Bent over airport barrel

I had stolen from my person a tube of particularly good, inordinately expensive, and, I'm pretty sure, environmentally sustainable shaving cream, at the Melbourne airport recently.

How was I to know they would put my bags through some sort of X-ray machine, and that containers of liquid were banned on aeroplanes?

And not for the first time, I saw the knowing looks, the winks and quiet chuckles with which airport staff communicate, knowing full well that just like doctors and mechanics, they have their "clients" bent backwards over a barrel, and they can do and say anything, send them to their deaths, take their stuff or charge them like wounded bulls.

Stansted: The Inside Story on the Living Channel (from Saturday, September 17, 8.30pm) only confirms those fears.

Filmed during the December snow that closed airports across Europe last year, Stansted is a reality show about an airport.

Why have these shows become a mainstay of television to the point they are now satirised by the likes of Matt Lucas and David Walliams (Little Britain) in mockumentary Come Fly With Me?

How should I know?

But boy, are they boring.

In Stansted, we are introduced to the "turnaround team", a group of fellows among the 11,000 staff at the airport, whose job it is to unload, load and refuel a plane so that it exits the airport 40 minutes after it lands.

What are they doing?

They are doing crosswords.

They are doing crosswords, and accusing each other of cheating, as they hang around in a small room drinking tea and telling jokes.

One baggage handler who does get out in the cold to actually do his job complains he has to wear three pairs of gloves, it is so cold.

As the snow falls, and hundreds of passengers are re-routed from Gatwick, which is probably in France or somewhere similarly foreign, we meet the terminal cops, in the airport's own police stationWhat are they doing?

They are fooling around.

They are fooling around, splashing tea everywhere in the police station and telling jokes.

And this, my friends, is why I lost my shaving cream in Melbourne.

Thank you.

Vanilla Ice (Robert Matthew Van Winkle) had a hit song in 1989, in the "rap" style so beloved by the very young.

The lyrics of Ice Ice Baby, Wikipedia says, "describe a drive-by shooting and praise Van Winkle's rhyming skills".


I didn't see this one coming, but Mr Ice is now a "real estate entrepreneur and a remodelling expert" (read: owns a house, can put up wallpaper) with his own show, The Vanilla Ice Project.

It started on Friday at 10pm (Living Channel), and has no connection to shaving cream.

Good night.



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