Pam Ann: Interview



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Caroline Reid talks to Time Out about her trolley dolly alter ego and why she‘d rather fly with BA than Virgin

  • Pam Ann: Interview

    Caroline Reid as Pam Ann

  • Caroline Reid first set foot on a plane at the age of eight for a flight from Melbourne to Sydney. ‘My mother would ship me out for a while every year so she could get a bit of peace. I travelled as an unattended minor. It was on Trans Australian Airlines. “TAA – The Friendly Way”.’Ten years ago, after a fancy dress party where Reid says she sank around 50 sakis, she created the character of Pam Ann, an airline hostess who’s contemptuous of more or less any passenger not sitting in First Class. Pam’s appeared on public stages, in one country or another, several times a week ever since. She’s become harsher in the course of time. ‘She’s frightening, domineering, scary,’ Reid agrees. ‘Her attitude towards anyone in Economy is why bother?’ What’s her view of those in super-expensive seats? ‘I’ll lick you.’

    Reid’s brand-new show ‘In Bed With Pam Ann and Friends’ sees her up to her usual tricks, badgering unfortunate passengers/members of the audience who offend her because of their unstylish clothes, and browbeating all and sundry. ‘They so enjoy being picked on,’ Reid declares. The ‘friends’ of the title are Susan, Lilly and Donna. Susan’s a British Airways purser with psychic powers: ‘She crosses over to passengers’ dead friends and family.’ Donna works for EasyJet: ‘She’s as common as an Accessorize scarf. Her dream is to stay at any destination longer than 20 minutes and to learn how to give change in euros.’ Lilly is Chinese: ‘Lilly was rescued from a human-trafficking ring. She has an obsession with stealing Gucci handbags.’

    There are short films too, partly to cover Reid’s costume changes. In one of them the BA ‘Leaving on a jet plane’ ad gets a whole new twist. In another there’s footage of Pam, on top of the World Trade Centre, belting out a song. ‘It was filmed before 9/11. It’s been held back since then. Now I think it’s time.’

    Reid’s own feelings about air travel aren’t entirely positive. ‘I’ve done so much research that I think I know too much. I know about what’s likely to go wrong. I know a lot about aircraft disasters. I feel it’s my duty to hand that on.’ She says she’s okay if she’s put on a 747. ‘On a 737 or a 777 it’s a different story. I get a little nervous. Accidents tend to happen on smaller aircraft.’ Despite all that, she’s a frequent flyer. This year alone she’s been to Singapore, Buenos Aires, Rio, Paris, Vancouver, Dublin, the south of France, Greece, Uruguay, Alaska and twice to Australia.

    ‘On long-haul flights I always go on British Airways,’ Reid discloses. ‘The cabin crews are the real deal. They don’t mince their words. And you know those bitches would get you out of any burning wreckage. On Virgin they’re a bit Mickey Mouse.’ She makes a point of going to the galley and chatting up the stewardesses. Some of them treat her as an old friend. ‘They tell me jokes. Like what does CSD stand for? Cunts standing at the door.’

    Reid says that Pam’s appeal has long since gone global. Her known admirers include 50-something ladies from Dallas, a Hong Kong restaurant owner and a family from Darlington. She is, of course, a gay icon. But Reid also says she’s currently working on another show where she plays – herself! She tried it out for the first time a few weeks ago. ‘People have accused me of hiding behind the character of Pam Ann. They said that performing stand-up was so much harder. It’s so not! That’s just bullshit. It was nowhere like as nerve-wracking as playing Pam. I’d say doing stand-up is just a piece of piss.’

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i am trying hard to find out what age caroline reid is!?!