Music for Waiting at Airports

Have you been outside lately? So far this Spring, Amsterdam has been incredibly blustery. Garbage bins are blown down the street and it’s almost impossible to cycle in a straight line. The weather has also been causing problems with flight travel. As our editorial and communications intern found out the hard way. Last week Hannah got stuck for nearly seventeen hours in Birmingham Airport. But rather than dwell on the negative experience, she saw it as an opportunity to catch up on some great tunes.

I’m so tired that I feel delirious. It’s 6 pm now, but I arrived here at 4.40 am. I’ve missed a day at my internship and had to skip a presentation meeting. A hoard of passengers gathers uncomfortably in the waiting area. Every few hours there’s an announcement to tell us that we’ve been moved to a new flight, followed by a retraction to say that the plane can’t take off.

The cycle of hope and disappointment continues.

I kept getting stared at earlier, and it took me a while to realise it was because I was reading I Love Dick stretched out on the floor (there weren’t any seats). “Read this on the bus – we dare you”. The Sunday Times review entices on the back page.  Birmingham is a grey, sprawling city cemented in the middle of England. I’m watching the sunset through the floor length windows. It’s not an impressive sight. Jagged forms – a carpark, a shopping mall – against a white sky slowly becoming dark and ominous. The small cyclone that’s kept me trapped here is causing the figures below to stumble. Their umbrellas turn inside out and streak away.

My back hurts and I’m dreaming of my bed.

Around lunchtime, there’s a three-hour window and I manage to meet a friend in the city centre. We eat an English breakfast, vegan style with deep-fried tofu, veggie sausages and avocado on toast, at one my favourite cafes. It’s a difficult goodbye, and I return back to the airport begrudgingly.

Turning to Spotify, I start building a playlist to get me through the remaining hours. I can’t help but include a few upcoming Subba favourites. Alex Zhang Hungtai’s obscure, orchestral interludes and Drugdealer‘s sunlit psychedelia raise my spirits. I buy three packets of crumpets – a delicious, buttery snack – and stash them in my bag for later. I recently discovered that you can get British delicacy Marmite at Albert Heijn, a fact which has made me jubilantly happy. (Crumpets + marmite = heaven).