Saturday, April 5, 2014
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Berlin Schönefeld airport. Old, decrepit, small, claustrophobic in places, due to have been replaced. My experience there today was one of increasing frustration.
The day began well, with three train journeys, each one punctual to the minute. The stress began shortly after entering Terminal A. Departures, naturally, are upstairs. There are eighteen check in desks, in two banks of nine, in an area so small you could comfortably throw a tennis ball from one side to the other without much effort.
However, in between is a snaking queue of similarly frustrated passengers waiting to go through the security gate, restricting each check in desk to a queue depth of a few metres. Matters are not helped by there being insufficient barriers to guide the security queue, so the queue of confused travellers randomly juts out into the remaining space.
Furthermore, in front of all this, the Berlin Landespolizei have three massive scanners for luggage pre-screening. Again with a long, ungainly queue.
Once through security, one can relax in a corridor that has a handful of shops and one bar. Kilkenny's Irish Pub, obviously.
As I write this, I'm sat in a small departure lounge - more accurately a slightly larger Portakabin - waiting for my flight. This is, of course, at the furthest reach of the terminal.
Actually, there's the incoming plane. Salvation may be at hand, at least until Ryanair's first onboard announcement.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
I have a theory as to why England are currently toiling their way to humiliating series defeat in Australia.
During the summer, in the build up to the previous series, it was declared "the worst ever Australian team" to make its way to Britain. Errant nonsense, as the 3-0 scoreline was no fair reflection of those tests.
However, England seem to have decided to properly show what a worst touring side ever looks like - particularly when it contains most of the players who have been unassailable until recently.
In a way, the haplessness is comforting. It's nostalgia for those fragile 80s and 90s teams. Winning things just isn't English, or indeed cricket.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
The good folk at Phantom 105.2 have run another poll that has sorted out their Christmas playlist. This year, they wanted your musical icons.
An interesting subject, as what defines an icon? Is it longevity, a varied career or, as in many sad cases, dying young leaving a preserved image of cool an maybe a couple of decent records. (Jim Morrison not withstanding. Sorry, I can't abide The Doors.)
The countdown is underway. Here are my choices. (Damn it! Forgot about Ray Davies!)
1. Paul McCartney
He was a Beatle for goodness sake. More importantly he wrote "Paperback Writer" - a song I'm increasingly believing might be the finest recorded. If only he would stop slaughtering "Hey Jude" at huge public events. (With the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee done, we should be safe for a few years.)
2. David Bowie
The chameleon pop star. His run of 70s albums is as remarkably consistent as that of The Beatles from a decade before. Ziggy, Aladdin Sane, nicking Philly soul, the Berlin years - he was also mates with Iggy Pop, picking him up after The Stooges fell apart. Don't mention the Laughing Gnome though.
3. Mark E Smith
Curmudgeonly. Splenetic. Acidic. Pugilistic - even with band mates while on stage. The nucleus about which the myriad cast of The Fall revolve. Less a singer, more haranguing word wrangler. Holder of the Guinness World Record for use of 'ah'. Always different, always the same.
4. Paul Heaton
Quite simply, soundtracked my growing up. The Housemartins were around when I was seven years old; The Beautiful South were the first band I was properly into (take that indie scenesters!) and the first band I saw live. Also, I share my birthday with him. (Yes, and Billy Joel and Dave Gahan.)
5. Jonny Greenwood
Thom Yorke may be front man of Radiohead, but they'd be less interesting without Jonny. He's also produced several film scores, snubbed by Oscar® for "There Will Be Blood".