The sexual protocols of Americans are baffling. The complicated and hide-bound conventions of Dating sit uneasily with the Titty bars and Pornoteques on every corner. On our last trip to the states, for ' a T.V.', we ended up in the FireFox rooms, the only place in the state of California where you could smoke without being extradited for an act of international terrorism. Traditionally, every other person you meet in Hollywood is supposed to be an Actor. But in 2001, in this place, they were all Comedians. I must have met 20 comedians that night. Strangely, none of them at any point told me a joke.

We'd just appeared on the Jay Leno Show, so there was a bit of a buzz around us in the little bar. An extremely pissed and excitable blonde girl in a short skirt was making herself very popular with various members of the band, flitting between us like a demented butterfly. My own mealy - mouthed attempts to initiate pollination had failed dismally. In fact, I pretty much failed to register in her understanding in any way whatsoever. She did laugh hysterically at one of my jokes, but I don’t think she actually heard it.

A Comedian appeared, and noticing my discouraged demeanor asked:

'Hey listen, Man! You wanna fuck that girl?'

'Well, er.... I mean, Yes.'

'You've got Coke, right?'

'Er well, yeah, a bit'

'Dude!  What you waiting for? Take her back to your hotel, give her a fat line and DO her man!'

'Well, er.... I mean y'know, I wouldn't want to sort of.... I mean I WOULD but I...um'

He put his hands on my shoulders and looked me steadily in the eye, like a brother.

'Listen, my friend, you're in America now. It's different here. Over here, there's two kinds of girls. There's girls you take out to dinner, take home to meet your mother, Marry, whatever. Then there's girl's like her. You've got Cocaine. You're in a Band. You need to give her a line, call a cab, take her back to your room and Fuck her freakin BRAINS out.'

He said this with genuine earnestness...as if to ignore his plea would bring dishonour on myself, him, his country, and furthermore upon the young lady in question...*

His words came back to me, six months later in a taxi in Detroit, as I pondered the correct etiquette with my new companion, a girl who seemed to resemble Juliet Lewis in 'Natural born Killers', in both appearance and morals. But I’m English, goddamit, and I couldn't bring myself to jump straight on her bones without at least pretending to be a gentleman...'

So er...what do you do?'

She looked at me as if I was a bit mad, paused, then replied:

'I'm an Actress'

'Really! How fascinating! So tell me, who's your favourite playwright?'

'Er...what's a Playwright?'

Confused, I embarked on a disquisition on the art of the dramaturge, examining the contemporary melodramas of Tennessee Williams in contrast to Bertold Brecht's Epic style with reference to Artaud's Theatre of the Absurd. She smoked, and gazed over my shoulder at some object disappearing into the distance...

I tried a different tack:

'Um, are there any particular actresses you identify with?'

'Er, Yah...Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman...'

We arrived at an after-ours cafe of some kind, with a coterie of boisterous and underdressed young women. As we drank bottled beer we explained that we were a British rock band on tour in the states, and our management and our label weren’t paying us for the gigs, so we were living on 15 dollars a day, and did they have any drugs they could share with us?

An awkward silence...

At this point a slightly older blonde woman explained that our hostesses were kind of hoping that we would supply the drugs. And a further 50 dollars an hour for the pleasure of their company.


Suddenly 10 massive homeys burst thru the doors with Uzis and popped a cap in our pale asses. No they didnt.

Actually, once they'd realized we really were broke, the girls were very nice about it. They let us hang out with them, gave us beers, even shared their drugs with us. They were baffled that a band who'd written the theme tune for the hottest show on television in the whole world should be living on 15 dollars a day, but then, so were we. We passed the rest of the evening in amiable chit chat, then about 4 in the morning everybody said goodnight and I watched my Pretty Woman being driven in away in the Lexus by her 'boyfriend'.

In fact, the reason we were brassic that night, and the reason we were travelling on a tour bus with a broken telly to play to confused audiences of 15 people was that our new label spent less on promoting us as they did on paperclips for that week.

Geffen records, for whom we'd originally recorded 'Woke Up This Morning’, refused to license the song to our new label. They weren't about to hand over a potentially lucrative holding like WUTM to a rival company, and Columbia were damned if they were going to promote a song owned by Geffen. And that is why I'm writing this post on a dell laptop from the Witherspoons in Elephant and Castle, and not on a Mac Powerbook in the Master bedroom of The Real Juliet Lewis' holiday home in Geneva.

*no, I'm afraid I didn't.

(c) Orlando Harrison 2008