What's with the change?

A Real Space Oddity

May 18, 2013

You might not know who this guy is if you haven’t been close to a Canadian TV lately or aren’t one of his one million followers on twitter. No, he’s not a new recruit for “Guess Who?”. He’s Canada’s biggest celebrity.

I wasn’t overly interested in Chris Hadfield’s journey to begin with, although he was in the news more regularly than the prime minister (deliberate omission of name to highlight un-newsworthiness) or embattled Toronto mayor, Rob Ford (I’ve always wanted to use that adjective). It wasn’t until Cmdr Hadfield was nearing the end of his five months in space that I sat up and took notice. The Chris Hadfield highlight reels went on high rotation and given his prolific tweeting, singing and all round good-guyness, there was a lot to recap. From shaving in space to a good old fashioned sing along with Canadian schoolkids, there was nothing he didn’t do.

If you watch the sing along song he co-wrote with the dude from Barenaked Ladies, you might wonder if Canada is just a big country town. I don’t know but when I switched news channels because I’d seen his simulated space exit too many times, they were doing birthday shout-outs... for adults.

ISS- Is Somebody Singing? 
Warning: listeners may experience uplifted spirits and an earworm for a few days.

There’s so much to like about the guy– he genuinely wanted to bring the world with him to the ISS by sharing his experiences. But there’s a lot to make you feel very, very awkward.

On his last days in space, he filmed his own rendition of Bowie’s Space Oddity. It’s tumultuous viewing– fantastically produced by his son and sung so earnestly I had to bite my hand. 

The Chris Hadfield Drinking Game

Have a shot every time:
~ He looks wistfully out the window. Make it a double if it matches the lyrics.
~ A guitar is spun in zero gravity (what’s the carry-on baggage limits for space travel anyway?).
Play it soon though, David Bowie’s only given permission for one year of viewing.

The whole mission may appear to be
a scientific version of going on Home and Away to advance your music career, but Chris Hadfield seemingly still did lots of work. And don’t think of asking if the publicity discredited his scientific efforts as a reporter rather sillily asked at his return-home press conference.

Where to now he’s back on land?

Based on the turncoat fans I’ve seen at Toronto sporting events (and their treatment of Bargnani from the Raptors and Dickey from the Blue Jays), I suppose we should boo and heckle him from the field. A business analyser on CBC News discussed the challenge of keeping up his online presence from land (slow news day?). Perhaps Hadfield is more shrewd a self-marketer than I give credit for– he is set to upload one space photo a day from his stack of thousands, years worth of material. Will he maintain the following? Are photos from space less exciting than they were pre-Google Earth? Has interest already waned? His safe landing in Kazakhstan was number two news story behind Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy.