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November 18th, 2011:

Hard Boiled Tolkien.

Two of my favourite writers are JRR Tolkien and Raymond Chandler. Let’s see how they get on together…

Well, I guess Peter Jackson did a better job of it but Peter Lorre as Gollum would have been inspired casting for Jackson’s movies if Lorre hadn’t alas been sleeping the big sleep. I can almost see Marlene Dietrich as Galadriel though Cate Blanchett did a fine job. I once had a stand-up and drag-down fight over Blanchett over at some Tolkien forum. Some nerk said she wasn’t good-looking enough to play Galadriel and suggested Nicole Kidman! No Noldorin queen of my imagining has ever had er lady garden tended by a midget scientologist. “Goose, Goose! Speak to me!” Sorry ‘Maverick’ you have a crisis of confidence in the middle of a dogfight and start talking to your dead RIO (rather than the guy who is actually sitting behind you) then you’re ridin’ the nylon into the drink if you’re lucky.

Industry Against An Evil Tax. BBC readers not sure…

I have mentioned the iniquity of APD (air passenger duty) before

This is excellent news and long overdue.

But the BBC comments are a cracker…

No one forces you to fly, so stop moaning and pay up, stay in the Uk or travel by road, rail or ferry.

I’ve choosen to stay in the UK for holidays for the last 2 years and forgo the ‘being treated like cattle’ on the plane or like a ‘terrorist’ at the airport and I’ve enjoyed every minute of every holiday, whether it be to Derbyshire, Manchester or Scotland.

- Anthony Rat

Sounds a barrel of laughs! Maybe it’s just me living in the vicinity of Manchester (and within very easy access of the Derbyshire peaks) but it doesn’t exactly seem a holiday as such. And quite frankly my last two foreign jaunts were to Turkey and Poland so please, please explain to me how they could have been easily accessible by road or rail (not to mention that Polish railways are dreadful and haunted by the spirit of Uncle Joe). I might be reading too much into that comment but it does seem to suggest that Mr Rat seems to think air travel is in principle worse in some sense than surface travel. Now far be it from me to point out the bleeding obvious but the airline game runs on very tight margins and every plane I’ve been on in recent years has been pretty (or entirely) full so in terms of the dreaded CO2 and all I very much doubt my wife and I could have driven (plus a ferry or the tunnel) to Istanbul more efficiently. Anyway seeing as I live in the North West of England where it rains all the time I can’t see a trip to Scotland being much of a morale boost!

keep the taxes! really cheap air fare is environmentally irresponsible anyway!

family of six? why not try a nice two week holiday to Orkney (i know a gorgeous self catered house up there which sleeps 9 for significantly less than £400 a week!)

or if the Scottish Isles don’t appeal there are always the classic options of Brighton, Blackpool and Wales. Plus, this way you support the UK economy!

- MayaGold

Two weeks in the Orkneys. There is the cube-root of bugger-all up there. My uncle once lived there in a futile attempt to evade justice. Oddly enough his nemesis in the shape of DS Donnelly of the Liverpool Serious Fraud Office arrived there by plane because surface is a pain. I mention this because APD is particularly severe for UK internal flights (essentially they tax you for each landing and take-off in the UK). So APD really doesn’t help the UK economy. Now you might be thinking internal flights in this country are silly and this is often the case apart from when they aren’t. If my co-conspirator RAB decided on “a nice two week holiday to Orkney” he’d undoubtedly fly because it’s a hell of a drive from Bristol where he lives. Or what about a Londoner who fancies a break in Belfast? But knowing RAB he’s much more likely to go to Sri Lanka or Cyprus because he’s a very bad man. As to the suggestion of Blackpool… Have you seen Blackpool recently? It’s like Dante’s Inferno. It is a dreadful place full of pissed Scousers having fights. Or you can see various variety acts at the end of the pier who you thought were dead. Like The Krankies.

So the airlines are against the tax – bearing in mind we do not levy VAT on air travel where should the government get their money out of this industry.

As ever the airlines think it is a god given right for people to fly no it is a luxury and as such we should remove APD and levy 20% VAT on the flights.

- quicksesh

That is a vile comment. It starts by assuming there is a God given right for government to get money out of flying. It goes on to suggest nearly 108 years after Kill Devil Hills that flying is a luxury! Not on WizzAir from Liverpool to Katowice it isn’t! If civilization has taught us anything (and quicksesh was clearly not at this lesson) it is that ordinary people can now live in ways that great sultans or emperors or generalized potentates of yore could not even dream of. That is the point. It’s a sort of diffuse version of the Nietzschean will to power. quicksesh’s vision (if I may call it so) is pathetic. Anyway of course the airlines are against this! They’d be failing their share-holders if they weren’t. I mean when was the last time you saw a turkey carrying home a Christmas tree?

It is fortunate that Orv and Will are dead because that comment would have killed them. They saw a brighter future as did so many others whose memory we betray by this new cult miserableness.

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