On the Road

On the Road: 2002

Bits and Bobs
10 October 2002

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
- Oscar Wilde

Random notes from the gutter:

Q magazine has named Bono the most powerful man in the music industry. It's nice to see the rest of the world catching up with Mattopia. Mattopia.com/Mattimus.com named Bono the Man of the Millennium last year.

MBC News: While the rest of the world is clueless, Mattopia is in the know.

After all, you don't think I'd follow just anybody around the globe, now do you? Certainly the Gallagher brothers couldn't supply a fraction of the inspiration U2 turns out during the course of an evening.
It was good to be back in London, the land of fresh-brewed coffee shops. In addition to the ubiquitous Starbucks spots (one on every street corner is not much of an exaggeration), London has a couple other chains (Caffe Nero and Coffee Republic) keeping the Brits wired.
For the Mattopian history books, it should be noted there are no Starbucks in The Netherlands, nor in greater Europe that I'm aware of. However, that's about to change. The first Starbucks warehouse is finally being built in The Netherlands and the first Starbucks shop is set to open in Amsterdam.
A blurb in the newspaper alerted me to the fact that I was missing Oktoberfest. It's held the last week of September through the first week of October over in Munich. Hmmm... I remember that being a possibility in the event I was still out here. Alas, I am still out here but the ability to plan ahead is nil under the current circumstances.
Europe is so much better when I'm calling the shots. As it stands, during this go 'round, Paris and Dublin have served as brief moments of idyllic travel during an otherwise choppy mish-mash more akin to a bungee jump than than the sort of travel Bobby Stevenson wrote about.
BBC's Patrick O'Connell, their financial "expert" based in New York, is a total wanker. I really don't like that guy's attitude. Too smirky.
In the Netherlands, I'm basically stuck with two English TV choices: BBC and CNN. If I make it back to the hotel fast enough, I can catch Divorce Court at 6 p.m. on a Dutch station - in English with Dutch subtitles. In England, of course, the choices are exponential: BBC, BBC2, BBC4... Actually, TV has never seemed more worthless than it has over the past four months. Yeah, I want my ZOO-TV!
When I become a rock star, I will want all of my hotel rooms to include a jar of 501 navy blue M&M's - and the M's must all be capitals. None of that lower case crap for Mattimus of Mattopia.
Big Fun: Taking advantage of the Strand Palace's stellar location and roaming about the Thames for some nighttime shots. But those London hours are a bitch. While walking across the newly-opened Millennium pedestrian bridge, I stopped to take a picture of Big Ben as it hit midnight. It probably won't come out, since I wasn't using my tripod at the time. I then proceeded across the bridge... just as the lights went out!
In a flash, Big Ben, Parliament, and all the other main public buildings along the Thames were flooded in darkness. So much for the photos.
Another thing about those London hours: By the time the Bowie concert let out, shortly after ll p.m., all the pubs were already closed. No post-show Guinness. Some people try to use the logic that the nightclubs fill the void for "late night" drinking and socializing, but that's a bunch of shite. The pubs offer a unique atmosphere and setting for the casual beverage. The licensing laws in England are archaeic and need changing. I bitched about this last year during the Elevation tour and I'm still bitching about it.
The latest in urinal technologies has hit London: The port-a-pee, as seen in major Dutch cities, is now in Leicester Square. I wonder if the designers went to Potty Tech University.
The Frikin' Firkin is a good name for a pub.
It was only a matter of time: Murphy's Extra Cold is here.
The concierge at the Strand Palace gets a big fat zero for not knowing the 'hood. I asked him where an FCUK store was in the area. He looked puzzled at first then pulled Selfridge's out of his butt. He explained to me most places sell through the department stores, not their own shops.
HUH? HELLO! I uncovered one store just a couple blocks up from the hotel, in the heart of Covent Garden! Unfortunately, that particular location was exclusively women's clothing. (Editor's Note: Matt was on his way to the Underground at the time. The men's shop is right around the corner and across the street from the women's store.)
Further research after the fact uncovered FrenchConnection.com. The fcukers are all over the place in London! (OK, Selfridge's does have an FCUK department, but the dude behind the desk still gets a zero.)
The Brits do have a nasty streak about them. We have them to thank for the "reality TV" craze, a flimsy envelope they continue to push with the first public autopsy in 170 years and televised for all to enjoy. Reality TV has also plundered pop music, creating bubble gum bands with the input of the TV audience. Once the band is created and excitedly hits the top of the charts with empty-headed, soulless pop and a frenzy of hype, the adoring public that built the monster turns around and taunts and jeers the same band when it takes stage while on tour! Case in point: The rapid rise and fall of Hear'say.
It may be "reality TV," but it's a soulless reality. Exactly like the music it spawned.
OK. Not all BBC TV is junk. The Office is a hilarious parody of life in... the office. Spot on from the brief bits I've seen. Plus there's a cool travel series, Voyager, which features reporters going off on amazing treks. One series had a guy going solo through Mongolia. Then there are the "exposès." Dangerous Company is a fantastic mini-series on the damage high-priced consultants can cause with their straight-from-the-textbook solutions. A must view for any manager who is serious about doing his job AND serious about kicking politics out of the office. Plus there's Trouble at the Top and Back on the Floor. The former is best-described as a series of documentaries done in a high-drama fashion, the latter puts upper management back on the floor in places like Burger King to see how well they cope with the bureaucracy they've helped create.
I've got British pounds, euros, U.S. dollars, Hungarian forints, and Kazakh tengies in my wallet. No wonder I'm a bit confused about where I'm at and with whom I'm dealing.

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