Henry's Songbook

© All original copyrights respected

previous page
vorherige Seite zurück / back

go to  de   Susannes Folksong-Notizen   English Notes  uk


  • (John Stewart)
  • Black boy in Chicago, playing in the street
    Hasn't many clothes to wear, hasn't much to eat
    Don't you know he saw it on a July afternoon
    He saw a man named Armstrong who walked upon the moon

    Young girl in Calcutta, she's barely eight years old
    The flies that swarm the market place will see she don't grow old
    But don't you know she heard it on a July afternoon
    She heard a man named Armstrong had walked upon the moon

    Our rivers are getting dirty and the air is getting bad
    Sometimes it seems like war and hate are the only things we've had
    Yet all the world stopped to watch on a July afternoon
    To watch a man named Armstrong who walked upon the moon

    And I wonder if somewhere long ago in this universe
    Did they watch a man named Adam who walked upon the earth

(as sung by Iain MacKintosh)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • english [1969:] The big news for weeks and months past has been the landing on the moon. The astronauts are now on the way home and face re-entry as the last hazard. It is an immense technological achievement. In all the American space missions only three men have been killed and that was on the ground before leaving. The foresight involved has been miraculous. The men's courage has been admirable. They have been in an unknown world an in great danger fro a week, and have never faltered. But having said all that, it is hard to see what of real value has been achieved. The Americans are beset with problems: their big cities, the Negroes, Vietnam, inflation, the armament race and the rest. The moon is not urgent and not a purely American problem, and in any case the biggest problem facing all of us is a spiritual and moral one, not a political or technological one at all; I regard the moon as an escape. (Cecil King, Diary 1965-1970, Tuesday, July 22nd, p 267)

  • english [1969:] The only thing in the news today was the American astronauts' second landing on the moon. The lack of interest is astonishing. [note: Apollo 12, with a three-man crew, had been launched from Cape Kennedy on November 14th and on November 19th Commander Conrad and Lieutenant-Commander Bean landed on the moon. The space craft returned to earth successfully on November 24th.] I had always thought it would be an anti-climax but in this case the rapidity of the fall-off is phenomenal. I think it's got something to do with the fact that the action itself is not intrinsically interesting. Once it has been shown that they can land accurately with absolute precision and walk about in their space suits, there is very little they can do which is interesting and relevant, so the only real excitement is whether they get killed or not. I hope that people will now begin to consider whether it's worth investing these vast sums in the technology of space travel. Is it really justifiable to divert them from other more helpful scientific activities? [...] no doubt the real justification is simply the easing off of the cold war between America and Russia. When their energy goes into space flights instead of wholly into nuclear weapons and when ambitions can be satisfied in this way, I suppose the motivation for world war is slightly reduced. (Richard Crossman, The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, Volume Three, Saturday, November 22nd, p 741)

  • english [1980:] The writer of this song, John Stewart, was a member of the American folk group, The Kingston Trio. It's a song which questions the value of what is called progress and which spotlights the poverty in the world while the television cameras spotlight a man called Armstrong. (Notes Sands Family, 'High Hills and Valleys')

  •  [1996:] In 1961, Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth, a first brave step into the icy ocean of space, and in 1969, Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon and became, I thought, the only human being from our millennium who would be remembered in 50,000 years' time. But after those first triumphs something began to go wrong. [The] great vision of galactic exploration had begun to fade. The suspicion dawned that outer space might be - dare one say it - boring. Having expended all these billions of dollars on getting to the Moon, we found on our arrival that there wasn't very much to do there. [It was] the most hostile environment ever encountered. Besides, absolute zero was not a temperature at which anything very interesting ever happened. We began to realise that the most fascinating planet in the universe, and by far the strangest, was the one that the astronauts had left behind them. (J. G. Ballard, Observer 22 Dec)

