POP Montreal 2013: The festival that nearly broke me.

"The world is dick."

“The universe is a dick.”

Day 2

I try to have a lie in, but I feel like a little boy on Christmas Eve, so I get dressed and take a walk through Chinatown down to the Old Port.

All the hipsters have disappeared and it’s wall-to-wall with tourists.

There’s a whole street of souvenir shops.
If you only visited here, you’d be buying a souvenir of a souvenir…Or something.
My brain hurts.

Fact: There is no such thing as a shy American. Just a less loud one.

I overhear the end of a chunky American tourist’s joke:

“…and I said, “That’s easy, that’s Pontius Pilate!””

His chunky American friends find it hilarious.

"A photo of a tourist by a tourist."

“A photo of a tourist by a tourist.”

I’m wearing a pork pie hat and my POP Montreal lanyard.

I probably look like a twat, but I decide to walk up to people and see if I can make them do stuff.
A pretty Chinese girl is my first victim.

“Hey!” I say, making her jump, “I’m a journalist from the UK.”
I flash my laminated card like I’m fucking FBI. “I’m taking photos of cool looking people, can I take yours?”
“Oh,” she says, squinting at my card, “yeah…I guess so.”
Before she can change her mind, I pull out my iPhone 5 in its crappy £5 cover.
When I check out the photo later, she has the look of someone who’s just realised they’ve been conned.

My body count is rising and I’m starting to feel pretty fly (for a white guy) when a hobo spots me on Rue Saint-Urbain and laughs his head off.

“Bobo!” He yells over and over, getting louder each time. “BOBO!”
As I get closer, he changes tack:
“Jim Pawsey! Jim Pawsey! HAHAHAHAHAHA.”
“What does that mean?” I ask.
“You don’t wanna know!”
“I’ll look it up,” I promise. I’m not sure I want to.

Google says Jim Pawsey is either a dead British Conservative MP or a dead baseball player. Who just happens to be from Montreal.

“Jim was born in London, England, on November 18, 1944, to an English war bride and a Canadian soldier. The family moved to Canada when he was a young child and settled in Montreal, Quebec. In his youth, Jim excelled in many sports, and for several years he was the star pitcher of a fastball league. He had a sharp mind and a quick humorous wit.”

Great, so I either look like a jock or a Tory. Either way, I’m dead. Must be the jetlag.

"Are you Jim Purrrrsey?"

“Are you Jim Purrrrsey?”

As night falls, I head back to the Batcave (AKA Eglise POP).

First up is Dresden Dresses, who sings torch songs in a first-growth tash, white tee and black jeans, cut off way too short. He’s got 2 dancers: a skater Beetlejuice boy who looks like he’s giving himself CPR and ‘Vogue Girl’ who casts nuclear missile shadows on the walls with her pointy boob bustier.

"Goth clowns to the left of me, Voguers to my right..."

“Voguers to the left of me, Goth clowns to my right…”

Headliner SSION has at least two clones in the house tonight. It turns out one of them is a birthday boy, and SSION gets him onstage to twirl his naked chest in joy.
I dance next to a Grimes lookalike in Cleopatra makeup twice as black as her Doc Martens. SSION invites everyone else up on stage, triggering a messy free-for-all as half the room rushes forward. SSION tries to sit on the stage and sing, but another Grimes lookalike thinks he’s trying to climb back up and drags him up against his will.

Everyone on stage seems to be dancing to a different tune. It’s a hell of a show.

"Happy birthday to you..."

“Happy birthday to you…”

Then it’s time for my regular trek back to the hotel. It’s so damn easy to get uptown. Where are all the buses going the other way?

I think 4am might be too late to text Hugo.

Day 3

I’m joined by my classy compatriots Lucy (from my dream zine Dazed & Confused) and Elisa (The Independent). Among a distressing amount of other things, Lucy ran her own music magazine (Juke) and Elisa is one of the Mercury Music Prize judges.
These some serious peeps.

Lucy used to live in Cape Town. She can’t believe I’m obsessed with Die Antwoord.

“Ninja’s kind of a tool,” she says in her ace half-cockney, half-Afrikaans accent, “He gave my best friend Herpes.”

We’re driven around Montreal by Ruby Roy, glamourpuss tour guide/professional dancer who knows everything about everywhere.

