Every night, my wife and I record BBC World News and watch during dinner. We find that it’s the only broadcast that actually reports news, rather than hours of political commentary of one stripe or the other.
And every night, after the half hour is over, we look at each other and say “the world is coming to an end.”
Except last night. Last night, there was a long report about Commander Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who spent five months living on the International Space Station. While he was there, Commander Hadfield, who is 53 and trim and effortlessly charming, Tweeted about life in Space. He didn’t talk only about the elevated scientific experiments he was performing, but how to eat spinach or brush his teeth in zero gravity. It’s amazing, riveting journalism in 140 character chunks.
Commander Hadfield returned from space last week, but before he did, he performed his piece de resistance—he recorded a music video of himself singing a slightly rewritten version of David Bowie’s 1969 song Space Oddity (Major Tom). Of course in the original, Major Tom loses contact with Ground Control and presumably hurtles off into the abyss. It’s brilliant, but ultimately depressing. In this version, Commander Hadfield sings about strapping into his pod and coming home, his time in space complete and successful. The video has been viewed millions of times now. Even David Bowie himself retweeted it, approvingly.
What’s remarkable about this video is that it is completely, whole-heartedly positive. Space, in HD, is gorgeous. Stunning. Commander Hadfield is not commenting on President Obama’s troubles or chaos in Syria. He’s just making music, in space, floating in his tin can. It’s brilliantly uplifting. And in this time of war, famine, global warming, tornadoes in the Plains, political and religious strife worldwide, the idea of unbridled joy is even more overwhelmingly rejuvenating. Take a look. And enjoy your day.