Our buddy Reuben Bonner wrote a letter to Sir Richard for us about us going into space to play the first gig ever in space. Here it is from his blog:
Dear Sir Richard Branson (Knight, Mogul, Space Adventurer… and hero)
Merry Christmas Sir Richard and greetings from Aotearoa, New Zealand.I trust that all your wildest dreams came true today and you received the gifts you had your heart set on.
I can confirm I DIDN’T, after receiving yet another toiletries bag from my mother (my 9th in 12 Christmases). But hey, it was better than that fateful Christmas of 2010 when my brother and I received matching First Aid Kits.
He was 16 at the time and was so surprised when he unwrapped his gift that he blurted out ‘What the fuck is this?’ even though my grandparents were sitting in the same room.
That is by-the-by however and NOT why I am writing to you on this, the most festive of days.
I am going to cut right to the chase because I imagine you appreciate people who are ‘straight shooters’:
Recently you announced that your multi-armed company Virgin would be launching Virgin Galactic: a high-end shuttle service that will take passengers into outer space, the final frontier.
This is extremely exciting, especially for those people who will be on the maiden voyage (including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie). I can imagine you will have all the latest blockbuster and arthouse movies available to watch on the flight and as much booze as you can drink to give all the passengers a bit of ‘dutch courage’ as they blast through the atmosphere (and beyond). I am very envious.
What relevance does this momentous space travel have to this letter you may ask?
My Australian comrades Matt Blanton, Eli Kalaitzides and Nick Burrough – whom I have shared many a wondrous time in my home town of Berlin with – have an incredible, experimental space-rock band called Strange Forces.
They recently asked me if I would write to you on their behalf to ask if you might help make it possible for them to become the first band to play a live show in outer space. Here is the actual email they sent verbatim, just so you can see I am legit
‘Hey reubes, I dunno if Eli wrote you but can you also write to Richard Branson for us to see if he can fly us into space and we can be the first space-rock band ever to play in space? One of our friends (a girl) had sex with his son I think also if that helps’
That was from Matt (pictured middle), he is a real character as you can probably tell. Nick on the other hand (first on the left) looks a bit like a young Richard Branson don’t you think? Eli on the right is great too and actually has exactly the same looking legs as me. We call our legs’ ‘The Twins’ and are probably going to get matching togs for next summer to really mess with everybody.
The fee of $200,000 per person to ride Virgin Galactic is far out of the guys financial league, but they have started an online fundraiser campaign on Indiegogo.com to try and raise the money for that. They may be over shooting the mark by trying to attain $2.6 million US dollars, but here is the project fundraising for you to peruse anyway. Perhaps you could share it on your Twitter or blogs and help the guys get a kickstart with some of your influential friends.
As you can see from reading it, they have put a lot of thought into it and as stated: ‘This is a very special project. Tell your friends, grandmas and chat room buddies and lets make this happen before the Kaiser Chiefs do it and ruin it for all mankind.’
They make a very powerful argument don’t you think Sir Richard? I for one would NOT want the first live band in space to be the Kaiser Chiefs, I will tell you that for free. It would be a very bad choice for such a milestone event.
It was bad enough that the first song broadcast from the Curiosity Rover on planet Mars was by Will.I.Am from the bands ‘The Black Peas’ and ‘Fergey’.
If NASA are looking to start an intergalactic war with extra terrestrial civilisations they are certainly going about it in the right way. That song made me want to kill myself, let alone people from other planets.
But I digress.
Strange Forces: what a band! And what a bunch of great guys and true Australian patriots.
If I understand the history of Virgin music correctly, it was you who helped expose the likes of Krautrock greats Faust and Can to the public at large in the United Kingdom in the 1970s.
If you were and still are fans of those great German bands, you will really have a soft spot in your heart for the music of Strange Forces, especially their debut album ‘I’d Rather Listen To The Bloody Birds’.
Obviously there is the question of logistics, but don’t worry about that, the guys are pretty used to setting up in small spaces. You should see some of the venues in Berlin they have played in, let alone some of the spots in the Eastern Bloc and Denmark where they have toured. Compared to that, a space rocket in outer space will be a breeze.
What I am really asking is if you might sponsor them to come up on one of your flights in 2013. While the Indiegogo campaign is a great idea and I have faith that people will get behind the project, it is a lot of money to raise.
I think this will not only be a great experience for Strange Forces but also for mankind in general and the other passengers on that particular flight into space.
Do you feel this would be one of those instances where you could throw caution to the wind and reply with your well known saying ‘Screw it, let’s do it!’?.
I genuinely hope so.
You have gone for a lot of world records in your life, mainly to do with hot air ballooning, but how about these for world records:
a) First human being/mogul to send a space-rock band into outer space
b) Promoter of the ‘buzziest’ gig ever in the history of planet earth (and beyond)
c) Responsible for greatest peace offering on behalf of planet earth to other planets and galaxies since NASA played the Will.I.Am song from Mars.
Either way I, and the band, have a lot of respect for you as a human being and for what you have achieved. I imagine some of your balls to the wall attitude comes from your mother Eve Branson who is pictured at the Virgin Galactic launch with a bottle of Asahi beer in her hand, looking like she is about to neck it in record time. It looks like she has just set her very own world record:
most powerful looking senior citizen holding a beer bottle in history.
Sir Richard I realise this an extreme request, and one you might wholeheartedly decline. But let me say one last thing:
It was exactly five years ago to the day that I left my family Christmas because it had become a bit boring as it was just my parents, my brothers and our Chinese family friends the Fans sitting around watching Apocalypto.
I left and headed around to my accountant’s family Christmas as an esteemed guest.
Before I knew what had hit me, I was 8 cans of Lion Red deep into a drinking game, wearing his mothers wedding dress with your autobiography ‘Losing My Virginity’ taped to my neck with a strip of red insulation tape.
Talk about a Christmas to remember.
My accountant, his brother, and I made our own party in the back room of his mother’s house and we were having such a good time she didn’t even get up in arms that I was wearing her wedding dress.
One strange thing that came from that night was that my accountant and I eventually passed out on a shared single bed, but in the morning we awoke on opposite sides of the bed that we fell asleep on. It was slightly awkward, but what Boxing Day doesn’t have its awkward moments eh Sir Richard?
The point of the story is, I had that book strapped to my neck most of the night, and I really felt like you and I shared a common goal that special Christmas Day.
As we do now.
I will leave you to enjoy your festive season Sir Richard, but I hope to hear back from you in the coming weeks in regard to this exciting project.
God speed, and a preemptive happy new years to you also
Reuben Bonner (outer space enthusiast and loyal fan of Strange Forces (the band))
Here are some links for the band also
and of course the campaign page: