What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

When I pulled over to get the petrol and Red Bull for the massive  dangerous drive through the uninhabited Mojave desert the kindly women behind the counter smiled at me and said I looked uptight. I was praying she wouldn’t be too nice to me in case I started blubbing like a chubby English baby! She told me she had liver disease brought on by drinking too much. A bottle blonde gone to seed twenty years ago and now resigned to her fate of whiling away the days in this petrol station.

Today’s been a strange day. (I’m standing in the doorway looking out over dark desert, reminiscing like Arkright at the end of “Open all Hours”!) It started so well with the all-American parade in Prescott, but for some reason I developed a real funk on the way to the Grand Canyon that’s stayed with me until now. I’ve felt moody and aggressive since I left Prescott. Fuck it. Tomorrow is another day and of all the places I could be right now, outside of Las Vegas with a cool car and money in my pocket, is pretty near the top. Ungrateful moaning bastard!

I’m gonna make like a grimy truck driver and sit here in my pants in this shithole watching porn on the cable and drinking beer in my pants, sharing my jerky with the roaches. Night y’all.


Las Vegas, Nevada


The Wheel of Fortune spins again and this time she drops me off right at the top! What a difference a day makes. Even though I only took four photos of the Grand Canyon and two of the Hoover Dam which I drove past just now, I still going to take six of this beautiful room! It is without doubt the best looking room I’ve stayed in my life... and guess what folks, it only costs 55$ a night. It’s got a living room with sofa and chairs, a huge TV, a kitchen with fridge freezer, cooker, microwave, a MASSIVE bed that Barry White could get lost in and a marble bathroom and shower. All this on the second floor of the Blair Suites Inn overlooking a swimming pool and lush green courtyard. Best of all, it’s just off the Strip where all the action and Casinos be.

I can’t believe my luck. After the fear and anger of last night, and a nervous drive this morning wondering what I’d find available on this July 4th weekend, and thinking for each of those hundred miles that I’d have to pay $700 and then head back the way I came!




The air con in this room is so powerful I can spit water at it and the stream will freeze before it hits the vent!

“Ice to see you!”

There’s two massive TV’s. (Not that I intend to watch any. I’ve got Sin City to explore!) It’s probably fortunate that I haven’t got the money from the flat sale yet, or I could wake up tomorrow morning with a bill for forty grand and a very sore twat. Which reminds me...  I think the time has come to check out those little blue Viagra pills. I’m going to take one now and wander the Strip until I feel my clit acting like a divining rod pointing me towards the cookiecockie! I need to remind myself that this is a villainous city though and not get too affable and careless.

The drive here was powerful. It’s easy to see how gangsters got away with burying people in the desert – it’s a red hot yellow bumpy expanse of nothing. But then just as I thought it was eternal nothingness, I rounded a corner and BAM, Las Vegas comes into view like Landau Carlrisiens Cloud City. All shiny metal and glass against the natural blank canvas. Very impressive. Very expensive. Bartertown after the nuclear holocaust.

As it came into view my i-pod selected “What Goes On” by Velvet Underground and the moment was upon me! The track never sounded better and sublimed the moment. Really atmospheric and as sparkling fresh as a wank with a handful of chilled diamonds! So different to the stormy drive from GC to Kingman  yesterday with the lightening bolts scratching across the wide grey sky and single rain drops like whale-gobs of spittle exploding onto the windshield, so denting that the wipers couldn’t keep up and I had to slow right down to 30mph. The clouds had little wisps of smokey trails hanging down from them like Jellyfish tendrils and it was these fine ringlets that the lightening seemed to snake down earthwards. Very intense. Monsoon moody. But by contrast, today is blue skies over my head. Blue skies and blue pills. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Beer and Clothing! Right let’s see where those pills at...Just back from a walk down the Strip. Exactly as I’d expected it to be but more spread out. It seems like there’s only one Casino every ¼ mile, I had imagined it more tightly packed together. I stopped in at a massive shopping Mall and bought some exquisite shirts and cheap chinos from Banana Republic.

Neither Diesel nor Sara had any sizes that fit me! Christ! Am I even too fat now for Americans! I looked at myself in the changing room mirror and without sucking my guts in, Geoff Capes grimaced back at me. Not good. Not good at all! But then, I’m not going to be one of these moaning women who bitch about putting on weight whilst wiping away traces of cream bun from their mouth! These last two weeks I’ve eaten nothing but shit, on the hour! What did I expect to happen? I ain’t going out like Mavis the fairy from Willo the Wisp!


What actually brought me down more than this was the Mall itself. For a minute I thought I was in Brent Cross Shopping Centre on a busy Saturday. For a moment I was stripped of the magic of New Mexico and the sonorous Jazz of New Orleans. I get the same thing with watching TV and fast food. Ultimately it leaves me a little depressed! Hanging around the shopping centre also brought into focus how much money I’ve spent. If the flat falls through I will have to declare bankruptcy.Positive thinking she-woman! The Mall also signals the return to civilization for me. Except for the desert between here and Los Angeles, my adventure is now all business and London-esque. L.A. San Fran, Monterey – all rich intellectual places. I’m actually feeling nostalgic for the Spotted Pony bar in Texas! My Redneck Romance!

Nothing yet to report from the blue pill, captain. Nothing is standing to attention or saluting! It’s now about 16:30. I’m gonna hang tuff till 8ish then drop another pill and hit the Casinos to do some real financial damage!

A thought occurs to me as I lie on the king-sized bed. I can’t remember the last time I was hungry. I always eat at the expected times – on waking, round 1pm, round 7pm. I do this, not because I’m hungry, but out of habit. I might experiment tomorrow how long it takes for me to actually feel really hungry and NEED food. It may take a while though as outside this room the ground sweats like a furnace. A smelting heat I’ve never experienced before, even in the deserts.


The meaning of life is to feel good about yourself, oneself, MYSELF. However, it takes many years to truly feel good about yourself. Buying things, eating things, meeting people, doing things – all these are worthwhile and give short-term boosts, but all meaningless and empty actions in the face of a woman who doesn’t feel good about himself.  I don’t mean happy with yourself – this is unsustainable and ultimately impossible, as we never stop or reach a fixed point where we cease to grow or develop anymore.

But to feel good about yourself IS sustainable. If I could learn to feel good about myself like I do in THIS moment, back in London, then it TRULY doesn’t matter where I live, who I hang out with, how big my boy friend’s balls are! But without this personal peace it won’t matter whether I’m on 200k a year and living in Chelsea Harbour getting my twat kissed by Hugh Grant – I’ll still be an anxious dissatisfied empty husk.


It’s not love. It’s not spirituality. It’s not success. It is acceptance of the self and learning who I am and what makes me tick, and then armed with this knowledge, feeling worthy, at peace and good about myself as a valid 3 dimensional person. We are like the ultimate computer game (probably why we like designing and playing them so much, as we are made in God’s image!) and we have to learn how to play ourselves individually.

The first few levels are easy because they are general and hold true for all humans (heat, love, job, food, roof, etc) I know a lot of people who are happy to stop at this level and wobble on. The people I value most are those who choose to go on to the next level, and get beyond the generalisations and really start investigating how THEY as individuals work. The end of these levels offer the key to feeling good about who you are and in doing so find peace and fulfilment. Some of us are easier to play than others with fewer levels. I’m probably somewhere in the middle! 

Got to get up off this philosopher’s bed. All dressed up in my new gear, looking pretty fly if I do say so. Keys, cash, hope. I’m off to win me a million..! Here I go. What it is!

Where’s the strippers? Where’s the hustlers? Where’s the seedy underbelly of the American dream..?


I dropped around 500 clams, bones, greenbacks across the strip like I was handing out club fliers with the American Presidents as the DJ’s! It’s put me in a medieval dark mood. I could slay a fucking dragon right now!

