A Blog from John

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‘I’m on a plane, and I can’t complain’, sang Kurt Cobain, and quite honestly neither can I, especially when I am sitting in seat 1A, my favourite seat to sit in. When did that become so, I wonder? Was it a switch that flipped after so many years of flying, that row 12 or row 23 became just not good enough any more? How many years ago did I decide that I preferred a suite to a single room? That I wasn’t actually lonelier in a bigger room, but quite the opposite, that in fact I felt more myself, and was able to enjoy my own company more, found that I enjoyed the expansive sense of myself that having room to stretch out really provided.

When did that happen? The first time I flew in an aeroplane was when my then girlfriend Roberta Earl-Price and I went to Paris for a ‘dirty weekend’. I was already a member of Duran Duran at this point, and we had hooked up with the Rum Runner management team, so I must have been nineteen say, or twenty…

Wow, imagine that! Do you know anyone who has made it to their twenties these days without taking an aeroplane journey? I don’t think I do. That trip was my first encounter with a foreign hotel as well, and right away I had an inkling, if I didn’t know it exactly, that I might have a better time of situations such as this if I traveled with some sort of interpreter, or maybe a tour manager…

What’s all this got to do with the price of tripe I hear you asking, WHAT’S HE ON ABOUT? ‘Self, self, self’ as usual, and on this most extraordinary of days as well, the day the American voting people elected Barack Obama into the White House (YEAH!!!)

The day after the people took back the power, at least some of the power that living in their particular democracy affords them, and I cannot tell you how glad I am, and how excited I am for them all, and how exalted I feel, that the great nation of the United States finally chose for itself a labourer worthy of his hire, as opposed to having some stooge foisted on them by a cabal of special interests. Bravo!

I believe that nations get the leaders they deserve, by the way, and I am happy to have my faith in America reinforced so powerfully by this single decision made by millions. Bravo again!

But what more can I really say at this point, about the new President? More to the point, what effect am I to expect it to have on me, specifically with respect to my penchant for seat 1A and hotel suites? (where available)

Two days later I am on a flight bound for Santiago, in seat 3L, and it’s not half bad. I was asked if I would like to move forward to an empty seat in row 1, but I had just gotten comfortable, and liked where I was. This LAN flight is nice, the cabin really spacious. I flew LAN from Los Angeles to Lima a week ago, and I liked that flight too.

Last night was a concert in Buenos Aires, which, as audiences go, seem pretty determined to become Duran’s World Best. Every word of every song someone in the house was singing, and more than that, every hook!

Now I’m here, at the page so to speak, I need to have to have something to say, if my blog is to have any value. Let’s see, I have my iPod on, playing a new band from England. They’re called Working For A Nuclear Free Society, and they came to me on the recommendation of Palazzo, who saw them home in LA earlier this week.

I have to admit it: I have totally succumbed to the satisfactions of iTunes. It has taken about a year, but okay Apple, I get it. In the time it took for Miss P to describe the band’s performance at a Silverlake dive I had gone online and downloaded the very album she was talking about. Talk about instant gratification. I did that earlier in the week also whilst talking to drummer David Palmer, who told me I had to get the TV On The Radio album, which I had been humming and hawing about getting for some time. Thank god I did get it, because it’s become my absolute favourite thing to listen to this week.

(‘Dear Science’ it’s called, and I heartily recommend it.)

What else? Well, I’m quite comfortable right now, in seat 3A. How might Bret Easton Ellis put it? My Structure Triax Nike running shoes are putting a pleasantly soft (but firm) pad between the aircraft’s floor and my feet (and the New Balance socks don’t hurt either). My Cutler and Gross blue tinted glasses that I bought on Sunset Plaza a week before I left LA are putting a pleasantly azure-ic haze between my irises and reality. My ultra-soft parachute silk bomber jacket (by Juicy Couture of course) is acting as a delightful comforter, particularly thanks to the quilted lining. The airplane’s shades have been lowered and now here’s a rather attractive young woman offering me food and drink. Water, of course is my preferred daily libation. I’ve drunk enough coffee today and I’m not in the mood for celebration, so no Coca-Cola. The music courses through my head courtesy of Apple, filtered perfectly, if a little anemically, by Bose, whose acoustic noise canceling headphones really are the frequent travelers choice.

Thanks Bret. Did you get that perfume book yet?

Now let’s see; This food here is a little unusual. The main platter is what seems to be crabmeat wrapped in a swiss cheese slice. Not unpleasant, but not exactly my idea of delicious. Still, I generally have zero expectations of airline food. The best food I ever ate on an airplane was on Eos, flying from London to New York. Typically they went out of business a month later.

There is garnish with the crab cheese roll. Two rather underfed looking pickles, some sprightly lettuce leaves and an odd bread roll combination with something yellow and gooey in between it. More like an old folks outing than a meal. I’m not that hungry.

Don’t get me wrong, it all looks fresh and seems to cover the food groups, so I suppose for a cold meal it’s more than reasonable. Hello, here’s three pieces of cheese. Let’s try them: One soft yellow, which reminds me of Dairylea cheese slices. Who didn’t love those as a kid? Did America get Dairylea? A darker orange more serious looking triangle of cheese of indeterminate taste (thank god there’s a dry bread roll) and something white which proves to be goat cheese. Oh, and a large purple grape.

Trust me, if I had not eaten such a splendid breakfast at the Faena hotel before I left I would not be talking so cavalierly about the food set before me. The fact that I have no appetite allows me to pick and prod from a distance. Take Roger for instance, who never eats breakfast. He’s getting this meal down like it’s the best thing he’s ever eaten, and Dom Brown, who got too late to bed and missed the morning buffet, I just know he’s got a full mouth and is probably asking for seconds.

What’s this rum baba looking thing that in the interests of science I need to try? Again, not too bad, quite eatable in fact, except, there’s not much room in me for it today. Worth a second mouthful though (excuse me…) Mmm! I got a leaf of mint in with that. Honestly, just how good is fresh mint? My Mom grew mint in the garden so we would always have fresh mint to make mint sauce from, which we would eat with the lamb every third Sunday. (The rotation went; week 1: Beef, week 2: Chicken, week 3: Lamb. (If one week before Christmas rolled around and it turned out to be a chicken week, we would have lamb early, so the chicken would not tread on the forthcoming Christmas turkey.)

That was the only time I would eat mint. Now it crops up all the time, as a garnish on all sorts of dishes, and I’m never disappointed to see it nor subsequently taste it. It always surprises me, no matter how many years I have been eating it, just how strong and explosively tasty it is. It will put a kick in the blandest of dishes (as it just did for me).

There’s gold wrapped chocolate in the corner of the tray, which as anyone who knows me will know I cannot resist. I kind of wish I had now. There I was jamming on that mint-note, now I have a heavy-flat sour chocolate taste instead. I should have quit while I was ahead.

The other green leaf I am always happy to see is Cilantro, which goes by another name in England, a name I forget. In Mexican cuisine it is used all the time, and it’s crossing over into all sorts of dishes. Again it’s always worth the investment. It gives a lot more than it takes, so to speak.

Well, that’s the food review portion of the article. See? There I was thinking I had nothing particular to write about and I just went with what was right in front of my nose. I hope I didn’t bore you.