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  11/17: Neil Armstrong CSL talk (Dublin, Ireland) (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   11/17: Neil Armstrong CSL talk (Dublin, Ireland)
JasonB
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posted 11-18-2003 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, that sounds like a really cool talk.

It's too bad about the autograph stuff. I was hoping that since he stopped signing for the 25th anniversary of Apollo 11, he might start for the 35th anniversary. I know — dream on Jason!

Still, I hope he does something like that here in the states. It'd be great to get to meet him and shake his hand.

Steve Procter
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posted 11-18-2003 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just arrived home after returning from Dublin (via a few hours at my workplace!) and the Neil Armstrong 'Face To Face' presentation at the National Concert Hall.

Flew over from Leeds on the Monday afternoon. The flight delayed slightly due to lateness of incoming aircraft and I must confess to starting to get a bit 'twitchy' as the later flight that day wouldn't have got me there on time. No problem though, plane arrives, I go, I land, I get to hotel in good time!

Went to the bar around 5 p.m. and met up with a whole gang of well known names from the various groups including Collect Space 'inmates' Andrew, Dave,Rob, Derek, Matt, Paul and Mrs Bramley, Geoff Bowman, Eamonn.

Matt brought along various bits of spacesuits which we all drooled over including Schmitt's back-up lunar EVA glove. Had it sat in my lap and was stroking it in a way reminiscent of Blofeld stroking his cat in the Bond films!

At the appointed hour we made the short walk to the venue. Picked up our tickets and went into the drinks reception for one (or two) glasses of wine.

We moved into the auditorium and I had a great view from the second row of the balcony looking down on to the stage. Our MC and interviewer for the evening was the well known Irish broadcaster/presenter Gay Byrne, who set the scene (and I think the tone) for what followed.

Neil was introduced and came on stage to a huge standing ovation. I believe he was genuinely taken aback by the welcome and upon starting to speak sounded actually quite 'reedy' and almost (dare I say it, a little choked). However within a minute or so he was off and away.

For the next hour or so, (prompted by Gay, with his questions and excellent manner) Neil talked about his life, flying career, his missions and on other topics interspersed with video footage shown on a large screen above and behind the stage.

Now, I have heard that Neil was not the best speaker in the world... I would beg to differ. He was articulate, charming, and a very captivating speaker and above all, I think, clearly a man with a great sense of humour.

At the conclusion of the interview Neil just stood on the stage and took questions from the audience. Questions varied from the moon landing 'hoax' (his response — it was easier to go there than try and fake it!) how to become an astronaut, which astronauts he admired most (he spoke warmly of Mike Collins) when he came up with his famous words and yes, he admitted to fluffing his lines!

He also answered questions about when will we return to the moon, would he like to go back into space (yes, but he's not old enough yet!) and even our old friend Mr Gorsky!!

He then answered a question about autographs and explained publicly his position and how he has arrived at what I think had been a difficult decision for him.

I was very impressed with his eloquence, candour and honesty throughout the session. After this Gay wrapped up proceedings by presenting Neil with some very exclusive booze!. There then followed another standing ovation and Neil smiled and bowed and waved and went off stage. Then came back and waved some more!

We proceeded upstairs to dinner (now running a bit late) and had another drink (not too many lest we end up worse for wear when the great moment arrived to meet him!).

Neil duly arrived and moved around the tables meeting the diners and posing to corporate group shots. As the 'individual' guests we space fans qualified for an individual photo. (No offense guys!)

Moment arrives, straighten tie, try not to trip up, try and say something other than aaaaahhhh... and try not to look like a rabbit caught in the headlights when the photo is taken. Move forward, handshake, introduce myself, say a few other words, he thanks me, handshake again, slide away and relax!

Neil continues to talk awhile and I move across to listen. It's time for him to go and as he passes me he holds out his hand, shakes and thanks me (!) for coming!! (Sit down have stiff drink.)

Finish dinner (ah yes I remember that) and await our photos. It could be 2 a.m. before they are ready someone says, but the free bar is open until then. As it happens the photos were ready quite quickly and we are all relieved we have turned out okay!

Obviously upset at the lack of autograph action we all sign each others menus and grab a passing Gay Byrne to add his signature! These may be on e-bay next week but I am concerned at the signature 'John Young' on mine (thanks Dave!!). I was prepared to offer a COA with mine.

