10 April 1997
Las Vegas pre-production - Lemon lunacy. The infamous lemon is assembled and stands surreal against the Nevada desert backdrop. Willie tries it out for size and tries a roller coaster ride for comparison.
By way of distraction and to clear our heads, we headed out to ride roller coasters this morning, but on the way stopped by the stadium to see the Lemon. Yes, it is here. It was assembled outside the venue against a fabulously surreal backdrop of the Nevada desert - every inch the UFO. Its a magnificent object - standing 40' off the ground, a ball of glass with Lemon-ish nipples top and bottom. It revolves, it travels down its track, it opens... this is sheer lunacy. Gorgeous it is. Of course I had to take a ride inside it, which feels a lot like being inside a cement mixer. You stand on a little platform within, which remains stationary, whilst the curved walls and ceiling revolve around you. Thing is, because you have no points of reference, there's no way you can convince yourself that its not you that's moving. You feel like you're on a giant turntable until the thing opens up. All in all, its about the most barf inducing experience you can imagine.
Although, having said that, there may be a challenger for that title half an hour south of Vegas in a town called 'Stateline' which is home to the world's tallest roller coaster. The thing I love about a roller coaster is that I always get really scared once I get on, before it takes off. This one is so tall that the upward journey seems to take forever. You sit there ascending and ascending, with the mechanical car going "tick, tick, tick..." and on and on it goes. Then you see the crest of the hill and the first few cars disappearing over the edge, then... boom, your seat back hits you like a car crash and you're whipped over the summit and down, down, down, down, down... the absurd height of the drop creates a kind of swan dive motion in the train... you're in free fall for a few moments as you look straight down... straight the way down, at planet earth getting bigger and bigger by the second, then... oof, the rail catches you, scoops you up and around and you're on your way to the next whirlwind corner... Its a great ride and quite like my life at the moment. Nothing like a moment of blind terror to take your mind off work.