Friday, 1 February 2013

(2) The First Step - Death of the Dream

I was a little over 2 years old when my mother sat me on a dining room chair in front of the TV and said. 

“Watch this and remember it because it is really important. In years to come people will still be talking about this.”

I remember the black wooden chair with the green plastic paisley seat cushion and back. I remember looking at the grainy picture on the TV. The TV was a 1960’s black and white valve driven beast. Actually it wasn’t even black and white, more black and purple. When it was switched on it would take a few minutes for the valves to warm up before any sound would come out and then the picture would eventually flicker into life.

I was just over 2 years old in the Summer of 1969 so I didn’t really grasp the importance of what I was seeing at the time but I remember sitting there and watching man’s first step on the Moon.

The last lunar landing was in December of 1972 but the excitement lingered on for a few more years. I remember numerous space related TV shows from my early years such as Dr Who, Stingray, Thunderbirds and Star Trek. We grew up with Captain Kirk as our role model and we believed that by the time we grew up space travel would be the norm but the brave new world never arrived.

Growing up meant a gradual awareness of who I was, where I was in the world and what was actually possible. I grew up in a small town in Wales. I won't mention the name because If you live outside Wales then you probably won't have never heard of it anyway. It is a one horse town, with no horse. I was a nobody in a nowhere town growing up in a post-industrial world that had seen better days. There was never any chance of me suddenly being talent spotted by NASA and becoming an astronaut. Everyone I knew grew up, accepted their fate and forgot about any childhood dreams and ambitions they had. They went to school, went to university or got a job and settled down, got a house, got a wife, got the flat screen TV and matching luggage set. They had kids and they started to grow old, accept their fate and they forget the dreams they once had.

The dream died.