She takes us to a market overrun with pumpkins, like the trophy cabinet of a really successful headhunter tribe. We all missed breakfast in the hotel and all the food looks so good I want to cry.

Instead, we gobble up the panoramic views from Mont Royale, where everyone sees a chipmunk apart from Elisa and me gabbing at the back. I don’t care if they’re as rare as pigeons round here, I’m still gutted.

"Nom nom tasty city."

“Nom nom tasty city.”

The big gig of the festival is the first ever Montreal show by The-Dream, the genius who wrote Umbrella, the world’s sexiest earworm.
When we get to the venue, there’s panic as a rumour spreads that he requires 8 girls for his limo trip to the venue (what would that be, an octosome?).
Sarah is trying to get a groupie posse together, including Elisa and Lucy.

“But I like indie,” says Elisa, “he’ll kick me out of the car!”
Just as I start to feel the sting of sexism, or shout “put me in a dress, I’m coming too!” it gets called off- we’re all already at the limo’s destination.

The venue is full of over-accessoried boys in Triple-XL clothes, nodding their heads and if feeling daring, swaying slightly. This is r’n’b for lovers, lipsynced by bromancing boys.

There’s 2 friends with identical slogan caps; one says “ILLEGAL” and the other “SILENCE.”
The Hiphop Wayne and Garth.

The-Dream’s bassist and drummer look like identical twins- same braids, body shape and big smile. “I’ve looked at the band’s passports,” a Pop staffer tells me, “but they really aren’t related.”

“Did you see The-Dream’s hands?” Elisa asks later. “They were MASSIVE!”
I wonder how may groupies he can fit on one hand?

I leave the girls and take the Metro up to Beaubien to see Pop. 1280. This is a Berlin-style underground with enough space to breathe (fuck you, London). Best of all, each station announcement sounds like the start of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

The venue’s called CFC, like the reason no-one used deodorant in the 90s. It’s crammed with youths in black, milling under brick arches. Pop. 1820 slope on stage, the singer screeching and writhing like Iggy Pop. He disrobes from his floppy Morrissey shirt and the keyboard player follows suit. He does painful yoga moves on the floor and hollers while she pounds the keys in her leopardprint sports bra. It’s demonic and exciting

"Topless Goth-Poppers."

“Topless Goth-Poppers.”

I find myself at Eglise POP again (obvs), watching Pierre Perpall. I hate funk normally, but I’m enjoying it now. I suddenly get it – it’s, like, FUN.

Sarah’s here, in a different trucker cap.
“The magic words in Montreal are “Where’s the afterparty?”” she tells me, “Said in a loud voice to the nearest person.”
“What’s on tonight?” I ask.
“The band with the supermodel is playing. Oh no, wait, that’s tomorrow.”
“What? Who?”
Irina Lazareanu. She’s singing in Beaver’s band.”
“He’s the best chef in Montreal. He was in Country, the best band that ever existed. All that’s left of them is a YouTube video.”

The fame whore in me is clamouring to see them already.
I want to go to bed so bad, but before I know it, Sarah has called a friend over and is telling him, “This is Vienna, he wants to go to an afterparty. Look after him.”
A big guy is shaking my hand. It’s a done deal.
Oh well, I’ll sleep when I’m in a coma.

I get into his car with a couple who are so drunk they pass out instantly in the back.
I remember my miserable empty wallet.
“I need to get some cash out,” I say, and we screech up to a bank.
The machine won’t accept my puny English card, but I’m so tired I’m actually glad. The afterparty is calling, but my bed is calling even louder.
“I’m sorry guys, but I can’t get any money out. Have a good night.”
They drive off for unmissable fun and I walk back.
I’m starting to recognize every single shop.



The same guy is working in the hotel lobby when I get back, the ponytail guy who seems to be permanently working the graveyard shift.

“Allo, Sir,” he says with a wink, “how are we feeling tonight?”
“Fantastique.” I say. “See you the same time tomorrow.”

Day 4

I still haven’t bought any deodorant or toothpaste. What kind of animal am I?

In a convenience store, I get chatting to two locals who first think I’m Australian.

“I was in England once,” A burly old man says.
“Did you like it?”
“No. Hated it. I was sat in a bar in my Navy uniform, and an old lady came over. “How are things in the colonies?” She asked. Luckily I don’t hit women.””
I don’t know what to say to that.

We’re all going on the Kid Koala bike ride this afternoon.