Just after 1 a.m. we decide to call it a night (I have to be up at 0600 for the flight home) and wend our merry way back to the hotel, tired but happy.

Thanks to all the guys I met at this event you were all superb company, thanks to CSL Associates for putting the thing on, Gay Byrne for managing the evening so well and of course Mr Neil Armstrong, whom I cannot praise enough. He is without doubt the number one!

Rizz
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posted 11-18-2003 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a GREAT event! What a GREAT report!!

I was hoping all of you wouldn't get to 'drunk' prior to the main event.

Fabulous experience. Your post brought me there for a brief moment. Thanks and congrats.

nojnj
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posted 11-18-2003 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks so much for the report. It is some consolation for me to read such a detailed report. Sound wonderful, just hope you had a drink for me!

irish guy
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posted 11-18-2003 04:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for irish guy   Click Here to Email irish guy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Monday night the city of Dublin played host to three great events from music (Bob Dylan) sport (Alex Ferguson) and Aeronautics.

Myself and 800+ people sat in the National Concert Hall captivated by Mr Neil Armstrong. Neil came on stage to a standing ovation which seemed to both surprise and totally overwhelm him. He spoke at length about his childhood in Ohio, his first flight as a young boy and his pilots license at 16. He went on to speak about his days in Korea, at Edwards and NASA.

With a little help from Gay Byrne we saw Neil relax and witnessed his humour, wit and intelligence leaving the audience hanging on to his every word.

For me personally I have neither a photo or audio tape of the night,but his words and presence have left a lasting impression upon me. A more pleasant and humble man I have never experienced.

A truly unforgettable night, shared with some fine folks it was great to meet you guys! Must do it again soon.

derek
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posted 11-18-2003 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for derek   Click Here to Email derek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hear,hear, Eamonn, don't worry, I'll send you a photo I took from the balcony.

Neil said so many great things that I'm still at Tranquility Base; his most profound statement was his belief in a supreme being ("Those aren't Kepler's/Newton's laws, they only discovered them.") He still regards the landing more highly than the EVA — "What pilot takes pride in stepping down from his vehicle?"(!!) — and reckons ET life as possible, "though I looked behind every rock..."

I could go on all night, but those are just a few instances of an incredible evening.

072069
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posted 11-18-2003 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 072069   Click Here to Email 072069     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"What pilot takes pride in stepping down from his vehicle?"

If that isn't one of the absolutely coolest remarks I have ever heard, I don't know what is. It simply reaffirms in my mind why Neil was the best choice for first man to "step down from his vehicle" that fateful day.

DC Giants
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posted 11-18-2003 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DC Giants   Click Here to Email DC Giants     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, thanks for the great summary of your evening. Could you elaborate on Neil's answer to the audience about not signing autographs?

Blackarrow
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posted 11-18-2003 08:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really couldn't improve on some of the earlier reports, particularly Steve's, so let me just mention the two greatest moments of the evening. First and foremost: shaking the hand of the first man on the Moon. To say it was an honour and a privilege is to state the obvious, and I think I can speak for each of us present on Monday evening when I say that it was a moment of great personal significance which will live with me for the rest of my days.

The other moment was mid-way through the interview. The large video screen showed extracts from the first live TV pictures from Tranquillity Base. There was almost complete silence as the grainy image of Neil Armstrong appeared at the foot of the ladder and he placed his left foot onto the surface. As we listened to his recorded voice delivering his immortal first words, the real, live Neil Armstrong was also gazing at the screen, and I suddenly realised I was watching him watching himself doing what I had watched him do "live" over 34 years ago. It was a profound moment. Then, when the video extract ended and the spell broke, the entire audience broke into loud applause. A moment I will treasure from an unforgettable evening.

Steve Procter
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posted 11-19-2003 05:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Further to the messages posted by Derek and Geoffrey. Yes, he fitted so much into the interview and question session I never even got around to mention his thoughts on ET life, flying the LLTV and quite profoundly moving into areas of philosophy/theology. I don't recall ever hearing of him venturing into these kind of areas before.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 11-19-2003 05:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, how did I know that you'd be the first to write the report?

