Yankageddon – Days 8 to 14

Hello and welcome to part 2 of the compilation of my daily blog posts from mine and Wonderwife’s research trip to America. If you’ve not read the first half you can find it here.

Yankageddon Day 8: Five Guys and Zero Ghosts

We’re just back from a Ghost tour in Greenwich Village. I may be suffering from PTSD – Perpetual Talking Shite Disorder. I mean, the woman who gave the tour had it but I think she may’ve infected us all. Here is an example of some of the mumbo jumbo this lady came out with. “You often experience ghostly sightings near water as water is a conductor of the electromagnetic energy that is often associated with the paranormal. That’s just science.” NO IT ISN’T!! The woman couldn’t even figure out that her voice got quieter when she moved the mic away from her mouth, I’m not entirely convinced that the world of Ghost tours’ gain has been the noble prize for science’s loss.

To be honest, I don’t mind what kind of crap someone comes out with on a ghost tour. Wonderwife and I did one in Stratford-upon-Avon when we lived down that way – this is so long ago it was when Wonderwife was still Supergirlfriend. It was great and properly scary. It gave me a full-on case of the heebeegeebees. Two weeks later, on our recommendation, our then housemate Gary (aka the gagmaster 5000) went on the tour and he loved it too. We eventually compared notes about it and discovered that the different tour guides had both got entirely different sets of ghosts. If anything, that made it better as far as we were concerned, that was some proper storytelling skill. Tonight’s guide did not have that, it was frankly pretty dull. She seemed determined to give a ‘factual ghost tour’ – which is right up there with ‘non-contact tickling’ and ‘fat-free milkshake’ as utterly pointless endeavours. Every ghost was either a little old lady or Mark Twain. That poor bastard is haunting two places in the village and his house in Connecticut – he must be exhausted, the commute alone!

We eventually ducked out of the tour prior to the final stop, where our guide was promising to tell us of her personal ghost experience. I’m just guessing but I bet it involved being trapped on a row boat in a large body of electromagnetically charged water with the ghosts of Mark Twain and 47 old ladies. We’ll never know as Wonderwife had spotted a Five Guys and was very excited as I’d never been. She was raving about how amazing it was going to be so much, that by the time I got there, my mouth was watering.

It is fair to say, the five guys weren’t in – I think we got the sixth guy. We ordered two cheese hot dogs “all the way” which, according to their own website is supposed to be “with mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions and mushrooms” – only the sixth guy forgot to initially ask us for toppings and even when the wife was very clear on both being “all the way” – they didn’t put any of that on them. You’ve never seen a staff look more like they had collectively run out entirely of shits to give. When she went back to ask for what she’d actually ordered, they frankly could not be arsed, so they gave it to her all on the side. In other words, she came back with a series of containers and we then had to build our own hotdogs. Since when has self-assembly been a part of the high-priced fast food experience? Sure, no problem – in fact, next time – just bring out a pig, a cow, some yeast and a couple of chickens and I’ll rustle the whole thing up myself! The Five Guys in Greenwich Village needs a whole new staff. If they’re interested, I know where there’s some little old ladies who haven’t got much to do – but let’s leave Mark Twain out of it, that poor sod is run off his popped clogs as it is.

All of this isn’t to say we didn’t have a great day – we walked down to Williamsburg in Brooklyn which is so hip and happening that I think I may’ve joined an internet start-up with a guy I met in the toilet. It is great place and it is single-handedly keeping the beard conditioning industry afloat. So many beards, so many tattoos – all covering men who think manual labour is that Latino guy who opened that Hummas place that is totally fantastic.

Then, we walked over the Williamsburg bridge which was brilliant, and we wandered around Chinatown and Little Italy too. Actually, we were checking stuff that will appear in my next book, Disaster Inc. Tomorrow, we do a proper walking tour of Brooklyn and then we will be following the path of a chase scene that I wrote for the book at the exact time and place it happens. Yeah, you read that right! This is the kind of ultra-realism that my books are based on. Wonderwife doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll be doing it on horseback scantily clad. You’re welcome dear readers. You. Are. Welcome!

Yankageddon Day 9: Bridge builders, racist roadies and pizza chuckers.

