Being a cartoonist ,i'm obviously financially well-off. And having the lovely Lynne running the banking system of the country(i must point out , its not the part thats nose- dived deep into the s**t, and your having to pay to dig out, but the good bank thats alright and the sun is still shining on.)...But between us ,gosh n' golly we're absolutly loaded, absolutly 'rolling in it(?)......So ,as a nice easter present she paid for me to be a 'SPACE TOURIST'. Great stuff, magical even ,until we tried to book a SPACE SHUTTLE on SPACE SHUTTLE RESERVATIONS.COM. It was then to my shock n' horror and severe dissapointment and disbelief i discovered that Americas first Irish ,Afro- President BALLCOCK O'BARNPOT Had cancelled the Space Shuttle programme. So, instead of a few days in Florida at Universal studios and Disneyland ,before going to CAPE CANAVERAL and blasting of into orbit on ATLANTIS....I would have to go to a desert in Russia. In the middle of this desolate nowhere land is a particually desolate piece of nowhere, where stands a particually delapodated ,slightly rusty looking heap of tanks ,pipes and scaffolding. This is BAIKONUR COSMODROME.Where the Russians launch their Soyuz space craft from. I was shown the craft which due to the fact theres no money, hasn't been updated since the 1960's.... I noticed scratched on the entry hatch ..Y. GAGARIN WOZ ERE '61.
Whereas, the Americans check n' treble check their craft right up until launch. The Russians walk around it; Whack it a few times with a hammer; Have a small religous blessing, then whack a few vodkas down...Apparently thats the only way they can get the crew on board.
Eventually we were on board and all of a sudden there was loud banging and thuds and high pressure steamvalves exploding. yes it was 'lift off'! The cockpit shook and rattled, i thought my teeth were going to crack into fragments, must remember not to spit them out if they do. The weightless bits of incisor and molar might bite somebodies eye out....International relations are tricky enough things to maintain. And an Eastern eye poked out by Western Capitalistic teeth n 'fillings could herald WORLD WAR 3. But suddenly the noise and shaking eased slightly. The Captain pointed his thumb over his shoulder and one of the crew shovelled some more coal into the boiler to give the ship a little more thrust to push us into orbit.
As we floated about the cockpit(clang..My head).....I peered through the mucky window with sqashed flies plastered across it and could just about see the Earth. (clang....My Knee!).......Eventually we approached the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.... It looked like a model of the brass bedstead in BEDKNOBS N' BROOMSTICKS' made from metal toilet roll holders....The design consultant could've been VALERIE SINGLETON during her BLUE PETER days which were round about when the Russian space fleet was designed. As i looked up(clang...my head)..At the docking tunnel i could see scrapes, dints and dents all around it. The captain laughed "Ah pilot has too much of the wodka,da!". I've a week on board this tubular contraption floating around (clang, clang, clang clang.....head, knee, elbow....etc,etc,etc.) Working out how to force space food into my mouth and then trying to figure out how to get rid of it from the other end...
I couldnt wait to finally float down towards the cool blue waters of the Pacific ocean under a canopy of parachutes. Until it was explained to me that the Russians specialised in HARD LANDINGS....Landing in the middle of the desert. Just before make contact with the ground they fire booster rockets to slow the craft down to ease contact ,apparently it works quite well, sometimes......It was then that i noticed how strange tears look in weightless conditions as i burst out crying and begged somebody to pass the wodka!!!!!!