Archive for April 21st, 2006

At the "Airport"

A moulded plastic sign greets disembarking passengers at Dublin Airport. It says, complete with quotation marks:

“Welcome to Dublin Airport”

Now the humble Greengrocer’s apostrophe I can thole, but this phenomenon, (for which a term has surely been coined, but I can’t be bothered looking it up) sent my brain haywire in search of a meaning.

What is the intended message here? Is it an ironic one-line poem, intended to illustrate the anomie of contemporary airports by way of an unattributed quotation? Who is wishing us welcome? No-one? Everyone?

Whilst these are double quotation marks, they still possess the effect of scare quotes: this is not a real welcome, nor is this Dublin, nor is this an airport. This is the air hangar of your mind.

To those who say that such minor aberrations do not matter, I propose a simple test. The next time you’re checking in luggage and the flight attendant asks you if you packed the luggage yourself, raise your hands and make a 66-99 sign with your fingers as you reply “Yes”. See how far that gets you.

Teaching Nonce-sense

Another day, another flimsy teacher/paedophile story. (You know the drill: teachers are paedophiles and doctors and nurses are sadistic murderers.) It seems the Ulster Teaching Union speculates that there are fewer male teachers because potential applicants might worry about being labelled a paedophile. Of course, anyone who would worry about such a thing is hardly likely to be suitable teaching material.

Reine Dear To The Nation

QE2 is 80 today. I could have met her once, but stayed in bed listening to Radio 5 Live phone-ins. But she scuttled right past my bedroom window, apparently, and this brush with royalty has surely marked me for the rest of my days. Le Monde has a nice ‘day in the life’-style piece on her for those of you who can read French. She reads the Daily Mail and the Racing Post. Gawd bless ‘er.

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April 2006