fi/horror tradition, it grows into a life-threatening nightmare….
Despite having such heavy-hitters as Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, its the extraterrestrial itself (named Calvin by NY schoolchildren in a national competition!) that steals the show. It may not look as menacing as HR Giger’s xenomorph, but this martian’s level of intelligence becomes particularly unsettling (the way in which Calvin breaks out of his incubator is ingenious!)
Most importantly, Life fulfilled the essential quota of any space movie: the scenes above the Earth were excellently created, and the original soundtrack by Jon Ekstrand turned out to be quite memorable, evoking the magic – and the peril – of space exploration, as this vid amply demonstrates.
Minister of Defence: “My God, what’s Bond doing?”
Q: “I think he’s attempting re-entry, sir.”
As you will see, (before yours truly pops out for a spot of constellation-hunting) we’re saving the BEST till last.
From a movie featuring the ISS, we turn our attention to an astonishing NASA time-lapse video shot from the International Space Station itself, displaying some breathtaking views of what Carl Sagan himself called our “Pale” Blue Dot in all its glory.
The wonderful musical accompaniment is from that under-rated 007 In Space spy thriller: Moonraker (as the end credits amusingly revealed, it was filmed on location in Italy, Brazil, Guatemala, U.S.A. and Outer Space!)
John Barry was a tremendous composer of movie music. And, fittingly, Moonraker happened to be one of his most spectacular works. Make sure you can watch this on the biggest screen you can find:
“And that completes my final report until we reach touchdown. We’re now on full automatic, in the hands of the computers. I have tucked my crew in for the long sleep and I’ll be joining them soon…
“…The men who sent us on this journey are long since dead and gone. You who are reading me now are a different breed – I hope a better one. I leave the 20th century with no regrets.
“But one more thing – if anybody’s listening, that is. Nothing scientific. It’s purely personal. But seen from out here everything seems different. Time bends. Space is boundless. It squashes a man’s ego. I feel lonely.
“That’s about it. Tell me, though. Does man, that marvel of the universe, that glorious paradox who sent me to the stars, still make war against his brother? Keep his neighbour’s children starving…?”