“We actually have to ride a bike around the city?” asks Lucy, who’s impressively dressed like Beavis today. “Oh God I can’t do it!”

"Bikes suck ass, like litrallee."

“Bikes suck ass, like litrallee.”

Elisa is terrified too. Turns out that all three of us Brits suck big time at bikes. I’m so glad it’s not just me.

The best thing about this bike tour is that we spend more time stuffing our faces than wobbling on bikes. We eat all kinds of delicious nosh: blue cheese ice cream, the tastiest sushi I’ve ever had, Aussie pies, and an IQ test masquerading as a bottle of cream soda that it took me 5 minutes to open.

Kid Koala makes me feel like I’m 21 again, when the airwaves were filled with scratching and samples from forgotten movies. He’s now the father of Maple, a cuter than cute little girl who’s given special jobs today like handing out her drawings, and being taught to scratch.

The trip ends with an impromptu staring contest between two guys fighting over Kid Koala’s freebies, one of whom is KK’s biggest fan and has almost wrestled a tee off a little girl already.

"One of us is a psycho."

“One of us is a psycho.”

I’ve got shaky legs and a bloated stomach by the time we hand the bikes back.

“I really want to go to a dive bar,” says Lucy, “let’s get pissed and play pool.”

Sounds perfect.

Elisa heads off to do an interview and we walk up my old friend Boulevard Saint Laurent till we find a grungey drinking den blaring out 60s classics. After a game of pool that showcases all kinds of crapness, we find Elisa at the Miracle Fortress gig and head to see Chevalier Avant Garde, Lucy’s tip for the festival.
As soon as I enter the building, I feel the most tired I’ve ever felt. The trancey, gloopy electronica and glitchy live VJing of female figure skaters are like a drug and I can’t keep my eyes open.
Fetch me my frickin’ slippers.

I lean against the wall and pass out till the gig ends, then I remember it’s the supermodel night and I drag Lucy up and down streets trying to find it. I’m losing all kind of battles here and know I should give up but the fame ho in me is gritting its teeth and punching the back of my eyelids.

Every 5 minutes, I whine, “I wanna see the band with the supermodel.”
“I want a McDonalds,” Lucy moans back, or her catchphrase, “Shitstorms!”
We’re like broken robots.

Eventually we’ve walked so many miles in the wrong direction we don’t even know if we’re still in Montreal.

We give in and cab it back downtown to the only open takeaway on our block to order Montreal’s finest slop: Poutine.
It’s chips & gravy with a helping of milk curd, which wobbles in your mouth like it’s from the bins round the back of a liposuction clinic.
It reminds me of tofu.

There’s a reason I was only vegan for a month.

"Off the hips and on my chips..."

“Off the hips and on my chips…”

Day 5

I’ve discovered that there are 2 possible outcomes to speaking in half-remembered GCSE French.

1. I accidentally pronounce one of the 10 words I know properly and the person I’m talking to replies in fluent, fast gibberish (French). Then I have to keep saying “Oui, oui” like a guineapig, looking for a way out of the conversation before they realise I’m an imposter.
2. They look pityingly at me and reply in better English than my own.

I really don’t know which is worse.

It’s the final night.
The girls have gone to the airport to catch their flights.
End of an era. I feel kind of sad.

"Anglos United"

“Anglos United”

But there’s still some party in me yet and Eglise is calling.
A little bit of party left.

I’m ok for a while but then I start to lose the battle with my body.

“I need to stay awake,” I say, “can anyone help?”
“I’ve got some Ritalin,” a girl says, “it’ll only last 4 hours.”
She gives me a small white caplet. I swallow half.
20 minutes later, I’m gurning hard.
Christ, I thought this stuff was mellow!

Somehow it gets to 5am and I’m miles from the hotel.

“Keep going down there and there should be a Metro about 5 minutes away,” a cute POP staffer tells me, “I promise!”
I start to walk.

My heart is a techno beat and I try to march in time to it. I’m speedwalking and the light is turning from black to grey.
I can’t find a Metro anywhere.

I walk and walk and walk, my legs keeping pace with my heart, which is keeping pace with my jaw.
When I next look at my watch, it’s somehow gotten to 7am. I see a Metro sign and run for it, making it on the next train. I get off at what I think is my stop and run up onto the street. Morning commuters stride past me in every direction and a grey light illuminates my sweaty face.

