Monday, February 05, 2007


Just a boring old travel day. Actually, a really quiet travel day. Because this is the day when America comes to a full stop.


Yes, the day that Janet Jackson bared a nipple for all of half a second and shocked a nation. Well, having taken elaborate safeguards to ensure that nothing so obscene should ever be seen again in this country that hosts the world's biggest porn industry, Americans were settling down again to watch a game between a team from Chicago (the Bears), and a team from (I think) Indianapolis. Why anyone else in the country would give a damn who wins beats me.

In an FA Cup final between, say, Leicester and Coventry, no one outside of those two sets of supporters (except for a few diehard soccer fans) would even bother to watch the game.

It is a phenomenon unique to the US. Some poor fellow authors at Left Coast Crime were scheduled to sign books at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop this afternoon. By kick-off time, it was expected that the town would be deserted and that beyond that time no one would turn up at the store. I'm glad I did my signing yesterday, when the store was jam-packed.

Even on the ride out to the airport it was apparent that the streets were emptying. The airport itself was a bit like a ghost town, and the few people sitting at gates waiting for their flights were all glued to TV sets showing the game.

With four hours to wait, I'm actually sitting here writing this to kill the time.

In a few hours I will meet up again with La Patronne and Susie at Sacramento and the tour will begin in earnest - an hour-long interview on Sacramento public radio tomorrow afternoon, followed by a talk and signing at the Avid Reader bookstore in Davis. Then on Tuesday it's San Mateo, and on Wednesday San Francisco. And so on...

From a nearby TV the cheers of the crowd are ringing in my ears.

As a famous American poet once wrote: The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep!

A couple of Seattle streets buskers (no, NOT Bill and Tanya!)...

PS: For those following the blog, it wasn't Bill at the Seattle Opera.


Bacon Man said...

Despite the fact that American football is an honored adjunct of the world's biggest porn (and violence) industry, you'd best be careful about your disparaging remarks, laddie! We might have to convene a meeting of the Gagnac Gougers vs the Puymule Pipsqueaks. Bare nipples and all.

Anonymous said...

Peter, as the old saying goes "people who live in glass houses have difficulty changing underwear"...I seem to remember finding a U.S. Cable TV channel which was showing a LIVE transmission of Manchester United playing Arsenal that you "had to see" when you are not a supporter of either team! Literally MILLIONS of people around the world watch the Superbowl who support neither of the Teams involved. Many millions of them are only watching for the TV Commercials which occur during the Game because we want to see what advertisements companies have created which are worth 2.6 Million Dollars for a 30-second slot...

peter_may said...

Derogatory? I don’t think so, me old pal. Certainly not my intention. Just a stranger in a strange land making an honest observation on an alien cultural phenomenon. Honestly, cup final day in England or Scotland just doesn’t compare.

Interesting facts unearthed during a little research reveal that the average global viewership for the Super Bowl is just under 100 million – the vast majority of whom are U.S. viewers. Usually it battles for a distant second spot with England’s FA Cup final behind the European Champions League final, although apparently twice in recent years it outdid both. Interesting, too, that the majority of people watching the FA Cup final do not live in the UK.

“Anonymous” make a good point, though. It seems that a helluva lot of people are glued to the TV during Super Bowl just for the ads. And there was me thinking people might actually watch for the football!

someone from across the pond said...

Actually, the majority of Superbowl viewers are US citizens. The people seeking it out on odd satellite channels around the world would be mainly ex-pat Americans. And the advertisements (which seem to make the "game" so appealing) aren't broadcast on these satellite channels around the world, US broadcasters only have rights to the US area.

It's a shame that "Anonymous" and "Bacon Man" seem to think that Peter was somehow being disparaging. I didn't read it like that at all. He wasn't being critical, he was just expressing what a lot of us who live in the rest of the world feel. We really don't understand the game, or the fuss about it. It's just a mystery to us.

It seems that from what I've read it's just an excuse for a party. So maybe you should just come clean...

Everyone around the world can understand party time!

Janice said...

Oh come on you guys, we all know there's only one game of football which is loved all over the WORLD!

... and the international federation of football associations would confirm that!

Its acronym, by the way, is FIFA. Please NOTA BENE that there is no "S" for "Soccer" in there.

And, Bacon Man, the Puymule Pipsqueaks have their nipples bared and are waiting for you!!