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The Flying Pigs: William Shatner is about to become a real space floater

Captain Kirk is preparing to go where no man has gone before - for real, this time (Photo: Andrew H Walker/Shutterstock)

The latest topical insights from Aberdeen musical sketch comedy team, The Flying Pigs.

Dr Hector Schlenk – Senior Research Fellow, Bogton Institute for Public Engagement with Science

As a scientist, people are always asking me questions; questions like: “What is meant by ‘funkapolitan‘?”, “How did someone who uses such words end up in charge?”, and “Why would a large roomful of people give such nonsense a standing ovation?”

The Flying Pigs

To which my response is to shake my head sadly, give a brief lecture on natural selection going down the occasional blind alley, and to point out that, after 18 months of closed theatres, people will clap at anything.

This week, however, I was startled to be asked about Shatner in Space. I responded with a detailed explanation of the advanced plumbing facilities now used in the zero gravity environment – evolved from the simple plastic bags of Apollo 10, following the infamous “space floater” mystery of 1969 – before realising that I had formulated an incorrect hypothesis based on misconstrued data, and they were actually referring to Captain Kirk.

I am, of course, a huge Star Trek fan. So, I’m very excited that this icon of science fiction is immersing himself in science fact. At a reported cost of $28 million, he is to be fired 62 miles above the earth to the Kármán Line (the internationally recognised boundary between earth and space) in one of Jeff Bezos’ somewhat disconcerting-looking rockets.

Truly, it will be a journey to the final frontier, albeit stopping just at the edge of it, and Shatner will be going where no man has gone before, apart from several billionaire show-offs.

Sadly, he is not the first Star Trek actor to reach space, having been beaten to the punch by James “Scotty” Doohan, who had his ashes smuggled onto the ISS in 2008. Canny fictional Scotsman that he was, at least he didn’t have to pay for the privilege.

The operation is not without risk, of course, given that the actor will be leaving the planet at three times the speed of sound whilst strapped to a source of controlled explosives.

At the age of 90, Mr Shatner will be the oldest person ever to go to space. This means that, despite the journey lasting a mere 10 minutes, from his perspective it will seem significantly longer; partly because of Einstein’s theory of time dilation but mostly because, from the moment he is strapped into his jump seat until he returns to planet earth, he won’t be able to go to the toilet.

Struan Metcalfe, MP for Aberdeenshire North and Surrounding Nether Regions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, Andy Williams, not Christmas, you raving loon. It’s… Tory Party Conference time! Woop woop!

Finally, the chance to get absolutely trousered every night, mask-free, with all my mates from school and uni AND work. Toot toot!

I myself have never suffered misogyny. But I know a lot of chaps who have. Poor old Dominic Raab, for one

Some of the speeches were a bit “uphill” – especially the day after the night-before Hacienda raving with the Govemeister. Man, that chap can paaaar-tay!

But that’s the problem with today’s society. Everyone is so serious all of a sudden. You’d think with a global pandemic, Brexit causing mass chaos in our labour markets, food supply chains falling apart and logistical collapses impacting our very way of life that we are back in the 1970s. (Flashback: Wednesday’s “Back to the 70s” event hosted by the ERG. Highlight: Oops Upside Your Head on the floor, sandwiched between Priti and Nadine… Blimey!)

Anyway, I know we all have to be careful to adjust our behaviour and (insert bunny ears hand signal) “language” when we’re talking to the press, or our constituents , or close family members; but here at conference, surrounded by like minded chaps and chapesses, the great unwashed kept at a safe distance, we can really let Tories be Tories.

“Get off your Peletons and get back to work”; “lock up the so-called eco warriors” and “let the pigs die”. Absolutely classic stuff.

But there was one blot on the landscape. Some miserable so-and-sos were complaining that the party doesn’t take equality seriously, even though Boris has got Liz Truss in the cabinet. Liz Truss!

But it is a very serious matter. I myself have never suffered misogyny. But I know a lot of chaps who have. Poor old Dominic Raab, for one.

He got pelters this week, just for trying to be inclusive and pointing out that it was wrong whoever it affected. Some commentators even suggested that this showed that Big Dom was, himself, misogynistic. But that’s impossible. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word.


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