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Sun 31st July : Hampton'd Out

Spent 4 days at the Hampton's with the Lady's family. Up in the springs with her parents and brother. It was just like Philly - lots of bbq steak and fish and jumping in the pool and playing cards - just in a different house.

In some ways the Hamptons is just like New York - everyone beeps the fk out of you if you slow down to gawp at someone's big house. There is also no parking.

Shelter Island was a scene. That little bar, restaurant on Sunset Beach with all the little speed boats coming in to it.

And then you leave Shelter Island to the north - to Bridgepoint or whatever its called. And you really are back in America with a bump - Harley rallies and classic rock on the pier. You know then, your holiday is over. Back to the reality of NYC.

July 31, 2005 in Diary, Out of Town Trips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thur 10th Mar : Squeezin' Outa Seattle

I know I was feeling bad but it's all ok now. They sat me in between two rather huge ladies from Alaska on the way back to EWR. For a moment I was going to rant about airlines should have restrictions about bottom size but then they turned out to be very nice people - all 16 of the chubbies were going on an education tour of Europe.

They hadn't traveled much. I was introduced as a guy who lives on an island in the East.... Manhattan island.


March 10, 2005 in Diary, Out of Town Trips | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tue 18th Jan : Through The Dam

Wow. Back in Europe again. On the way to Warsaw. Waiting in Amsterdam airport really made me happy. Buzz. Accents, people, individual cultural angles on homogeneous cultural activities (coffee, cafes, drinking). Man, there's a casino in the airport. People smoking in their areas and it smells ok. Why shouldn't they?

I'm tired. I came business class on a conservative no frills airline. I wondered what the money for the ticket went to until they brought me out a huge steak. I was full by the first third but you can't waste food. And then you can't sleep with your full belly.

But the airport is a-buzz and I can speak English and they reply in their unexpected accent. Wow.

January 18, 2005 in Diary, Out of Town Trips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thurs 2nd Dec : Windy City


Anyway. Chicago. I stayed at a hotel near the airport yeaterday called the Westin. One of the better ones but no wheresville. I sat in a couple of meetings yestreday and today and then I remembered that I had accidentally booked myself in at the W Hotel downtown for a couple of nights. Nice. 50 minutes from the meetings but my colleague's around to start them if I am late.
The W was a crazy night club as Ws are. You're standing there at reception and you feel a bit of a wally with your luggage whilst the party's going on around you. Then you think: hang on - why do I feel this? I'm checking in and this is a hotel.
I somehow got upgraded. Don't know why. So I took the opportunity to moan about the lack of cell phone reception in the room and got unpgraded to an even 'Mega' Room.
Anyway - out on the tiles I will go. On my own. Hopefully the colleague will be up for a couple of beers tomorrow - would be good to hit Chicago with full sails, blow through the city, whirlsind tour of the the bars: it will be a breeze.

December 2, 2004 in Diary, Out of Town Trips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mon 15th Nov : Silent Seattle


Back in Seattle again. It's nice to slow down a gear. You have to or the relaxed attitude will wind you up too much.

The city center is ok. This time I tried a different hotel: I downgraded (!) and went to a Sheraton. Well it had a pool. The difference between the W and the Sheraton - I feel like I'm a long way from home at the Sheraton. The whole ambiance makes me miss my loved ones.

I think a visitor needs to be on their guard in Seattle though. There's something odd going on. I couldn't find a single pub in the downtown area. No Irish bar all Grill This or This Grill. I ended in Zoe's on 2nd - the starter of Bluetail was heavenly, the main course with scallops and corn and bacon and Japanese mushroom and cream potato was a tad too complicated. I told the waiter but, nice as he was, he was too interested about to know where I came from. I told him New York. He gave me a Zagat's America's Top Restaurants for free.

Another reason not to trust Seattle is the way some people dress for dinner. We're in a pretty decent restaurant and most the crowd are comfortably affluent looking, no hipsters - hey, this is Monday night -BUT here and there are a couple of pockets of couples dressed like they just popped out to take the trash to the front of the drive. Dismal sweats on dismal jeans with weary hair sat on a weary face - and that's just the women. It's like those big tech company's that let anyone wear what they like at work and people start turning up in Bermuda shorts and no one bats an eye lid. Somehow they're forty eight an bald and think they're cool. If  I flew half way round the world for a business meeting and someone turned up to a meeting like that with me I'd march him down to the canteen, have a good shout about it, make an example of him to teach the rest a lesson. Anyway, I can't to night. I'm in a restaurant on my own. I am just looking at similar folk. I just watch these gormless fellows chew their food with their mouthes open: America really can be a classless society at times

In fact when you walk down the streets and swing past the vast amount of homeless and junkies - more per capita than a large British seaside town in the winter - you wonder how this all works. These poor chaps sit beside grand buildings built in good times with their hands outstretched for a taste of food whilst a couple in a restaurant - dressed pretty similar to the homeless person (just a little cleaner) - eat without registering the taste of the food, of life, of any time.

