Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A long way to fall

Do you remember the moon landings?  The first one.  The whole world stayed up late/got up early just to watch Neil Armstrong (God Rest His Soul) take a shakey first step on to the gravely surface of the moon (or the local film studio if you're a conspiracy theory subscriber).  We were all mighty impressed...it was mankind's greatest achievement.  No one was disappointed.

However, I suspect there must be an awful lot of extremely disappointed people out there today.  A man, called Felix Baumgarten has jumped out of a capsule to achieve the highest free-fall by man (or woman).  The result was filmed and achieved the highest rankings on YouTube ever recorded.  A double first is never to be sniffed at.  But have you actually looked at the footage?  Yep, pretty damned impressive to start with. But, but, but...it then switches to a view, presumably from the ground, of a small white dot sometimes in shot, sometimes not, which frankly could be anything.  I suspect someone just lobbed a sugar cube in the air.  Where was the headcam to give us the man's view as he hurtled to earth at 833miles per hour facing almost certain vaporisation as he reached ground zero?

I'm sorry, and call me a kill-joy if you want, but I was disappointed.  And that's why I'm delighted that someone has taken it upon themselves to make a much more convincing version.

He was not the only one to fall a long way this year.  Yesterday Lt General Sir John Kiszely resigned as  President of the Royal British Legion after allegations of taking money for lobbying the Government on behalf of armament firms.  What a sad end for him, and another nail in the coffin of the pillars of society I think.

Anyway, we will be buying our poppies this year, and probably putting in a few extra coins to the collecting tin as well.  Every year, the British Legion holds a Festival of Remembrance:

"This annual Festival, held at the Royal Albert Hall, commemorates and honours all those who have lost their lives in conflicts, and is both a moving and enjoyable evening. There is a matinee (2pm) and an evening performance - both are exactly the same except that the Royal Family attend only the evening performance."

I am particularly proud that The Boy has been chosen to represent Cadets from across the country.  If you tune in, you will see him march and play a key part in the Festival.  This is a great honour for him, and us.  Obviously we wanted to get tickets, but they're as rare as hen's teeth so we'll be watching at home on the Box.  Of course we will not be forgetting that this is about the men and women who have fallen on the fields of battle this country has fought in recent times.