Monday, November 14, 2005

Back again

Welcome to Las Vegas. Now give us your money and fuck off.
I am sitting in a comfortable Business class aisle seat. I’m reading the Economist and listening to Eminem on my new studio quality headphones and wondering just how far above the earth the my ass is, give or take a few inches of airplane and just how long I’d be conscious if the metal skin ruptured like an over stuffed aluminum people burrito. I’m on my way to Lost Wages.
If God lets this place stand he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. So I’m also wondering if we’ll actually make it there. Big plane, big seat, big Baptist next to me I’m thinking we’ll make it.
Hoover Dam on the left can’t see it, Grand Canyon on the right can’t miss it but from 10,000 feet it doesn’t pack the same wallop, sort of like looking at the surface of the moon in a newspaper photograph.
Now lots of little boxes laid out in grids. Brown and grey, sand and rock. Artificial green spots, the comparisons to hell go well beyond the heat and absence of water; you just can’t see the pitchforks from up here.
Coming in bumpy as always, it must be the mountains. Wobbly touchdown and off to the train. The great thing about McCarran is you can gamble as soon as you get off the plane. There are slot machines on every concourse. Talk about flogging a dead horse. Get off the train and you’re in baggage pickup. It‘s always dusk here and everywhere you look there are ghastly billboards for the local entertainment, all of whom seem to be preternaturally photo shopped except the Blue Man Group who manage to look more human than Clint Holmes or the Scintas. I’m waiting for my bag watching the carousel with studied indifference, like James Bond playing baccarat I like to think but probably more like Austin Powers playing tiddly winks. Every time I come here I construct this bubble around my soul. They blare music and noise at me so I block it out with my own noise, they blast lights I wear sunglasses.I'm just not interested in what las Vegas has to offer.
Now I’m in the taxi, it says “Whittlesea Cab” on the side which I always find a bit disturbing. Whittlesea being in Cambridgeshire and Las Vegas being rather famously in a giant North American nuclear pock marked extraterrestrial infested desert. Morrissey is singing “America your belly’s too big” on my i pod and in the confines of the back seat I’m agreeing.
Check in, a twenty to the driver, a buck to the guy who fishes my luggage from the trunk, a corporate Amex to the front desk a five for the guy who brings my bags to the room, then fifty bucks to room service for a bottle of wine, trickledown economics.
Nice room, smoking king size view of nothing but the monorail and a parking lot.
After dinner with my friend Zoran I Google Whittlesea and find it’s famous for Straw Bears. It seems it was once the custom to dress some poor bastard in straw and parade him around town at the end of a chain and make him dance on the Tuesday following “Plough Monday” which is the first Monday after Twelfth Night. As if I gave a damn or even know when the fuck that is and all this pretty much just to cadge a few drinks, seems like a lot of work to me and I have to wonder if anyone here would actually notice, I mean they have live fucking tigers here, so some guy dressed in straw is probably not going to draw a crowd. In fact I’m willing to bet that no one would notice if you wrapped yourself in straw set yourself on fire and ran down the strip.
Back to dinner, given that I didn’t eat my dinner from a table constructed of naked Brazilian Supermodels and the fact that it didn’t include anything wrapped in 24 carat gold foil or included on the endangered species list it was ever so fucking expensive and I never even got my fries cooked in truffle oil even though I asked nicely. We had Kobe Carpaccio which consisted of four pieces of dodgy beef that I had to cook myself on a hot rock. Each piece was the size of a stamp, they reminded me of the mystery meat in Krystals. A quick calculation and I realized that this beef must have come from a 10 million dollar cow and what the fuck is up with the hot rock? I don’t like to complain but if your going to charge me twenty real American dollars for less than a quarter ounce of beef at least fucking cook it or give me some fire to get the job done. I mean a hot rock? What is this the beginning of 2001 and I’m a fucking monkey? These people seem to have heard that story about frying an egg on the sidewalk and let it go completely to their heads.
When the Mob realized it was cheaper not to kill people and hired lawyers the Vegas buffet disappeared in a cloud of adding machine tape. It’s not enough anymore to soak them at the tables as soon as they cleaned up the place and families started coming it was game over and now you pay.

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