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At sixteen years old, [1977 fact fans] my sister, a BOAC air stewardess, took me on almost a monthly basis to The USA. This was, I shit you not, the making of me, and a Very Big Deal. BOAC [The British Oversea Airways Corp - I know, I know. Now it's BA, like BP? Sorry] had a family deal whereby an employee could bring family members at little or no charge on overseas trips, crammed onto the jump seat, an uncomfortable drop-down table affair that was the crew's only sitting position, even on long-haul. This benefit brought me rapt attention and many show-and-tell type talks back at school, dog-tired on a Monday morning, having been to the land of Kojak, Ironside, Frank Cannon [remember him?] and of course mild-mannered Bruce Banner who you have to be super-nice to, lest he turn into the great Lou Ferringo. I did actually meet Telly Savalas once, but let's save that story for next time. I'll never forget the looks on my freinds faces as they reverentially perused my Marvel and DC purchases, while I was telling my amazed teacher all about seeing David Bowie on Soul Train. Golden years indeed, but its the little things that stay with me: The significant moments. The two large cops bustling into a US restaurant as the waitress served them their usual order without anyone saying a word: These guys were welcome in there, workers, citizens, cops.No-one minded where they went. Years later, sitting in a McDonalds on drizzly wet Bitish Wednesday at six AM, I thought of that moment, as a polioce cruiser came pulling in, making everyone hide behind their newspapers. The cops were so aware of the discomfort they brought with them that they had a little play-act going on by the time they entered, as if to demonstrate that they weren't there to arrest anyone. And of course, they checked everyone's tyres - sorry, tires for legality as they left. I'm not suggesting that folks in the US drive with unfit vehicles, but you know what I mean. You see America is the meaning of cool to us, no matter how reticent we are about that. Me, I'll admit it, embrace it and enjoy the hell out of it. From the Cramps to Criminal Minds, from John Waters to John Rambo, and especially that great story about the dangers of building on old Indian burial grounds. Compare CSI to our police prodecdural show, Waking The Dead. Acually no, don't please. We have Top Of the Tops, you have Soul Train.You get Happy Days, we got Grange Hill. I know wegot some of it right, The Pythons [some of the time] and Fawlty Towers, but only twelve episodes? Nope, I don't know why that is either. At least we got The Young Ones. Maybe they'll get back together for an anniversary. The Old Ones? Why not? Hey Rick, Vyv Bastard, Mike and Neil? Get on a plane, make a show - the airline is doing give-away plane tickets.
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