Monday, June 18, 2007

Population burns "bewitched" flying machine in sacrifice to Baal

To start this week I though I'd put on my old curmudgeon hat and do a "things aon't what they used to be" post.

To start with I have a quite well hidden interest in art, design and history. Well hidden as they can be seen as a detriment to success in my job, but, as I'm among friends here... Even looking at the shows save on my Sky box now in amongst the trashy Heroes, Dr Who and Studio 60 there's the first of a 2 part documentary on Frank Lloyd Wright, a documentary on people obsessed with 8-track tapes, one on Dali and how maths and physics influenced his work, one on the Musee D'Orsay in Paris, the legendary Sister Wendy's Grand Tour (all from the surprisingly excellent Sky Arts) and Channel 4's Unreported World on a nomadic herd in the Gobi desert. This is going somewhere, trust me.

The only other one left is RTE Two's Planespotting. It's part of their Take Two series where classic RTE documentaries are restored and run during the week in prime time. Well done says I. Anything that gives me an alternative to Britain's Got Talent has to be a universally good thing. This week's Planespotting was all about, wait for it and remember this was 1971, Aer Lingus taking delivery of their first 2 Boeing 747s. This was a huge deal back then.

One of the reasons I love looking back at history is that it gives you a vague idea, when you extrapolate the amount of change forward into the future, just how weird our lives are going to be. In the glorious black and white, men in bad suits and combovers and cailĂ­n's dancing at the airport past some facts and figures stood out above others (sarcastic commentary all mine).

In 1971 they had bought 2 of these modern beasts. However because there was no guarantee they could run them all year round they were planning on leasing them in the winter to Trans Carribean Airways.

The interview they had with the guy in charge of Kennedy Airport asked him if there was going to be a repeat of the scandalous recent waiting times there of.... up to 2 hours!

In 1971 an American tourist could get 2 weeks in Ireland, flights, car hire and accomodation for? $290. For $500 you could be President.

US airlines still, at that stage, weren't allowed to fly directly into Dublin, only Shannon.

With regard to the new monster 747s members of the public had been expressing concern. Including one quote "it can't really be all that safe to have all that many people up there in the sky at the same time". They also expressed disbelief at the apparent free availability of fire.

Aer Lingus was the only airline on the world to have on air hostesses, no air stewards. Score one for the ladies!

And, in 1971, they were tring to quell American fears about the Troubles by suggesting it was "isolated to a few areas in the North".

Only 36 years ago gentle readers. What will life be like on our little island in 2043?


  1. I think Sister Wendy is great. That's all.

  2. Also, wouldn't it be great to work in RTE telly archives. There must be lots of great stuff in there.

  3. Down with flying machines....bring back the coffin ships! I hate cheap flights, we are totally destroying our planet (still the only one we have) for ten euro flights to Stalingrad!
    I like the old RTE "Hands" programme, "Tonight on hands, Sean Og will make a barrel", can't beat it! That or Bracken!