Armed policeman stand guard over passengers at Gatwick Airport in 2006, at the height of terrorist-inspired travel chaosPhoto: Gerry Penny/EPA
I was in a French ski resort on January 1 2000 and the first thing I thought about, when the fog of the previous night began to clear, was the Millennium Bug. Deputy US Defence Secretary John Hamre had predicted it would be ‘the electronic equivalent of the El Niño’.
Just how many planes had fallen out of the sky at the stroke of midnight? I plugged my laptop into a phone socket and heard the sound that will forever be associated with the turn of the century: ‘Eeeeee, orrrrrrrrrrrr, ooo-a-ooo-a-ooo-a-ooo-a.’
Is this attraction to chaos a reflection of comfort? For some people, all too many people this world over, this past decade has been all Hell, too much real chaos of every sort. And yet, Young's point about "mediated participation" in all this chaos is apt. A yearning, however twisted, to be "there" in the midst of it all?