Russia impresses me. The blatancy of the elitny crass noveau-riche kleptocrat oleaginousgarchs. The fact that the place is so blatantly fucked up (when I went to Viipuri/Viborg, the historic city taken from Finland during the Second World War, it was cratered and collapsed walls blocked back streets and it looked like it hadn't been repaired since the war), when Strategic Rocket Command outside Moscow have their electricity cut off for non-payment, and yet they have a fucking space programme!
I am, as you know, a great believer in Space and in exploration of other planets. When I saw that (Sir) Richard Branson (Brit entrepreneur, Virgin brand) was investing in commercial space-flight, I was pleased, and I wrote him a letter to that effect. Then I told him the artist's impression of the first Virgin Galactic flight in 2012 or whenever, a spaceship painted in Virgin colours, had made me think of a submarine, and would he like a submarine (with portholes for 12 passengers) painted in Virgin colours for some publicity stunt, and it would only cost him £300k (this being the size in the gap of the budget of my submarine-building friend of a friend). I got a polite letter back from him saying no. I'll reproduce our correspondance, only I can't find it right now, and tell you the whole story later. Well. When the final human leaves earth for that final time and looks around and the sun will be big and red burning the orange-haze sky... yes, I'm sure it will be most poignant.