Friday, 29 March 2013

An Interview with Neil Armstrong

This is by an up-and-coming writer called Christabel who's joining me on the blog. As such, it's actually funny. Enjoy! 


Jenny Saunders: Hi and welcome, you're joining me, Jenny Saunders, tonight in the studio, interviewing Neil Armstrong. Hi Neil.

Neil: Hi Jenny Saunders.

Jenny: Please, call me Jenny.

Neil: Likewise.

Beat

Jenny: So although no one has heard from him in a while, the space race being rather 'old news' and all, we're here to celebrate the launch chuckles to herself over the awful pun of a new album, which I am told was written recorded and played all by himself: 'Space, not all its cracked up to be'. I'm joined here by the first man on the moon-

Neil: cutting in I wanted it to be 'elevated'.

Jenny: Excuse me?

Neil: Space, not all its elevated to be. So you'd get a nice word play. Double entendre. You know, elevated like the sky, and elevated like its really good.

Jenny: I don't...

Neil: But my publicity manager said that was misleading. 

Beat.

Jenny: So Neil, I'm fascinated in astrophysics myself, but I haven't made it out there myself yet.

Loud laugh abruptly cut off from Neil.

So I'd like to ask-

Neil: That was a question already, but you can ask me another one too. [grins winningly]

Jenny: I didn't ask you if I could ask you a question.

Neil: Oh.

Jenny: This is an interview.

Beat.

What was it like seeing the earth from so far away? Were you overwhelmed with a profound sense of meaning, or profundity, beauty perhaps?

Neil: Well, the funny thing is that before I went into space, I used to try and imagine all the billions of miles between all the stars, and how compared to the universe a person is smaller and more insignificant than the tiniest ant swimming in a massive puddle of jam, which lead to bouts of severe depression and significantly factored in the breakup of my third marriage. But the thing is, when you're actually up there, you're the first man ever to be standing on the moon, gazing down at the tiny planet which is home to your entire race... you realise actually there's not that much to it.

Jenny: To what?

Neil: To space. I mean, its mainly just. Space. You know, empty space.

Jenny: Right. But really its not just about that moment I suppose, I mean it represents the pinnacle of decades of technology, years of training, days of travelling.

Neil: Well, yeah. But I mean, you can actually get to the moon quite easily.

Jenny: Really, I was under the impression it was quite a difficult task, what with the space race and everything?

Neil: Oh yeah, no, that was because we originally miscalculated the size of the moon. We thought it had a circumference of 6790 miles, by which we estimated that it was pretty far away. In actual fact its 12 miles in circumference, so its only about 15 minutes away, and you can walk round the whole thing quite comfortably in a couple of hours, I mean there's not much to stop and look at on the way, its mainly just rocks, and the scenery is just, space, so you could probably powerwalk it in about an hour/hour fifteen, that sort of time scale.

Jenny: Right.

Neil: You can even make your own rocket fuel at home using a 3 to 1 ratio of sodium chloride and diesel.

Jenny: I did not know that.

Neil: No, not many people do. But can we stop talking about space please? That’s all anyone ever asks me about, I'm sick of space. That’s why I moved back to Earth. There’s no space there at all its lovely. I never have trouble sleeping at night.  I've got this really great knack of getting to sleep. I can get to sleep whenever I want to. Just like that clicks his fingers I guess you could say its like voluntary narcolepsy.

Jenny: Ok. Narcolepsy, did you mean that? Sorry, its just the thing with narcolepsy is that its just the same as sleeping, but its involuntary, you can't decide when you do it.

Neil: Yeah, that’s it, and I can. I can always just go to sleep when I want. Voluntary narcolepsy. He beams So can we talk about my album now?

Jenny: Ok, sure Neil.

Neil: Please?

Jenny: Yes, that’s fine.

Neil: Please?

Jenny: Yes, we'll move on.

Neil: Can I just say...

Jenny: What?

Neil: What?

Puzzled look

Jenny opens her mouth to speak, Niel goes to speak every time this happens, so she stops, waits for him to speak, he says nothing. This happens three times.

I hate to be racist, but I dislike you purely on the basis of your ethnic origin.

Jenny: I'm from London.

Neil: narrows eyes I know.

Beat

It just feels like you're not on my side Jenny.

Jenny: utterly wrong-footed No, no not at all, I'm a big fan of all your... space...

Neil: I just feel like no one cares about me, its all space this and black holes that, no one cares that I've home recorded three concept albums since then, two of which aren't even about space, and I did the cover artwork myself. But no one’s interested in that. They just want to know all about higgldybiggldy particles and black matter. You know I went in to NASA the other day just to say hi, and the security guard at the door didn't know who I was. He didn't recognise my face. Cos its all about the astronaut suit. (spoken fading away to a whisper) Just about the external suit, no one gives a shit about the man inside. He looks wistfully into the distance

Jenny: Well thanks Neil.

Neil: whispered Jenny...

Jenny: Yes?

Neil: No, I said you can call me Jenny earlier. I mean initially it was a slip of the tongue, but as I didn't acknowledge it at the time I thought it would be best to play along with it and just pretend my name was Jenny too. Otherwise you might have thought I was weird.

Jenny: completely at a loss I'm going to hand us back to the studio now Neil, any last words?

Neil: He looks petrified Why, what are you going to do to me?

Jenny: No, we're just finishing up the interview Ne.. Jen... Mr Armstrong.

Neil: looking around wildly Dad?

Jenny: And you can buy Neil’s latest album online now featuring the additional bonus tracks 'Space- you took my breath away' and 'One small step for man, one giant leap for a much smaller man'.