Last weekend I had a most amazing night out. It's the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Radio Telescope in Parkes (If you've ever seen the movie "The DIsh", this be the place.), and to celebrate they had Opera At The Dish. Four amazing professional opera singers, a philharmonic orchestra, situated right in front of the Telescope so you're watching the orchestra and hearing these unbelievable voices, and right behind the stage in all its glory was the Telescope. Once the sun went down, they moved the telescope so the dish was pointed towards the audience and they bathed it in a pink light (proceeds of the night were going towards the McGrath Foundation - it's a chartiy that raises money so smaller communities can have a Breast Care Nurse for women going through Breast Cancer treatment.)
Each singer had a solo; 98% of the music was in Spanish, Italian or French, though they did a few numbers from Phantom of the Opera or Les Mis. The night ended with the four singers performing Nessun Dorma (Holy crap! I had shivers going down my spine!), and then the orchestra played by themselves while fireworks (! All fireworks should be accompanied by cymbals!!) went off.
We had brilliant seats - so brilliant we were only four rows behind the Governer-General of Australia.
There were a few niggles we had on the night; There were over two thuosand people at the event....and only 14 unisex toilets. Yes, I urge you to do the math on that. I'd give you the answer, but I can't believe it myself and it still gives me the heebie-jeebies thinking about it. There were a heap of teenagers being volunteers who were, to be blunt, completely useless. When we asked them where we were supposed to sit (My company was one of the sponsors, so we had VIP Premium tickets, - don't mean to brag, oh who am I kidding, I"m totally bragging. Just call my Braggy MCBragginson. Oh yeah, our seats rocked - but there were four different tiers of tickets and people needed to know where to sit.) all they did was vaguely wave in the direction of ALL the chairs, and say "Anywhere should be fine." Which meant half an hour before the main event, people were being asked to move, as they were sitting in the wrong area.
But also, we learnt things! In August, the Parkes telescope discovered a planet made completely of diamond.
I keep hearing the man saying it like the Old Spice Man 'The planet is now DIAMONDS!!'
So, they discovered a planet of diamond. Cool. The man in charge of the telescope at the moment is called Phil DIAMOND.
The mayor of Parkes when the Telescope was opened way back in 1961 was A.C MOON.
You cannot make this stuff up!