Thursday, February 22, 2007

Classic Boris Johnson and Qantas's new business class service

Conservative MP Boris Johnson’s latest Daily Telegraph column highlighting the hypocrisy of certain tabloid newspapers which on the one hand luridly post headlines and images involving gratuitous sex, while also being part of the “outrage” community who forever bemoan the filth on television, perverts and the sexualisation of society. Johnson is often hilarious, usually unintentionally, but did have the balls to take on Jamie Oliver on school meals.
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He was motivated by one Qantas flight attendant granting Ralph Fiennes business class service (from Darwin to Mumbai), which came to light because the damned silly woman sold the story to the Mail on Sunday (here) - the trashiest tabloid if only because it is the one that most pretends to be about news, but is actually carefully cloaked anti-foreign, populist, reactionary bullshit. The Mail doesn’t do the phwoar tits and arse of the Sun, but its no serious paper either.
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By the way, this is the juicy bit from the Mail on Sunday, because I know if you aren’t interested, you stop reading:
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“There were only 12 passengers in business class that night. Then, as she was preparing to go on her break, Fiennes made an unexpected suggestion. Lisa said: 'We had chatted a bit about India - where I've been five times - and his movies. 'When I told him I was going for a break, he said, "I might come and visit you for a chat, if that's OK." I was a bit surprised, but also thrilled. I said, "Sure."' Lisa admits she was smitten by the star, but says she did not make the first move and had no thought of what might happen next.
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It was 11pm and most of the other passengers were asleep. Lisa retired behind the curtained crew area, next to the cockpit, took off her shoes and put her feet up. But moments later she was interrupted by Fiennes.
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'I'm sorry, were you sleeping?, he said. 'No,' she replied. 'Come in and take a seat.'
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Lisa is not proud of what happened next, but she found Fiennes 'irresistible'. 'At first we just chatted,' she said. 'He sat really close to me. He told me he was learning lines for a new movie with Colin Farrell, playing the part of a gangster. He said he was practising his cockney accent. 'I asked him to give me an example. He did and it was really good. I told him again that The English Patient was just the best movie, but he said, 'That was over ten years ago. Why don't people value my later work?'
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'I apologised and said I didn't mean to offend him. I guess we talked for about an hour about lots of different things. He thought it was funny that I lived alone with my dog, a Lhasa Apso-poodle cross called Finn.' Fiennes told Lisa he was touring Indian villages for Unicef to talk about AIDS awareness. He asked what she would be doing in Bombay, where she was staying, and said, 'Do you want to meet up?' Stunned and deeply flattered, Lisa said: 'Yeah. That would be cool.'
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By this point they were sitting so close their faces were just inches apart. Lisa said: 'He held my hands. Then he started kissing me. The kissing was very passionate and his hands were all over me. I just melted.
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'He was caressing my neck, holding my head and he started undoing the buttons on my dress. The way he was going, he would have made love to me right there.
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'I was very turned on and so was he. I had butterflies in my stomach. I was touching his face and his hair. He had beautiful skin. I was undoing his shirt as well. It was a bit surreal, like a scene from one of his movies.
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'But I was afraid my supervisor might pull back the curtain and catch us. Eventually, I couldn't bear it any longer. I just grabbed his hand and said, "Come in here a minute."
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'By this time, we had half our clothes off and I didn't care about anything. I led him into the cabin lavatory next to where we had been sitting and locked the door. 'Ralph was a great lover. And I thought if I was going to get the sack, it would be worth it. I knew it was against the rules and wrong but I didn't care.
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'I was a bit shocked that he didn't wear a condom. Looking back, I think of it as dangerous behaviour and hypocritical given that he was going to India to talk about AIDS. 'He asked me, "Have you ever done this before?". I said, "No, never." I asked him the same question and he said, "No." 'The only strange thing was that he kept his eyes open the whole time, staring at me intensely, although we were kissing madly.
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'I realised that people would miss me and wonder where I was as my break was almost over. I told him we had to get out of there quickly. 'I helped him get dressed and he told me that when he got out of the toilet he would press his call button to distract the other flight attendants so that I could leave.
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'But a male member of staff saw Ralph come out of the toilet and he saw me lock the door after Ralph. When I came out, the member of staff was still there. I prepared to get back to work but the cabin manager wanted a word with me. She asked, "Did you go into the toilet with a male passenger?"
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'I said, "No." But she said three people saw me do it. She told me I had crossed the line and that she was going to report me when we got back to Sydney. 'Ralph called me over and asked, "Is everything all right?" I told him, "No,"and sat down next to him. He was very concerned, but I downplayed it and said I would sort it out.
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'I knew I was in big trouble. I was ordered to spend the rest of the flight working in economy and I was the talk of the other cabin crew.”
Ralph Fiennes' publicist says the flight attendant was the aggressor. Nevertheless, she's out of a job and he's sitting back with a new boost of publicity and will be forgiven - after all, he's a man women find beautiful - and they are always forgiven. While some say this episode is good for Qantas, I think it is the exact opposite. When you are famous and fly you don't want the cabin crew to be selling stories of your trip - discretion is the key. Quite a few celebrities (Sarah Michelle Gellar) fly Singapore Airlines (where you wont get this sort of service of course), and you hear nothing of it.

1 comment:

darren said...

I thought it was funny that initially she was sent down to economy as a punishment.