I went out around eight just as it was bruising at dusk. Fantastic light. Magic hour. The Strip looked big and corporate – like a dark Disney for adults, but it wasn’t until the sun set behind the mountains that I really saw what Vegas was about. The neon lights zapped on everywhere and the true dirty power of Las Vegas kicked off. The Casinos are brash, huge tourist traps. No surprises there. But not for real gamblers. The majority of people are just human traffic passing through hoping to rubberneck an accident at the Craps table. The rest are hopeless lost souls, robotically feeding the house-keeping into the metal bandits, in a smooth endless motion like they are making pasta with dollar bills. Rows upon rows of dead-eyed, sallow, fat Ameri-caners lost in their addiction, not even sure anymore why they are there or who they were in their previous lives.

I guess I am taking a particularly negative spin on all this, but for some reason that’s the way I feel about it. The whole thing depressed me really. Vegas is like the cocky salesman, the school bully, the drama student, who feel they have to constantly shout and show off, make noise, impress, cajole and hustle, because... behind the opulent screen dream there's nothing there. NOTHING. At it’s core, Vegas has a crushing emptiness and soullessness that would have the punters running to the desert in terror if they glimpsed it. Behind the biggest fake smile on earth lie the coldest dead eyes.

I’ve got nothing against Orientals! Let me say that from the start. Some of my favourite meals have been Chinese! To say the Chinese are multiplying like a virus would be racist, but all of New York seemed to be Chinese, as is the whole of hi-rolling Vegas. 90% of all dealers, croupiers and pit managers last night were oriental and around 60% of all players were too! This is across the eight or nine Casinos I went into, so I think I’m fair in my statement.

The Casinos are laid out like this: Imagine a circle, or better still an onion with its many layers moving inwards. The outermost layer is the façade, the impressive exterior, with each one getting more adventurous and spectacular as you move down the strip. The faded glory of the Stardust and Frontier casinos – mere 40 watt light bulbs compared to the laser-beams further down (and this goes for the has-been clientele as well!). Next is the Wynn – the new kid on the block,  just opened for $2.1 billion  - the outside is bronze glass and looks like the most powerful credit card in the world. Slick plasma screens outside the size of houses, burning my eyes with their dazzling crystal sharpness. Then I come to Caesar’s Palace, where I nearly had to spend an expensive night yesterday. Passing it’s marble gates at sunset, I took my favourite photo so far...

The clouds say desert; the ground says neon. Next is the Bellagio, probably the classiest Casino in town, with its massive water spout display crackling across the lake to a Phantom of the Opera soundtrack on the hour. The Venetian, all marble pillars gondolas and rivers, Roman columns and pillars cooling the punters under the atriums. Casino Paris – a life size Eiffel tower piercing the night sky, golden and proud next to a huge neon blue ball of light. Beneath the huge vaulted ceiling they’ve “recreated the streets of Paris” If Paris were filled with Chinese and slot machines!

The roof of the huge dome has been painted and cleverly lit to resemble a permanent sunset. Walking through the lanes of stools, I really did feel I was outside in the evening dusk. This has the psychological effect of making the patrons feel relaxed, happy and with that “on holiday” vibe – who cares of you drop 6 months mortgage payments into the vaginal metal holes of the bandits, sans orgasm, sans satisfaction?

The Mirage, The MGM Grand, New York New York, Excalibur, Treasure Island (a casino seemingly designed to scam kids out of their pocket money), The casinos roll on heading south, terminating with Mandalay Bay and the captivating Luxor with it’s enormous black shiny pyramid – a gamblers air-conditioned sarcophagus.

By the time I’d battled my way through the human zoo to the corner of Flamingo and Blvd, I was shell-shocked by the overkill to the senses. The Strip is a true campaign of “Shock & Awe”.

I guess it has to be seen once. Once. If you have limitless money then this is the town for you my friend, as it will offer you limitless possibilities. If the devil needed somewhere to crash after a hard day’s eviling, he’d come to Vegas. The only limits here (heading downwards to depravity) are those enforced by available bank balance and imagination. But this is all unspoken and behind closed doors. Only the free sex magazines on every street corner in their glass crates give away the dark potential.

For the most part, Vegas is anodyne, disinfected and full of Kids! It was 2am and still parents were pushing their screaming / sleeping brats through the streets bars and casinos! WHAT THE F**K IS GOING ON? The only nappy I want to see at 2am in Vegas is the one worn by the fat businessman being whipped to within an inch of his life by topless dwarves! I wanted to feel like James Bond at the Blackjack table, instead I felt like Supernanny.