Phew. Must stop. Maybe that glass of red wine got me on a roll.


November 16, 2004 in Diary, Out of Town Trips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sun 10th October : First Seattle Then Vancouver

I get up. It's very early still. I feel far away from everyone. I decide to go phone Davo to with him happy birthday. I search the streets of downtown Seattle to find that there's a ratio of 23 junkies to every 1 public telephone at 7am in the morning.

Back at the W I think I hurt the staff's feelings when I return the Seattle Times paper to the front desk and ask for a New York Times. The restaurant is open and I walk in. 'Michelle' looks at me as if I am one of those junkies down the street. OK, so I haven't showered yet. Can I sit anywhere? I ask. Her response makes me feel that I am in Europe again. I'm led to a table and I am indecisive about which seat I'm going to take just to piss her off a little.

The food is OK but in this mood I try to convince myself it is poor but I can’t forget the horror of the Continental Airlines platter from the previous morning. That microwaved mush must cost them about 24c to prepare.

The Lady calls me later and asks me why I'm blogging on this and PSFK. I feel like a jerk so I go see the Frank Gehry building. It takes a little time as I walk the wrong direction but when I get assisted in the right direction by a helpful taxi. Taxi drivers are either Eritrean, Ethiopian or Somalian. They are all wonderfully friendly and chatty versus the W Hotel management.

I must stop moaning about the W. My boss will find this blog one day and send me to a motel outside the city center.



When I set eyes on the Frank Gehry building I am just taken aback. My eyes bulge as they try to take in all the joyous information; all the curves; the turns; the troughs, the hills, the rises, the swoons.



Bilboa was amazing but Seattle's Music Museum is simply beautiful. Gehry must be the most important architect in the US today.




It's two now and I feel that I have 'done Seattle'.



I jump in the car and charge north to the border. The advice that it's only 2 hours was a little optimistic. Nevertheless I have passed through amazing landscapes filled with Dutch looking farm houses to reach the Canadian border. There I get a few questions about the burger costume at customs but they seem happy to have me. How refreshing versus JFK Immigration.

[More Photros To Come]

Vancouver. What a gorgeous city. Far more cosmopolitan than Seattle, in touch, buzzy, friendly. I drive around for an hour, pick up a bottle of red from British Columbia have some cheap sushi - they told me the seafood was great here, and it bloody was - then drive back.

A hundred more questions at the US border but as I drive home I am inspired to drive faster than the rest of the traffic by a radio station I find. No more prog-rock, no more middle class white kids screaming about the Armageddon of their privileged suburban lives. Now I am rocking to worldly house and tribal grooves. The oncoming traffics' bright lights and the grinding beats remind me of that time the sun came up in that club in Ibiza. In the dark everyone choreographed beautifully in an Eden connected on some soulful level. But as the sun climbed we were all exposed to be fakes: zombies, gaunt, aloof, ugly, controlled.

What a great thing to remember, eh? But a Zombie is how I felt when I got out of the car after 7 hours driving.

Worth every minute though.

October 11, 2004 in Diary, Out of Town Trips, Photography | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Letloose_still When Bella handed me the keys this morning I tried to assure her that her and her husbands flat was in safe hands. She then said well you couldn’t really do anything worse than what the porno video you shot last time I stayed.

So…. She still hasn’t forgotten that has she, I thought to myself.

I have just moved into a flat for 2 weeks in Notting Hill. The start of this trip has been spent in Beckshell On Sea to see the folks. Potted about and managed to get my tooth crowned for £300 rather than the $1900 I was quoted in the US. Went and celebrated Davo and Mina’s engagement party and Anthea & Richard’s military organized wedding too.

London was a little bit of a shock at first. I found it a little pedestrian, despite the blue skies I longed for the heat and energy of New York. I was beginning to agree with Si’s comment that NY was an adventure playground for people in their 30s and London a theme park for people in their 40s.

Thank goodness I popped into Soho. Soho Saves Souls. Turn off the ever-nagging danger that is Oxford Street and you are suddenly hit with another city. Young people of all ages looking great. Soho of course is one of the creative districts of London: advertising, film making, music companies. Suddenly I was in love with London again. I spent my lunch on the steps of a building watching people walk past – you could have been in SoHo with all the clothing: Mexican wedding shirts, faded jeans, Ts declaring ‘New York City’!

Bella' s GafNotting Hill where Bella and Dan lives saves souls too. They needed someone to sit their flat and feed the cat whilst they went on holiday. They live in the sort of square you’d expect Hugh Grant to live in. White regal mansion blocks surrounding a private garden with roses and lawn. What I do like about Notting Hilll is that it’s mixed with people of all different backgrounds. The place, by rights should be the haven of the affluent but because of WWII damage a lot of property is owned by the Notting Hill Housing Assoc that helps out lower waged souls.- i.e 'normal' people like Dan and Bella.

