Thursday 12 March 2009

A 'chance' to escape

This was the scene at Liverpool St Station today at 5.15pm. About 20 people were queing up for a chance to win a pair of flights to Asia couertesy of Air Asia. The queue was moving pretty slowly, these people were in no rush to get home, the chance to escape the monotony of city life was worth the wait even if the odds of winning were extremly thin. The engine type thing was actually a giant tombola which these lucky entrants were putting a boarding pass into in the hope that theirs might be the one drawn out at the end... or something like that!

The drudgery of everyday life fuels our longing to escape, airplanes are so often the cheap and easy means to that escape, but it begs the question of why we live lives that we are so keen to escape for a couple of weeks every year? Are 50 weeks of 'work, work, work' in exchange for 2 weeks of 'me, me, me' in some exotic location (plus a few days at home with the folks at Christmas) really worth it? Surely those hours from 9 til 5 everyday should be spent doing something enjoyable, rewarding, stimulating and socially useful? They are the hours of the day when we are most awake and productive (we spend them chained to desks while the sun shines outside.) At the very least we can get a sense of wellbeing if we know we are doing something that is collectively good, even if it is tiring and stressful.

As for the environmental battle to keep people out of the air for the sake of 'Climate Change' this just shows how keen people are to fly, they would rather spend fifteen minutes in a queue getting heavily marketed to by an airline for the tiniest chance of winning a flight than get themselves home to their families, their books, thier hobbies, their friends, thier 'life'. The need to escape is both created by and catered for by consumer culture, holidays are a key product. If you asked those pictured below whether they thought a new runway to make Heathrow more efficient was a good idea, they would probably answer: 'Yes!' I asked one man this question and he answered: 'Yes mate!' I also asked him 'do you think you'll win?' He answered 'Probably not.'

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