My obsession with Radiolab continues. Did you realise that a while ago, the stock market completely crashed and then fixed itself. Nobody knows why it happened, how it fixed itself, whether it will do it again and whether or not it would fix itself again. It's because computers are making all the decisions. It's proper Miles Dyson stuff.
I'M (ALEX) DOING A STAND UP COURSE. THIS ALONE IS ENOUGH TO MAKE MY FRIENDS LAUGH. I'M 10 WEEKS IN AND NEXT MONDAY IT CUMULATES IN A LIVE GIG IN A PUB. WE'VE JUST HAD OUR LAST CLASS BEFORE THE GIG. I'M FEELING BOTH PETRIFIED AND COCKY.
IF I SURVIVE THE GIG I'M GOING TO DO A WRITE UP HERE ON EVERYTHING I'VE LEARNT AND WHY IT'S BEEN A MASSIVE LIFE LESSON. BUT BEFORE I DO THAT, I REALLY NEED TO MAKE SOMEONE LAUGH FIRST.
There is no greater feeling in the world than running your tongue along the bridge of Richard Branson’s nose, finding his lips then working them till they melt.
I can tell you this because I have done it.
I’ve done it sat in Upper Class on the way to New York.
And what’s more he paid for the privilege.
Yep, Virgin sent me to New York on Upper Class to taste the food. In exchange all I had to do was write about it. So that is what I’m doing now.
If you are interested to find out how this came about then read on, I warn you now it’s hard to write this without sounding like a smug twat. Please forgive me. I’m just going to have to put aside my British coyness and tell it to you straight, as it is quite a ridiculous story. It just happens to be one where lots of amazing stuff happens.
I should start by talking about coincidences.
Humans massively freak out when they happen. They say: “What are the chances?”. The thing you have to remember is that there is a vast amount of time that goes by when coincidences don’t happen. It’s not like you’d ever go “Oh my god, the strangest thing DIDN’T happen today”. You only notice coincidences on the statistically rare occasions that they happen. And when they do, we feel like something is taking place on a level we can’t comprehend.
I believe in logic and statistics. This series of events has tested my piss-boring outlook on life though:
In 2009 I wrote a letter to Richard Branson complaining about the food on a flight. You can read all about that HERE if you wish.
Lots of strange things happened to me as a result of it. It makes a good dinner-party story but to be honest I’m a bit bored of talking about it now.
A few months ago I was staying in New York. That night I had a dream that I met Richard Branson at an airport.
The next day I bumped into Richard Branson at an airport.
I had never met him before. I had dreamt this would happen. I was massively hungover. It was a very surreal moment. I found myself shouting RICHARD! RICHARD! He stopped and we shook hands. I said: “Richard, I wrote the letter”, he said, “which letter?”, I said, “that complaint letter that got really silly”, he said “oh, that letter” and took my other hand. We ended up doing this strange double hand-shake with our arms crossed over each other for the duration of our 3 minute conversation. He was as charming as you’d imagine and he knew exactly who I was and that I work in advertising. We said goodbye and I got on my plane.
A few days later I got an email asking if I’d like to sample the new menu on the new Upper Class cabin. Why thank you Richard, yes I would. In exchange I had to write about the food. I obviously agreed.
The day came round and I found myself sat in Upper Class thinking about the chain of events that had led to me sitting there. To top it all off one of my friends was also on the same flight, by complete coincidence.
It felt like lots of circles coming together all at once. And at that moment I was handed a drink with a 3D render of Richard Branson’s face made out of ice floating in it.
You can't really make it out in this photo as he's started melting:
This is when I popped him in my mouth and started sucking him.
So what did I think of the food?
It was good. It was still plane food. But I believe it’s as good as food on a plane can get without having a full kitchen.
There are two things I’m conscious of as I write this.
Firstly I shouldn’t even vaguely attempt to be funny. Sequels are always shit.
And secondly I’d be a complete tosser to moan about a free meal on a free flight.
As it happens it was all delicious. Here are some photos.
I didn’t have any pudding as I was pretty shit-faced by then.
Upper Class is brilliant but you don’t need me to tell you that. It’s not like anybody is going to read a review and think “you know what, that sounds great. Lets not fly economy next time, lets pay five grand extra and go Upper Class”. That’s not how it works. You fly Upper Class if you’re minted or if somebody else is paying.
I’ve been lucky enough to fly on BA’s equivalent when I’ve travelled on work and Upper Class kicks the living crap out of that. So I guess that’s where my opinion could possibly of any significance to anybody.
There were journalists onboard that took it very seriously. The dude from Air Cabin Interiors magazine was measuring stuff and drawing diagrams.
There was an Indian news crew reporting from a couple of seats away. They seemed impressed.
There was a really big guy from some magazine. He seemed to be able to fit into the seat OK.
I slept, I watched a couple of films, I sat at the bar, I got in and out of my sleep-suit. It was bloody lovely up there. In fact I was a bit annoyed that it only took 6 hours.
So that’s it really.
I’m really sorry if you were expecting something more along the lines of “It’s Caviar Richard! Caviar!”.
I see this as an end to my story. A conclusion. The circles closed.
What a strange turn of events.