The Wrong WebsiteIt all started with my website. An earlier incarnation of my site began with the words "Mikel Toms is one of the most acclaimed conductors of...etc etc". This, I now concede, was a lie. Shortly after it was launched, and as a result of my acclaimed copywriting skills, I received an email from a certain lady (we shall call her Ivana (not because I want to preserve her anonymity but, rather, because I have forgotten her real name)) who represented a certain national symphony orchestra of a certain unstable European republic which I shall, for the sake of an easy life, call Borodnia. She asked for a couple of references and my friends David and Ian duly supplied these confirming that I was indeed as acclaimed as my publicity suggested I was. A concert was duly awarded and much self-congratulation ensued.
The Wrong AirlineChanging planes in Frankfurt on my way to Borodnia, I was comforted to see my suitcase (containing all my music as well as my concert clothes) sitting on the tarmac about to be loaded into the baggage hold. All was going to plan. The plane took a beautiful, albeit slightly circuitous route skirting the Northern border of Italy. "Ah, yes", said Ivana later by way of explanation. "That airline failed its safety certificate and Italy won't allow them to fly over its airspace in case engines and bits of anatomy get strewn accidentally across Umbria." "Oh. I see."
"Are you flying back with them too?" "Yes. I am" I was met at the airport by an extremely happy man on whom I never clapped eyes again. "Greetings Maestro! Welcome to Borodnia!" "Thank you. It's lovely to be here. Thank you for coming to meet me." It is always reassuring to be met by a friendly face in an unfamiliar country. "I'll just collect my luggage." "That's what I've come to tell you. Ha Ha! Your luggage is on the runway in Frankfurt."