By By (photographer) Richard Baker By (author) Alain de Botton
From the bestselling writer of The artwork of commute comes a wittily fascinating exploration of the unusual "non-place" that he believes is the creative middle of our civilization.Given extraordinary entry to 1 of the world’s busiest airports as a “writer-in-residence,” Alain de Botton came upon it to be a exhibit for plenty of of the main crosscurrents of the trendy world—from our religion in expertise to our destruction of nature, from our international interconnectedness to our romanticizing of the unique. He met tourists from far and wide and spoke with everybody from luggage handlers to pilots to the airport chaplain. Weaving jointly those conversations and his personal observations—of every little thing from the poetry of room carrier menus to the eerie silence in the midst of the runway at midnight—de Botton has produced a rare meditation on a spot that the majority people by no means decelerate sufficient to determine truly. Lavishly illustrated in colour by way of well known photographer Richard Baker, per week on the Airport finds the airport in all its turbulence and soullessness and—yes—even attractiveness.
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Extra resources for A Week at the Airport (Vintage International Original)
I fell asleep at eleven, but woke up again abruptly just past three. The prehistoric part of the mind, trained to listen for and interpret every shriek in the trees, was still doing its work, latching on to the slamming of doors and the flushing of toilets in unknown precincts of the building. The hotel and terminal seemed like a giant machine poised in standby mode, emitting an uncanny hum from a phalanx of slowly rotating exhaust fans. I thought of the hotel’s spa, its hot tubs perhaps still bubbling in the darkness.
Every hour they would repair to a room fitted out with dispensing machines, frayed armchairs and pictures of the world’s most-wanted terrorists, a series of angry-looking, prophet-like figures with long beards and inscrutable eyes, apparently holed up in mountain caves and reluctant ever to venture into Terminal 5. It was in this room that I spotted two women who looked as if they might be students enrolled in some sort of internship programme. When I smiled at them, hoping thereby to make them feel a bit more welcome, they came over to greet me and introduced themselves as the two most senior security officers in the building.
Workers could be struck hard and with impunity to encourage them to quarry stones or pull on their oars with greater enthusiasm. But the rules had had to be revised with the development of jobs – by the early twenty-first century comprising the dominant sector of the market – that could be successfully performed only if their protagonists were to a significant degree satisfied rather than resentfully obedient. Once it became evident that someone who was expected to wheel elderly passengers around a terminal, for example, or to serve meals at high altitudes could not profitably be sullen or furious, the mental well-being of employees began to be a supreme object of commercial concern.
A Week at the Airport (Vintage International Original) by By (photographer) Richard Baker By (author) Alain de Botton