By Alain de Botton
From the bestselling writer of The paintings of Travel comes a wittily interesting exploration of the unusual "non-place" that he believes is the inventive heart of our civilization.
Given unheard of entry to 1 of the world's busiest airports as a "writer-in-residence," Alain de Botton chanced on it to be a exhibit for lots of of the key crosscurrents of the trendy world--from our religion in expertise to our destruction of nature, from our worldwide interconnectedness to our romanticizing of the unique. He met tourists from all over the place and spoke with everybody from luggage handlers to pilots to the airport chaplain. Weaving jointly those conversations and his personal observations--of every thing from the poetry of room provider menus to the eerie silence in the course of the runway at midnight--de Botton has produced a rare meditation on a spot that the majority people by no means decelerate adequate to work out essentially. Lavishly illustrated in colour by way of well known photographer Richard Baker, A Week on the Airport unearths the airport in all its turbulence and soullessness and--yes--even beauty.
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The constant and regular beats from the music, or the faint words from a radio discussion, are enough to strain your ears in the desperate attempt to identify the band they are listening to or to catch snippets of the interview. Hiss, hiss, hiss, thud, thud, thud. Just enough to distract and not quite enough to recognise. Those who insist on using their portable stereos are not always young. Many middle-aged executives don their headphones and turn up the volume as high as it can go. Some place the radio on the rack above their heads, whilst others place it on their groin (perhaps the 46 P A I N S O N T R A I N S vibrations give them a cheap thrill).
The annoyance will attenuate in direct proportion to the distance the Deadbeat is away from you. Perhaps there is a formula for this, maybe Ha = 1/d2 where Ha is the Deadbeat’s annoyance and d is the distance they are from you in metres. Science meets Pain Spotting. RARITY 8 – The Deadbeat is surprisingly common amongst the commuting public and this, coupled with our love of gadgets, ensures they have a special place in our hearts. I look forward to a time when the portable stereo is surgically implanted into their head.
Rip the headphones from their ears and stamp on them. ■ Tick here when you have spotted the Deadbeat 47 RATE THE DEADBEAT’S ANNOYANCE The Death Breath GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS A lthough suffering from a blocked up nose is a miserable affair, it’s often preferable to smelling the putrid breath of the person next to you. Hygiene is, of course, a personal matter but according to new research men who don’t shave die younger. The theory behind this is that if you can’t be bothered to shave then it is highly likely that you don’t wipe your bottom properly and from this we can conclude that you don’t take oral sanitation seriously either.