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Airport Conversations

I met Stephen Pollard in the queue at Heathrow yesterday. This was not my first encounter with Spectator’s own as we had exchanged a few pleasantries at one of the Adam Smith Institute’s forums on blogging a long time ago. One would not expect face recognition from a brief conversation, but one wished to exchange pleasantries.

My brief and polite inquiry was transformed by the Spectator’s star blogger:

I have a good memory for faces and names and was certain I had never set eyes on him before. It turns out that he has read articles by me, and recognised me.

‘What are you doing here?’, he asked. Hmmm. Bag drop queue. Heathrow. It’s a tough one to work out.

Now the question, “What are you doing here” would usually be interpreted as a general inquiry on whether you are going on holiday, visiting relatives, or undertaking one the many activities that channel cattle into Heathrow for flights. Why would anyone take such a question literally?

15 comments to Airport Conversations

  • Julian Taylor

    Not just that but its the rather pompous ‘Sent via BlackBerry’ footnote, designed to let us all know that Stephen Pollard is ‘au fait’ with cutting-edge technology.

    Personally I would have thought that Mr Pollard might have had the common decency to acknowledge having met you before; even I can recall at least two separate Samizdata bloggerbash events where you were both present and engaged in conversation.

  • chip

    Only a very small person would turn a pleasant greeting into an opportunity to ridicule.

  • Turing code

    “Why would anyone take such a question literally?”

    Bacause he is a tit?

  • Maybe he just needed something to write about. It would have been very boring to say. Met a guy in Heathrow I’d bumped into a couple of times.

    He must have suspected you would read it which probably says a lot about him.

  • WalterBoswell

    What the hell’s a blackberry, Is it some sort of service pompous bloggers use to upload rudeness to the intertubes?

  • Kenneth

    Or perhaps one must always be on cue while flirting with potential serious fame.

  • He has a new post up to say sorry now!

  • Well, kudos to Stephen Pollard for the correction. And I agree that certain conversations can be very odd. Next time I meet him, I shall buy him a drink, if the venue permits.

  • Sunfish

    A blackberry is something that people buy to send each other text messages. Kind of like a cell phone, only incapable of voice conversations and costing twice as much.

    It can also be something that I mix into pancake batter or put on oatmeal, but I don’t think Pollard was writing about breakfast.

  • A blackberry is a device that simultaneously allows you to be sad and show off. For instance, as a random example that bears no relation to reality, if you are sitting in an outdoor cafe in Rostock with nothing better to do that read Samizdata, you can contribute.

    Sent from my Blackberry handheld.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I don’t think Pollard was being malicious, but I have to say that this little episode has told him a valuable lesson: being bitchy about people in the blog world can come back to bite you.

    I have met Stephen half a dozen times and he always struck me as okay.

  • Steve

    Why would someone choose to share this insignificant, probably imagined, slight on a blog? Please write something entertaining or interesting or erudite if you are able. Otherwise …

  • But Steve, so much in the world that is so fascinating are probably imagined slights! This sound almost like Curb Your Enthusiasm material although run ins with celebrities can get an awful lot worse…


  • A Blackberry allows you to be reachable at all times, thus allowing you to feel very important. Of course, if you were actually important, you’d be unreachable.

    Even though I don’t have a Blackberry, I like to train people in the idea that they can’t get me on the phone whenever they want — which, to me, is like being on a high-tech leash. My cell phone has the message: “This phone is rarely answered. Messages are sometimes not picked up for a week…” I rarely get calls…which means, when I’m out in the world I can actually experience it, and have the brain space to think.

    In short: If I like you, we’ll go out and have a glass of wine. If I don’t, I’d rather not talk to you on the phone.

  • JungleColors

    “I have met Stephen half a dozen times and he always struck me as okay. “

    Heh. Sounds like damning with faint praise. I think I’d rather read an outright insult about myself than that….