Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon. But you must be a lunatic to do it in trainers…
The Eagle hasn’t landed. I think it’s still looking for Moonbase Alpha, but that span off into deep space on the Earth’s alternative universe moon back in 1999.
Today’s smart pair of Nike’s are an on-loan pair from one of my loyal Twitter brigade, Dan Grenfell. He says he’s in no hurry to have them back, because it’s a good excuse not to do any exercise. Looking at how pristine they are, I’m not sure he does any exercise when they are in his possession.
The style is actually called “Lunarswift 4” which is what inspired the Space: 1999 reference. It’s certainly a rare show in sci-fi history. Most screen science fiction is littered with plot holes, but only a few films or TV shows are ballsy enough to make a huge scientific howler part of their very premise.
In case you don’t know this famous blooper already, here it is in a nutshell. The show is about the moon being forced out of its orbit by an explosion, thus becoming an unsteerable planetary spaceship for the members of a lunar base that was set up there at the time. Every week it would travel near a new planet in a new system, giving the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha enough time to explore the neighbourhood. So here’s the problem: if the moon was travelling fast enough to escape from Earth’s solar system and travel between other solar systems so frequently, it would have to either a) zipping about at warp speed, or b) have a brake.
The show also boasted a lead couple who were married in real life at the time (Martin Landau and Barbara Bain) but who both showed less emotion on screen that Mr Spock on a particularly dour day. If there was sexual chemistry between these two it was like the chemistry between water and sub zero temperatures. Space: 1999 also had a few shuffling monsters that would have rejected on ’60s Doctor Who resulting in a hilarious amount of really slow chase scenes down corridors.
Despite all that, when I was a wee lad, it was the bee’s knees of science fiction. And that was mainly because it had some seriously cool special effects. The Eagle shuttles remain one of the most impressive spaceship designs ever, and Moonbase Alpha itself was a model that bore up to close scrutiny week-in, week-out. And while season two committed the heinous crime of dumping one of the greatest theme tunes of all time (the replacement wasn’t terrible, but it was nowhere near as good as Barry Gray original) it redeemed itself by replacing a fusty old scientist with a shapeshifting alien vixen called Maya.
Oh yeah. And season two featured a planet called Luton. Because the American producer drove past a signpost for Luton and thought it sounded exotic. Given where Space: 1999 was filmed (Pinewood), thank God we didn’t also get planets called Slough and Staines.
• Current total: £1,000 (come on, let’s forge on into that second century!)
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