RICHARD ORD: One small step for man, one giant Mickey take for a billionaire in a silly hat

When Neil Armstrong uttered the historic words “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” he probably didn’t envision the true future of space travel.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 12:00 am

Stuff like a former record store owner being first billionaire in space; a flamethrower-maker sending a sports car into a never ending space orbit; and the bloke responsible for killing the high street catching Skittles in his gob in zero gravity during a space flight costing $550m a minute.

But then it’s been a funny old year.

To be honest, I don’t have too much of a problem with Richard Branson and Amazon gazillionaire Jeff Bezos heading into space, it’s their returning to Earth I object to.

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Bezos returned to Earth yesterday after a truly uninspiring 66 mile-high money guzzling jaunt.

I repeat, that was $550m a minute.

There’s me thinking the height of decadence is people not using a bag for life when shopping at the supermarket. As I’ve said before, it’s the modern equivalent of tycoons lighting cigars with $20 dollar bills.

The difference between Jeff and I couldn’t be starker.

Bezos enjoyed his space trip at an estimated total cost of $5,500million. I buy the cheap lookalike chocolate biscuits at Aldi. ‘When you feel a little p-peckish, p.p.p. pick up a, erm, Seals Bar!’

Branson once got me into trouble with my editor. In the days when he was a mere multi-millionaire, I read a story in which he told bosses at toilet-maker Armitage Shanks that he would struggle to make their urinals a desirable product for public consumption.

I suggested that if they stuck his face on the porcelain it would encourage people to buy the urinals just so they could relieve themselves on his annoying bracket.

There were complaints. Jeez, It was a joke.

Branson didn’t complain - Norman Wisdom did, but that’s another story - but I did notice that a few years later, toilets and loo rolls with celebrity faces on them began to appear on the market!

I’m not saying that Richard Branson may have read the article and run with my money-spinning idea, but back then he was a millionaire, today he’s a billionaire space cowboy. Go figure.