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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton



Sober Life

I was thinking along these lines when I went to something called “See America,” which is a good idea to promote tourism.

To America, I mean, but you could have a “See Ibiza” thing and it would attract the same hundreds of conmen and women looking for a free holiday, too.

We all turn up at a hotel in London and there are all the people we need to see who can offer flights and hotels and things like that to help you breathe more easily.

I settled on Texas (they gave me their press release in a travel bag, with pen) and New York (the girl seemed to like me). That means I shrugged off Missouri and Nevada and New Mexico and something called the Florida Coast Spaceman Experience (you get to have lunch with a former astronaut).

I like going to America because you can order half a sandwich. Anyway, as they are taking over the world we ought to join them. I see there’s a man attempting to get in the Guinness Book of Records by visiting every Starbucks there is. He’ll have to be quick. I think he should get a life first.

Going to London is like going to any capital city and just as exciting until you get there and find it’s full of tourists.

I really did want to go to the Lucian Freud exhibition at Tate Britain (the galleries have different names now, but I guess they’re all still named after either the sugar people or Sainsbury’s) and I’m so glad I made it because it was fabulous.

His paintings are of people’s bodies, really, rather than their souls. It was a bit like a trip to a mortuary, but very revealing nonetheless.

On the tube to Pimlico, I wished I had a camera for the shot of the multi-racial line of people opposite.

There were tourists, tourists everywhere and none of them seemed to have had a drink.

I went in the first London pub I’ve ever visited where the gents was on the ground floor and had a very good espresso while I watched Korea go out of the World Cup and talked to a young Australian backpacker. He had been to the Tate around the corner, but couldn’t afford the tenner to see the Freud bit, he said. I wondered why he didn’t do what I did and just say you were from the Press. I suppose everybody can’t do that or it would be like the Visit America thing.

Then it was home again. I got back at Midnight and slept for twelve hours.

I’m sure I used to be able to go to London for the day without having to sleep it off for the rest of the week. Mind you, that’s also true about a bottle of Scotch.

Sinclair Newton