Today, we did Brooklyn baby! To be fair, if Brooklyn was a city, it’d be the fourth biggest in America so when I say we did it, we did part of it. To be exact, we did a walking tour of it and it was excellent. If you take nothing else from this blog, and why on earth would you, I strongly suggest that if you do a walking tour, decide if you like the guide in the first five minutes, and if you don’t – bail! Today’s was Onel and he was awesome. The dude loves Brooklyn and it really comes across. He also is outspoken on issues and his tour is surprisingly political. He is unafraid to make a point and given that his entire income comes from tips at the end, you’ve got to respect a man who’ll stick to his guns fully aware it’ll cost him.

The tour starts by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge which is still rated as the number one architectural achievement in America and it isn’t going anywhere soon. If you told me a week ago I’d have been impressed by a bridge, I’d have laughed – I aint laughing now. It is magnificent and all the more so when you know the story behind it. Emily Warren Roebling is a name everybody should know. Her father-in-law conceived the bridge, then died. Her husband was chief engineer and then got crippled. She took over, and while the perception was that her husband was in charge from his sick bed, it seems like she was really the chief engineer on one of the greatest engineering feats ever realised. She did it while not being able to vote. The woman was a pure badass and frankly, the bridge should be named after her.

The other figure you can’t avoid when talking about New York is Robert Moses. The man who essentially built New York. He was immensely powerful and in some ways, a spectacular visionary. In other ways, a grade A arsehole. He built a vast quantity of New York’s impressive parks, and he only ever put one in a black neighbourhood. It is alleged that when he designed the expressway that serves a wonderful beach (which he also designed) – he made sure that it was only suitable for cars and not buses – as a way of keeping it for the white middle class. He also supposedly designed outdoor swimming pools in parks so the water was as cold as possible, in the belief that black people wouldn’t use it. Fingers crossed he is watching never-ending reruns of the cinematic classic Cool Runnings in hell for all eternity. Still, he is a truly extraordinary figure and I’m going to be definitely doing a lot more research about him.

Finally, at the end of the tour, there are the two shops supposed to do the best pizza in New York (and hence, as far as they’re concerned, the world). Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s sit side-by-side in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge and they’re a fascinating story too. Patsy Grimaldi sold up his business back in the 80s, then came back out of retirement in his late 70s and set up Juliana’s right beside the shop bearing his name. It’s a uniquely New York rivalry. There’s been lawsuits and everything. They both have massive queues outside them all the time. Onel, our tour guide, is a worshipper of the Juliana’s pie. Grimaldi’s has the bigger name still and hence the bigger queue. We’re standing in front of them finishing the tour when, over his mobile PA system, Onel is explaining loudly to our group that Juliana’s is great, Grimaldi’s over-rated. The faces on the queue waiting for over an hour for a Grimaldi pizza was brilliant. Onel looks one outraged man right in the eye and repeats, “Over-rated!” That’s Brooklyn baby, full of passion and always willing to speak its mind. I’d like to think Emily Warren Roebling would approve.

Yankageddon Day 10: Seamus Guevara – Too hot for Facebook!

For those of you who’ve been loyally following this blog(weirdos!) – I feel obliged to inform you that you’ve been reading an edgy piece of literature. Facebook have refused to boost the last couple of posts because I’m so damn edgy – in the last one, I said a dead racist was a racist and a couple of pizzas places had a rivalry. That was apparently too much for Zuckerberg to handle. Fair play to those crafty Russians for managing to find a way around Facebook’s seemingly impenetrable system. I think the trick might be to just be racist rather than point out when someone else is racist.

Today was hot, damn hot. Luckily, I’m now rocking the full Seamus Guevara look that I’ve been perfecting so I’m impervious to the sun. We went for a massive fact-finding walk around Brooklyn, trying to figure some things out. (spoiler alert: Not even mentioned in the next book but I think there’s a strong chance that a certain bunch of nuns are based in Brooklyn). Speaking of religious loons – albeit of a very different type, we passed a quite pleasant man who was quite clearly batshit crazy this evening. I took a picture of his sign which I include here – it appears that communion is a new health food that removes those sins that cause wrinkles, old age and gray (I assume he means grey) hair. I always thought old age was caused by getting older, what a fool I’ve been!

On the subject of meeting exciting people, Wonderwife has rightly chastised me for not telling you we saw the actor Ralph Fiennes!!! The reason I left this bombshell out was that we didn’t and it wasn’t him. To quote Wonderwife when she saw him “That guy looks like a cross between Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson.” I’ll tell you who doesn’t look like that – Ralph Fiennes. He looks like a cross between Ralph Fiennes and Ralph Fiennes because he’s Ralph Fiennes. Remember that ghost tour we did? (the rubbish one) Well, we met a lovely English lady who said she saw Ralph Fiennes earlier that day and Wonderwife then realised that it had definitely been him we’d seen. Neither of them seemed interested in the logic of the question as to why Ralph Fiennes was carrying a case around China Town at 3PM, like a harassed looking salesman who was late for a meeting. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe his next film is one about a salesman who looks like Liam Neeson who is late for an important business meeting in China Town but I’m not holding my breath. To quote Wonderwife again, “we can’t both be wrong” – thus ignoring the lesson taught by almost every election of the last five years, that being that lots and lots of people can be simultaneously wrong about loads of things.

Finally, in a siesta from our epic fact-finding walk, we took a break in what could definitely be considered a hipster bar. To be honest, while I distrust any socio-economic group that puts a lot of effort into clothing, I don’t really mind hipsters. I’m not entirely sure what one is and more importantly, I’ve no idea why people are so angered by their existence. They appear to be people in their 20s who think they know everything – which makes them exactly the same as everyone else when they were in their 20s. They seem utterly uninterested in imposing their views on anyone else, so I couldn’t give much of a monkey’s what those views are. OK, they seem to wear a lot of t-shirts for bands I’m pretty sure they’ve not listened too and that’s a bit annoying. On the other hand, this bar had about 6 dogs in it and they were happily wondering about and getting petted. I bloody love dogs and any group that is that dog friendly is alright by me. There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners. May the bad owners get old age, gray hair and whatever “can s err” is. (Seriously, that dude needs to win some kind of award for crazy).

Yankageddon Day 11: Climb every mountain and then have sex with it! (subtitle: MOMA and FODMAP – attack of the acronyms)

Today the weather wasn’t great and frankly, it rather matched my mood. While I have spared you dear reader from these gruesome details, our wonderful trip has hit the occasional recurring snag. I keep getting “digestive issues” – let’s just say, the concierge of our hotel has seen me running more often than not. Thing is, this was always coming. My sis, mum and cousin all suffer from the same thing, aka Diverticulitis, and a couple of months ago I got diagnosed with it too. It’s an intestinal thingie which means certain foods mess you up. I’ve been ignoring it. Unfortunately, when you’re away from home, you’re eating out all the time and it becomes more of an issue. Ignoring it no longer appears to be working. I need to take the low FODMAP approach to food, so some things have to go. A lot of things in fact. Farewell onions, so long mushrooms, goodbye ice-cream, soft cheese and garlic. And bread. And most pasta. It’s like a Game of Thrones end of season finale, a lot of my favourites have been killed off. I sat down this morning and went through the list. It is pretty frickin’ depressing! It cuts out a lot of things on the average menu – unless that menu is written in Japanese because they’re mostly fine. Thank God for that. I love my sushi – if it or seafood were gone, Wonderwife wouldn’t be letting me near sharp objects.

Still, today ended up being a great day. We went to MOMA in Queens, which is an off-shoot of the museum of Modern Art. I may not know art, but I know what I like – and that is very definitely Chinese people humping a mountain!

But first, some context. The museum is in a creepy old school in Queens, which we were able to walk to from our hotel. For ten bucks you get to walk about looking at stuff, with lots of other people who are also pretending to have the slightest of idea of what they’re looking at. Some of it was brilliant – the artist Sue Coe has some incredible works addressing human rights, corporate control, media manipulation. That stuff was sensational. It also had something to say. The rest of it – yeah, not so much. There was an exhibit of a Chinese artist essentially finding creative ways of getting paid to be a masochist. Earth worms in his mouth, covering himself in honey and being attacked by flies, standing in a flooding river. It all reminded me of the episode of The Simpsons where Homer enters a short film contest with ‘man getting hit in groin with football.’ The best bit of the whole trip though was the exhibit where nine naked Chinese people ‘communed’ with a mountain. The finale of which was when the men all dug small holes in the mountain, the ladies all created mounds of dirt and well… there’s no other way of saying this, they humped a mountain!!! Wonderwife got annoyed by me pulling faces while everyone else took this very seriously. Talk about the emperor’s new clothes – not only is he naked, he and his mates are getting jiggy with a mountain!!

After that, we found a proper old school diner which I needed to find for research purposes. It also had a very large menu and I was able to find stuff to eat that meant I could enjoy a leisurely stroll home with Wonderwife, no sprinting required. Wonderwife also threw in a little treat by pretending she thought the language spoken in Puerto Rico was Puerto Rican – and then she pretended to get progressively more annoyed when I spent the rest of the evening coming up with an entire made-up language. She is very good to me.

Finally, I leave you with a quote from an artist Reza Abdoh who died in 1993. “Every guy is like Donald Trump for at least part of his life. With some it lasts longer than others.”


Yankageddon Day 12: Law and Order and Pacman!

This morning we were up bright and early, well actually, just early in my case – but Wonderwife is always bright. The reason for this was we’d a big walking tour booked on crime in New York given by a real-life ex-cop. Sad to say, it was meh at best, and I’m doing a disservice to meh there. He was a perfectly nice guy but he spent a lot more time discussing architecture that anarchy. We passed the site of the Tombs, the infamous former jail on Manhattan that appears in several books from very diverse sources I’ve read. It was a shocking nightmarish place that honestly, you’d be amazed to realise existed slap-bang in the middle of New York. It doesn’t feature on the tour, but we did spend fifteen minutes discussing the “that’s not a knife – this is a knife!” scene from Crocodile Dundee. For sixty bucks each, it rather felt like we were the victims of a crime.

After that disappointment, we’d an unexpectedly cool afternoon. TBH, I was looking for somewhere that I could avail of the facilities after all that walking when we stumbled on ‘barcade’. It’s an arcade meets a bar and it’s brilliant. Choc full of old arcade games, mostly 25c a pop, you can get happily wasted on booze while reliving your childhood. I didn’t know most of the games but it is still a whole lot of fun. FYI – Frogger is damn hard!

Then we went for sushi. Wonderwife nipped to the loo so she wasn’t there when the woman on the next table complained bitterly about her meal. There was faces pulled and sound effects too. Her and her mother left, although interestingly her mother got her food boxed up. The family who’d come in just before us had a huddle and then they got up and left too. As did another couple who also didn’t fancy it now either. You see, the woman who complained was Japanese-American. You know how you always try and eat in a restaurant where people from that country eat? Well, this was the opposite. As an Irishman, I know I have certain skills. I’m fairly good at starting a sing song, I can find 500 ways to blame something on the English and if I take a sup of a pint of Guinness and pull a face, I can shut your bar down faster than the health inspector. Every ethnicity has their own superpower. So it was, Wonderwife left a fairly full restaurant and came back 5 minutes later to find me sitting inexplicably alone, looking nervous and surrounded by very pissed off looking staff. We ordered a couple of vegetarian rolls and they were very nice. No cooks committed harikari while we were on the premises.

In the evening we then did something pretty unusual; we went in to watch night court. It runs from 5PM until midnight and you can sit there and watch court proceedings. Most of it is pretty mundane stuff. It’s a mix of the fascinating and depressing. You don’t see trials, this is generally arraignments I think you’d call it – essentially entering pleas and arguing bail. The shocking thing was that 90% of the defendants were non-white. It was also noticeable that while the ethnic minority defendants invariably were using the court-provided attorneys, the white people almost always had their own attorneys. At one point a clearly fancy lawyer turned up and Wonderwife and I waited around to see who he would be representing. Turned out to be the well-off looking Hispanic kid who got caught drunk driving with no license in what I’m guessing was a fancy car. In contrast, one of the other defendants was up in front of the judge for stealing an ice-cream. An ice-cream! I can’t really understand how that even got in front of a judge. After you’ve watched a few hours of this, you start to understand how the US has incarcerated more of its population than any other country on Earth. It’s industrialised justice and I’m starting to think most of these people could do with being somewhere else than prison.

Weird things you’d not expect from the process – The constant references to Facebook. Any case that involved a confrontation, the prosecutor applied for and was always given a protection order for the ‘victim.’ Effectively, a restraining order. The judge then gave the same speech about how that meant you couldn’t contact them in any way, and she constantly emphasised Facebook. The Chinese grandad up for smashing his estranged wife’s phone seemed particularly confused by this.

The bail setting process was fairly comical. The prosecutor would ask for a certain amount and then the defence lawyer would in every last case, ask for the defendant to be released on their own recognisance. Every time. Basically, if King Kong ended up in court, his lawyer would stand up and say “your honour, I appreciate these are serious charges but he has previously been a massive gorilla of fine standing in the community and with no previous convictions. He is not a flight risk as frankly, it took a massive ship to get him here and he’s not even got money for bananas. I ask that he be released on his own recognisance and, before you say it, I’ve already told him he can’t contact the Empire state Building on Facebook.”

If you ever get the chance, really do sit in and watch night court. It’ll give you a very sobering insight into how the world works.


Yankageddon Day 13: Who you calling honky?

Let me start this blog by state categorically that I am a very calm man. I mean not ‘calm’ calm, not zen Buddhist, we’re all God’s creatures, happy-clappy-huggy calm. I’ve never found my inner peace or communed with my spirit animal or any of that nonsense. In fact, my inner-child has been taken into care and my feminine-side no longer speaks to me. Wonderwife calls me a grumpy bastard and if you didn’t know her really really well, you’d not realise that she is definitely joking which she definitely is. My point is, despite 42 years of almost constant provocation, I’ve never killed anyone. I’m not saying that is award worthy, I’m just saying, all things considered, I’d consider myself to be a pretty chill individual. On the island of Manhattan today, I might just have been the calmest person present and frankly, the rest of them were stressing me out.

Americans are almost always unfailingly polite in person. They are frankly so polite, it can come across as sarcastic. Can someone working in a public toilet be really that thankful for my custom and that concerned that I have a great day? Still, there they are, expressing their heartfelt wishes that the rest of my day, post-bowel movement, is just super. It is therefore mind boggling that you can take the same person, put them behind the wheel of a vehicle and they lose their damn minds! As soon as the lights change, almost every motorist simultaneously honks – like they have inexplicably ended up behind the only person in Manhattan rush hour traffic who has nowhere in particular to go and is just meandering about, trying to kill time. The level of anger that New Yorkers express in traffic is incredible. If this state had the same gun laws as Texas, it’d be Mad Max by lunchtime.

Here is an example: We were on a bridge today, where what we’d call in the UK a ‘feeder lane’ was waiting to merge into two lanes of traffic that had the right of way. Side-note, on this bridge, we saw the very fine English actor Tom Hollander cycle by. Unlike the earlier Ralph Finnes sighting, this was the actual Tom Hollander, and not a travelling salesman. Anyway, three cars were waiting in this feeder lane as a steady flow of traffic zoomed by on the bridge. The third guy in the line, despite the two drivers in front of him clearly sensibly waiting for a gap in the traffic, laid on his horn as if somebody had trotted up on a donkey and then the donkey had proceeded to give birth. In fact, like a donkey had given birth, then set up house and started its own fresh smoothie stand there in the middle of the feeder lane on the Pulaski bridge. I’ve never been more tempted to bang on somebody’s window and ask what on Earth they thought they were doing. Was he hoping that the other drivers would hurtle straight into oncoming traffic while causing a certain accident? For God sake, that kind if irresponsible action could have caused the damaging of Tom Hollander, and he’s been great in everything he’s been in. Seriously, Google the name, I’ll wait…
Yes, that guy. We love that guy. He’s never less than fantastic.

Thing is, that honk-happy haranguing is the standard here. Americans honk like Europeans change gear. Times Square is a twenty-four seven cacophony of futile frustration and it drives me mental!

There do exist some blissful islands of serenity amidst this sea of fuckwittery. One blessed group of heavenly non-motorist manage to rise above it all. Not the cyclists, those uptight “I’ve got a camera on my helmet and I’m not afraid to use it” killjoys are the heartburn that goes with Manhattan’s chronic vehicular indigestion (Tom Hollander accepted, love your work Tom!). Not the omni-present twenty-something white dudes using the skateboard as if it is an acceptable form of transportation for a grown-up. We should all be allowed to throw fruit at them as a fun way to support local grocery stores. No, nor those Peter Pan plonkers on Segways or any of the multitude of motorised one-wheel-you-stand-on contraptions that seem to only exist in order to liven-up accident reports for the NYPD. There exists only one teeny tiny minority of graceful angels that are able to glide serenely amongst us who one can say have achieved that true state of blissful enlightenment. Commuter communion. Transit transcendence. Wayfaring wisdom. Yes – blessed be the roller-skaters.

