So you sign-up for a reality TV show under the premise that you’ll be flown to a Russian space-training camp for 8 days, and then blasted into near-earth orbit. The whole thing will be filmed. You will perform some kind of experiment involving the decay rate of tomatoes in space. You will high-five each other and think holy shit, mate – we’re astronauts…
Back to earth, then, and you’re a celebrity, fresh from space. You tell all your friends and appear on talkshows. Everything’s exciting again.
Being terrestrial has never felt so good.
Only you weren’t actually flown to Russia – and you never quite made it into space.
You were flown in circles around the North Sea – at night – and then deposited with the other contestants at a remade air base in northern England. Your “space-training” was not performed by real astronauts, but by actors, with Russian accents.
The air base, meanwhile, “has been given a complete overhaul with plug sockets, manhole covers and light bulbs exchanged for their Russian counterparts. Food, toilet paper, matches and cigarettes have been imported from Russia and, when the contestants first arrive, they will be greeted by Russian military and taken in convoy through checkpoints… just one British crisp packet could give the game away.”
Meanwhile is it reassuring to know that the ideological difference between a British air base and a Russian one can be overcome using a bit of graphic design and some interior decoration?
Worth pondering, that.