Major Tom and Brian & Robin’s Compendium of Reason

Last night I got to see a man who has been into space, sing a song about being in space, written by a man who is quite possibly from space. Much like when I watched the video of Commander Chris Hadfield performing Space Oddity in space, I cried.


I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have such an emotional reaction to something like that. The very fact that we have things in space, have PEOPLE in space, doing such incredible work, trying to make sense of it all. Our “ascent into insignificance via knowledge” as Professor Cox put it last night. I find the whole thing very overwhelming, and I suppose that’s the reason for the tears.

Happy tears I have to say. Last night I felt so privileged to be in a room with so many amazing people, and then to have one of my favourite songs performed by Chris Hadfield, who in my mind, has done one of the bravest things. This is why I love the show Robin and Brian put on each year.

I went last year as well. Is it weird to say it makes me feel Christmassy? Rufus Hound did a very good bit about how amazing it is that we have a party focussed on being nice to each other, during one of the shittiest parts of the year. He touched on how it has been taken over by religions and what not, but that that’s not really the point. The point that our survival of the fittest attitude really goes out the window for this party, and we do nice things for each other, is worth thinking about.

I really enjoyed his piece anyway. Some people get really defensive if you still celebrate “Christmas” when you don’t believe in it. I don’t think it really matters where this party comes from, if as a culture we use the opportunity to make winter a bit nicer then why not? It’s nice, and can easily go hand in hand with all that wonderful science.

One of the things that the Compendium really brings to the table, is how awesome everything is. All the amazing things we’ve learnt, all the things we can do, all the things we still don’t know. These scientists, actors, comedians, musicians etc show us these things. Be it song, spoken word, demonstrations, hula hooping… And that is wonderful. Taking the time (4+ hours…) to stop and celebrate these things in a more social atmosphere, in a way that would work for almost everyone, is just fucking brilliant.

I don’t think it’s possible to top Commander Hadfield singing Space Oddity, with a band and Brian Cox on the piano. I’m still buzzing about it today. The energy in the room when he walked on stage… yep. Going to be buzzing about this for a while.

PS: Tickets are already on sale for next year. If you get the chance to go to one of these shows, do. There were so many lovely people, so many interesting things. Profit goes to charity.