I’m not too sure why Bella worries about what I do in the flat to be honest. OK – the last time I stayed at their place – I think during their honeymoon - I shot this little film with some friends. I had been running one of the first viral marketing agencies in London. Our speciality was making emailable video clips. We were a little early to market and after some ads for Nissan business went dead.

The way to drum up business – my partners and I agreed – was a man, a woman and a bed. That would bring us the scent of success. OK, ok. Maybe we were all too excited about the fact the ‘actress’ was in fact a glamour model and she’d walk around without her clothes on for a couple of hundred quid. Maybe this excitement caused us not to Google her name until after the shoot when we found all those risqué images of her. So, yes we did bring a porn star round to Dan and Bella’s but who were we to know.

I wasn’t quite expecting Bella to find out about what we had done for a long while - the place was perfect when Dan and Bella came back from their honeymoon one Sunday evening - and I hoped that by the time she found out we could all sit back and laugh about it.

The call came in at 9.15am Monday morning. It would have been 9am but she had to look at some of her wedding photos. And one her baby cousin. Then she opened an email from a friend which included a saucy video attachment. This was our video. It was out and was already being passes around.

This was the first and only call that this campaign generated though.

When she watched it, Bella must have noted a woman strip off in her bedroom, climb onto her marital bed, shuffle over a naked man chained to the martial bed and then spin round and let a fart on the chap’s face. Maybe the ‘Let Loose with Set Loose Movies’ tag line gave away the originators. Maybe she took the words ‘Let Loose’ quite literally as my ear was red for days after that.

You can see the clip here: http://www.setloose.co.uk/movies/WindMedia.wmv . Quite innocent really.

I’m sure anyone could trust me with their apartment after that.

September 12, 2004 in Diary, Out of Town Trips, Photography | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Landed pretty well with Air India thanks probably to the Zanax that the Lady's brother slipped me.

There seems to be an equal amount of similarity and difference with the US: everyone's talking about the price of petrol/gas. Now it's one pound to a litre versus 2 dollars for a gallon! On the other hand, the British papers seem to be the usual doom and gloom which is a nicce change from all the fear you read in the US press. Currently I notice that 1/3 of all Brits want to emmigrate (they wouldn't after reading my blog....) and there's the trains are up the spot (or people are getting well paid for them being so). At least the UK is not going to have to be scared for a number of undisclosed months until the terrorists attack.

On that note though - something to be scared about in the UK: The most striking aspect of life at the moment is 'England (soccer) Fever'. The pubs paint the fixtures on their chalkboards outside, cars drive with St George flags, flags fly from bedroom windows and everyone, yes everyone is wearing an English Football jersey. First game is still 10 days a way - and maybe someome's forgot to remind us (after drawing with Japan a couple of nights ago) that it's France we're playing for our first game. Shudder.

Now that I've popped down the East Sussex coast to see my folks in their new place. There's something quaint and nostalgic about the English seaside. Yes, it's cheap, yes it's a little shoddy - but it's full of innocent fun, full of making do, full of old values and oldies with grand kids. Today I can take a beach with pebbles and shingle and seaweed and breakers that stretches out to the sea. A beach from which you try to wave two fingers at France, if you could see it. Well - give me that beach for today and let me remember it when I'm spoilt on the golden sands somewhere far away another day.

June 3, 2004 in Diary, Out of Town Trips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Found a great bar (Alma De Cuba) in posh part of Philly to celebrate the Lady's brother's birthday with his Perisan posse - cuban, great mojitos, classy. The Lady dancing all night long because she didn't want us to eat (note cheesesteak earlier in the day). The music is near absent.

Her parents turn up (tipsy from a party) at 1am to pick us up. She's still dancing; somehow bumping into people 8 feet away. I get the blame for the fact she's pissed. 'If only she let me eat,' I reply. Father manages to correctly position key into ignition, I close eyes, we get home.

May 1, 2004 in Diary, Out of Town Trips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Whilst the Lady and her mother bonded in the King of Prussia shopping mall, her father and brother took me to show me his businesses.

One of the Lady's father's jobs is proud part-owner of a number of Pizza joints near Philadelphia - some in Pennsylvania, some in New Jersey. We traveled by car and at every place he was greeted by respect - not only by the staff, but also by the customers. A peculiar eerie silence fell across the room as he ambled in.

At each place I was asked to try the food. Well, it would have been rude not to (despite the Lady's protests later in the day). I've never eaten so much in an afternoon: pizza and of course, one has to try the Philly Cheesesteak with extra mushroom in a hoagie.philly

At each place the chefs and managers waited in silence until I finished. 'And?' they prompted. The food was fabulous. As I nodded, the Lady's father burst into a big laugh and then the rest of the restaurant followed with laughter too.

At the last restaurant, after the laughter had died down, he turned to me and said, ‘you are going to look after my daughter, Guy, aren’t you?’

How friendly I thought.

May 1, 2004 in Diary, Out of Town Trips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack