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Wednesday, 15 September 2010


I've just finished watching a BBC programme on the Vatican and the Pope and came away unscathed but filled with inertia. I don't know what the BBC was playing at with its sinister music and interviews with altar boys but enlighten it didn't. There was a much better programme on earlier about the Pope's visit to the UK and the preparations and responses needed if he is to survive his trip to what my friend's mother called 'a Godless country'. Later on I read that one of his advisers had remarked that on landing at Heathrow he thought he was in a Third World country. He obviously didn't give the old motherland a chance and would be better off watching an episode of Two Fat Hairy Bikers if he wanted to get even the slightest idea of what this country is all about. Perhaps, despite its faults it is the very country to find God except of course if you end up in a Bluewater shopping centre. He should have stopped off at the chapel at Heathrow. Devoted to all religions and where Henderson and I had a defining moment, an epiphany if you like when we realised we had to stop working there. The airport that is, not the chapel although that wouldn't surprise me if he told me he had.

Getting back to the Pope. Many years ago before I worked at the airport I was involved in numerous 'happenings', theatrical ventures and performances of one kind or another and one was to involve straddling the neck of a friend who was six foot three in her stockinged feet, don a burka and have a vada up The Edgware Road, maybe with a crash helmet for that extra special touch.. Those were more innocent times but we spoke yesterday about reliving our wasted youth and turning up dressed like this, resplendent with Tennent's Extra and start heckling the Pope. We could burn some Jeffrey Archer books while we are at it. Kill several birds by stoning them.

But now I am being childish and the most I could bring myself to do is to burn copies of Tony Blair's latest hagiography. While I was watching the BBC documentary tonight the words 'patron saint of Europe' came up and I wondered if it was him. I've also learnt today that some people who might be a bit timid when it comes to fire have started to move said memoirs to the crime section in bookshops which is a start I suppose but shouldn't end there.

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