War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

Notes from PhD land: Chris Hadfield

checked my email this morning and there was a message from an English friend that contained this link
Chris Hadfield’s Space Oddity video.

well I must be the last person on earth to not have heard of Chris Hadfield (obviously I need to get out of the bubble, off the hill, and back to earth more often), that is until a few weeks ago when my teenager alerted me to the fact that one of our countrymen was orbiting the earth and tweeting really interesting things, I was totally unaware of the guy.

to be fair, my thoughts are busy travelling the corridor of the 1912 to 1932 years, that is to say, pre- and après La Grande Guerre, currently, with Robert Graves as I scratch my head and wonder “what is it about fairies and fusiliers Mr. Graves??? “
indeed, what were those Georgian poets thinking with all those fairies and dyads? (more of that later)

but back to Hadfield…

so I clicked on the video link and saw a familiar looking guy singing one of the greatest tunes from my youth. and of course I don’t know Hadfield, but he has a look about him which I encountered many times on the road to la petite guerre d’Astan. trim and tidy in the way of all Air Boys, clear-eyed, tired-eyed, straightforward yet complex, confident, confident, confident. earnest and focussed. but above all, a fighter pilot. one of nature’s freak (rare I mean, not freaky) accidents of superior intelligence, drive, emotionally-controlled personalities, with the added gift of physical dexterity and nerve.

I remember wandering into their encampment at Suffield. I think the word gucci might apply: comfort, sleep, good food. these boys were the thoroughbreds in the stable and their quarters reflected that even in the dusty, dirty field.

later in KAF I’d see them on the boardwalk. I remember a couple of American fighter pilots flogging paraphernalia from their unit. I bought a few of their badges (though dared not show it to the infantrymen who loved to scorn the Air boys, but in reality were grateful to them). in their jumpsuits and with their carefully trimmed mustaches, those boys were golden. they looked like they’d just stepped off a film set of a First World War movie, and they knew it. they flew big expensive birds, and surveyed the earth from above.

with the advent of aerial photography we changed the way we looked at our world. it changed war. still, looking over Hadfield’s shoulder, glimpsing our silvery home, not a new view for those of us who grew up in the age of space, Davie Bowie’s words are seem sweetly touching, a little hymn for our little planet “so blue”.


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled Notes from PhD land: Chris Hadfield. It was posted here on May 14, 2013.

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