25 June 2013

As a former journalist myself and a man to whom the inside of a bar is not exactly unknown territory, there was particular pleasure in reading the accounts of the press pack’s hunt around Moscow for American whistleblower Edward Snowden. As the journalists settled back in their seats for the Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Havana yesterday, they must have been congratulating themselves on securing tickets – no doubt at exorbitant expense – knowing that their quarry was going to be trapped with them for the twelve hour duration of the flight.

There is sheer schadenfreude in picturing the scene as the aircraft doors close, the airbridge retracts/the steps are wheeled away, and the numbing realisation begins to dawn on the assembled hacks that a) Edward Snowden is not actually on the aircraft at all and b) even worse, that the twelve hour flight is to be entirely alcohol-free. Still, looking on the bright side, at least they’ll have been able to catch up with the latest developments in Russian cinema, via the in-flight movies, albeit without the benefit of English subtitles. No doubt there was a sudden spike in sales of mojitos in every bar within range of Havana airport shortly after the flight touched down…