Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Instruments of Terror

Pete Townsend

“It WILL fit in the overhead locker when I’ve finished with it.”

Madame Monet posed a thorny question in a comment to my last post “24”. She had heard of members of an orchestra that had experienced terrible problems trying to transport their instruments onboard commercial airliners, in the wake of increasing terrorist threats, and was wondering if I myself had encountered similar problems.

The short answer is, “Oh, yes!”

Did you know, it costs more for my bass guitar to fly than it costs for me? It’s so ludicrous, some airlines even BAN you from buying a seat for your guitar (Which of course is the cheapest option, plus it gives your favourite axe chance to unwind and relax with a beer and a sandwich before the gig.)

I can grab a flight to the UK on occasion for 30 euros . They want 60 for the bass. Each way. I have had strings confiscated, guitar leads confiscated, you name it. When I had the temerity to ask why, they said I may use it to strangle somebody. I told them they had been misinformed, and I would choose a garrotte for that kind of “wet work”. I have to decant toothpaste, moisturisers, deodorants et al into Lilliputian sized containers, for which the airport authorities are happy to provide re-sealable plastic bags (at a cost) the easier to observe my toilet habits. Now, okay, I might look a bit dodgy, but I’m invariably stood in a queue consisting of hundreds of “George and Mildreds” – overweight, undeniably white 60-somethings off to their retirement caravans, all having to empty their bags, remove their orthopaedic footwear etc.


Call me non-PC, but Terrorists are usually Arabs. They are Muslims. THESE are the people you have to queue separately and search. If they have a problem with it, then they need to weed the nasty guys from out of their own communities. Before the woolly liberals jump up and down, let me make my position perfectly clear: I don’t think most Muslims are terrorists. I do think most terrorists are muslims.

So there you have it. Do not listen to that idiotic, dour faced Scot Gordon Brown. We are not winning the war on terror, the terrorists are. I used to carry my bass in a gig bag, and put it in the overhead locker as hand luggage. Now, because of these suicidal lunatics who want to bed 24 virgins in paradise following their explosive dismemberment, I have to keep ONE bass in the UK, along with an entire set of toiletries, just so I can travel cheaply and with the minimum of fuss.

I want to give two shouts though, one to Easyjet, a pat on the back for STILL allowing you to take your guitar as cabin luggage, and a Yah Boo Sucks to Ryanair, who use the problem as a back door to get more money out of you, and don’t let you take it onboard.

And another thing, if you all think I’m going to let the baggage handlers “handle” my beloved Music Man bass and put it in the hold, you’ve got another think coming!

Kev Moore


April 11, 2008 - Posted by | Entertainment, fun, humor, life, Music, news, politics, random, religion, travel, writing | , , , , , ,


  1. I thought guitars had nine lives!

    Comment by Michael | April 11, 2008

  2. No, mate, thats just the Cats that play them! 😉

    Comment by kevmoore | April 11, 2008

  3. Oh, I love that photo with the comment on it. But it is such a shame about how difficult it is to travel with instruments.

    Well, Kevin, I came here to look at the wonderful photos you told me about. But since I cannot seem to force myself out of the habit of reading blogs in order, or reverse order, as the case may be, I will have to come back soon…with a full cup of coffee! 🙂

    Comment by shelleymhouse | April 15, 2008

  4. Get the kettle on, Shelley, and come back and peruse them at your leisure!

    Comment by kevmoore | April 15, 2008

  5. I read this post days ago, finding it quite amazing, and then last night dreamed I met you in person!! and talked to you about your experiences with airplanes and baggage, etc. So I’m back to let you know that this post seeped way into my leaky unconscious.

    Comment by Susan Cornelis | April 16, 2008

  6. “Leaky unconscious” – what a great expression, Susan! It’s sad to see how air travel has gradually eroded our freedoms – I began to see the first of it a month after 9/11 – I flew to Boston, Dallas and New York that October. I was determined to travel regardless, but it was a shame to see all and sundry subjected to such suspicious scrutiny. Gone are the days when I could waltz onto a plane with my guitar over my shoulder and ask the flight crew to stick it in their cloakroom.

    Comment by kevmoore | April 16, 2008

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