At the beginning of January 2014, I was at a low ebb. As often happens following the loss of close family and loved ones, I needed time to reflect and redefine myself. As some of you know, it’s daunting and difficult to carry on with pivotal people suddenly removed from the landscape of your life. As often happens at times like these, we fill our time with distractions. With time off work, and bracing myself for final goodbyes, I took myself to the local cinema and saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the most recent adaptation of that story, directed and starring Ben Stiller. It turned out to be the very best film to have seen at that particular moment.
Also, with the recent death of David Bowie, I was reminded of one particular scene. Mitty, who has always lived internally, dreaming his dreams but doing nothing about them, is suddenly given impulse to fulfill some of them and embark on an audacious quest for a missing photo negative. The point of his quest is more than just a photograph, of course, it’s rather the fact he did anything for real, at all. In Nuke, in Greenland, he almost gives up on his quest, until he imagines his true love singing to him. The song is ‘Space Oddity’, and actress Kristin Wiig’s vocals are shared with Bowie.
I’ve posted both that marvellous scene and the full film version of the song. Wiig’s lovely vocal blends perfectly with Bowie’s original, but I heartily recommend seeing the whole film.
A lot has happened since I first saw this, and perhaps like many of you, I finally did a few things I’d been putting off for a long time. Perhaps there are a few other things I’m still to do. Actually, I can tell you that, for a fact, there are. Maybe it’s the same for you too. Like Mitty, and Bowie’s Major Tom, you have to take a leap into the unknown sometimes. The encouraging thing is that if you’ve done it once, you can do it again.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a wonderful, inspiring film, which now means something rather special to me, and this scene in particular encapsulates that moment where we stop just dreaming and start trying to live some of what we’ve been dreaming. And thanks again David Bowie. Your music helped again and I doubt it’ll be the last time.
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on… Commencing countdown, engines on… 3, 2, 1…This is Ground Control to Major Tom, You’ve really made the grade….it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare…