Private jet with tent


Photoed by Michael Jennings at Madras Municipal Airport, and posted on Facebook on August 21st 2017.

Said Michael, next to the photo:

All accommodation in this town has been sold out for three years. It doesn’t matter if you arrive in your own jet – you are still sleeping in a tent.

What Michael didn’t say was what the circumstances of this accommodation shortage were. Was something in particular happening at that particular time, or is accommodation in Madras always something you have to book three years in advance? Michael?

Ever since I got it clear in my head that Michael allows all photos he posts on Facebook to be re-posted here, provided there is a little globe logo above them (which means that the whole world is welcome to read and share what he has put), and provided I give him the credit for having photoed them, I have been trawling through the photos he has posted. The above photo is now one of my favourites of his that I have encountered so far.

This link works for me, because I am “on” Facebook (although I have yet to put anything there myself). Does it work for you? Do you have to be a Facebooker for it to work? Or will that link get you to Michael’s Facebook posting anyway? Questions questions.

I like that Michael’s shadow is present, bottom left.

“Architecture” is in the category list for this not so much because of the very forgettable airport building, but because of the tent. Are tents architecture? I think so, and a highly significant form of architecture. A form of architecture that has transformed the nature of “homelessness” by providing homeless people with … homes! When I was a kid, we had to “pitch” a tend by banging wooded pegs into the ground, which consequently had to be soft. Try doing that at an airport. Or on a city pavement. These new tents that you merely have keep weighted down have changed the world.

Whenever I encounter such tents on the streets of London I have been photoing them, ever since the above thoughts first crossed my mind. Real Soon Now (although I promise nothing) I should dig up all my tent photos and do a posting about this.

2 thoughts on “Private jet with tent”

  1. That was the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. Madras is a town of about 7,000 people normally, and there were 100,000 people or more in town for the eclipse. Of the entire path of the eclipse over the United States, it was the place in the centre of totality with the best prognosis for good weather, so it was where I went. The presence of the airport also made it a very popular location for people with their own planes to watch the eclipse from. Largely by luck, I was allocated a camping site right next to the airport. Thus I got to stand in the same queues at the same food trucks (and use the same portaloos) as the people with private jets. And we all slept in tents. So I had more or less the same experience as them until it was time to leave, at which point they wizzed out and I got into the truly horrendous traffic jam out of town.

  2. Michael: Thanks very much for that. Most informative and most entertaining.

    My question, and Michael’s helpful answer, illustrates what can often be a problem with eyewitness accounts, which is that what is completely obvious, to everyone reading or otherwise consuming such reports at the time, can often then be completely forgotten. Which can result in errors, along the lines of me concluding from this particular eyewitness account, had I done so in this case, that accommodation in Madras must always be hard to come by. Luckily for me I didn’t do this, but you can see how people might jump to false conclusions of this general sort.

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