A giant step for the summer broadcast schedules

`I go along with the theory that there was no third guy on the moon. We only imagined him'

YES, TODAY is Moonday! That's the name that we media people have given to this day, because it comes exactly 30 years after the first landing on the moon by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and... the other one, whose name temporarily slips my mind. How can we ever forget that day when man (but not woman, who was too sensible), first reached the moon and liked the look of it so much that we decided pretty soon afterwards to give up going there ever again...?

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, that was roughly what Neil Armstrong's speechwriter said as Armstrong stepped from the spacecraft on to the surface of the moon, watched eagerly and jealously from inside the spacecraft by Buzz Aldrin and... the other one. And to celebrate this momentous anniversary we are devoting the whole of this column to a tribute to that great day. In the course of this article we will be bringing you interviews with people who were actually involved, testimony from experts on how the moon landings changed the way we see things, and vox pop interviews with people in the street to see how many of them can remember the name of the third guy.

First of all, we bring you an exclusive interview with Professor Lance Zetterlin, an expert on anniversaries. I'm going to ask him why we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the moon landings, when we normally ignore 30th anniversaries of anything.

"Well, that's not quite true. There are two different kinds of celebration of events. There's the celebration of an event which happened long before anyone was born, such as the birth of Mozart or discovery of America. And there's the celebration of an event which everyone who is old enough can remember, like VE Day or Kennedy's death. President Kennedy, I mean. The first kind attracts centenaries and bicentenaries, but you can hardly wait a hundred years to celebrate events in living memory, can you?"

I suppose not.

"Also, broadcast schedules are rather thin at this time of year, so everyone's relieved to have something to peg programmes on."

One last question. Can you remember the name of the other guy beside Armstrong and Aldrin?

"Yes, it was... Hold on a minute. Was it John Glenn?"

No. He did the first trip round the moon, I think. Or was it the earth? He never actually landed.

"In that case, I haven't the faintest idea."

So there we are. Now, in this special Moonday Column, we're going to look at the impact of the moon landings on art, culture, books, films, music and tattooing. Here in the studios we've got twelve pundits to talk us through that one. We haven't time for all of them, so we're going to draw a name from a hat. The chosen pundit is... hold on a minute... Zoe Fulton! Zoe, you're the pop culture correspondent of Brides magazine, aren't you?

"Yes, that's right."

How have the moon landings affected the way we live now?

"Well, in two ways, really. One is that the moon always used to be something up there. `Blue moon, you saw me standing there...', `How high the moon', and so on. But now it's place where you can actually be, as in Michael Jackson's "Dancing on the Moon", and Sting's "Walking on the Moon"

That's very true, if really boring. And the other difference?

"Well, when we saw people land on the moon, we realised that the way they really moved there was very slow and ponderous. They had to wear big suits, and there was no way they could ever have good fights, with guns or fists. So science fiction films decided to ignore the new reality and carry on as if nothing had happened."

Right. And who was the third guy with Armstrong and Aldrin?

"I go along with the theory that there was no third guy. We only imagined him."

Right. Also with us is Professor Diggle, an expert in statistics, who has a theory about the landing. He points out that two of the three astronauts had names beginning with A - Aldrin and Armstrong. The chances of that happening by accident are remote. He therefore believes that NASA was sending astronauts to the moon in alphabetical order. Professor Diggle, would you like to add to that?

"No. You have expressed it as well as I could."

But surely that would only hold water if the other guy's name also began with A, or B or C?

"Oh, but it did. His name was Michael Collins."

Heavens above! With the momentous discovery that NASA actually was sending men to the moon in alphabetical order, we return to earth, and normality, and Northern Ireland...

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker