Saturday 9 April 2005

...except maybe some wood

Bonjour tout le monde, je suis revenu.

...and whilst we're speaking french, let's quote Jean-Paul Sartre:

"L'enfer c'est les autres".

Hell is other people.

Having just arrived back from Gatwick airport, I can entirely agree. I had a nice relaxing holiday, thanks for asking. Well, relaxing in the sense that it was nice to get away from everything for a few days; to not go to work; to have a break from the triathlon training programme - that kind of thing. Not relaxing in the sense that pretty much every muscle in my body aches, I have a sunburnt nose and a series of blisters on my feet from my ski-boots (surely some kind of instrument of torture, rather than footwear, right?). Apart from that, great. It's spring in the Alps, so it was gloriously warm. Usually this is pretty bad news for the snow, but actually it was pretty good, and it was snowing when we left this morning.

I've not skiied in the French Alps before. Goodness me, the people are posh though, what what?

Armani lift pass lanyards? check.
More Prada sunglasses than you can shake a stick at? certainly.
Nasty orange tans (with panda eyes)? uh-huh.
White all-in-one ski suits? definitely.

Excellent fun though. And the fact that we won the pub quiz has very little bearing on my opinion..... although we did win (comfortably, of course). There was an intros round as well, played on a guitar by one of the reps. Everyone found "Golden Touch" hard, for some reason, and mystifyingly they all struggled with "Johnny B Goode" as well (dur, only one of the most famous and influential riffs ever), although I have to admit that I missed "The Sultans of Swing"... ah well.

Did I mention we won?

Anyway. Good holiday...... until the flight home.

Breakfast was at 04:45 and the bus for Lyon airport left at 05:30. A little distressing perhaps, but not the end of the world, and I was able to doze for the whole 3 hour transfer whilst listening to Coldplay, Athlete and some Bowie ('ch-ch-ch-ch changes....'). Nice.

The airport itself is nothing special - pretty functional - but nothing to cause undue distress; our flight had even been brought forward by half an hour, for heaven's sake. Yeah, it wasn't brilliant that there was only one guy selling coffee, and that the flight was called just before C. hit the front of the queue, but to be honest that was more amusing than anything else.

So what was the problem?

I'll give you the highlights and try and save you the ranting:

- being herded onto a bus like cattle and being driven 10m to the plane
- small seats
- unexplained delay for an hour after boarding
- screaming children
- no, seriously... screaming children.... one child wailed (no tears) for about 45 minutes and no one said or did anything. 45 sodding minutes? Was I the only person who wanted to hurl the little git and his selfish parents off the flight immediately? Do they understand how piercing that noise is? Can't they hear it?
- baggage reclaim.... so it makes perfect sense for everyone to grab a trolley and stand right up against the conveyer belt so that no one can see anything and we all stand there trying to see if our bags are coming through and then if we are lucky enough to see them, having to clamber over the immobile idiots and their bags to grab them before they disappear into airport hell forever.

Tense, moi?

Are people just getting ruder, or is this behaviour encouraged by the way we are treated like cattle by the airlines?

Bit of both, I reckon.

[deep breath]

To hell with it. I'm still relaxed.

[drags fingernails across the desk....]

Earworms of the week.

10. 'Changes' - David Bowie
Last song syndrome... I was listening to "Hunky Dory" on my iPod when we pulled into Lyon airport. Great sax.

9. 'Wires' - Athlete
This was all over French radio. I kept hearing it coming out of bars and shops. The French have some taste in music. Who knew?

8. 'The Chicken Song' - Spitting Image
I learnt how to ski in Austria when I was about 13 and on a school trip. Our ski instructor was a cheerful chap called Gary, and we taught him how to sing this over the course of the week. Bizarrely, he loved it, and sang it constantly. Naturally, this came to mind as I meandered down mountains last week. All together now, "hold a chicken in the air, stick a deckchair up your nose..." Are you with me? no?

7. 'Somewhere Only We Know' - Keane
I heard this drifting across the piste from somewhere as I was skiing down. Naturally, I immediately downloaded it into my brain. A great song. I heard a couple of other Keane songs whilst I was out there as well.... French radio is clearly much better than its reputation would imply. I didn't hear Plastique Bertrand once.

6. 'The Israelites' - Desmond Dekker
Makes me think of an advert for Vitalite ('oooooh, ooooooh vitalite'), but is a fantastic song, no?

5. 'In My Place' - Coldplay
It's so simple - right from the little drum and cymbal intro, then on into the plaintive little guitar melody...and that's before Chris Martin comes in with his lovesick puppy voice. It was love at first listen... Glastonbury 2005 is theirs for the taking, and I can't wait.

4. 'All My Life' - The Foo Fighters
A lot of snowboard dudes about the place, so this kind of thing was probably inevitable. I heard it in a bar and it stuck right on in there. Dave Grohl certainly knows how to rock, but damn he also knows his way around a melody too. Who knew drummers could be so talented?

3. 'Do-Re-Me' - Sound of Music OST
What else do people sing on a chairlift at 3000m?

2. 'My Favourite Things' - Sound of Music OST
... ok. This.

1. 'Something for the Weekend' - The Divine Comedy
Something to do with the Scott Walker-esque baritone and the absurdity of the lyric. I found a live version of this when I was ripping the "Everybody Knows" single, and it's been lodged in my head ever since. Oh I say....

So how have you all been?

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