A group of top classical musicians has warned of the threat to artistic life from a hand baggage ban introduced after British police foiled an alleged bomb plot against transatlantic airliners.Read the whole thing. Having seen what airline baggage handlers do with bags on occasion (the most memorable incident being when we were sitting on a plane at JFK on the way back from Montreux and watched them pretty much playing catch with things--including the frilly little bags belonging to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, who were also on our flight), I would never let my horn go in the cargo hold. It's bad enough for string bass players--who have to buy their instruments an extra seat to keep it from being checked--but now it looks like it's affecting a lot more players as well; I wonder if my compact alto case is even small enough to pass muster under their system. (Granted, even if you do get to carry your instrument on the plane, there's still no guarantee that it won't get messed up by security personnel as it is.)
The issue even struck a false note at the world-renowned Last Night of the Proms on Saturday night, with one conductor joking that next year audiences may have to put up with "Concerto for Laptop and Orchestra".
"I think it's greatly to be regretted," said Mark Elder, a guest conductor for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, in a speech at the Royal Albert Hall. "The time has come really to put an end to this unfairness."
Many performers refuse to let their instruments, often centuries old and extremely valuable, out of their sight when they travel on planes in case they are damaged in the hold.
But now they are falling foul of strict rules introduced in August amid fears that apparently innocuous materials could be used to build and detonate bombs on flights to and from the United States.
I hope that everyone involved can come up with a good solution to this problem, and I sure hope it doesn't start happening in the States anytime soon.
And you think you had a bad day... A bicyclist, waiting by the side of the road for an ambulance after being hit by a car, was promptly hit by another car.
Student excuse of the day: "A raccoon kept me from doing my homework."