Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Airport to nowhere

What does one most want to do at airports?
Get out of them.
But not here in Adelaide. Oh, no. We have a new airport terminal and everyone wants to be there. It is the place for the A-List to play. It is just the "in" thing to go and hang out at the airport. Fancy dinners have been held there. Charity events. Some people brag that they have already been to the airport two or three times. This does not mean they travel. It means they are important.
I guess that means that I am a slavish follower of the "in" crowd that I accepted an invitation to the Adelaide Festival of Arts 2006 program launch at the airport. And, I admit I was curious to have a look, since everyone has been carrying on about it.
Well, guess what? It is an airport. It is a spacious, modern airport - with not very many check-in desks but masses of room for those snaking queues, which are really the fashionable thing in travel these days.
Of course everyone else also had accepted their invitation to this event - and it is a big one on the Adelaide agenda. The Festival is a singularly splendid thing and everyone is agog waiting to know what is going to be on the program.
However, this meant that there was a massive crowd at the airport. One could not move. It was cheek-to-jowl in-crowd, all clutching glasses of wine, seeing and being seen - well, as best they could in the cram.
There's no such thing as a free lunch, let alone a free launch.
So there were speeches - one after another after another. Sponsors, politicians, high arts factotums and, finally, the Festival artistic director revealing all with powerpoint on giant screen. The cost of this for the hapless "in" crowd was standing on the hard stone floor for two solid hours. It's an airport. The seats are in departure - not in the massive check-in foyer. Many of the social dainties were in their best stilettos. Even those of us in sturdy sneakers felt the pain. In fact I was feeling it a day later. It was a tough stand.
But, hey, we now can say we have been to the airport. And gone nowhere.

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