Morpheus on… The Humourless

Some years back, British TV ran a number of “reality shows” that had no competitive element, no host (and no BUDGET). They were intended as “slice of life” pieces. I accidentally saw part of one, while I was waiting for a REAL programme to start.

I don’t recall the title (I’d be ashamed if I DID) but it concerned the goings-on at an airport (maybe it was called “Airport”) and featured a piece which gave me a salutary lesson.

It concerned a classical musician who gave a humourous answer to a dumb question, posed by an immigration official. The conversation went something like: “Where have you come from?” “Chicago.”  “What’s in the violin case?” “A machine gun.”

Stated baldly, it sounds either innocuous or worrisome – depending on the circumstances. But in this instance, they were benign. It was just a mild joke. The musician was a nice guy. Neatly turned out, with a disarming manner.

However, the reaction to his throwaway line (and this was BEFORE “9/11”) was INSANE. The official went APE-SH*T and the next thing, this poor dude found himself being GRILLED for HOURS, being BANNED FOR LIFE by the airline he had used – and was lucky he didn’t end up in the slammer.

And since the footage that showed all this had to have been green-lighted by the officials, they apparently thought it made them look GOOD, instead of like the paranoid, pencil-necked prats they were. Anyone with a heart and a BRAIN would have been left feeling SORRY for the guy.

It just goes to show ANOTHER reason I don’t fly any more. For the other, see 


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by littlealfie on September 29, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    In the old days before walk-through metal detectors when they handed you a card to read and then put a chalk cross on your case I regret that I never QUITE plucked up the courage to emulate our mutual hero Mr Templar!

    At the start of “The Simon Templar Foundation” (The Saint in London) he tells one of those very officials “Yes, I am carrying large quantities of silk, perfume, wines, spirits, tobacco, cut flowers, watches, embroidery, eggs, typewriters and explosives.” And then saunters through with two guns in his pockets!

    We’re in the wrong age!


  2. Posted by theworldaccordingtomorpheus on September 30, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    AH YES!! I remember recalling JUST that sentence, when seeing the above-mentioned programme! Like you, it occurred to me that Simon lived in a VERY different time!

    I then recalled the descriptions of his DRIVING STYLE. Basically, he piloted the Hirondel as if he was in a continuous CAR-CHASE! At ten-tenths ALL the time. Even I couldn’t keep THAT up!

    But then, in addition to being fiction, The Saint lived in a time before speed cameras, speed-traps, helicopters and all the other paraphernalia Plod has at his disposal nowadays. Happy times!

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