Saturday, March 29, 2008


The long awaited Terminal 5, at Heathrow, has finally opened; and to the surprise of no-one who has had the misfortune to pass through that incompetently-run aircraft hangar, all Hell has broken loose; hundreds of cancelled flights and thousands of lost bags, less than half the staff knowing what they are doing. No change there, then!
My trip to New York, a few years ago, was eventful enough; ticket checked, and then directed to gate 55 (and yes, this did mean walking past gate's 1, 2, 3 etc). I got to that gate after a twenty minute walk, but that was nothing compared with my trip to Canada, when the woman checking my ticket hadn't the faintest idea where to send me. I was directed across the terminal, up a flight of stairs, outside of the building and across a road, up another flight of stairs. Finally, and after checking the departures on a television screen, I realized that I was in the right place. When I did, eventually, take my seat on the plane, it felt like quite an achievement; the airport staff had been no help at all. My experience at the airport in Canada was pleasant in comparison. The same checks, but with a competent staff, and a layout that a blind man could follow. Upon leaving ,I got there early, and then spent an enjoyable couple of hours browsing in the shops. So no stress, no running around. It must be said that, with it's habit of treating passengers like cattle, Heathrow was an international disgrace, even before the fiasco of T.5.
So now the bosses are sorry, the passengers are jeering the staff, BA are facing a two million pound fine. Not before time, I say, for this is surely the worst airport in the world (although I've yet to hear a good word about Gatwick).
Last word to the shame-faced Heathrow bosses; visit a few other airports and see how it should be done, because you are in serious need of a few lessons.
In other words ... Heathrow sucks!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Seeing Orange at the Movies
Had a visit from the family recently, and as usual I went to the cinema with my nephew, Andrew; this time to see a bruising British thriller called 'The Bank Job'.
Which has now set me off on a rant about all the bullshit you have to sit through while waiting for the film to start.
First, there is a sketch where someone makes a good impression by ordering their cinema tickets on-line; Film's sold out, but that's okay - we'll just pick up our tickets at the box office," announces some nerd with the pride of someone who has just discovered the Holy Grail.
Then come the commercials. Is it just me, or these ads getting more cretinous and irritating all the time? A pet hate of mine are those blue-costumed gospel singers in that U-Switch campaign (Yooooo-oooo-oooo Gotta Switch!) Yeah, switch the bastard sound down every time those idiots come on :-(
Then, after the up-and-coming movie trailers, there is the now-usual prelude; the 'Don't let a mobile phone ruin your movie!' series, in which a number of well known has-been actors pitch an idea to a mobile-phone obsessed producer. These have gone beyond irritating to really pissing me off!
Finally, after sitting through about twenty minutes of guff ... we get another ad, telling us how great Dolby sound is. Then, at last, they show the bloody film ... in Dolby sound; so why waste two minutes of everyone's time advertising it? It's not like we get an option on what sound system we get.
Cinema-going never used to be like like this. A few trailers, a few ads, and then the film. At times, there would be a documentary, or maybe a short film (half hour comedy or something): but now, after all the threats about piracy, and warnings about mobile 'phones, there's no time for anything like that. Just a sigh of relief from the audience when they finally start the film (remember when it used to be called the main feature?)
Well mobile 'phones have 'never' spoiled my movie. A pity I can't say the same for those frigging trailers!