Wednesday, 21st October.
I’m on board an Amtrak train bound for Washington D.C. We’re just crossing a railway bridge over a broad expanse of water after Trenton Station. The Delaware River is resonant with American War of Independence stories, half remembered from a hundred films I’d seen over the years.
That’s America all over for me. Someone says, Trenton and I know it’s in New Jersey. Portland, I know that’s in Oregon. Whereas if I said to an American, Bolton, they’d have to be an expert to say, Lancashire. Brighton, Sussex? Few would know that. The cultural propaganda that the U.S. have so successfully pulled off has made experts on American geography of us all.
I arrived from London on Saturday and have been walking around Manhattan and seeing friends and business acquaintances since then. The highlights were a sunny, Sunday afternoon walk with a friend in Central Park and seeing Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera last night. The mini highlight of which was being ‘spotted’ by a Peep Show fan in the foyer! That reminds me of a strange incident the day before.
I was grabbing a cab downtown after buying some thermals at Macy’s to combat the chilly weather. I’d hailed a cab and was just approaching it when a voice, seemingly in my head, said, “You’re a great actor…” I thought, delusional again, Mr Joseph? But just as I put my hand on the door handle of the cab a man stepped out of the blue and repeated, “Hey, you’re a great actor. I just saw you last night in ‘You, Me and The Apocalypse! And I’ve seen you in a bunch o’ stuff.” “Wow”, I said, “That’s really kind of you to say…but hang on, that’s only being shown in the UK…how come you…?” To which he reacted rather sheepishly, sidling away with a, “Er, yea…there was this online thing…” and ‘with that was gone. Pwiff!’ To quote Sancho.