We were at the Golden Hour on Wednesday evening, a wonderful mix of poetry and music, cartoons and stories that takes place in the back room of Edinburgh's Forest cafe, probably the most alternative venue in the city. If you have ever been to the Forest cafe you may have notice the huge and beautiful murals featuring Laika the dog that the Russians sent into space on 3 November 1957. She was sent to certain death, Sputnik 2 was never intended to be retrieved.
I always think that Laika's story is one of the emblematic stories of human disregard for non-human life, another being the fate of the passenger pigeon as mentioned by Howard in his comment on yesterday's post.
Co-incidentally Laika appears in Haruki Murakami's wonderful novel Sputnik Sweetheart, which I just finished reading:
Ever since that day, Sumire's private name for Miu was Sputnik Sweetheart. She loved the sound of it. it made her think of Laika the dog. The man-made satellite streaking soundlessly across the black of outer space. The dark lustrous eyes of the dog gazing out of the tiny window. In the infinite loneliness of space, what could Laika possibly be looking at?
I've just written a review of Sputnik Sweetheart on my Over Forty Shades blog, you can read it here.
There's a heartbreaking poem about Laika here.