Tuesday 29 November 2016

Phil Collins doubts Moon Landings

Phil Collins is the nice guy of rock and roll. Along with his genial demeanour in public, the famous singer-songwriter is an activist and philanthropist. He works for many charitable causes, including opposition to animal cruelty, homelessness and famine; the latter two he has written several songs about. I have always enjoyed his music, especially his solo album But Seriously. He is the subject of a major turning point in my life I experienced at the age of eighteen that I've never forgotten. I was sitting in a pub with some friends and one of his songs started on the jukebox. "Oh, it's only Phil Collins!" one of my acquaintances said, rolling their eyes and sticking out their tongue. There followed a long conversation about how bad Phil Collins was and I joined in, pretending to agree because I didn't want to be different from them. I felt ashamed afterwards and made the decision at that moment always to speak my mind and refuse to let peer pressure turn me into a conformist. Now something has happened that makes me even more relieved that I took that path, something which has increased my admiration for that brilliant artist. He has recently announced that he questions the Apollo moon landings. This is a subject I have covered extensively, see background links below; but I never imagined Phil Collins shared my doubts. To my knowledge this is the first time he has spoken publicly about the matter, although his opinion dates back to the contemporary period. After a brief career as a minor actor (before Buster and his later relaunch into drama off the back of his musical fame) he joined a band called Flaming Youth as a percussionist. They released an album in 1969 called Ark 2 that was inspired by space exploration, especially NASA's Apollo missions. It features tracks named after the planets and others entitled Weightlessness, Space Child and Earthglow. The album was launched at a live concert in the London Planetarium in October. The band played the songs while the projector animated them on the famous ceiling display; it must have been quite a spectacle. This was just a few months after the Apollo 11 mission and Apollo 12 was about to take off. After the show the band went to their hotel in Hampstead and stared up at the moon from the roof garden. They talked about space rockets and their album's themes. The TV was on and they watched a programme about the moon landings at the same time; and Phil started to wonder if it were really true. He said: "It's a can of worms and I don't know if I should open it. But I have a lot of questions about that." This initially appears to be an intuitive doubt he came to independently. The first book to question Apollo, Bill Kaying's We Never Went to the Moon, had yet to be written. Perhaps since then Phil has read up on the subject privately, but unfortunately he didn't elaborate. Source: http://www.warwickdailynews.com.au/news/phil-collins-doubts-moon-landings-actually-happene/3116638/. Well done, Phil Collins! It takes guts to say something like that to the mainstream media. I can just see the skeptics lining up to deplore him. I'll be watching carefully to see if he says more along these lines. The day after he made this announcement the Chinese space agency released more material gathered during their Chang-e 3/ Jade Rabbit mission, see: http://www.msn.com/en-gb/video/other/china-releases-hundreds-of-true-color-moon-photos/vi-BBp0XWR. I wonder if this was a coincidence. (Interestingly Chang-e 3 is the only soft landing achieved on the moon since Apollo 17 allegedly did in 1972).

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