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Friday 12th September

Friday 12th September
Good afternoon.
From a teenager with cystic fibrosis, losing out on the holiday of a life-time , to West Ham , seeing their principal sponsor going broke, it doesn't get much worse. In the wake of several low-cost and Business only airlines hurtling towards Carey Street at just under the speed of sound, XL became the biggest casualty of the aviation industry's shrink fest, bought on by spiralling oil prices and the general economic depression. They are the country's 3rd biggest tour operator or, pedantically, were. They ran out of money before they ran out of passengers and, as Hamlet said, "there in lies the rub". One of those passengers-to-be is our heart-broken teenager, now going nowhere. We will be talking to him and his lovely parents at 6.
For West Ham, every silver lining has a cloud wrapped round it - they finally secure the services of Zola only to lose their sponsor. Non- Hammers will mock but others will share in the claret and blue flood of tears flowing in some parts of the news-room. But Ken, (who really does know) says it is fine: Zola will rapidly attract a new sponsor who will pay even more than an airline poised to go broke. Think Emirates, think happiness, he says.
If you are a disappointed XL passengers you might just think a dirty weekend in Paris would bring a smile back to your face or the more moral among you might think a bus ride to Hampstead or Richmond Park might lift your spirits and distract you from your woes.
Well, as Robin may be wont to say later - it never rains but it pours: "First" buses remain on strike and threaten more; and the Channel Tunnel fire is out but so are all services for the next few days, at least. So you can't do either of those, either..
You know what? Like a good Calvinist, why don't you just accept it - there's nothing you can do. Tune in to a bumper bundle of TV fun - we are your friends and saviours!
We have films - James reviews a powerful piece based on one of the most moving books I have ever read, "The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas" - the chilling clue is in the title; and "Eden Rock", the ads for which suggest a 50's romance but the reality of which is something Stephen King would be proud of.
We've "What Not To Miss" - now the delicious Faye is with us for the first time tonight and, being the gentleman I am, I have suggested she might like to present this essential guide to what to do in this, the greatest capitol in the world.... so long as you don't want to leave it by XL, get round it on a bus or use one of it's finest termini as a spring-board to Autumn in north west Europe. So she will.
Gazza is not the sort of fellow who has led a life that would lead you to think he even had a manager. His has been an utterly unmanaged, chaotic and catastrophically peripatetic lurch from triumph to tragedy. No one could have managed that, surely? I am told Mel Stein did and that he has written a book about a fictitious London football club, too. Perhaps he wrote it when he should have been keeping an eye on the Watery Eyed One.... anyway, he's in at 6 as well.
We'll have papers full of holiday heart-break; weather prospects to lift your gloom or confront the truth; and we'll have your thoughts on the trials and travails of transport and travel.
Faye has just popped downstairs to make -up so let me just whisper, while she's away, that she is lovely and very good. You will enjoy her company as will I , at 6.
See you there.
Alastair and ...oops, she's back! ( Ssshhhhh ! must dash....)