Move the plastic-wrapped blanket and headphones outta the way and settle into your barely-big-enough seat. The hiss and hum of the aircraft not yet ready for takeoff, the slamming shut of overhead luggage doors, various conversations in two or three different languages. And that omnipresent little screen positioned on the back of the seat in front of you, at the moment displaying ads for the airline and its latest features. That screen is gonna be one of your best friends during the ten-hour flight that lies ahead. So it better be friendly, or user-friendly as they still say some 25 years into the Internet age.
The hum has grown to a dull roar, the flight attendants in their stylish outfits and candy-apple-red lipstick are parading down the aisles confirming everything is just-so. Now’s the time to play around with that screen and check out how to pass the next ten hours. Let’s see, how about “Information” first – where are we on the map, how fast are we traveling, how high in the sky are we climbing as the pressure wreaks havoc on your crackling, popping ears. Hello, anything there? Turn screen on? Turn screen off? Back arrow? This is touch-screen technology, no? Or does one need to use the remote control that’s embedded into the seat back underneath the screen? Well, that remote doesn’t even seem to be removable from its niche, so back to touching – pressing – pushing – pounding the screen – WTF!? Don’t get too crazy, though, or the passenger in front of you might turn around annoyed and angry and cause a complete Mr. Bean moment!
Movies? Where are they, under “Entertainment” you assume? Right, but nothing’s happening! There’s a tiny, barely-visible cursor floating around on the screen, but it’s totally unresponsive to any logical fingertip movements. Your finger’s here…and that stupid little arrow is way over there! Pound on that icon for “Movies” again! Nothing! What about news? Alright somehow you’ve stumbled upon a BBC World News button – but guess what? It doesn’t work!
Duh, what’s the difference? I bet old worked better…
Maybe music? Where are those headphones…open the package, untangle the cord (Mr. Bean moment number two in progress), plug ’em in…where? In the holes next to the screen? No, that’s to charge your phone. On the end of the armrest? Of course, so after a few tries they’re in (two prongs on the plug, three holes in the armrest – go figure). Now…maybe that remote is the answer. Ugh…ouch! There, you finally got it to snap out of its cocoon, but in the process you’ve inadvertently switched on the blinding reading light over your seat and summoned the flight attendant. Mr. Bean moment number three!
Okay, music. Which is coming out of only one side of the headphones. Gotta wiggle that wire a bit…got it. The remote’s buttons seem to make sense, and it even has its own screen. There’s a “global” music choice, let’s see, how about England? They always churn out the best music…but really, “Come Together”? “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”? For the ten-millionth time? The ominous intro to Pink Floyd’s “Time” sounds a bit too dramatic right now…and no need to hear that for the ten-millionth time either. So France! French rock! Should be fun! Maybe even Mylène Farmer’ll show up on the playlist! Well, she didn’t…but here’s the best of what did. Presenting, in true Schizomusical fashion, some French music for a trip home from, uh, Greece:
Fréro Delavega – “Le chant des sirènes” (sounding like a French version of Donovan)
Jenifer – “Paradis secret” (featuring a killer funky guitar)
Calogero – “La Boîte à musique” (if you like Queen…)
Noir Désir – “Un jour en France” (now we’re talkin’ rock! – and they must also be big in Japan)
Johnny Hallyday – “Allumer le feu” (no, NOW we’re talkin’ Rock! and Roll!)
The Arcadian – “Folie arcadienne” (nice and bouncy!)
Michel Delpech – “Pour un flirt” (a French hit from 1971 – say no more!)
Olivia Ruiz – “Mon petit à petit” (back to the 21st century now, and get ready to rock again)
Vanessa Paradis – “Divine Idylle” (just a great song…and check out those teeth)
Zazie – “Rue de la Paix” (almost like Mylène…but what’s with those cops in her backing band)
Alain Souchon – “Foule sentimentale” (Bryan Ferry-ish guy born in Casablanca, Morocco)
*Disclaimer: Although their “ice” (information-communication-entertainment) system leaves a lot to be desired, Emirates is an otherwise fine airline.
Images courtesy onemileatatime.com, aviationbusinessme.com, gfycat.com, gotravelyourway.com, picsart.com, theflagshop.co.uk