“Ou…est…Rene…Levesque?” I croak at a prim businesswoman.
She looks at me in horror and visibly shudders before forming her shoulders into a protective shrug and marching on past this sickening wreck of a tourist.

It seems there were 3 responses to my French:

3. Utter disgust.

The one positive effect of the Ritalin is that I’m no longer constipated. In fact, a festival’s-worth of dung wants to leave my body. Right here, right now.

I run and run until I recognize the road next to the hotel.



It’s 7.3am.

There’s a different bloke on reception and he looks me up and then down quickly, confirming the state I look.

Everything is suiciding off the wreck of my body: sweat, dignity, poo.

I scrabble with my card in the door and it fails again and again. I’m bent over double, trying to keep it in.
Finally, it works and I fall in, barely making it to the toilet.

I hope they haven’t got CCTV in my room.

Crawling into bed, I set my alarm for 2 hours from now.

“Help me!” I text Lucy, skipping about 6 months of friendship. “My heart is techno.”
“Don’t worry dude, have a pancake when you wake up and you’ll be fine (I think),” she replies.

Day 6

I’ve just closed my eyes when the alarm goes off.

In a daze, I shower, pack my bags, stash them behind reception and set off out into the city.

I feel like I’m homeless.

Everything turns dark. I get a can of pop and it’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted, I’ve only had one sip, so it seems like a waste to throw it away on such a hot day. So when I see a homeless guy sat on some steps I don’t hesitate.

I offer it to him.

He stares at me with the most terrifying look I’ve ever seem.

He has gone as still as a statue. It fees like all the pleasure is draining from the world. There are feathers in his hair and his eyes haven’t blinked since I came over.

I don’t know how long we stand there; me holding the can towards him, him glaring back.

Eventually, I come to my senses and back away, trying not to turn my back or run.

As I get further away, I start to jog onto the next road and almost shriek when I run into this monster:

"Fe Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman."

“Fe Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.”

Somehow, I’ve got to stay out till 5pm when I can order my taxi to the airport.

I take Lucy’s advice and go for crepes at some unpronounceable cafe.

There’s a long haired anorexic guy here I’m convinced is Devendra Banhart until he opens his mouth. He’s got the whiniest most annoying American accent I’ve ever heard and black teeth like a witch.
“Hey maan, can we like sit heeere, duuude?” he says to the owner like a half squashed fly.

I text Matthew, Sarah’s writer mate from London.

“Stop! Don’t eat in there!” he texts back almost instantly. “Are you getting a burger? Put it in your pocket and leave. Throw it away when you get round the corner.”
“But I’ve got crepes,” I reply.

“Ok, maybe that won’t be as bad. Come over when you’ve finished and I’ll show you the best croissants in Montreal.”

Matthew writes for Lonely Planet and can reel off a hundred years of Montreal history in five minutes. He’s also an unashamed food Nazi, and knows all the best and worst places in Montreal.
He takes me to the fabled bakery, but gets chatting to a man in the queue who shakes his whole world.

“These are good croissants, but they aren’t the best,” the man says. “There’s another place round the corner that does those.”
“Where!” Matthew almost shouts.
The man doesn’t say and I’m worried Matthew is going to shake him by the neck until he confesses, but he gets served and leaves.

We get the plane together, making plans to meet up halfway over the Atlantic when they let us out of the seats.

I pass out for the whole 7 hours.

Then I sleep the whole train journey back to Sheffield, and get straight in bed to sleep all day and all night and most of the next day.

POP Montreal nearly broke me.

I’ll be back next year for round 2.

"Au revoir sexy city."

“Au revoir sexy city.”

POP Montréal Diary: Le Premiere Jour

I’m sat on the Air Canada Airbus, next to a grandmother and her porpoise-nosed granddaughter (I can picture her, glinting in the sea, perfectly streamlined in her passage through time).

“We’ve just been on a cruise round Northern Europe,” the grandmother tells me. “A different country every day.”
“Wow,” I say, impressed, “holiday of a lifetime!”
“It rained every single day,” she says with a gravelly grimace. “Most of the people from the cruise are on this flight.”

I tune in to the ambient noise of the cabin: Coughs, splutters, and sneezes.

Would it be impolite to wrap a scarf round my head for the entire flight?

I’ve downloaded 6 films for the journey because I have a phobia of boredom. I’ve got a mixture of horror and arthouse; everything Esther hates.

I settle down to watch V/H/S/2. Surely a gory horror will keep me from thinking about the real horror of 7 hours at 39,000 feet in a form of transport that someone told me once “no-one really knows how they stay in the air…”

I sit back and zone into the laptop screen, twice as big as everyone else’s back-of-chair one.

There’s a creep videoing a couple arriving at their house. He creeps to the window and films through the blind. I can feel the grandmother watching next to me.

Suddenly, the video zooms in just as the woman’s boobs are ripped out of her shirt and pumped like udders. They fill the screen like warring balloons.

I almost scream.

The grandmother’s head has snapped back as if bitten.

In painfully slow motion I consider my options and slowly, shakily, move my finger to the Escape key, close the window and then pretend to scrutinise the name of the file, shaking my head as if I chose the wrong film by mistake.

It’s a charade I’m sure no-one believes for a second.

“I was sat next to an English pervert for 7 hours,” I can imagine her telling her family over dinner, “he had no decorum or hair.”

"What passes for art in Montreal. I'm coming to the right place."

“What passes for art in Montreal. I’m coming to the right place.”

I’m briefly distracted by a ripping fart sound as the woman over the aisle bends down to get something.

She’s very good at pretending she didn’t do it.

I start to watch The Look of Love, thinking stupidly I’ll be safe with unsexy Steve Coogan, somehow forgetting the fact that HE’S PLAYING A PORN ENTREPRENEUR!!

I am sweating profusely now as he strides through stripshows every 5 minutes and the camera pans over breasts of every shade and size and motion. I can’t handle this.

I sit through an excruciating 20 minutes before I can’t stand being judged any more.

Finally, I give in and put on The Woman in Black. Harry Potter saves the day.
It’s perhaps the least scary scary film I have ever seen but I don’t care because THERE ARE NO BOOBS IN IT OF ANY DESCRIPTION, NOT EVEN HARRY POTTER’S.

Out of the blue, the fart woman gives me a banana, which I take to be an admission of guilt.

As we descend over a vast bay, I start trying to redeem myself with the porpoise girl and grannie.

“What would you say is the main character of the city?” I ask, trying to get into the investigative journo character I’ll need to maintain all week.
“Everyone is friendly here,” they answer, “if you need anything, just ask.”
So, not like Britain at all then.

As I reach up to heave my bag out of the overhead locker, I catch porpoise girl peeking at my exposed midriff.
When I look down, there’s huge lump of blue fluff in my belly button. This wouldn’t happen to George Clooney.

“I’ve arrived in one piece,” I text Esther, “But I can’t speak for my pride and reputation.”

There’s a suited man waiting with my name on a sign. He’s got a handlebar moustache. He’s very stressed.

“All my limos are stuck in traffic. This never happens!”
“It’s ok,” I say, “I don’t mind waiting.”
“But I’ve got another client arriving now,” he tells me.
“Oh, is it another journalist? I don’t mind sharing the car.”
“No, it’s a Doctor from Paris, he’s come to work in the hospital.”
Doctor beats ‘Journaliste’ in life’s game of trumps.

“You should take him before me,” I say, “he saves lives. I just destroy reputations.”

But he refuses.
He keeps answering the phone in panicked French.
“Oui, ‘ello?” he says over and over. It sounds like he’s saying “Yellow?”

"Sadly, this wasn't my ride."

“Sadly, this wasn’t my ride.”

Eventually the black limo arrives and I’m driven off in style. I sit back, feeling like R-Patz in Cosmopolis, if he only he was driven around in the day and looked completely different.

God, there’s so much space in North America. I imagine the first settlers, their ambition growing to fit the expanse like relocated goldfish.

"A broomcupboard"

“A broomcupboard”

I meet tour guide Hugo in the hotel lobby. He’s handsome and French and smiley. He walks me to POP Montréal HQ up the road, which is good because I even get lost in my home town.

“I haven’t lost any journalists yet,” he tells me.

I think better of telling him there’s a high probability I’ll end his run of good luck.

Just round the corner from the hotel there are loads of red neon signs for strip bars and sex cinemas. It’s like New York’s SoHo. I feel like I’ve got ADHD, I’m so buzzing with sleep deprivation and scintillation.

I quell my excitement at the amount of vice on show because Hugo tells me he is clean living – he doesn’t drink, take drugs, or eat meat – and I don’t want any more Montréalais thinking I’m a perv.

I always think that seediness shows that a city is healthy and not repressed. I make up my mind to go in the sex cinema sometime because it reminds me of Andy Warhol. I’m sure I read that he used to hang out in one with William Burroughs and Ondine, a sort of Oscar Wilde on uppers.

“This is Rue Saint Laurent,” Hugo says. “What is it called?”

“I can’t remember.”

“Rue Saint Laurent. This is the main street- as long as you can find it, you’ll be able to get back to the hotel.”

He makes it sound so easy.

5 more unexpected tests later and I’ve remembered it.

“The other English journalists are coming tomorrow,” he says.
“Cool, who do they write for?”
“The Independent and Dazed and Confused.”
Gulp. I feel like I’m about to stand at the urinals next to two male porn stars.

“Oh and be careful,” he adds, “poutine is the local dish, but putain means prostitute.”
No doubt you can get both at the same time round here.

The festival HQ is heaving with hipsters. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed (blame it on the jetlag). We meet Sarah, the uber-cool overlord of POP Montreal. She’s a babe with long black hair under a trucker cap and the benevolent gaze of a sea captain (with a sailor’s sense of humour).

Now for some culture: the POP Montreal student fashion show. It’s compered by total opposites: a quiet boy in 90s sportswear and total extrovert with a velvet jacket and a hat. The blonde one translates whatever the ADHD one says into French. It’s like watching Eurovision.

At one point, the hyperactive one rips his hat off and skims it off stage. His brown afro bounces free and wild.

“Just got a text that told me to take it off,” he says by way of explanation.

The catwalk is uplit by those funny paper globe lamps Habitat used to sell. (I wonder if anyone’s lit an entire show just with the front row’s smartphones?).

According to the comperes, the designers corral a veritable Pitchfork-mixtape of influences: Malevich and the supremacists; Jean Seberg; noughties utility chic; Transsexuals (“they are the modern-day circus freaks,” as the intro to one designer read). But to me the clothes just look like teenage mutant ninja turtles and bad ravewear from 1999 (but that’s the rule isn’t it: bad in the nineties, good in the teenies).


“Anyone need a hero in a half shell?”

Next stop: DIANA
I just catch the end of Empress Of, a flash of histrionic hurt pop.
DIANA make a lush liquid sound that’s like bathing in a warm tropical sea, the same one Duran Duran slid their Rio yacht through. Their singer has the bruised voice of someone who’s been sobbing all night. Bruised pop.

A few weeks ago, I heard a song in SPAR for the first time since 1994, when I’d been obsessed with it. A long lost love. Independent Love Song by Scarlet.

“Ahh, that was the era of Progressive Female Power Pop,” as one Youtuber wrote under the video.

It’s the guiltiest of pleasures – over-the-top prog-pop. My favourite kind of music.

I’m getting the same feeling from DIANA. I want to indulge in some serious joy-weeping. I think of solo Sting and Simply Red and Shakespeare’s Sister and all the things you’re not supposed to enjoy.

One song is like free jazz, or maybe it’s free pop. There’s saxophone solos and ecstatic drumming and a big smile on my face.

I keep thinking of Manhunter. A soundtrack that almost blots out the dialogue, synth sounds and over-saturated colours that make the simple act of William Peterson walking down a hallway into a life-or-death operatic moment.

I end my first of 4 consecutive nights at Eglise POP, a massive church hijacked by heathens dancing to queer pop. The stage is in the huge marble-floored basement at the end of a long hallway filled with strobe lights that blink erratically like paparazzi on a red carpet, so you arrive inside feeling dazed, confused, and a little bit famous.
But I’m falling asleep stood up. Matias Aguayo is on soon and I’m in a new city thousands of miles from home and I wanna stay up FOREVER!

But then I look at my watch.

It’s 1.30am here, which means it’s 6.30am at home.

Which means I got up 23 hours ago.

Damn my maths ability.

Pathetically, I give up about ten minutes before he’s due to come on and walk the long and unwinding road back to the hotel and my amazing sci-fi room. It’s like a holodeck from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I fall asleep wondering if a robot will kill me in my sleep.


"No Hal, I don't want a massage."

“No Hal, I don’t want a massage.”