Sarah Brightman, alien life-forms and why, in space, no one should have to hear you scream

Can it really be sensible to send a star of Starship Trooper beyond the Earth's atmosphere? Our writer has his doubts - and expresses three of them

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The Independent Online

I would like to congratulate my long-time friend Sarah Brightman on the thrilling announcement that she is to become the eighth person to visit the International Space Station as a tourist. I would like to, but I genuinely can’t, for two very pertinent reasons. The first is that I have never met the woman. Secondly, although my desire for sexual equality in all things extends way beyond the asteroid belt, I have one or two reservations about this particular daughter of Eve climbing into a silver jumpsuit.

Firstly, can she really afford it? You would have to assume that she will be obliged to match the sum paid by Cirque du Soleil boss Guy Laliberte, who coughed up a $35m hairball for the privilege of floating in a tin can, far above the world. Can the woman who stormed the charts with choirboy Paul Miles-Kingston on a song called Pie Jesu (which, after all, means “Jesus pie”) really be as wealthy as the Guy who invented hanging upside down in a lizard suit?

But, having checked my sources, I see Sarah is in possession of a personal fortune of some $49m. If she does indeed splurge $35m on this astral jaunt, she will only be left with some $14m. This is not much and might leave her short. So short, indeed, that she would be forced to lead (drag!) poor, sightless Andrea Bocelli onto more stages to perform heartbreaking duets. And knowing Andrea as I do (again, I really don’t), this is the furthest thing from his mind. He’s currently working on a musical version of Come Dine With Me for the London stage. Way too busy.

Secondly, this is a woman who had a disco smash hit in 1978 which glorified the fact that she had, and I quote, “lost my heart to a starship trooper”. Is it really responsible for the International Space Station Astro-Leisure committee (yeah, it exists) to be putting a woman into orbit who is happy to admit to being a sucker for alien life-forms? Whether or not they actually have suckers? I’m not sure I feel happy with the cosmic representative of my race being someone who apparently drops her knickers quite avidly after a couple of sips of Romulan ale. We’re supposed to be offering extra-terrestrials the hand of friendship, not heavy petting. Anyway, dry humps are out. It being a weightless environment, you can’t get any purchase.

Finally, there is the fact that the award-winning soprano wants to become the first professional musician to perform in space. Is this wise? Spacecraft are delicate things. You could have punched a hole in Neil Armstrong’s lunar module, you know! One can only imagine the worldwide panic if Sarah’s hellish vibrato ripped a gash in the ISS superstructure, causing the mission to be interrupted by an Apollo 13-style accident. I have this horrible vision of the station drifting away from Earth, upside down, with Sarah’s face framed in the porthole, uttering a soundless shriek, as she heads towards Tatooine.

Actually, that sounds pretty good. Maybe the next campaign should be to raise cash to get Sarah in space sooner rather than later. I’ll chuck in a fiver to get you started…

Twitter: @DonaldAMacInnes