I did sit down though at the Roulette table in the Mirage, flipping a $100 bill to the croupier and said $10 bitch. The college kids around the table looked at me nervously as they clutched their $1 chips.

My first bet, to show them I meant business, was the classic “square” of chips around the corners of the 5. I sat back, feeling like the big man, and eyed my new mates around the table. Frat kid, Chinky, Jackie Brown,Danny Devito, another Frat kid who sups on a bottle of Bud and proceeds to throw a stack of chips onto the 5 just as the croupier releases the ball. No more bets. He turns to me sincerely and respectfully:

“When someone like you sits at the table and covers something I haven’t, then I just gotta go with it too.”

Yes! THIS is more like it. This is me getting my Bond groove on. Pretty soon I’ll have a crowd of buxom dudes circling round me and I’ll be flipping them $50 chips with the ease of a monkey handling his nuts! One of the scantily dressed waitresses who hover around the tables comes over (obviously at the request of the croupier who’s let her know Mr Damocles has arrived and needs taking care of).

“Would you like a drink, sir?”

“Whiskey Mac, my dear”

I flip her a chip for her trouble. She hands it back.

“No sir. All drinks are free when you’re gambling!”



I’ll drink this muthafucker dry! Do you realise what I could do in a place like this?!

The ball clinks round the shiny wooden circle and my attention is brought back to the business in hand.


Frat kid looks at me gutted. His eyes search mine for some sort of explanation as to what went wrong. My warm, watered down whiskey piskey arrives. Any buxom dudes approaching stop in their tracks and spin round in search of a better Bond.

I repeat this pattern in about four other casinos until even an idiot savant with autism would have to concede it wasn’t their night. There’s a feeling I get when I’m on a gambling loosing streak like this, where logic is subjugated to the crazed sweaty panic of needing to win. Bad money is thrown after bad and I no longer care if I win. In fact I WANT to lose, to compound the problem and masochistically punish myself for being such a reckless c**t.

By this point I’m now in such a bad mood that I sit at the bar, flicking peanuts at my reflection á la Superman 3. Enough. I stumble out of the Stardust and into the night, stopping off at a 24hr shop to pick up a large can of Bud. She sells it to me in a brown paper bag! Christ! Am I a tramp now? Bond to Broken in two hours!

I continue to walk the streets, as crowded now as at 8pm- truly a 24hr city. You can gamble and drink Rum at 7:30 am or pm, waste whole days, weeks, lifetimes in the womblike casinos, surprised when you finally emerge that it’s light or dark outside. Time-trapped. Pissed and angry I wander, safe in the knowledge that if one more pushchair wheel clicks the backs of my ankles I’ll bite the face off the little cunt inside it!

A tramp, sensing a brother, hangs with me for a bit as I walk. He offers to sell me some coke – the last thing I need in this mood; probably the last thing he’d sell me anyway!

Again. I digress.

Back to the Onion. Outermost layer inwards. Next layer is the shops. Merchandising branding, T-shirts, dice cards – first thing to go through when you enter most of the larger casinos. Then the Food. Restaurants, Cafés, Bars. Then the Slot Machines: Whizz, bang, clatter, crunk. Dsh-Dsh noise of quarters spilling into plastic cups. Plastic grins. Then the green baize tables: What is your pleasure? 3 card Poker, Baccarat, Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Chinese Take-away?

Then “The Big Vegas Show!” All casinos have a spectacle, a show with which they all try and outdo each other. You can judge the status of a casino by the calibre of its show. For example, as far as I can tell, the king of the neon anthill at the moment is the Mirage with Cirque du Soleil’s “Love” featuring all the Beatles hits (for the first time). MGM Grand’s got Copperfield. Caesar’s Palace got Celine Dion. Venetian got Wayne Newton, who played the evangelist in “Licence to Kill” back in’89 but looks younger now than then! New York New York got Rita Rudner (who?). This goes on into a downward spiral until you get to the poor old Stardust who was representing with “After Eight” and the bloke from “My Two Dads”!

