If anyone ever asks you what panic is, now you can tell them: an emotional blank spot that leaves you feeling as if you’ve been sucking on a mouthful of pennies.
We were approaching Madrid airport on an Iberia flight from Barcelona when our tour manager, who was sitting next to me, grabbed hold of my left leg. I said, ‘Fuck off Ian,’ but he wouldn’t let go so I hit him. I then looked at the other passengers and noticed they had the same look of complete panic on their faces as he did. I asked him what was wrong and he said, ‘We nearly died.’ Apparently, the plane had approached the runway almost on its side with the left wing no more than six feet off the ground. Just before impact, the pilot had managed to right the plane so avoiding disaster and probably our death. For the rest of the day, everyone got completely drunk and told all and sundry how much they loved them. I felt strangely distant as I had not shared the experience.
Hysteria is impossible without an audience. Panicking by yourself is the same as laughing alone in an empty room. You feel really silly.