Diane Worstock and Dr. Jeffery Henning,
first came up with their innovative new idea,
whilst standing in an airline queue, of all places.
(On the Milan to London flight on a cold Italian...their London flight had been delayed by two hours)
Standing in the queue, who would've thought that
this innovative new idea would've occured to them,
(all their vacation Italian vouchers...)
ticket number was obliterated.
It occured to them, standing in an airline queue,
for the Milan to London flight on a cold Italian Saturday afternoon;
the Italians certainly like their Sundays.And to make matters worse,
some sort of Rock group was holding up things also,
they were bringing elbows and euros into Heathrow. (1)
( When you hear planes whoooosh..)
the world's small now
but along I schlep
no vistas at night
This was when the great idea was beginning to dawn on them,
to the Italian extreme cold or heat; (2)
Anyway, Diane with the cooperation of Dr. Dave opened a bureau which not only tattoed your return number to Heathrow on your arm,
but also squeaks if you are carrying more euros into Heathrow. (3)
(Suddenly, certainly, sullenly...) (4)
And people who had cash, bringing it back, would be persecuted to the fullest extent! (5)
Worstock and Henning Ltd.
(Suddenly, certainly, sullenly...)
(Le vol de Milan à Heathrow a été retardé
Des formes de rap ... mouchoire en papier d'argent) (6)
1. This may be a humorously self-deprecating reference to The Fall. Alternativelty, the word "elbows" (which is just possibly the more obvious "albums," but really sounds more like the former) may perhaps be a hint that the English group Elbow is holding things up for Worstock and Henning. Heathrow is the London airport.
2. Milan does indeed get fairly cold in the winter and hot in the summer, although in neither case would this be "extreme" by comparison with a good many places. It is less temperate than Manchester, however; in Milan, the average high temperature in July is 84 degrees (29 C) vs. 68 (20) in Manchester, whereas Milan averages a low of around 38 (5) in December, about the same as Manchester. However, if we look at the record highs and lows, Milan's deviate further from the average than those of Machester, so it is conceivable that a visiting Englishman would experice temperatures that seem extreme in comparison to those in northern England. It is an odd line in any case; one would think the heat was either extemely hot or cold, and that there wouldn't be much doubt about which, and we were told earlier it was cold on the day in question. It isn't clear what relevance the temperature has to the "obliteration" of ticket numbers. In general this is a faux-ordinary tale; none of it makes any sense but it is told in a matter-of-fact way such that the effect is a certain spurious realism. The story is surreal but not fantastic; perhaps we could say that it is pseudo-mundane.
The invaluable dannyno at the Fall online forum has unearthed the follwing tidbit from the Sunday Times of Sept. 14, 2008:
Air New Zealand is recruiting "follicly challenged" travellers to advertise a new system intended to reduce check-in times. Fifty volunteers will have a temporary tattoo, lasting about two weeks, inscribed on the back of their heads for a payment of £380 per capita. The airline's marketing manager, Steve Bayliss, said: "How better to tell our customers that Air New Zealand is going to do something about [long check-in queues]... than through messaging they can read while they're standing in a queue themselves?" In a move to defuse any charges of sexism, the carrier made it clear that female baldies are also welcome.
Reader Ray weighs in with a perspicacious comment:
"It would seem to me that this song warns of the ensuing drive by powers-that-be to institute a cashless society (for example, see http://www.theguardian.com/money/commentisfree/2016/mar/21/fear-cashless-world-contactless); it is perhaps notable that it appears on the same EP as 'Hittite Man,' another comment on financial means of manifesting social control (in that case, via debt).
I write this in the midst of a concerted anti-cash advertising drive on the part of Paypal, and those offering 'convenient' contactless payment services."
The version of "Jetplane" from Live: Uurop VIII-XII and Places in Sun & Winter, Son has the tattoo on the back of passengers' necks.
4. Recently leaked demos and/or outtakes include a track entitled "Suddenly, Certainly." Musically this is quite different from "Jetplane," but the vocal portion consists of the above refrain, with the same melody. It seems to be the kernel of a song idea which was subsumed by "Jetplane." Thanks to Zack for reminding me of this.
5. The stock phrase is, of course, "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." MES's version previously appeared in identical form in the sleeve notes to Perverted by Language: "Badge and shirtmakers not reporting to this man ... will be persecuted to the fullest extent."
He uses the same phrase in at least one live version of Kinder of Spine.
SS notes that the phrase appears in this form on Firesign Theatre's Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers. MES quotes Firesign on "Loadstones," which seems to me to make the connection here more likely.