Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US


London - Los Angeles

Up with the lark and out the door to Heathrow, but not before Id managed to drop my phone into the washing up bowl which could make for some funky communication in the days ahead. The roads were deserted which was a little weird being Monday morning so I wondered if a bomb had gone off somewhere but apparently not. Consequently got to the airport hours early so settled into the lounge to begin the mental shift required when heading off on tour. I have a very great quantity of miles to cover before Ill see hearth and home again but hopefully many of those miles will be in sunny climes which will be a bonus.

This is my first flight since before Christmas when I lit a show for a performer called 'Pam Ann'. Actually, shes called Caroline Reid but the character she plays is Pam Ann, your average Nightmare Australian Air Hostess From Hell. Her show is essentially stand-up, but revolves entirely around cutting repartee with the audience, many of whom are flight crews themselves. She is absolutely hilarious and just brutal in her caricatures of air crew stereotypes, which of course the audience loves. Her superior and off-hand British Airways schtick is so hysterical that as I boarded my BA flight I couldnt keep a straight face. Ended up shaking with laughter in my seat, so I think the crew assumed I was on drugs and left me alone to get on with it.

Ten and a half hours passed slowly but I always reckon that a dull flight is a happy flight. Watched North Country which I enjoyed, despite the director being unable to resist the 'I am Spartacus' finale. Slept a bit, started 'The Human Stain' by Philip Roth which is an extraordinary piece of writing.

On arrival at LAX there was a little man holding up a sign saying 'WILLIAMS' who was good enough to drive me to Hollywood. Checking in to the hotel, I was just about to take possession of my room key when I was broadsided by Leigh Blake, an old friend and instrumental in the genesis of Zoo TV, whos gone on to do very effective charity work for AIDS and childrens causes. 'Willie!' she shreiks in her London brogue, 'Theres somebody you gotta meet' and drags me into the hotel garden, trailing my luggage, where she sits me down and introduces me to Alicia Keys whos sitting innocently minding her own business. I dont why this happened. She seemed very nice, though. We had a brief chat then I got up to leave and fell over my bag.

Met Bruce at Ben Franks for lunch (dinner?) and a good catch up. From there we headed to Universal City to see a demo of some 3D IMAX test footage of U2 which was shot on the last leg of the tour. This followed by drinks and nosh with the IMAX team in the bar next door where, completely by coincidence, we ran into Frederic Opsomer, the Belgian L.E.D. wizz, builder of the PopMart and Vertigo video screens. Who just happened to be in town. And in that bar. (Of all the gin joints in all the world etc looks like this could be one of those tours.)

Got lost in the car park trying to leave the Universal Studios compound, then finally made it back to the hotel around midnight, which was 8am by my body clock. Its been quite a large day and we havent even got started yet.

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