“I demand an electric future…”
The Apollo 11 moon landing was a moment when the world was captivated by something that was meaningful – a moment where humanity took a giant step forward together to go beyond the confines of the atmosphere and set foot on another surface
As those magnificent men in their flying machine floated in the most peculiar way, finally touching down on the moon’s surface 20 July 1969 (a date when I happened to be a mere 25 days young, and a mere five months before the end-of-the-decade challenge from then President John F. Kennedy to NASA expired), people all over the globe allowed themselves to see hope in the future.
Fifty years later and there’s an understandable fondness to capitalise on the nostalgia for one of the greatest technological achievements in history. The stars may look very different today, but there is hope for the human race. Civilisation as we know it will not collapse after all.
Then again, in these dark days of Trump, Brexit, endless war and maniacal terrorism, when the crazy stuff happens you can’t help but feel like nowhere is safe. Nothing is safe. Sometimes it feels like the eternal question is Does mankind not possess a moral compass any longer?
As I mentioned last week, music fans are also applauding 50 years of the equally celestial Space Oddity by David Bowie. Coincidentally, Volkswagen of America has combined the two semi-centennials in an advertising campaign that looks both backward and forward.
A New Mission looks back on the German automaker’s connection to the moon landing and forward to its current focus on electric vehicles and going carbon neutral.
The spot features the ‘Mercury’ demo version of Oddity performed as a duet with John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, from April 1969, which was commercially released by Parlophone on an hysterically priced £80 vinyl album recently.
The film also includes footage from around the world conveying the unification that landing on the moon brought to humankind in ’69, from people watching through store windows and public places, to campsites covered in VW vans. Go.
Postscript: Coincidentally, I became a first-time VW owner six years ago this very month, only my gas guzzling Golf III Cabriolet Avantgarde convertible was far from electric… even if my drive-time listening of that entire summer was this