Apr 5, 2006

Traveler Detained After Playing Zeppelin, Clash


Left: Cover of Clash album "London Calling"

(London) A salesman was hauled off a plane and questioned for three hours as a terror suspect after listening to "suspicious" songs.

Harraj Mann, of Hartlepool, Teesside, was on board his plane at Durham Tees Valley Airport when the Heathrow-bound flight was stopped and he was arrested.

Mann had played the Clash song "London Calling" and the Led Zeppelin tune "Immigrant Song" in a taxi before his flight.

The lyrics of the song apparently unnerved the taxi driver who had driven Mann to the airport.

"The taxi had one of those tape deck things that plugs into your digital music player. I played Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade Of Pale" first, which the taxi man liked," said Mann. "I figured he liked the classics so put on a bit of Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song - which he didn't like. Then, since I was going to London, I played the song by The Clash and finished up with "Nowhere Man" by The Beatles."

Mann, who said that he was "frog-marched" to an interrogation room by police, said that he had his bags searched and was subjected to hours of questioning.

"It turned out the taxi driver alerted someone when I arrived at the airport and had spoken about my music," he said. "He didn't like Led Zep or The Clash but there was no need to tell the police."

A spokeswoman for the Durham Police said that it was not just the music that Mann requested, but the "overall impression" he gave the taxi driver.

"By the time it was established the man did not pose a security risk, the plane had taken off," she said. "Safety is paramount and we respond to concerns from members of the public in the way they would expect us to."

Mann, who is of Indian ancestry, questioned the hyper-vigilance of the security personnel.

"I mean where does it stop? What if I was wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, what if I was wearing odd socks, you know," he said. "I mean obviously the political climate these days is like walking on egg shells, but I mean there's caution and then there's taking it to the point where it's absurd and ludicrous."


-Sepp said...

We Zeppelin and Clash types have always felt our share of discrimination.

historymike said...

Heh heh.

Brian said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Ain't nothing more dangerous than a Led Zeppelin fan!

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

This reminds me of the story (almost 2 years old now) about the Syrian band that caused a panic on a flight because they were taking turns using the restroom, and some passenger interpreted it as a bunch of scary Middle-Eastern types acting in a 'coordinated, threatening' manner.

God, I keep thinking of all the potentially suspicious things I've done (and still do)...guess I'm just a phone call away from a cavity search too.

historymike said...

I was kidding around with some students about the Deprtment of Homeland Security the other day, but NWTPTG sums it up:

There have been times when any of us could do something that might be interpreted as "suspicious."

I was picking up one of my kids recently. This particular one works at a busy grocery store. Since there was no parking in the fire lane, I just kept circling the building until she came out.

Meanwhile, an off-duty cop noticed my circling and interpreted this as meriting further investigation. It ended amicably, but you never know...

Let's just hope that when our numbers get called that the security personnel are having a good day, and that we don't act like Rep. Cynthia McKinney and get into big trouble over something minor.

Timothy said...

...stuff like this is par for the course for Britain. They're notorius for pulling stunts like this.

Dariush said...

Ve hav vays of making you listen to Air Supply.

Dariush said...

Personally I liked what Henry Rollins had to say to the Aussie govt after he was put on a threat list, when a bush league Stasi informer, ahem, "patriotic citizen" that he was sitting next to had him put on a "threat list" due to the fact that he was reading Ahmed Rashid's book, "Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia."

"Please tell your Government and everyone in your office to go fuck themselves. Baghdad's safer than my hometown and your PM is a sissy,"

Dariush said...

Speaking of which, anyone who hasn't already seen V for Vendetta should do so ASAP.

Brian said...

A cop tried to stop me today when I ran a red light at Summit and Cherry Streets. When he tried to stop me, first I ran, but then I wrecked.

I was surprised when he arrested me. I know the reason is because I had "In My Time of Dying" jamming on the CD player.

TPD hates me because I love Led Zeppelin. I should be allowed to run all the red lights I want to. But just because Physical Graffiti was in my CD player, I had to go to jail.

-Sepp said...

I'll have to go underground since I just got Hank williams IIIrd's new CD. I heard I could get the chair for even having it.

Dariush said...

Sepp: "I'll have to go underground since I just got Hank williams IIIrd's new CD. I heard I could get the chair for even having it."

No, but you should. Nashville is to country what 80's hair bands like Poison, Cinderella, etc. were to metal.

Hank's dad's probably rolling over in his grave at the thought of the swill that his son's putting out as "music", just so he can get paycheck.

Merle Haggard... THAT'S country. Not the Garth Brooks/Achey-Breaky shit that Nashville's been churning out for 20 years now.

historymike said...

Wow, preaching to the choir, Dariush.

Give me Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams Sr., Buck Owens or Hank Snow any day of the week over the current nauseating Nashville pap.

I am hard-pressed to think of any "modern" country I can stomach, with the possible exception of Dwight Yoakam or Lyle Lovett; neither of these performers, of course, has much in common with mainstream Nashville country.