29 October 2013
it's lonely in the universe
“from the moon, the earth looks small, shiny, serene, blue and white. fragile. i really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles, their outlook could be fundamentally changed"
- michael collins
when i was young i never really thought much about space. it wasn't that i didn't like it, i just didn't think about it. i never spent warm summer nights staring up into the cloudless sky marveling at the mystery and wonder of it all. i guess i had enough to worry about on earth. i don't really remember looking up at all.
i do remember doing a school project on space when i was seven. i decided my favourite planet was pluto. i liked it for the same reasons i liked a lot of things when i was young. because it was the smallest and because no one else in my class liked it. and now scientists have downgraded pluto to being a dwarf planet, so my favourite planet isn't even a proper planet anymore. i suppose it was to be expected.
when i was young i wanted to be a cowboy, until i was old enough to want to be a pop star. i never wanted to be a train driver or a fireman, or any of those other things that boys want to be when they're young. and i never wanted to be an astronaut. i've never really liked astronauts. i've always thought astronauts were jocks.
i do have a favourite astronaut though. his name is michael collins. i like him for the same reasons i like a lot of things. because he is the smallest and no one else likes him. he was the third astronaut to go into space in 1969 on the apollo 11 mission to land on the moon, and no one ever remembers him. everyone knows neil armstrong and buzz aldrin, but michael collins has become the great forgotten astronaut. and he is my favourite.
michael collins didn't get to walk on the moon. for twenty one hours while neil armstrong and buzz aldrin were on the moon he was in the columbia command module circling it. every time he orbited the moon, radio contact with earth would abruptly cut off as soon as he went behind it, and for those minutes he was the most alone any person has ever been.
"i am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. i am it."
there's even a song about michael collins on our latest album, and this is the new video that we made for it. the video was beautifully animated by mal hartley from tim owen's original drawings.
you can watch it here on vevo
and you can watch it here on vimeo
hope you like it.