Friday, 26 June 2009

A thought on celebrity...

With the news media dominated today by the news of Michael Jackson's death, it set me wondering about the modern appeal of celebrity.

Mr Jackson illustrated, perhaps more than most, the terrible price that fame can extract: a number of tributes have testified to his loneliness and how unhappy his childhood was. And all this hard on the heels of Susan Boyle's well-publicised strugles to cope with the surge of media attention after her appearance on "Britain's Got Talent".

Yet, still we seem obsessed with celebrity, whether deserved (as in Mr Jackson's case) or not (as in the case of the late Jade Goody). Perhaps now might be a time to ponder whether a focus on more important issues , more lasting pleasures, and hard-earned, real achievement would be a good thing for our society?

Friday, 19 June 2009

Barcelona's new airport terminal

Barcelona's shiny new airport terminal opened this week, and very impressive it is, too. Shaped like a futuristic plane (rather resembling something out of Star Wars, I recall), it is beautifully finished inside and out, and the Catalans are justly proud of the this new addition to their infrastructure.

The departures area is particularly spacious and airy, with an enormous shopping zone called the 'Sky Centre' - the complex overall boasts 73 shops and 43 bars and restaurants. The only downer for now is that the train and metro links will not be completed for a few years yet, necessitating a change onto a shuttle bus from the railway station at the old terminal.

But that may sound a little grudging, particularly as it succeeded in handling 35,000 passengers and 250 flights on its opening day without a hitch - in rather sharp contrast to the fiasco of Heathrow's T5 opening: an achievement which leaves me wondering why it is that major projects in the UK always seem to be beset with teething troubles...