It’s odd how you can still be surprised by the inevitable. Because the internet is a hive of scum and vicious spoilery, I went into Star Wars: The Force Awakens somewhat aware that Han Solo would meet his end by the fizzling blade of Kylo Ren, but I still had to discreetly wipe something from my eye as the septuagenarian swashbuckler tumbled into the bottomless pit below.
A similar kind of thing has happened here. My sister and I knew something was afoot when our parents secluded themselves in our utility room to FaceTime the Thompsons, the closest, funniest and truest family friends we had until they upped sticks millions of miles to the lip-chappingly cold land of Colorado, America. They were honestly irreplaceable. We’d held auditions all across the neat suburbs of Eastbourne and beyond(!) and no one even scraped their atmosphere-puncturing standard.
So usually, a call with them was a genuine gather-around-the-iPad event. These new private meetings were practically bellowing that our maiden transatlantic trip was on the horizon. It therefore shouldn’t have been too shocking when my dad handed us an enigmatic sachet of scrabble letters, which when deciphered spelt “Nashville” and “New Yor” (The K tiles were mysteriously M.I.A.).
I was shocked. Quite shaken, to be frank. You could say I did a joyously impromptu ballet performance and I wouldn’t claim libel. After the performance concluded, I learnt that we would rendezvous with the Thompsons in Nashville, America’s music capital, and wander there for 2 weeks, before spending the final weekend in New York’s bustling Times Square. I couldn’t wait to laugh with some old friends again. And I couldn’t wait to investigate a country that hypnotically beckons starry-eyed adventurers like the lethally alluring Sirens from Greek myth.
You see, there’s this uniquely British lust for Americana. I reckon it’s akin to curiously pressing your ear against the bedroom wall as a party thunders on next door. It feels like we are missing out on a massively fun gig, but can’t come to play because we didn’t buy our tickets in time for the 1492 start. I’ll admit to regularly daydreaming about what my life would be if my ancestors had boldy accepted the offer to voyage to the New World. Would I have ever existed? Probably not, at least not in any recognisably clumsy form. And like most/all eagerly-discussed parties, would visiting the Land of the Free be a teeny bit naff?
That is the question I’m going to grappling with over the course of the next three weeks. Everyday, I’m going to post a daily observation about my ongoing American odyssey, which could easily range from the frightful trim of a police officer’s facial hair to the gloriously otherworldly climate to the jaw dropping gun culture. Hopefully the articles will be interesting, funny, and more fantastic than narcissistic, but I’ll leave that for to you decide. All I can (Naturally) think about is the wretched possibility of an inflight movie. Pratman vs Simperman is not an option.