Chapter 1: "These aspiring whores, who Vaughan met in the all-night cafes and supermarkets of London Airport"
- do these prostitutes really exist in the abundant quantities the Ballard's imagination suggests? By all-night cafes presumably he means within the airport terminals.... speaking of the psychological landscape of Heathrow airport, in my archives i have this paper from a psychiatric journal "Medicine, Science And The Law", titled "Wandering at Heathrow Airport by The Mentally Unwell" (1987, Vol 27, No 1).
Vignettes of three typical cases
A.M.T, a 21-year-old student with a three year history of psychiatric care, including three hospital admissions had been previously admitted to St. Bernard's Hospital from the airport. On this occasion she attracted the attention of the police, who were alerted by her approaches to airline staff, when she voiced concern about Russian spies and delusions regarding both the K.G.B and C.I.A intelligence services. She had been admitted, within the last year, from the vicinity of Buckingham Palace. After stabilization on neuroleptics she was transferred to he catchment area hospital in South London.
J.A., a 37-year old divorced female had received psychiatric treatment during the previous 13 years, including three hospital admissions to her catchment area hospital in East London. She was wandering at the airport for a day before being approached by the airport police late at night when she expressed grandiose ideas of having royal ancestry. On admission she revealed auditory hallucinations and thought broadcasting and was emotionally blunted. Two previous admission from Heathrow airport, were recorded, one the previous year under similar circumstances. She absconded from the hospital and wandered to Luton, where she was admitted within a week of leaving St. Bernard's hospital.
H.J, a 41-year-old, single male from South London had been admitted to St. Bernards from the airport two years previouslu and was admitted again under similar circumstances. He had approached again under similar circumstances. He had approached airline personnel for a ticket without sufficient money to pay for one and on further enquiry expressed delusions regarding his need to fly to the United States in connection with his special relationship with the President. He suffered from a chronic schizophrenic illness and had discontinued his depot medication six months previously.