People are, on the whole, stupid. When I say people, I don’t me you or I. No, I mean “people”. You know, those people in the world who exist outside of our sphere of influence. People who aren’t on your Facebook friends list. Those people. The people you see walking around as you’re trying to do you sane and normal things. The people who get under your feet. Those people. In a nutshell, people.
There’s a guy who earns money busking in Huddersfield. That’s no bad thing. More power to his elbow, and all that jazz. He sits outside WHSmiths or somewhere on the precinct (seen, but not heard) playing music and people give him money. He’s not stupid. He, if truth be told, is outstandingly clever. People are giving him money, actual spendable legal tender, for banging on an upturned bucket. It’s like a really low-budget version of Stomp. It’s one man, a couple of upturned buckets and some sticks. I’ve seen him four or five times now. He plays the same tune. Over and over and over again and yet his little bucket for the collection of money always has money in. Now, it may be that this is mainly the busker’s money – his float, if you will (it’s a well-known technique of the busking fraternity that you pre-line your money collection vessel with a smattering of coins so as to create the impression that they have already been donated to and thus make you more willing to part with your money. A similar technique is applied by those people that collect charity envelopes when you open the door and they know, they instinctively know, that you haven’t filled your envelope and look at next door with a kind of “you should have seen how full their envelope was, and it was ready when I knocked” face which guilts you into filling the envelope to bursting.
This busker, then, only knows one tune. Either that or I have caught him at exactly the same part of his act each and every time I have seen him. I suspect it’s the one tune thing. But people willing put money in his bucket. I think I’m missing a trick because, if I’m honest, I play a tune on my mug each time I make a cuppa – I’ve just never thought about passing a hat round afterwards.
So people are stupid. This was hammered home to me today by a news story which, for a small while this lunchtime, I thought I’d actually made up. I knew I read it on Sky News this morning, but by lunchtime I couldn’t find it and was beginning to doubt my sanity.
Manchester Airport is employing the use of holographic staff members to “help with security.” I’m not making this up. According to Sky News, the Airport is applying the same technology used by The Gorrilaz (apparently a popular beat combo of this generation) and which performed as Frank Sinatra at Simon Cowell’s birthday party last year. Apart from the fact that the hologram didn’t “perform as” Frank Sinatra and then went back to its regular day job as the cheque guarantee logo on your bankcard, this story is just amazing.
Two members of Manchester Airport’s staff have been immortalised as holograms and stand around giving people information about the rules for taking liquids on board before ushering people through the security check-ins. They are so incredibly life-like, says the story, that people have actually tried to hand over their passports for checking, presumably only for them to fall to the floor and then much hilarity will ensue.
I think, right there, that’s a case for not being allowed on a plane. If you can’t tell the difference between a real person and a hologram you shouldn’t be allowed to fly. You’re clearly a liability and we shouldn’t really be inflicting you on other people or countries. And thank goodness you didn’t go to Simon Cowell’s birthday party, you’d have soiled yourself when Frank Sinatra rose from the grave a performed a couple of hits.
And then, to cap it all off, there’s the suicide bomber who died at the back-end of last year. She didn’t kill anyone else, other than herself. Thought to be part of the same group responsible for the Moscow airport bombing, this woman was in the terrorist safe house (possibly my grandma’s house if my dream is to be believed) setting up her suicide belt. The trigger mechanism, as with many of these devices, was a mobile phone. The plan, it’s thought, was that she would meander into the centre of a group of people celebrating the New Year, a signal would be sent, she’d explode and kill countless people, injure others and send a very stern message to those who understand these things. Unfortunately this didn’t go to plan as, for some reason, the mobile phone was not left switched off (as it usually is) and received what is believed to have been a spam message from her mobile provider wishing her a New Year.
She’s not having a particularly good New Year.
But she certainly ended the last one with a bang.