Having got back from Dublin last night I'm still on a high. Even my wife was impressed with the evening - and what a charmer Mr Armstrong is with the ladies!

The only things I would add to the report were the emotional recollection of Neil's friendship with Ed White. From buying a plot of land together to Ed's role in helping save Neil's son when his house went up in flames. Truly heartfelt.

Neil's sense of humour reminded me of John Young - dry, self-deprecating. A few of his remarks:

When asked what it was like seeing the Earth retreating, Neil said "You kind of think to yourself, "uh, oh", no going back now".

When asked whether he felt the moment he left the LEM was historic he said: "you know, pilots generally take pride in a good landing, not in getting out of the vehicle".

I think what struck me most was that this man is an aviator through and through, not "just" an astronaut. He recalled going solo after 6 or 7 hours, his flying in Korea and the test pilot program. I was dying to quiz him about the x-15 program, which was skimmed over. I asked him if he still flies and he does - both gliders and power - although as he said, he borrows other people's aircraft. (Thanks Geoff for kicking that one off!)

I was so impressed by the evening. Gay Byrne interviewed with true Irish charm, eliciting the best from a slightly nervous Neil. Having expected a rather general talk about the history of flight it was such a bonus to get a run through of his life, both professional and personal. The double standing ovation by 800 people at the end seemed to bowl him over.

As an 8 year old in '69 I never would have dreamt of shaking the hand of this remarkable man.

Thanks to all the attendees from collectSPACE for great company and an entertaining evening. See some of you at Autographica this weekend.

Steve Procter
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posted 11-19-2003 06:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The reason I did my report straight away is that I didn't take any notes and wanted to get it all down before I forgot anything.

And I still have!

ejectr
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posted 11-19-2003 07:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've got to say this is one of the best threads left on the collectSPACE discussion board. And isn't this what it's all about...

nojnj
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posted 11-19-2003 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree!!!!!! great reporting, Thanks a lot!

Frederic Janik
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posted 11-19-2003 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Frederic Janik   Click Here to Email Frederic Janik     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's nearly as nice reading this thread and reports as being there in-person (or then again, maybe not!).

Thanks guys for the lively reports, glad to see the event was all that was expected!!

bruce
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posted 11-19-2003 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know if there was a video made of the program?

john ffoulkes
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posted 11-19-2003 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for john ffoulkes   Click Here to Email john ffoulkes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Arrived back in the U.K. this afternoon, after my trip to Dublin. What else can I say that has not already been said. It was a truly fantastic evening and one I shall never forget, made all the more memorable by the wonderful group of people off this site, on our table. Great photo taken with this "Great Man" to remind me in years to come of the evening.

Scott
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posted 11-19-2003 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Derek, Steve, Eamonn, Paul and everyone else who shared your stories with us. I really enjoyed reading them.

747flyer
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posted 11-19-2003 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 747flyer   Click Here to Email 747flyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
It was a profound moment. Then, when the video extract ended and the spell broke, the entire audience broke into loud applause. A moment I will treasure from an unforgettable evening.
I wholeheartedly agree with this comment. It was truly amazing to watch the event once again, in the company of the man himself and looking directly at the real person as he listened to himself speak his famous words at the foot of the ladder.

The greatest impression I took away from the evening is how friendly and approachable Neil was after the interview, while he was being walked from table to table for the photographs. I saw several people initiate conversations with him as he waited while the photographer was arranging groups for him to join, and the first thing he would do was smile and look genuinely pleased to be engaged in conversation. Even at the end of the evening (at around midnight, if I recall correctly - was anyone looking at their watches ), Neil stopped on his way out to chat to the guys from this group who got up to talk to him. You couldn't have asked for anything more than he gave. Contrast this with the approach of some of today's so called A-list celebrities...

Several people have mentioned Gaye Byrne. He was incredibly well-prepared. The fact that he drew praise from all of us tells you all you need to know about the quality of the interview itself — and he was good enough to sign our menus and talk for a while.

Monday night was the fulfillment of a 34-year long dream for me and, I'll bet, for most of the other people on table 17 in whose company I was lucky enough to experience this event. We're all a "bunch of anoracks" according to my better half (who can't understand what the fuss is about) but I don't care — I would cheerfully wear the anorack in public to get to do that again!

