Friday, 5 February 2010


I was actually airborne over Europe when Concorde burned and crashed and burned. skymadeupnewsandfilth said the passengers had been heading-off on the holiday of a lifetime. They certainly were.

A tragic, beautiful image,
a doomed flight, reaching, almost yearning, still, for the sky, even though there was no safety for her, anywhere.

Always hated flying, a dark imagination blights, ever, take-off and landing but I'd always thought that Concorde was as safe as houses, all that money, all that national prestige, and all those rich bastards, David Frost and Paul McCartney, champagning their way across the Atlantic, arriving almost before they'd left. I thought, one day, I'll fly on Speedbird. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was, personally, by the Paris crash. And then there were the people, what a trip that was, for them.

I heard this in my head, in the voice of Stanley Holloway or the lugubrious Jake Thackray.

'Oliday of a Lifetime.

'ere's us
sittin' on an aeroplane
we're off
on our 'oleedaze again
we're rich
we deserve the flaming best
we deserve the flaming best.

take off
speedbird reachin' for the sky,
think today's the day you'll die
this is
the finest plane what ever flew
finest plane what ever flew

in this
life you get what you pay for
poor folks
don't even get near the door
only for the filthy rich
only for the filthy rich

built to
chase the Sun across the sky
like a
rocket flyin' straight and high
wasn't built so's she could die
wasn't built so's she could die

airborne at the speed of sound
five miles
up above the bleedin' ground
this is
the only way to bleedin' fly
only way to bleedin' fly

fuck me
flames is pouring from the wing
fuck me
never saw a bleedin' thing
fuck me
'ope the pilot gets us down
'ope the pilot gets us down.

why's me trousers soaking wet
not ready for 'eaven yet
keep me safe and let me live
keep me safe and let me live

keep me,
safe inside God's own black box
keep me
from the pain of Earthly shocks
save me
'oly jesus, let me live
'oly jesus let me live

everybody vapourised
disappeared before yer eyes
not a bloody soul survived
not a bloody soul survived

Ashes now.
Seems a shame to litigate, vulgar, corpse-treading.
Shit happens.

If this shit doesn't prove that shit happens
then no amount of shit happening will.


Anonymous said...

To me it seemed a Godsend to BA and Air france that this happened an easy way to stop the service. Just as well they didn't ground every 737 and take them all out of service when one crashes.

Anonymous said...

What do you think the outcome of the trial will be? Some elderly men since retired, a couple of mechanics who were supposed to put a piece of taitanium as a repair that was against regulations on the Continetal plane. This is not some 1975 Morris Marina being done up on the cheap by bodgit and scarper motor engineers but by probably the most regulated industry there is. As luck would have it the trial is taking place in France not the UK or the USA so you never know your luck you might actually find out what happened.

call me ishmael said...

Thanks. I don't know the outcome or if establishing facts rather than guilt or innocence is the purpose of criminal trials but if there was stuff to be learned I'm sure it has been by now; as you say, mr anonymous, it is a highly regulated and highly skilled industry. I don't know if there is any merit or any consolation in singling=out one or two as culprits, save that the insurance companies can shift the load around a bit.

My point was, forgive me, to do with the poetry of it all, it's emblematic quality rather than with the technical stuff, although that is, of course, important.

mongoose said...

Lovely aircraft, Mr Ishmael. We used to see it flying into Heathrow all the time.

If memory serves passenger miles per gallon of fuel was Concorde - 16, 74-whatever of the time - 160... And that was all she wrote.

call me ishmael said...

Always looked alive to me, a synthesis of bird and metal.

richard said...

A beautiful machine. She still looked futuristic at the end. I heard the supersonic booms during testing, it was '69 or '70. For safe operation maybe it would have taken a quick runway inspection before each Concorde take-off. And the way BA scrapped them, rather than allowing Branson to buy them. pure dog-in- the-manger.
that was a poingnant little poem, too. still, i suppose, if you were fated to go in an air crash then maybe that was the one to go for.

Anonymous said...

i suppose, if you were fated to go in an air crash then maybe that was the one to go for." I agree just a pity it wasn't the usuall suspects crossing the Atlantic. A terrible thing to say but how many tears would be shed if Bonio, Sumner and his poxy wife, Reg Dwight and his current husband I leave it up to you to fill in the rest of the passenger list.

call me ishmael said...

I don't think it is a terrible thing to say; life being what it is one dreams of vengeance and all these people that you mention are an affront not only to Decency and Modesty but also to the muse who sometimes sneaks-in with rock 'n' roll. These people are part of GlobaCorp Infotainment, part of skymadeupnewsandfilth and nothing they say or do has any value, other than coin.

Fuck 'em, 'plane crash, overdose, AIDS, any dream will do.

The opening comment here was interesting, that had never occurred to me, that the Paris crash slew the White Elephant. Got me thinking, also, that the Concorde Story, supersoniuc flight, might have been different if Uncle Sam hadn't blocked mach 1 overflights of the US. I suppose it was pique. Uncle Sam had been to the Moon after all and now here were the Frogs and the Brits doing all this clever shit. Considering the poison which GlobaCorp feeds folks in the Home of the Brave it is difficult to think that the Concorde ban was anything to do with the health of the nation.