As many readers will already be aware, the dawn of American Independence Day was marked, very noticable, by the launch of Dalston’s own space programme this morning.
Setting-off car alarms everywhere between Putney and Barking, Starquest 1 of the Dalston Aeronautics and Space Administration (DASA) took to the skies above London Fields in the early hours of this morning, achieving an altitude of ‘a good 15 feet I shouldn’t wonder’, before a technical problem led to the termination of the launch.
Project director Mr Clarkson Testarossa told the Mercury: ‘I think we can be very proud of what we achieved here today. The launch of the Starquest 1 was almost totally successful, and the entire nation should be proud of our heroic astronaut who has, as predicted, slipped the surly bonds of Earth. Or at least bits of him have.’
When we asked whether mission control in Mr Testarossa’s Clapton lock-up was in radio contact with orbiting astronaut Terrence ‘Little Tel’ Calhoun, and whether it would be possible to interview him from space, Mr Testarossa said: ‘Not really. Not unless you’re Mystic Meg.’ We asked where, precisely, Little Tel was at the moment, to be told: ‘Oh, y’know. Here and there.’
‘The truth is,’ Mr Testarossa went on, ‘that while we cannot be sure of Little Tel’s exact whereabouts, we are absolutely certain that he is in a much better place now. We did find one of his space trainers on top of a bus stop in Crouch End. We’d be grateful for any information leading to the recovery of the other trainer, because they was brand new. Bought special, see?’
Apparently, one of Mr Calhoun’s thighs – identified by its distinctive homemade prison tattoos – was found, badly charred and impaled on some railings, ‘which is ironic, ‘cos he loved a kebab, did Little Tel’.
Damage to the London Fields launch site has been described as ‘not ideal’. The immense fireball that propelled Mr Calhoun’s space trainer to Crouch End also evaporated all the water in the lido. The cricket pitch is still on fire, apparently, and 300 squirrels are described as ‘fricasseéd, bordering on inedible’.
‘I wish I had been able to share Little Tel’s final, heroic, moments,’ said Mr Testraossa, clearly emotional, ‘but we used an extra-long fuse, so we was all in a pub down Hackney Wick when the thing actually went off. However, I can say with complete certainty that this is exactly the way Little Tel would’ve wanted to go, despite all that screaming and begging he was doing when we strapped him in.’
In the light of Little Tel’s noble and completely voluntary immolation, Mr Testarossa has been forced to postpone DASA’s inaugural space tourism flight which had been planned for next week. No refunds, he asked us to say.