Next morning was down to Earth with a bump, but there was one more surprise. As we came in to land on 27R at Heathrow, I was looking out of the left side of the aircraft at the BA planes parked near their hangers and saw a Concorde sitting there amongst a handful of 747s. And it reminded me of another ambition connected with 1969, but one that I know will now never be fulfilled.

Robonaut
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posted 11-19-2003 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robonaut   Click Here to Email Robonaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bruce:
Does anyone know if there was a video made of the program?
We were told that it was not being filmed for TV or video but that it was being recorded for later radio transmission. I am not sure if that means it was not videotaped at all?

Robonaut
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posted 11-19-2003 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robonaut   Click Here to Email Robonaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those who have already posted have told you about the wonderful evening we had. I do not think there was much else we could have asked for apart from more time with the man himself. I think for my bit on the night I will tell you a little story.

For the last few weeks I have been building up to my meeting with Neil Armstrong. Reading 'Carrying the Fire' and some of 'First on the Moon', 'Gemini' etc. I wanted to find the perfect question; something profound. I did not want to ask the usual "what was it like to..." type of question. I decided Gemini 8 was a promising area to study.

Despite all this enjoyable research I had not found the question required. On the Saturday before 'Face to Face' I was at a space conference in Birmingham, England. The one with the no show from Polyakov because of illness. I was chatting to a friend and I told him of my dilemma. He suggested questioning him on his pilot skills. Great idea, thanks Dave if you are reading. On my way to Ireland I worked the question in my head. This continued right up to the start of the event.

The problem was, could I pluck up enough courage to ask the question during the Q & A session. Perhaps my question was too long? I thought of quicker Gemini and Apollo questions as back-ups. The problem with the quicker questions was that Gay Byrne had done his homework and they came up during his questions. In the Q & A session the 'chickens clucked loudly' (for those of you across the 'pond' a British way of saying I was too scared to speak in front of such a large audience). Still, there was always at the supper.

To return to the start of Gay Byrne's interview, he had asked Neil Armstrong about his family links to Ireland and he explained that his family had originated from Scotland but had to leave because they kept 'borrowing the English cattle'. Some came to Ireland although he was not sure if he was linked to this part of the family.

You are probably thinking why has Rob gone off subject? I have not and all will be revealed in a moment. The second course was arriving in the supper room at about the same time as Neil Armstrong. Sod the food, this is the main event. However, they are doing the tables in order and we have number 17 so a little time will elapse before it is our turn. I eat the food but keep making quick glances in his direction.

It is now our table's turn. A quick slug of wine, make sure my tie is straight, my eyebrows are under control and we have lift off. I think, I don't have time for my profound question. So what do I say to him? You remember that bit about the cattle. I told him I was English but that he should not worry and I would not ask him for our cattle back. He laughed. The photograph was taken and I have a great memory. Maybe next time I will ask him that question.

What a fabulous evening great company, great conversation and only one hour sleep but that is another story...

Blackarrow
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posted 11-19-2003 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for that! I've heard it before because I was sitting beside you, but it was still good to hear it again!

Rizz
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posted 11-20-2003 12:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All you guys R-U-L-E.

Steve Procter
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posted 11-20-2003 03:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rob, my father's family originated in the border areas of Cumberland years back. So it probably was our cattle Neil's lot were stealing!

Maybe I had a case for asking for their return.

John K. Rochester
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posted 11-20-2003 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is absolutely the best "in person" group of stories I have ever seen on here ( no offense to the others) but you just don't hear this kind of report from a night with Neil. I'm sure I'm not the only one on this side of the pond who would've given anything to have been there.. but you guys have taken us there in kind, Thank You!!

Jake
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posted 11-20-2003 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jake   Click Here to Email Jake     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Several of you mention that Neil explained his public position on not signing autographs. I respect his decision, and am curious as to exactly how he described his position...?

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posted 11-20-2003 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcarson   Click Here to Email andrewcarson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am recovering ....enjoyed reading all the great posts from Steve, Paul and other members.

I cant add a great deal except that the night itself was one of the greatest of my life.

I couldn't believe that I was in that room watching video of the Launch, Earthrise and everything else with the man who was actually there!

