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Home > Culture and Society

WAWIBF... Mayhem

18 August 2006

On Wednesday the new paranoia seemed to reach saturation point as 59-year-old Catherine Mayo, a blithering claustrophobe on a United Airlines flight was wrestled to the floor of the plane and tied up with duct tape after suspicions that she had about her person a screwdriver, a box of matches, umpteen cigarette lighters, a jar of Vaseline and a handwritten note from Osama bin Laden himself. Jinkers. 'Snakes on a Plane'? Bollocks to that. 'Catherine Mayo on a Plane'. That's the disaster movie we want to see.

How much of this original telling of the tale is true is still very much unknown, but it seems quite likely the majority of it was just people panicking and making shit up. The note from al Qaeda for example - if that turns out to be true, we will quite happily eat Abu Hamza's hat. So cast iron facts are few and far between, but rumours and aimless speculation are thankfully rife. For example, it is further rumoured that what actually happened is that this poor old dear had something of a panic attack, started banging on an emergency exit, made oblique references to al Qaeda, then sat down in the aisle and urinated.

Other reports maintain that, despite outfoxing highly trained security staff and making it through the most stringent security checks in the history of Heathrow Airport with a whole swathe of banned items, Mayo actually has severe mental health issues, was 'just barely lucid' on the flight and could end up in prison for 20 years on a charge of 'interfering with a flight crew'. And humiliating the BAA.

But it'll be at least another week before we have a consistent version of events, before we're able to sort the wheat of what was from the chaotic chaff of what might have been. All we really know for certain at this stage is that this is exactly the wrong kind of environment in which to call Heathrow Airport claiming that a bag of radioactive terrapins has been upended in Terminal 3. So don't do it. Else the terrorists really have won.



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