I’m currently sitting in Terminal 1 at Heathrow Airport eating a burger and chips in a place called the Tin Goose. The place is dressed up in such a way to invoke associations with England’s pub based culinary past while trying also to remain firmly in the present. The way it does that is to play intensely non-descript dance music over the in-restaurant speakers. It works. Not one single customer in the joint can said to be laboring under the misapprehension that they’re anywhere other than 2009 and we’re all pretty sure the present sucks.
I expected better from Heathrow. After the stern and gleaming, yet in places light and breezy, arabian modernism of Dubai’s airport I wasn’t expecting the mess of Heathrow. Seen Children of Men? Yep, it’s like that except the film was a bit more light entertainment. At the arrivals lounge people sort of wonder around in their thousands, looking a bit lost and compensating by walking a bit too fast which doesn’t do them any good because no one knows where their going or what they’re doing. The airport staff are a bit like gazelle, seen in their hundreds but hard to catch.
Fortunately, the old British love of a good queue is alive and well in immigration as well as, it seems, Orwell’s nightmare vision of a authoritarian British future where everyone’s having a good laugh being stern. There was even a lone speaker that was transmitting a ladies voice who told us to be calm because immigration might take a little bit longer than usual. I don’t know where they found this woman to record these messages but I hope she was paid well. It’s a tough brief to calm seething air passengers but she nailed it, hitting that place the sits somewhere between mumsy and matron. She could probably tell me weevils were about to burst out of my eyes and I’d thank her for the pleasure.
Having said that nothing makes up for the lack of a smoking area. Dreadful, aren’t the brits supposed to be a civilised race? Mind you this trip I’ve noticed smoking lounges have been low in number in the world’s airports. Dubai gave it a crack but you could tell they weren’t serious and could have possibly been taking the piss. Imagine sending every smoker in a 3 mile radius to this one room with glass where all the non-smokers can look in and tut like snooty chickens. Now imagine that the room has no ventilation so walking into the room reveals a collection of gaunt men staring at you through the fog like mental asylum patients who’ve seen the first glimpse of the outside world and are wondering where the nearest petrol station is and if they sell slow burning papers.
There’s no kind of public space like an airport. New people in and out all the time, all reasonably pissed off because their luggage has been sent to Khartoum or because they’ve had the ill fortune to have children and are now lugging them across the world. Others seem to manage pretty well. A group of Americans have turned up and have seated themselves at teh table next to mine. They’re all dressed like LL Bean doesn’t offer just clothes but also a complete way of life. They’re all wearing caps and are saying things like “gosh darn“ “you know what I’m saying.“ I love Americans. Anyone who doesn’t is probably the kind of person who thinks gluten causes acid rain. I love the way most Americans walk into a room and can own it. I love it that they have things like cheese in aerosol form and how for most of the last yew years of the twentieth century their best TV usually involved a miss-matched duo fighting crime with the aid of a cool car or featured a shape changing detective. Airports seem to have been made just for Americans, which is why most of us feel on edge when we enter the concourse.
Contains: Jamie Walton and his 2.7 million dollar cello, David Farrier and his hunt for the Mongolian Death Worm; Matthew Dentith on Hollow Earth theories; News Rage with James Coe; Oliver Sealy and his top games from E3 and a brilliant song from Birdboy: The Ballad of David Bain
On the show: Frank Gibson meets JohnKricfalusi and charts the highs and lows of MoCCA; Oliver Sealy and James Burnett plot out the big announcements from E3; Matthew Dentith entangles himself in David Icke and Birdboy sings a song of gambling women. Oh, and Andy Turley discusses the genius of Radiohead’s In Rainbows and we play the whole album!
On the show this week: a man with a very deep voice flirts outrageously; Juliette Veber and her amazing film Trouble Is My Business; Benji Jackson gets stuck into Epitaph, the home of Bad Religion and you’re significant other’s preparing for a sex scene? The Feathers of Peace explain what you should and shouldn’t do.