I was surprised by the warmth of Neil, I asked him a few questions and seemed to have quite some time with him whilst the photographer was "busy" talking to other quests. I was worried before the event about "nerves" but when the time came I found Neil attentive, and very polite... a real gentleman, a true hero.

I shook Neil's hand a few times and thanked him for making the trip to Dublin, felt at total ease with him, considering who I was actually with! He thanked me for attending!

Neil seemed still feel the loss of Ed White as thou it where yesterday... and spoke with great emotion about the loss of Apollo 1. And again seemed very emotional when he stopped Gay Byrne from moving on in the interview until he had explained how he felt at the point of the voyage when he watched the Earth become smaller, and smaller after the TLI burn.

I found the interview quite funny at times Neil joked about "Looking for green men behind the rocks," and made a hoax type person look a total fool in front of nearly a thousand people without even really trying!!!

It was fantastic to see Neil receive numerous standing ovations... simply a magical evening.

I would like to thank all fellow board members at the event for their company. For my part I had a simply wonderful evening and I was in the best company you could wish to share such a special night with.

Nice to see Matt again, Ollie, Rob, and to finally meet Derek Heatly, and Geoffrey Bowman, 747 flyer, John, Paul, Steve and everyone else.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 11-20-2003 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Several of you mention that Neil explained his public position on not signing autographs. I respect his decision, and am curious as to exactly how he described his position...?
A couple of young kids in the audience asked Neil questions and concluded with the obligatory "can I have your autograph?" in front of 799 other people. Gay Byrne helped Neil sidestep this the first time, but on the second occasion Neil very eloquently said that he had given up signing 2 or 3 years ago when it became apparent that "commercial interests" were abusing the free granting of his autograph - he did not want anything to do with this. His statement was so measured, with a clear ethical grounding that he earned a round of applause.

andrewcarson
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posted 11-20-2003 05:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcarson   Click Here to Email andrewcarson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the subject of autographs Neil stated "I have never charged for my autograph. I consider the practice of selling them "unsavoury." I decided after much consideration that I didn't want to be a part of it... and therefore no longer sign." Or words to that effect, as Paul mentions, received applause for his comments. Neil indicated where possible has photographs taken with people... circumstances allowing.

tfetner
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posted 11-20-2003 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tfetner   Click Here to Email tfetner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Keep the stories coming guys! For those of us who could not attend this is the next best thing. Oh if he would do something like this in the Southeast U.S.

Scott
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posted 11-20-2003 06:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll second that. Keep the stories coming. I'm loving reading every word. Wish I could have been there to meet Neil and y'all, too.

Interesting what Neil said about selling. At first I thought he was only talking about sellers (as in eBay sellers and dealers) but I believe from the context above that he was also referring to astronauts selling their autographs. If so, BRAVO NEIL! Great to hear it from The Man himself. I agree completely. These guys have a lot better ways to make money than by selling their scribbles for a fortune. Think about the ones that follow Neil's example: John Glenn and John Young. Armstrong, Glenn and Young. Probably the 3 greatest astronauts ever. A coincidence? Not in my opinion.

747flyer
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posted 11-20-2003 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 747flyer   Click Here to Email 747flyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Scott:
Interesting what Neil said about selling. At first I thought he was only talking about sellers (as in eBay sellers and dealers) but I believe from the context above that he was also referring to astronauts selling their autographs.
My recollection of this is that he described the practice of people obtaining his autograph and then either selling it or passing it to a third party (in return for a bribe - his word) to be sold, as unsavoury. I did not take from what he said any criticism of other astronauts selling their autographs.

Scott
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posted 11-20-2003 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe so. I was not there. I just was going by what Andrew wrote above.

Steve Procter
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posted 11-20-2003 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the excellent response to our posts from our friends across the pond maybe we should make available our signed menus matted with a photo of Neil!

We're not worthy - now that would have made a great pic with us prostrating ourselves ala Wayne's World and Neil gesturing us to rise with 'you are worthy' a la Alice Cooper!

It would be a nice thought if everybody at least had the chance to hear him speak and have a Q&A session like we had. Maybe he might consider more of this sort of thing given it's success. He certainly seemed at home in this arena and it would be a great pity if others couldn't share some of our marvellous experience.

