Claire Black: ‘I can’t muster more than a meh for asteroids’

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HERE’S a thing. I don’t really get the fascination with space.

This is odd because I spent my entire childhood obsessed by films and TV programmes set in galaxies far, far away and would’ve done anything to live in one of them as opposed to in a semi-detached ex-council house surrounded by a large privet. Star Trek, Star Wars, Buck Rogers – I was an outfit-wearing, fake laser gun-toting fan. Want to jump to light speed? Yes, as a matter of fact I do.

And yet all this asteroid chat has left me a bit, well, unmoved. I don’t seem to be able to muster more than a meh for the lump of rock the size of an Olympic swimming pool that hurtled past us on Friday night. Did you see it? I didn’t, I was watching The Good Wife on catch-up. Yes, I do understand that it was the closest that such a lump will get for 30 years. But come on, 17,200 miles, it’s not exactly a fly-by is it.

At this point, I should come clean and say that I am the person who, for work reasons, stood at a site in the middle of a tropical jungle to watch the launch of an actual bona fide space rocket and felt spectacularly underwhelmed. I really was trying to feel the excitement that I could see on the mesmerised faces around me as they squinted into the sunny blue sky. But honestly, I just couldn’t. There was a trail of white smoke and a bright light and after a minute it was gone. I see something similar to that over Edinburgh when the weather’s nice and the sun hits the fuselage of the easyJet flight from Luton.

Yes, I do realise that it was an asteroid thwacking into the planet somewhere near Mexico that put an end to the dinosaurs, and I also know that more than 1,000 people were injured in Russia on Friday morning when a meteor (totally unconnected to the asteroid, weirdly) streaked across the sky above the Ural Mountains. That moves me. That’s awful. But 2012 DA14? I don’t get it.

I hope it was good for you, I really do. And if you missed it – The Good Wife really is good this season, isn’t it? – I’ve got a date for your diary: April 13, 2029. That’s when Apophis (better name) will pass by at a distance of 19,400 miles. Maybe by then I’ll have summoned up some enthusiasm.

WHAT with Mr and Mrs Smith and apparently endless paparazzi shots, you’d think Brangelina had given us all quite enough. But no. They’ve taken time out of their packed schedules (her: UN ambassador, him: perfume hawker) to launch their own wine. Called Miraval, available next month, it comes from their sprawling French estate. The fact that Pitt said he and Jolie are, according to the linguistically mangled press release, “intimately involved and quite enthused over the project” suggests he had more to do with the risible script of that Chanel No 5 ad than just speaking it. Or he’s been at the Miraval already.

HIRTA, the main chunk of the archipelago that makes up St Kilda is my favourite, and Devil’s Island where Henri Charrière was incarcerated (as told in Papillon) was the scariest one I’ve been on, but if you, like me, have a love of islands then please direct your attention to It’s new and it’s beautiful, a website “dedicated to great writing and visual art that comes from, is inspired by, celebrates or seeks to understand the extraordinary appeal of islands, as places and as metaphors”. And people think the internet is all about cat videos.

Twitter: @Scottiesays