Friday, 7 January 2011

Stargazing, Nature, Panned out shots of the Earth From Space

Since becoming an Atheist became somewhat of a fashionable decision, Christmas has gotten a whole lot easier for me to celebrate (not that I had much of a problem with watching Elf and eating my body weight in Lindor before). The whole period from Novemeber to the beginning of January has now become a fantastical array of opportunities to watch documentaries and TV specials on the rain forest, which is absolutely 100% alright with me.

The great thing about this Christmas was that the centrepiece of it was 9 Lessons (I originally wrote 'Songs' - a private joke involving Ben Goldacre singing FIIIVE GOLLLLDENN RIIINGS) and Carols for Godless People, which anchored around it several other scientifically-based events thought up after my bestest-westest horrible friend bought me my ticket. It meant an excursion to London, which of course is a huge deal for Northerners. We find it easier to fly to Disneyworld than take a train to Kings Cross, and as such we don't do it very often. Throw into the equation the fact that I was on death's door with what I can only now describe as 'flu (despite many people claiming "ooh, you wouldn't have been able to get out of bed it if was"...believe me, if I could have stayed in bed, I would. Instead I overdosed on aspirin, caffeine pills, paracetamol and ibuprofen, was very close to giving myself an ulcer, and had a panic attack in the science museum. So don't tell me I didn't have the 'flu. I really really did. Just because I have an inordinately high pain threshold that makes bedridden turn into "walking around Bloomsbury a little bit miserable", doesn't mean I don't get as ill as you. Once I broke my arm severely, and had to walk a mile back to my house in the snow because I was in the middle of the official Middle of Nowhere. Anyone else would have gone to hospital. I put a tubey bandage on it and continued about my business. So I am a total IDIOT, but I'm just proving how little I feel in the way of pain.) my trip was arduous, and filled with moaning. I made it though, you'll be happy to hear.

[Pic courtesy of the BBC]

During the magical science tour of London, I visited (with a friend, I'm not a complete loser) the science museum no less than six times. Have you been to the Science Museum? It is so good that it ate my Harrods, Hamleys and Beard Papa time right out of contention. It has IMAX cinemas inside it, where we saw Hubble 3D. Can I just point out here that if there is a better use for 3D cinema in use at the moment, I would very much like to see it. Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio (an odd but essentially brilliant choice), the 40 minute epic on the final mission to fix up Hubble and get it's hair did made me weep like an uncontrollable baby in a Toby Carvery. Oh god, they're blasting off (waa waa waa), look, the Earth from space (WAAAAAA) "nebula - star nurseries" (GGGGGGAAAWWWAAAAA). Myself and my un-named friend were blubbing our stupid heads off while kids were visibly bored down the front. I would recommend it to everyone. In fact, if I ruled the UK, everyone would be forced to see it. The same cannot be said for 4D Apollo mission, which was probably the worst thing I have ever been party to in my life. For one thing, when the rocket blasted off, they blew bubbles into the auditorium.

The other best thing about this Christmas/Post-2010 period was the sudden abundance of science-type programmes on my telly. I am talking, of course, about Stargazing Live and The Bear Family and Me. Now all we need is a regular science show of a Tomorrow's World calibre (or better, please) and I'll be a very happy biped. Stargazing Live was incidentally a brilliant piece of BBC genius, showing us at home exactly what we can see when we look at the skies, where some of the science funding goes, and also gives BriCo a chance to ramble live on air about how much he doesn't like football. What's not to love?

Bear Family and Me was a lovely and enlightening piece of documentary film-making, made and presented by everyone's favourite curly-bonced Scotsman Gordon Buchanan (a name I cannot say without reverting to my now almost long-gone Aberdonian accent). Wild bears, bear cubs, human interaction and a lot of information on the perils and difficult decisions surrounding the conservation of these impressive animals. It left we with a refreshed need to re-watch the Lost Land of the Volcano.

Yes, Christmas is a time for family and food and presents and God (if you're that way inclined), but it has increasingly becoming about the BBC kicking everyone's arse with documentaries, and the Channel 4 Christmas Lectures. And Robin Ince, of course, because if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have gotten drunk in the Bloomsbury theatre and told off for being noisy by the atheist equivalent of a sandal-wearing crystal therapy subscriber. I was only caterwauling at Chris Addison. If you are a human and do not caterwaul at Chris Addison then you might need to consider whether you are alive or not.


Mcgingerbiscuit said...

unnamed friend then is it? ashamed? yeah.
I for one thought apollo4d was a tour de force bringing the seemingly unnatural and completely obscure combination of whiplash,childrens spittle and unconvincing snes style space voyage together.
you have to admit, it was a welcome break from crying like a sky news voxpop of a natural disaster victim for ten minutes?

Katie said...

I thought you might sue me if I told the world that you cried like a tearophile at a funeral.

Jamrock said...


I have been to the Science Museum a bajillion times with M and Tok but never been to the IMAX as the last time I tried to take Tok in he flipped at the darkness and hit the fire alarm in a blind panic thinking it was a light switch.

I'll check to see if we're allowed back in and maybe just take M and see that as he is mad about stars and thankfully not the vacuous type.

ALSO AS WELL TOO...I am now, right now, sat down with Stargazing on catchup. THANKS :D

Katie said...

Ooh, I might watch it again on catchup too :) Good idea!

The science museum is honestly my favourite place in the whole world. You should definitely take M to see Hubble 3D, it is fantastic, he'll love it :D

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