  •  [1998:] Vielleicht begann jene merkwürdige Globalisierung, die seitdem so global geworden ist, am 20. Juli 1969, als Neil Armstrong und Edwin Aldrin mit ihrer Apollo-Mondfähre auf dem Erdtrabanten ankamen und in seinem Staub herumtapsten. Sie sahen die Erde, den Globus, als eine leuchtende Kugel, so wie wir den Mond sehen. Dabei geschah noch etwas anderes; die Bodenkontrolle fragte nämlich den dritten Astronauten, Michael Collins, der in der Mondumlaufbahn auf die Rückkehr der beiden anderen wartete: "Bist du dir eigentlich darüber im klaren, daß du der einzige Mensch bist, der im TV nicht sehen kann, was heute geschieht?" Er hatte scharfsinnig erkannt, daß das Zeitalter der virtuellen Realität angebrochen war: Nur wer etwas auf dem Bildschirm sehen kann, sieht es wirklich. Die armen Mondfahrer sind nur Akteure im Film der anderen. Auch die technischen Voraussetzungen der Mondfahrt gehören zur Globalisierung. Bei dieser Reise wurden manche jener Instrumente und Verfahren erprobt, die bald darauf die Informationsgesellschaft einläuten sollten. (Ralf Dahrendorf, Spiegel, 2. Nov.)

  •  [1999:] There is a glorious urban myth told about Neil Armstrong. As he climbs on his Apollo 11 spaceship to return to Earth, he mutters the following, strange words: 'This one's for you, Jablonski.' The message is taped and stored by Nasa. Years later a baffled space historian tries to make sense of it - and fails. So he contacts Armstrong. 'Ah,' says the first man on the Moon, 'It's simple, really. I grew up in Ohio. Mr Jablonski lived next door, and one night I heard his wife shout: "Oral sex! You want oral sex! You'll get oral sex on the day that the kid next door walks on the Moon!" I just wanted to tell him the good news.'

    It's a lovely idea. Unfortunately, the tale is utterly untrue, although it is revealing in one way, for it is easily the most interesting story ever told about Armstrong. Before 1969, no one had heard of him. Afterwards, he became the most famous man in the world, and promptly fled from public attention, returning to Ohio where he became professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati, living on a farm with his first wife Janet. [...] Take Buzz Aldrin, who stood beside Armstrong on the Moon 30 years ago. He became a Nasa PR spokesman, and quickly spiralled into depression, a spell in a psychiatric ward, divorce and finally alcoholism, before emerging as a teetotal author, product endorser and after-dinner speaker. 'When we got back from the Moon, none of us was prepared for the adulation that followed', says Aldrin. [...]

    It is wrong, however, to assume Armstrong was selected from the start to be the first Moon explorer and utter those carefully scripted words about 'a small step for man, a giant leap for mankind' (which he got wrong, incidentally, missing out the indefinite article before 'man' - an error he admitted for the first time last week). In its bid to meet Kennedy's Moon landing aspirations by the end of 1969, Nasa imposed an incredibly tight, seemingly unrealistic schedule on the Apollo missions. Most astronauts expected slippage to occur when gremlins afflicted the complex test manoeuvrings and dockings of Apollos 8, 9 and 10, and that Apollo 12's Pete Conrad [...] and Al Bean would be the first men on the Moon. No serious glitches occurred, however, and Armstrong got the glory.

    Armstrong [...] now seems thoroughly disillusioned with the whole space business. At one stage, he announced that he was 'profoundly disappointed that the whole point of the Apollo 11 mission seems to have been lost, dissipated and buried in hucksterism and other attendant nonsense'. [...] Armstrong's achievement has led to nothing. America went to the Moon merely to frustrate Russian lunar ambitions. Once that was achieved, it shut up shop. As a result, for the past 30 years, Nasa - just like Armstrong - has struggled desperately to find a role for itself and, by and large, it has failed. The space agency went to the Moon for political reasons and is now committed to a $90 billion International Space Station mission, which has also been pursued for diplomatic, not scientific reasons. [...] Prestige and political pragmatism will once again triumph over the search for knowledge. (Robin McKie, Observer, 18 July)

  •  [1999:] When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on 20 July 1969, they were supposed to go to sleep for four hours. Instead, Armstrong radioed to mission control to say he was going to moonwalk five hours ahead of schedule, at 8pm Houston time (and 2am UK time). Charlie Duke, at mission control in Houston, radioed back his go-ahead, saying "You guys are getting prime TV time."

