Sunday, September 16, 2007

Postcard from the veg..

Jet lag is great really. Kind of like being on drugs but without the needles, death and stuff. I'm still drifting slightly between this world and the next. As the kind of chap that needs a good 8 hours of sleep, going for 30 hours or so (I can't really work it out yet) without any shuteye has a pretty profound impat...make that impact...see what I mean...on my ability to string a sentance together. Anyway, I won't bore you with a long rambling account of 'wot I did on my holidays', suffice to say that I can heartily recommend both San Francisco and Las Vegas to anyone with a pulse. San Francisco has a really cool vibe although, as I feared, Haight Ashbury just didn't feel right to me especially after being accosted by dozens of pan handlers who got pretty abusive when I failed to give them money. The scary bum in Golden gate park who kept shouting at me to 'suck his cock' didn't help. Other than that (of course you get 'bums' everywhere) the people were really friendly, there are great bars everywhere (especially in the Italian quarter) and there's a ton of stuff to do. We barely scratched the surface in 5 days. One of the many highlights was a gig at Slims featuring oddball actor Billy Bob Thornton who performed a set of 'hillbilly' music wearing an Austin Powers style outfit in the first half (see picture below) then came back on in a black vest and jeans for his country stuff. It was all rather bizarre, but enjoyable at the same time. Like watching a kitten perform brain surgery (see, that's jet lag for you).

Vegas has to be the best and worst place on earth. It really is as mental as it looks. Perhaps the strangest of all was the Freemont Street Experience. Situated 'downtown' (the arse end of 'new' Vegas in many ways) it's a kind of a graveyard for all of the old neon signs that we associate with the days of Frank and co. Basically most of the old casino's were demolished years ago, they saved the neon signs though and have stuck them all over a mall in Freemont street. Above this mall is a giant screen thingy that carries a music and light show during the evening (see the pretty picture above). Freemont Street is full of people on those electric buggies whose legs have given way under the weight of several stone of blubber (I saw a whole family reduced to this state) plus hundreds of irritating tourists like me who insist on photographing every sign from every angle. Uptown Vegas is a homage to wealth, excess and sheer stupidity. It's glorious. I discovered a great scam too. Being as tight as a duck's ass it pleased me no end. If you settle down in front of a 1cent a go slot machine a lovely waitress brings you any drink you want...for free. With a bit of luck you can make $1 (50p in real money) last you 10 minutes or so, sometimes enough for two freebies. Now that's my kind of gambling. The house loses. Ha! Probably the best bit of all though was Love, the hottest Cirque Du Soleil show of the moment at The Mirage. Setting an acrobatic show to the music of The Beatles could go either way, unbearably naff or incredibly brilliant. The fact that it hit the latter of these two options may have been down to the pint of cocktails that we were drinking at the time, but even in the cold light of day I'm pretty sure that the show was mind blowingly good. There are bodies flying all over the shop, really clever uses of sound and video clips of the fab four in action and speakers in every seat for that full 'surround sound' experience. Words would never do it justice, but ultimately it reminds you of just how good and unique the music of the Beatles was and still is (for the record I'm not a Beatles nut either). So, that's that. Back to life, back to reality as Jazzie B once so wisely put it. Perhaps not so wisely I've lined up three gigs this week beginning with PTV3 (after waiting 20 years or so to see Mr P-Orridge I get to see him twice in a less than 12 months...oh deep joy!). Hopefully Morpheus can do his bit tonight (he's something to do with sleep I think) and all will be well in my brain by then. On second thoughts watching PTV3 in a altered state might be quite good fun...

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