Nick Abbot, Virgin 1215, 14.12.93

(Nick has just been away on holiday in Israel, this is his first night back)

So it seems like I've been away for just like forever and it seems very odd to be here now because, erm, you know what I'm like normally, just like a bundle of incompetence I am generally and now it's like I've forgotten *everything*! And so, erm, HELP!

[Nick puts on a weak voice] I think I'll manage.

And the really weird thing is, it's like I was only out of the country for four days right, but you come back and you're surprised that everything is still the same. You know, 'We can manage without you, it's OK, [laugh] don't even bother to come back.'

Strange. No you do, you go away and you come back, doesn't matter how long you've been away for, it's like it's odd, it's almost like you feel let down that things have just managed to tick over nicely. In fact, it looks to me as though things have improved around here, 'cus we have a little decoration thing going on here now, you know. About three Christmas trees in the building, four if you include the big one in the erm, in our vast er, lobby. [laugh] If you've seen it, you'll know what I mean.

OK, well let's get going shall we? Because it's obvious I can't prop up this show on my own because tried tonight is not even in it. I've had about two hours sleep over the past 48 hours. And I can't claim jet lag OK, because it's only two hours difference. But it, see now I'm at midnight, so at 2 when I should be finishing, it will be like 4 to me. So it seems like in all probability I'll be becoming more and more delirious and I think I'd better start stocking up with alcohol now. *Don't* take any alcohol before flying El Al!!!

Because they put you through a grilling man, it's like a, it's just you wouldn't *believe* it, don't take *anything* before checking in for your flight. After you've gone through security then you'll need a [laugh] stiff drink and anything else you can lay your hands on but you have to have a very clear head *indeed* before you check into security at El Al, which is comforting you know, it's like no problem at all, but erm, it was like going back to school and I started fumbling my answers.

   'Where do you work?'
   'Radio Luxembourg.... ERM, I mean Virgin!'
   'Luxembourg or Virgin?'
   'Well, no, it's actually Virgin and if we call them they'll 
   confirm this'
I thought oh no, they're not going to let me go now! And like six different people come up to you and ask the same questions over and over. Who packed your bags, and erm, do you have any weapons, and is there anything in this bag that might explode mid-flight? You know, all of this stuff. Which like I say, is very comforting, it's good that they do that. It's excellent, you know I felt secure, more secure in that plane than any other plane that I've ever been in. Because to be a terrorist and to get on that flight, gee, you have to be as smart as the erm, as that bloke who erm, [to Clint] what's the name of that bloke who does the TV in the Sun? No, not Peirs Morgan! The er, bloke with a beard. Gary Bushel, you'd have to be as smart as Gary Bushel. I know that sounds hard to believe.

And erm, yeah because like, when I fly I like to numb myself just a little be before I go on and so my head was swimming, because it's like three different people come up to you and because they ask you the same questions to about 500 people all day, the questions just like speed out of their mouths, and they're really long and complicated questions. You know, 'Who owns this bag and who owns everything in it and did you pack it and where did you pack it and has this bag been with you since you packed it, has anybody given you anything that, er, you know, didn't own already to put in the bag to take with you and did you buy anything that was packed without you looking at and did you then put it in your bag?' And that's like one question. And it just speeds out 10 times faster than I just said it, and I'm like, 'Err... what!?' [laugh]

Alarm bells are going off in my mind, I'm thinking I'm failing this test, they're not going to let me go. And I did fail on the way back.

   'Why are you in Israel?'
   'Erm, holiday'
   'For four days?'
   'Nobody comes to Israel for four days on their own for a    
   'I did'
   'No, I'm sorry...'
[laugh] Eer uur, try again!
No, but I'm making a joke about it but it felt good that they did that. Very comforting. And I loved it, I wish I was there now. Not in the airport being grilled, you understand, because that was a complete and, er, I started blushing, and when you're under cross- examination like that you start to think, 'I'm guilty!' You know, 'I did it! So take me away now!' And of course there's all these like 18 no, they're not 18, they start at 19, 19 year old kids walking around with guns, like loads of them, *loads* of them! Which is not intimidating at all... [laugh]

Yeees, OK, alright let me take a call now because I'm beginning to fumble, which is also not allowed while checking in at El Al.

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