They are a rare breed. Invariably female, they have a strong tendency to dress like extras from Saturday night fever. It’s a look they shouldn’t be able to pull off, especially while gliding down a road which always seem to be suddenly and inexplicably free of traffic when they’re on it, yet they do, they really do. People stop and watch, certain in the knowledge that they will never be able to attain that level of sheer coolness. They are the Goddesses of the bus lane and the rest of us are destined to be the background gawpers as they permanently fill the foreground of life. I can’t pull-off a right turn at twenty miles an hour with nothing more than wheels on my feet and silver Lycra on my ass and neither can you. We must accept this. Just be glad they exist and while we can’t hope to be them, we can hope that the distraction they provide allows us to hurl a well-judged pineapple at the head of the cock-trumpet on the Swagtron Swagroller Bluetooth enabled unicycle. (I didn’t make that up, that’s really a thing that exists. Pass my pineapple.)

In the meantime, for the love of God, could the rest of you please try and relax? If not for me, then for Tom Hollander who is currently in New York doing a revival of a Tom Stoppard play that he was nominated for an award for in London. Wikipedia is awesome.


Yankageddon Day 14: The End is Nigh

Yes, brace yourself dear reader, but Caimhil Kenevil and Wonderwife’s epic research trip is drawing to a close. It has been fantastic. While I’ve told you of the fun stuff, there actually was an awful lot of research stuff in there too – which was ace in its own regard. Yesterday, we went to the location where the finale of Disaster Inc. occurs, and it was incredible to actually walk around the real-life place that you spent weeks plotting out a scene in. Google Maps is great, but in ten minutes I’d totally rewritten it in my head and I’m excited to get it all down on paper. As a fun aside, as weird moments go, standing in the middle of a very busy park in Manhattan having a whispered conversation about where you’d put a sniper is a pretty odd one indeed. Side-note on side-note, Wonderwife is worryingly good at picking sniper positions, I am now secretly convinced she’s a sleeper assassin.

We had a lovely night planned for tonight, meeting friends at a cocktail bar in Brooklyn owned by an actual fan of my books! Unfortunately, that bastard FODMAP stuff buggered up my stomach and I’m back in the hotel catching up on e-mail while Wonderwife is out partying! (I did insist she went, sitting here watching me type isn’t as exciting as it sounds). It’s only a minor bum note on an awesome trip. We went out for lunch today and unfortunately, you really can’t rely on wait staff in a lot of restaurants to actually know what’s in the food they serve. Chef’s bung mushrooms and onions in everything. I got most of those off but judging by the reaction, batter isn’t good for me either. I’m weirdly looking forward to being home where I can cook all my own food. Seeing as I didn’t cook any meals until I was 30 years old outside of a microwavable quickie or the very occasional stir fry, that’s really saying something.

Overall thoughts on the trip – Boston was great but Brooklyn was the absolute star. We love it here and you can see why the property costs such eye-watering amounts. We have a very nice flat back home in Manchester, I’m guessing something close would cost about six to eight times as much in Brooklyn. Other random observations from the trip:

You know how people always say customer service is better in the states? I don’t think it is anymore. Three times on this trip, we’ve been eating starters and the staff have dropped our main courses on us. To be clear, I’m an Olympic speed eater and Wonderwife is respectable, but at some point over the last few years, ‘eat and get out’ has become the unofficial slogan of American restaurants.

Pharmacies over here have always been incredible and continue to be so. There are so many more products and frankly, some of the claims they’re allowed make are crazy. In the UK and Ireland, they’ve got laws that mean you have to have at least some evidence of the miracle cure you’re hawking.

Rollerskaters are the mermaids of the ocean of horn-honking stress-bunnies that is New York.

New York needs to invest some serious moolah in the subway system, it’s currently like rattling around one of the world’s greatest city’s in a trash can, and the smell is certainly similar.

Finally, some sad news. Please may we all bow are heads in loving memory of the Seamus Guevara hat, which sadly passed out of my possession somewhere between a bar, an Uber and a Chinese restaurant last night. Many of you were kind enough to point out I looked great in it, and let’s be honest, I did. I totally rocked that hat. It is now another sad loss in the pantheon of millinery masterpieces that didn’t make it back from the States. Farewell you magnificent bastard, you shall be missed.

And thanks to all of you who came along on the journey with us, sharing it with friends etc. Your thoughts, comments and quips have been enjoyed. I shall now go back to writing books in my office but hey, we’ll always have these special memories. Stop it – if you start crying you’ll set me off! Slainte!


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