    In the UK, ITN had thoughtfully included an alarm call in its coverage to wake anybody dozing. Meanwhile on the BBC, historian AJP Taylor, when asked for his gut reaction to the ghostly black and white footage of Armstrong's small step, said: "I have just seen the biggest non-event of my life." In the White House, Richard Nixon greeted the landing as the greatest week in the history of the world since creation [...]. A global audience of 600 million watched Armstrong's moon walk, a record at the time but comparable now - in terms of audience share - to the numbers who tune in to Baywatch.

    Officially, the world was united in acclaim and yet a sizeable minority took the view of Astronomer Royal Professor Sir Martin Rees who says: "I was so repelled by the quasi-military and triumphalist aura surrounding the Apollo programme that I didn't make the effort to watch the first landing."

    The sequels to Apollo 11 produced, in pure entertainment terms, diminishing returns. By the time Apollo 13 was launched in April 1970, the US networks turned down a NASA offer of a free live link-up, deciding they'd get bigger audiences with their usual fare, led by the Doris Day TV show. The only place Marilyn Lovell could watch her husband and his crew, John Swigert and Fred Haise, live was at NASA. Then came the Apollo programme's second most famous soundbite, "Houston, we have a problem", and TV reporters were begging Mrs Lovell to have a broadcast tower put up in her garden - naturally, she refused. [...]

    Nixon's aides, scared another disaster would hurt his ratings in the polls, immediately suggested he cancel the Apollo programme. Meanwhile millions more questioned the financial and scientific wisdom of the whole exercise. A year after his moonwalk, Armstrong admitted in a press conference: "I had hoped the impact would be more far-reaching. We seem to be sort of tied up with today's problems".

    It had taken the US seven years and $25bn to get to the moon. It took the American public just two missions to get bored with the whole enterprise. Even as Armstrong climbed down the ladder on to the surface of the moon, there were those at mission control who said they preferred Kubrick's vision in 2001: A Space Odyssey which Armstrong, Aldrin and command-module pilot Mike Collins had watched a week before lift-off. (Observer, 12 Sep)

  • english [1999:] I asked Mr Cronkite to name the most significant event of the twentieth century. 'Man's landing on the moon. Definitely. Without a question of a doubt.' 'You put the lunar landing ahead of the discovery of penicillin, contraception, the computer -' 'Or even the splitting of the atom, yes, for heaven's sakes. The development of vaccines, the X-ray, all the rest, fall in some way behind. Of course, the advent of the birth control pill has changed the whole societal relationship between the genders and helped to elevate women to an equal role with men, but the landing on the moon is in a different league - not because I was there to report it, but because it marks man's first escape from his environment on earth. One of the few dates the modern American child knows is 12 October 1492, the day Columbus landed in the New World. One day people will be living on other moons, flitting about at the speed of light, and they will look back to a time they can barely imagine when three men climbed into a funny little vehicle they called a spaceship and took almost four days to reach their destination. Five hundred years from now the one year of our century that will be memorised by schoolchildren [...] the one year they'll know is 1969, when man first walked on the moon.' (American broadcasting legend Walter Cronkite talking to Gyles Brandreth, Sunday Telegraph)

  • english [2008:] It has proved to be the most enduring image we have of our fragile world. Over a colourless lunar surface, the Earth hangs like a gaudy Christmas bauble against a deep black background. [...] Our atmosphere is too thin to be seen clearly from the Moon: a striking reminder - if we ever needed one - of the frailty of the biosphere that sustains life on Earth. This is Earthrise, photographed by astronaut Bill Anders as he and his fellow Apollo 8 crewmen, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman, orbited the Moon on Christmas Eve, 1968. His shot, taken 40 years ago next month, has become the most influential environmental image, and one of the most reproduced photographs in history. Arguably, his picture is also the most important legacy of the Apollo space programme. Thanks to this image, humans could see, for the first time, their planet, not as continents or oceans, but as a world that was 'whole and round and beautiful and small', as the poet Archibald MacLeish put it. (Robin McKie, Observer, 30 Nov)

See also
Chaikin, Andrew, 'A Man on the Moon'
1969: America lands man on the Moon
Erste Mondlandung: Alles nur gelogen?

Quelle: USA

go back  de  A-Index  uk

© Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (D-21435 Stelle)

29.10.1999, aktualisiert am 02.04.2010, 15.04.2009