Have I mentioned that I hate flying? Over the years I've tried it drunk, sleep deprived and otherwise subdued, but the result is always the same - abject fear. Actually, that's not quite true. In the early 1990s, following my first few ventures skyward, I gained an unexpected measure of confidence. The flights thus far had been remarkably smooth, the on board entertainment distracting and terror minimal. Then, on perhaps my third or fourth trip out to visit my cousin in New York, I experienced one of those flights. Constant, violent, turbulence, akin to driving in a car, without suspension, over endless sleeping policemen, at full pelt, for about seven hours. There were tears, there was screaming, there was upchucking a gogo - and that was just the cabin crew.
Two weeks later, I was all set to fly home alone and found myself sitting next to a lovely old lady who was heading back to blighty after visiting her Daughter and meeting her Grandchild for the first time. We got chatting as the plane queued for a take- off slot and she told me how she'd experienced a new lease of life since the sad death of her husband, who hadn't really liked to travel. She'd flown to several European destinations over the previous couple of years, before taking on the long haul to America and found that she absolutely loved it. In fact she'd actually been flying around the States alone for over a month, before stopping in on her Daughter for the last ten days of her trip. She was 75 if she was a day and a quite remarkable lady.
I expressed my admiration for her achievements and somewhat shamefacedly mentioned the flight from hell that I'd endured two weeks earlier, which had left me an emotionally drained wreck for the first few days of my holiday. At this very moment the Captain's voice came over the intercom to inform us that we'd been cleared for take-off and the plane began to roll forwards. 'I just don't like flying...', I said '...and I particularly hate this bit' I muttered. As the engines roared and we began to hurtle down the runway, the old lady smiled and gave me a reassuring tap on the back of my hand, which clenched the arm rest with a vice like grip of pure fear. She then uttered the most ill-timed and least helpful phrase it's ever been my misfortune to hear. 'Don't worry young man, there's nothing we can do about it. If it's your time to go, it's your time to go'. The wheels left the ground. We were on our way home.
Here, from the 1975 LP 'Musical Bones', are The Upsetters, featuring the mighty trombone of Vin Gordon, with 'Fly Away'.