Monday, March 23, 2009


I'm catching a red eye out of Newark NJ. In my ears I have some field recordings of Son House , Willy Brown and Leroy Williams - a soundtrack of such raw and brutal honesty that it has the effect of making every body in the strip-lit forced air of the terminal look naked.

A friend of mine once voiced the opinion that if God had meant us to fly, he would have provided more legroom. Havng clocked up a considerable pile of airmiles since then, I would have to offer the addendum that he would also have made airports enjoyable, but that's just me being grumpy, sitting as I am with a growing flu, jetlag, and a missing guitar, thanks to my expert airt travel providers who shall remain nameless. Althought the idea of a missing guitar might seem to warrant some alarm as a professional guitarist, I'm feeling eerily calm, due mainly to the fact that this isn't the first or indeed the second time this has happened.

On one occasion, a reluctant delivery guy who's job it was to re unite me with the main tool of my trade, suggested that I wait til the morning - "How will I recognise you?" he offered as a reason to go home early rather than deliver. "I'll be the one onstage without the guitar" I suggested. "How" he queried "will you recognise me?" "Won't you be the one holding my guitar?" I politely offered, to which my worthy opponent succumbed. and shortly after arrived at the venue where, like a silver screen romance, our eyes met and we knew at once we had found each other. He should never have doubted our bond. Kiss me, you fool.

I've always felt that the word 'Terminal' should never be used in any association with an airport, serving as it does only to reinforce the purgatorial aspect of the waiting experience, and one can only wonder if purgatory offers little battery powered sudoku games, bags of over priced trail mix and a wide variety of inflatable neck rests to browse through as the minutes turn to hours.

But we are incredibly adaptable creatures, and there are always games of our own invention- like guessing if the airline representative's visage is a study in consummate professionalism, or they are genuinely interested in helping . Bless 'em - their task is not an easy one, and many times have I watched the hapless traveler , unable to curb their ire, burn mercilessly at the hands of the all powerful flight attendant who , with a well practiced "we'll re-route you, sir", dooms the poor unwitting victim to an extra leg on their journey, who then slowly loses energy and succumbs, like an insect gradually drowning in the deadly ooze of a venus fly trap, struggling in vain to free it's legs and quietly wondering to themselves "wha' happened?"

Primarily of course , airports are not as much about the arriving as the leaving, which may well be what lends them a sort of character-less-ness (?), and the waiting does make for some great people watching, and even the delays serve to bring us all to one common level - the delayed. Oil man, fireman, musician, kid, drunk, mom, monk, gambler; we can all be late, lose our luggage, or find ourselves in a hotel we thought we'd never see. I'm going to sign off because it appears my flight's on time. I guess you never can tell.

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