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Ska band laugh off airport security ‘farce’

Bombskare keyboardist Matthew Bartlett wearing the supposedly offensive t-shirt.

A MEMBER of popular ska band Bombskare has branded Edinburgh Airport’s security “humourless” after being ordered to cover up a t-shirt bearing the group’s name before boarding a flight to Shetland on Saturday.

The group were catching a flight to Sumburgh Airport before headlining Saturday night’s hugely successful MS fundraising concert at Mareel.

Keyboardist Matthew Bartlett told Shetland News that two members of security had told him the t-shirt could offend fellow travellers.

After putting his hand luggage through the security machine, he walked through a body scanner which did not bleep, and he was not searched.

“But the guy spotted my T-shirt and whispered over to the woman dealing with the luggage, telling me I was going to have to cover it up because I was going to cause some great offence to other passengers.”

Bartlett jokingly asked the male security staff member if the same would apply to a Guns’n’Roses T-shirt, but “he just seemed to have a lack of any humour at all about it”.

“I questioned why [the security woman] had the right to say what other people would think but she was having none of it.

“I put my jacket on, and she scurried off and got the head of security and a policewoman to stop me again before I went through the main doors to the departure lounge.

“The head of security was telling me I had to keep my jacket buttoned up. The policewoman, on the other hand, just looked at me and laughed.”

Bartlett said he was left feeling a mixture of “amusement and bemusement… it’s just a farce – and the fact that they just had no humour”.

“My T-shirt wasn’t going to explode, and ‘Bombskare’ isn’t even a real word. Obviously terrorists go about announcing their preference for blowing things up.

“On the ferry nobody bats an eyelid, but when I get in the air my T-shirt takes on all sorts of connotations.

Bombskare in action at Mareel during Saturday's phenomenally successful MS fundraiser. Photo: Davie Gardner

“It’s bizarre that our society has got to this point of Big Brother and paranoia and fear.”

Thankfully security staff at Sumburgh Airport took a more relaxed view when Bombskare left the islands: “On the way back out from Shetland we were recognised because we’ve played there before, and nobody had any problems.”

The nine-piece band from Edinburgh and Dundee have been playing in the islands regularly since 2006.

Barlett said they had a “massively great time” and were delighted to do their bit for the charity event, which remarkably raised in excess of £14,000 for Shetland’s MS Society.

“We love coming up to Shetland – and we knew Amy [Uren], who was involved with the charity.”

Fellow Bombskare member, guitarist Scott McCafferty, will be back in the islands this weekend with a Blondie tribute band.

Bartlett added that it would be interesting to see whether Edinburgh Airport security took umbrage with a Bleachie T-shirt.

A spokesman was quoted elsewhere in the media saying that the airport was aware of a passenger travelling through the airport wearing a T-shirt that “some people may have found offensive”.

“Out of respect to other passengers, a member of our security team asked the passenger in question to cover up the T-shirt, which they did without complaint,” he said.