Kiss & Fly

March 21, 2009

At Luxembourg airport, you can park for half an hour free of charge. They could have called it the Drop Off. They could have called it Meet & Greet. But instead they’ve called it Kiss & Fly. I love it. So cute. It cuts through all the boring stuff about flying to the bit that really matters.

We were in Luxembourg for Colophon, a magazine conference. Or to be more exact, Steven was in Luxembourg for Colophon, launching issue 02 of Gym Class, and I was tagging along for the ride.

So while Steven did the conference thing, I sat in cafes, shopped and wandered round the Old Town. When I’d done all that, I jumped on one of those bikes you can pick up anywhere like in Paris and rode on over to the sci-fi surroundings of the European zone. (I wandered into the Philarmonie during the interval of a lunchtime concert and snapped this photo.)


I did hop on the Colophon train for one event – the Kasino A4 party in the tiny Grayscale Bar. They served ‘black and white’ drinks – clear shots when the lights were on, and dark shots in the periods when they decided to turn the lights off. Those crazy Finns. It was fun.


Wetherspoon Express

March 21, 2009

No time for a leisurely drink at your favourite Wetherspoon’s pub before the flight? Fear not, you can still knock back a quick one at the Wetherspoon Express, conveniently located right by the gate. And no need for any of that tiresome conversation that people in normal pubs expect you to have between gulps.

Wetherspoon Express. Taking the social out of social drinking / Your fast track to inebriaton / The swift way to have a swifty

Love miles

August 27, 2007

It’s official. Going out with someone from the other side of the planet is bad for the environment. Environmentalist George Monbiot coined the phrase ‘love miles‘ to describe the carbon-unfriendly flights we take in the name of love, similar to the ‘food miles’ we accumulate whenever we stick another pack of Kenyan beans or Chilean strawberries in our supermarket trolley.

Steven and I are busy clocking up the love miles. Six months ago, he flew back to the UK to live with me. Then last month he had to fly back to Australia to apply for his ‘propsed civil partnership’ visa. And I, of course, flew with him. For Monbiot, this is an ‘irreconcilable antagonism’ between two moral codes (the one that says you should go because of your relationship and the one that says you shouldn’t because of climate change), but I can’t say there was much antagonism at my end of the check-in queue. What, was I going to make Steven go alone, just for a smidgeon less carbon dioxide?

But the best laid plans, and all that. It turned out we were one document short of an application form, and by the time my bank had sent out what we needed – first to the wrong address, and then to the right one – it was time for me to fly back to London for work, leaving Steven behind.

It’s been three weeks now – and there’s no way of telling how much longer it might be. Sure, we speak and email and text and twitter but, as Joni Mitchell put it, “the bed’s too big, the frying pan’s too wide.”

The only miles that concern me now are the ones that separate us.

Binge flying

May 10, 2007

My favourite phrase from last weekend’s papers was ‘binge flying’ – coined by (of all people) Rough Guide founder Mark Ellingham. It neatly transforms another of our pleasures into a vice and castigates us (in a friendly sort of way) for our excesses.

Many years ago, I spent New Year in deepest Scotland. Afterwards, I hitchhiked my way back to Edinburgh and was picked up by a lovely couple in their sixties. As I jumped in the back, the woman turned to me and confided, “We’ve been on a bunge.” (Forgive my poor attempt at the accent.) They’d been drinking for six days – he’d fallen over and got a black eye, she’d fallen asleep in a bush. Today’s official definition of ‘binge drinking’ seems positively pale in comparison.

But there might be something in Mr Ellingham’s analogy. The glint in the old woman’s eye was much the same as you see in the eyes of the Friday night hordes heading off to Luton Airport with the Rough Guide to Barcelona clutched in their eager palms.