May 08, 2009 GMT
Five Glorious Years.

10.4.09 Antofagasta, Chile



The great thing about Chile - and Britain - is that you're never too far from the sea. I break my personal trail-bike distance record today and spurt 350 sun-soaked, but relatively cool miles through the Atacama. An eleven mile detour to the left takes me to the coast and Antofagasta.



(Sorry if you're one of those "Iron Butt" fellows, but 350 miles on an Africa Twin saddle is a good 75 more than I want to repeat in a hurry. I have done about 450 on a far more comfortable CB1000 seat, but you people that do 1000 miles in a day want your brains looking at. You really do.)



It's salty-humid, nice after the eye-drying aridity of the desert, and the hotel's a peach at 15GBP. Wally's Pub beckons. I grab a seat at the bar and am engaged in conversation by a person who would appear to be Penelope Cruz's younger, more ectomorphic sister. So you like the rock music? And playing poker? No, actually, I'm not married - and hey! I like to play the guitar as well! What's that now? Do I like Chilean "womans"? Yes indeedy! I surely do! You absolute Goddess. May I prostrate myself, that you may do with me as you see fit?


This sort of interplay goes on for a full 90 minutes, after which she bungs the phrase "my boyfriend" into the conversation. I grin bleakly and leave as soon as is polite, i.e. the second I've finished my Cristal. Women - 1. Me - 0 (aggregate). Perhaps the fact that she's a 20 year old student PE teacher, and I'm a 43 year old holiday-monkey should have alerted me to my imminent shooting-down-in-flames, but when she came back all sweaty from running up that hill to buy me some fags, something gave way in my brain-stem. Did I want to lurch over the bar and suck the salty beads from her golden forehead? Well, yes, I'm rather afraid I did. But now I'm glad I didn't.

I wake up the next morning and it's Friday; and due to the Pope's irritating insistence on changing the date of Easter every year, it's Good Friday. It's a scam of course to get four days off work. If it was Good Tuesday and Jesus hadn't risen from the grave until the following Monday, I doubt we'd get a full week off.


So, today, Antofagasta is a ghost town. Eventually I find an ice-cream/burger shop open for breakfast, but they're showing a sub-Robert Powell TV movie of the life of Christ, so no-one's going to hell. Except me - and even I'm not, because there isn't one! (Leave it now- Ed.)


Aimless afternoon wandering around the city... I like it! Even empty. And by 7pm things start lighting up. Hello Bundeschop, a stripped-down beer 'n' fag house on the main drag. A comfy booth in a place that sells only draught beer and cigs is not to be sniffed at. It's full by 7.30 - unusual in Chile - and the vibes are good.
No poncing about with wine, spirits, mixers or food - just tables, waitresses and beer! Delicious yellow love-water. And The Police and Bob Marley on the jukebox - until I locate the Cannibal Corpse CD. (Not really. I quite like CC but I don't ever really want to listen to them).

What do you think Joey Tempest (real name - Otto von Hottlebottle) is doing now? I think he's doing a poo and having a bit of a cry, in a horrid truck-stop lavatory on the Spitzbergen ring road, and reaching for his crumpled Cindy Crawford special edition of Wunder Femal . But he's probably in the Bahamas.

Ugliest band ever? There's only one contender, and it's the Bee Gees of course. Best hair ever? The number 2 spot goes to Ray Manzarek off of the Doors; but top billing belongs to the MC5's Rob Tyner. God hair!

I haven't been hugely taken with Latino pop music. I think the problem is that it tries to pretend it's your sensitive, borderline-gay friend (and it's assuming you're a lady); whereas African music waves its tallywhacker in your face and demands to see your bottom. And that's better.

Film Review Section.

Pay It Forward, 2000

Beady-eyed cry-baby Hayley Joel Osment continues to disgust right up until the moment he gets stabbed to death.
Five Stars. For the bit where he gets stabbed.

Talladega Nights, 2006

What a load of sh... hang on! This is hilarious!
Five Stars.

Blades Of Glory, 2007

God! This is bound to be fu... Oh! It's hilarious!
Five Stars.

Sad news this week. Butterfield Harmer III, star of some of California's highest-grossing adult movies, has been found dead in a ditch outside San Diego at 41. It seems his brain had partially crystallized due to his insatiable appetite for recreational powders, and that one of his kidneys had migrated north into a lung out of fear, and that one of his toes had developed rudimentary lips, but hey! Butt Harmer! We salute you. *weeps openly*



Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at May 08, 2009 05:33 PM GMT

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