Celebs who’ve gone to seed and off the boil are “put out to grass” in Vegas. When they stop being cutting edge or can’t get a hit record or face on TV anymore, they console themselves with “at least there’s still Vegas”. It’s the Blackpool Summer Season, the Panto at Wolverhampton Civic Centre. Glitzier and better paid for sure, but look carefully into the eyes of the acts, see the pained expressions of these once lauded stars as they glare out from the unforgiving plasma screens. They know it’s now just a matter of time. It’s over!

Finally, the last layer, the heart of the onion. Inner sanctum. Invite only. The high roller’s lounge. Baccarat and high stakes poker. High limits in private shadowy rooms. This is where the real money is made and lost. Here the whiskey is not watered down. I poked my head in. Chinatown.


Right. I’ve rapped for long enough. Time for a shower. Check email (come on you c*nt of an estate agent). Breakfast. Tonight I want to check out a strip joint. Loney Planet says the cream of the crop is “Olympic Garden” up near Frewton. Last night I walked past a killa looking club called “Tangerine”, pumping out some great sounding beats, but the crowd looked so O.C. MTV college kids that I think I’m genuinely too f**king old now. I don’t feel hip enough to actually enjoy being in there. So why force it? A mug of cocoa and a bang instead. NO!


I remembered to call Avis and change the drop off for my metal road warrior to Downtown LA instead of SF and also arranged to pick up the new car the day after that, to drive to Frisco over four days (Thurs to Mon). It works out much cheaper at around $230 + insurance. But I can’t stop dwelling on how much money I spent last night. I could’ve paid for the car hire and petrol with the f**king dollars dropped. Ho-Hum!

I don’t like Las Vegas! Can’t quite put my finger on why. I should be electrified to be here, but all I’m feeling is a mild sense of boredom! I’ve just had brunch at a Denny’s diner. A chain of Wimpy style waitress restaurants – the Easyjet of the diner world, eat yo food, then f**k off. Eating some particularly vicious waffles, I drop a large greasy dollop of cream on my new trouser, right by the crotch. Light chinos, grey fatty stain. I walk back through the streets paranoid trying to hold this book over the stain without it making me lurch to one side and look worse. Anyway, no-one gives a shit about that. I’ve just been on the phone and checked into a hotel in Beverly Hills for tomorrow night. I love saying it so matter-of-factly! LP says it’s the only place to stay in Beverley Hills that’s realistically priced. The Maitre ‘d sounded Ameri-French and snooty. It made me feel like Eddie Murphy in BH Cop! (“Go on, you have those Bananas!”)

Las Vegas tonight; Beverly Hills tomorrow! This whole trip has been incessantly mind-blowing! Day after day. Upping the ante and piling on the pleasure. My head feels like it’s coming down from a pill, because I can’t sustain this level of wonder indefinitely. I think I’ve got pleasure fatigue, if there’s such a thing?!

Yet still, in the back of my mind is the silent spectre of this F**KING C**TING flat sale. Email from the estate agent this morning saying that the searches from Hackney council still not returned. It’s so f**king boring I can’t believe I’m actually wasting energy writing it down, but unfortunately it is part of this trip irrefutably. If I could be sure that it’ll all go through then I could really do some damage here! I also got an email from Chris, the blonde stud muffin I got together with in Flagstaff. He was jokingly ordering me back to Flag for Saturday night, promising he’d “make it worth my while” trouble is, he’s got three kids – so I reckon he’s been making it worth a fair few people’s “whiles”!

I jokingly replied that he should come up to Vegas. Vrump! Immediate reply. “OK. Let me make a few phone calls for babysitters...” Damn, dog! He called my bluff. I limped back a weak response about having to be in Frisco by Wednesday. He hasn’t replied by the time I logged out!

It’s 16:20 now. I’m going to head downtown to check Fremont Street and the original old Strip before hitting Olympic Garden. I’m sensing that I’m losing you, dear reader, with my talk of flats. You deserve a bit of action for sticking with me this far! I’ll see what I can do for ya..!

Came up trumps, so I did!


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