Is this the ultimate expression of the now exhausted theme of "going on holiday for charity"? In recent years the notion of people asking you to donate money so they can walk the Inca Trail or cycle the French Alps in aid of charity has become increasingly commonplace. And I'm always wondering exactly how much of the money is going to the charity and how much is paying for the trip.
But of course whatever the amount spent on grappling hooks and sun cream, if money is going to good causes that otherwise wouldn't you can't really knock it. But if it would raise more money to do something a little less close to the tropics, then at least admit that and don't go round acting like you've just grown a halo!
I should justify myself a bit here. I've done the London Marathon and the Caledonian Challenge for charity but in both cases I made a contribution myself to cover the cost of entry (not that much) and all that stuff so that money I got sponsored all went to the actual causes. Also in both cases I freely admit I was doing it because I wanted to and the only way I could get a place was to do it for charity.
We also have a fair few charity and fundraiser events at Soho Comedy Club and when we do we make sure that all the money goes to the causes. We don't charge for the room, the acts perform for free and flyerers and doorstaff always work for free those nights. In fact the only thing we can't recoup for the cause is the booking fee that PayPal charges (usually 9%). Annoyingly they have a function to reduce (but not eliminate) the fee for charities but you have to jump through hoops to get it and you have to be a fully registered charity, not just a good cause or an NGO, etc.
I don't want to sound like I'm against good causes and fundraising - I think it's vital and there should be more of it. But at the same time the word "charity" also doesn't mean "you can't criticise me". So when I read things like this dreadful story about topless models walking through Manchester in aid of "Support Our Soldiers" I totally don't get it. Why can't we support our soldiers without also supporting misogyny? And what about our female soldiers and our gay soldiers and our soldiers who for cultural or religious reasons don't approve of topless modelling?
This also goes for all the half naked calendars in aid of charity too - you know who you are. If you want to do something in aid of charity - do something positive.
Mr Laliberte's trip into space is costing £22m. I think that money would go a long way to giving people around the world access to clean water. Take a holiday if you want mate but don't just do something totally frivolous that you want to do and then pretend to me that you're doing this for the greater good. Believe me people dying from having to drink dirty water will not be looking up at the International Space Station going "thanks Guy"!