Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Space To Breathe

July and then August proved to be an especially interesting time for me, although little of what happened is going to be recounted here. Being me, I had to thoughtlessly stumble into a few potholes of my own devising in my own Yellow Brick Road but thankfully managed to negotiate my way out of them without too much harm being done.

Between spending the evening with the Luminous Beauty at a showcase event at McQueen, which served up rather incredible champagne cocktails flavoured with Rhubarb Bitters before providing some eye–catching burlesque entertainment, and the pair of us joining old friends to watch Mister Mark perform with Twelfth Night for the last time in the UK ahead of their final gig at the Night Of The Prog Festival V, held at the World Heritage Loreley amphitheatre near Koblenz in the Rhineland, this weekend, things went a little awry. In the end I was given a good talking to by friends and professionals who told me to be less gruff and jaundiced and concentrate on the really important things in life, though what they said wouldn’t have been worth a damn if my gorgeous Luminous Beauty hadn’t forgiven me for fucking up so badly.

If that wasn’t enough to curtail the blogging, which had dropped off this year, numerous computer problems during the summer months exacerbated the lack of posts, whether it was my internet provider taking unexpected vows of silence at the most inopportune moments or the monitor inconveniently bursting a pixel that bled an irreversible inky blackness across the screen. While a few things I was going to mention in passing can wait, posts recounting the Chimera screening and Brian Clemens in Conversation, both at the BFI in July were only recently finished and are posted with the dates they were started and initially saved.

For all the inconveniences, days without immediate internet access were never that bad, although one outage meant that I had to text poetry written for the Luminous Beauty and leave one particularly involved composition as a voicemail. Though I missed catching up on numerous blogs, the one website I pined for the most was the HubbleSite and the latest releases from its newscenter. With the connection playing silly buggers, it took a good while before I could get to see their recent updates.

First up was the collision of the Antennae galaxies, around 62 million light-years from Earth, in a composite image from material provided by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope and Hubble. Having begun more than 100 million years ago and still ongoing, the continued impact of the two galaxies triggered the formation of millions of stars in clouds of dust and gas, where even the most massive of the younger stars have already raced through their evolution and exploded as supernovae.

More recently the site posted a natural–colour, long exposure image of NGC 4911, a spiral galaxy 320 million light-years away in the northern constellation Coma Berenices. Located deep within the Coma Cluster, a home to almost 1,000 galaxies, the outer spiral arms of NGC 4911 are constantly being distorted by the gravitational pull of its neighbours, which undergo frequent interactions and collisions from being so densely packed together. Faced with that it made the grievances seem so utterly small and insignificant.