SIXTY NINE, DUDES! – 1969 It Was The Best Of Times. It Was The Worst Of Times. And Yes, That Was DEFINITELY Plagiarism
Bryan Adams was very excited about his first real six string. He managed to pick it up at a Five and Dime, which is always a bonus. However, he got so excited that he played it ‘til his fingers bled, which is a bad thing, particularly if you want to earn your living playing the guitar. A bit like a boxer having a glass jaw.
That just about sums up the year of 1969. Lots of good stuff happened and lots of bad stuff happened, but it was definitely the coolest year in the history of humanity.
Yes, this is nostalgia I’m afraid, and like any good nostalgic experience it’s going to concentrate mainly on the good and gloss over the bad. And it’s going to start with The Big One. The Apollo Moon Landings.
I LOVE the Apollo Moon Landings. I get drunk and watch Apollo 13 and always cry at the end. Then I go to http://www.wechoosethemoon.org/ and pretend I’m an Astronaut so I can take an imaginary trip into space. I always go to bed tired but happy when I do that. I highly recommend that you try it even if you are a sceptic.
So did Armstrong et al really land on The Moon? Of course they did. Doesn’t really matter if they didn’t though. It was all cool either way. Probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened ever. That said, there are a few things I don’t understand about the whole thing.
The astronauts spurious middle names is the first thing. Now I can understand Virgil “Gus” Grissom taking the name Gus. Virgil is a bit of an odd name and Gus is very macho sounding, even though it does have certain “Cartoon Gorilla” connotations for British chaps of my generation. Similarly, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin. Edwin is also an odd moniker, and Buzz was apparently a childhood nickname derived from his little sister saying “buzzer” instead of brother. Where it gets tricky is Charles “Pete” Conrad. Why is Pete better than Charles? Or why not Charles “Chaz” Conrad? Mind you, he was actually dyslexic so maybe it was easier to spell.
I’ve deliberately put the Astronauts names as the top confusing thing about the Apollo moon landings because they are by far the biggest mystery in the whole affair. The rest of it is a piece of piss to explain. There is, however, the mystery of the photographs.
Now, when I say “Mystery Of The Photographs”, I don’t mean anything to do with whistleblowers. I’m talking about the puzzle of why people cite the inconsistencies in the Lunar photographs as evidence that man did not land on The Moon.
The conspiracy theorists say the photographs are fake. Well, of course they’re fucking fake. They’re publicity photographs you morons. All publicity photos are fake. That picture of the pie with the golden crust with the comforting steam rising from it in cookery pages of your Sunday Supplement? The glossy sheen on the crust is wood varnish. The inviting steam is cigarette smoke. If they do that for a pie, what are they going to do for something as big as a Lunar Excursion Module?
The astronauts were never going to take good pictures with those clunky gloves on, even if they had figured out a way of getting photographic film through the Van Allen Radiation Belts. At one point, the American Public was laying out 1% of GDP on this project. If you’re investing that kind of moolah, you want to see some really amazing holiday snaps or you’re going to start questioning where your hard earned dollars are disappearing to. So that’s what NASA provided. Professional, moodily lit, dramatic shots of man and goddamn cool technology on the goddamn Moon. Goddamit.
Let’s just assume for the moment that the Lunar Landings were a sham, a charade, a phony. If that were the case, one big question presents itself. Why didn’t the Russians say anything? America cheated its way to win the biggest and most expensive race in human history and the Soviet Union said nothing, nix, nada. Nyet if you will. This seems highly unlikely
It’s an open secret that the KGB ran rings around the CIA during the Cold War. Hell, they ran rings around everybody of truth be told. Even their closest rivals, Her Majesty’s Secret Service, doffed their caps and said “Well played Comrades”. If the Moon Landings had been bogus, Moscow would definitely have known about it. But as soon as the immortal words “One Small step for man” were uttered, the dusty Russian Steppe echoed to the sound of eerie silence.
Ok, while we’re doing conspiracy theory, let’s go hog wild. How’s this for a sinister plot? The reason the Russians didn’t make any statements is because they were too busy pissing themselves laughing. They goaded the Yanks by beating them to every important milestone in Space Flight. Put every resource they could into it. Then, when there was only one goal left, they backed off and let America spunk away vast amounts of cash reaching that final goal.
Oh, they made a few half arsed attempts to make it look like they were shooting for the Moon, but it was smoke and mirrors. And America fell for it hook, line and sinker. If that’s how it happened, it was a clever plan. Though it does look kind of small potatoes now, considering that the 2008 Banking Bailout cost more than NASA has spent in its entire 50 year history.
So that’s the coolest thing that happened in 1969. Some bad stuff happened too. Nixon was voted in, Walmart went corporate and The Beatles performed their last live concert on the rooftop of Apple Studios in London. Also, incidentally, 1969 is the year I was born. The jury’s still out on that one.
NEXT TIME : Monty Python’s Flying Circus
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013