Monthly Archives: July 2019

And after the “one small step”?

 

I’m old enough to have been watching television at the time of the Apollo space programme. I do remember watching part of the Apollo 11 moon landing on television – although I have a clearer memory of a newspaper headline  : the Daily Express’ straightforwardly factual, and therefore dramatic, “Man on the Moon.”

As has often been repeated, there was a widely shared opinion in that era that this would be the first stage in a continuous journey of space exploration, which would have benefits in commerce and culture as well as in science.

Although never much drawn to science fiction in print or on screen, I did once read a novel called 2001 (which may have been Arthur C. Clarke’s 1968 book or a post-film cash-in)) and I have kept a strong memory of the particular tone of this section.  “No matter how many times you left Earth, Dr. Heywood Floyd told himself, the excitement never really palled. He had been to Mars once, to the moon three times and to the various space stations more often than he could remember…”

The world of the early 21st century as imagined forty years earlier. Confident and optimistic certainly, but perhaps even presumptious?

 

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Odd one out

 

When you are travelling, it’s often particularly satisfying to see very individual buildings alongside more generic designs. For example, the art nouveau buildings of Palma in Mallorca and the art deco Bacardi building alongside the local baroque in Havana in Cuba.

In Vancouver, Canada, a similar moment is experienced when you see the Marine building, its 1930 art deco features in marked contrast to the steel and glass towers of the present-day harbourfront business district.

 

 

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