Still on a high!

andrewcarson
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posted 11-20-2003 06:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcarson   Click Here to Email andrewcarson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, Neil said "I have never charged for my autograph" ...he did not comment about other astronauts who do. His comments were aimed at people who sell on autographs and more so those who would bribe say children to get his autograph and then sell them on, the catalyst perhaps for him not signing now perhaps?

Hope that clarifies that point...

Matt T
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posted 11-20-2003 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't add much to the comments above, it was a fantastic night. Neil Armstrong's greatest asset as a speaker is his unpolished honesty. At no point did he revert to sloganeering or giving a quick sound-bite answer - every question received the same careful, sometimes hesitant attention that his peers have commented on in their accounts of the space race.

We have become so used to seeing media savvy performances from people in all walks of life that it was a profoundly touching experience to realize that one of the most famous and publicly sought after people of the 20th century was going that extra mile to try and share his life experiences with us as if we were the first people he was telling them to. I echo Andrew's comments about the description of the TLI burn. There is no hush in the world to rival the sound of 800 people sitting perfectly silently, unconsciously holding their breath as Neil Armstrong says,

"I'd just like to take a minute to talk about this. Put yourself in my shoes - you're orbiting the earth on the night side. Below you is Africa, a few sparks of light showing in the dark. Ahead on the horizon is a tiny stripe of darkness" - (and as he continued speaking the nerves that were evident at the start of the interview slipped away; Neil turned in his chair, microphone forgotten and talked straight to the audience, really making the moment live again) - "and then that line of light bursts into rainbow colours and you're suddenly in daylight racing over Malaysia. The engine lights and starts to speed you away from the earth; after a minute you look down and the earth is starting to shrink so that you can see a whole horizon beneath you, and pretty soon it's entirely in your window - and it's round, just like they said it would be - and it gets smaller and smaller... And that's when you think 'Uh-oh!' "

I am of course paraphrasing from memory but it was a pin-drop moment followed by a huge laugh and round of applause.

I was also stunned when he gave straight answers to two questions that he has famously avoided answering for decades. Yes, he fluffed his lines!

"As you can tell my diction and delivery are far from perfect. I thought I'd said 'one small step for a man' but I guess I didn't."

And on the question of who came up with the famous quote in the first place (and when) -

"That was down to me. I honestly felt we only had a 50/50 chance of making the landing, so I didn't want to spend time thinking about something I might never have to say. So after the landing I spent a short time turning it over in my mind, and the significance of the simple step seemed very apparent to me."

Another fascinating moment was when Gay Byrne read out Nixon's prepared statement that would have been needed in the event of Neil and Buzz being trapped on the moon. After this had been read to Neil and Buzz the intention was that their families would be allowed to speak with them for a short period - and then communications were to be cut off and they were to be left to die!

Having read all this out Gay Byrne turned to Neil and said,

"So I was wondering if before you left anybody said 'Neil, would you mind just casting your eye over this and let us know your thoughts?' "

Another massive laugh from the audience and Armstrong. Great night, a one and a half hour talk stretching on for nearly three hours. I couldn't have asked for better.

Add to that the friendliness of Eamonn (irish guy) and Colin (the secret collectSPACEr) over a great pizza, and then late drinks with the whole gang back at the hotel.

Anyway, that's enough babbling from me.

Scott
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-20-2003 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by andrewcarson:
Hope that clarifies that point...
I stand corrected. I do agree with Neil on the kids thing. I have heard such stories.

Blackarrow
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From: Belfast, United Kingdom
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posted 11-22-2003 08:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know when the interview is to broadcast on the radio? I assume it is RTE radio, which is available on the Sky Digital radio listings.

Let's all keep checking the schedules, but if anyone knows, or can find out, the exact transmission date and time, please let us all know!

andrewcarson
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posted 11-23-2003 04:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcarson   Click Here to Email andrewcarson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can I ask if anyone took any photographs that they would be prepared to share, can they contact me please...

Blackarrow
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From: Belfast, United Kingdom
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posted 11-23-2003 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Andrew, as you know, photography was not allowed at the interview, so I'm sure your question was a hypothetical one. If anyone took any digital photos — which of course they didn't — I would also appreciate receiving copies. Hypothetically.


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