John Walker's Electronic House

by on Oct.14, 2004, under The Rest


I knew that the lovely Will Porter would be on the trip. Even though he’s from the evil enemy bad people at PC Zone, he’s been there a short enough time to not be completely horrid. It’s good to know there’s someone you know on such trips, because otherwise you can spend many days in the company of boring people who want to do nothing but sit in dark bars all day long. This has happened too often. Will and I agreed to do no such thing in the ludicrous amount of spare time we would have.

The plane journey out was supposed to be just under eleven hours. Which is far long to be anywhere, let-alone crammed into the economy seat of an aeroplane located inconvenient distances from interesting afternoon strolls. But to make it extra-special, we were allowed to get used to our seats for a bonus hour and a half as the plane sat around on the ground in the UK. At first we were sitting still because someone who had booked in had decided to not get onto the plane, so they had to root out his luggage in case it was all filled up with bombs. How does that happen? Someone checks in, puts their luggage on the plane, and then… what? Goes home? Becomes engrossed in a magazine in the airport Smiths? Suddenly is overwhelmed by a desire to live like Tom Hanks in that there film, and is too busy working on his astonishingly poor accent to care?

But then they discovered an “electrical fault”, and we had to go back and be fixed. I like to think this is very much like Jimbo the Jetset, and the plane informs the pilot of his/her problem by a large mouth beneath the cockpit. But I wish they wouldn’t pass the same information on to us. I don’t want to be told that there’s an electrical fault. I’m about to spend eleven hours 39,000 feet above my squishy-squashy death in this thing, and I really have no desire to hear about the frequency with which things go wrong. But more especially, I absolutely in no way wish to hear these words forty-five minutes later emit from the on-board tannoy: “Well ladies and gentlemen, the engineers came and had a look at the problem, but they couldn’t find anything wrong. It seems to have fixed itself. So we’ll be on our way shortly.” WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?! Don’t tell me that! You have an electrical problem that prevents our taking off, and you tell us that it can just come and go as it pleases? ARGH! Tell me, “Well ladies and gentlemen, our engineer looked at the problem, fixed it, and then right there on the spot invented a device that prevents anything from ever going wrong on a plane ever! What luck!” Lie to me about this! What are we going to do? Sue him when it turns out to be a lie and we’re all dead and on fire?

The flight was long and annoying and my bum hurt and the movies were crap. Fortunately I sat next to Dan from, whatever that is, and he was a lovely man too. The flight looked like this:

plane view

Going in that direction, it adds eight hours to your day. Which means that it’s mid-afternoon in San Francisco, and long past bedtime in your head. So after settling into our (bonkers) hotel, we were taken out to a Chinese restaurant. Our (bonkers) hotel was literally the other side of the road from China Town, so this seemed ideal. But one of the PRs, Tim, had us walk for over five hundred trillion miles, throughout which we grumbled and moaned and looked longingly through the windows of beautiful looking Chinese restaurants with plentiful seating and pretty walls. But no, Tim marched us straight past them, ignoring our pleas. Eventually we stopped outside a really grotty looking place. It looked like a cross between a laundrette and a cheap diner. And it was ridiculously full with people queuing outside. But still, Tim ignored our begging. We eventually fought our way in. Instead of ordering, Tim asked the waitress to “bring us food”.

And oh my goodness. I can say without fear of hyperbole, that I had the very nicest food I’ve ever eaten in my life. Incredible, utterly incredible, flavours. And sat the other side of the restaurant: Francis Ford Coppola. So yeah, Tim was right. The show off.

The hardy went on to some bars. The sensible went back to the hotel. Which was bonkers.

13 Comments for this entry

  • Pete Osborne

    Did you open the window to get that photo? Mine never look like that!

  • John Parkes

    hey it’s the guy whose journal you commented on! just thought i’d let you know i removed the offensive portion and really didn’t mean it seriously, but in all honesty i didn’t think you’d ever read it! i’d also like to point out i wasn’t denying the validity of your comment, the reason I put it up was because i thought it was so cunning. Sorry for offence


  • John

    I am also fat and ugly.

  • other john

    yes but i didn’t actually mean that in a scything way, how could i when i don’t know you, and have only seen one tiny picture of you? as i say, i am sorry. really didn’t mean offence

  • Tim R

    Did you make Francis an offer he couldn’t refuse? With extreme prejudice? Did you leave the gun, take the cannoli? Did Luca Brasi sleep with the fishes? Did you have too much equipment and too much money, and little by little you went insane? Did you? Did you?

  • Rossignol

    I am sexy.

  • John

    It’s ok other John – I was teasing.

  • other john

    ok cool! i would be in mighty trouble if the whole of the pc gamer staff came down on me, like a mighty rhinocerous. sorry again! as a parting shot, i agree; san francisco rocks

  • MHW

    Dear John,

    I’m 15st2lb, and you’re not. That’s six pounds less than at the Meat.

    And I’m having fish&chips for my dinner.

    Ha! Ha! Ha!



  • Kieron Gillen

    “because otherwise you can spend many days in the company of boring people who want to do nothing but sit in dark bars all day long.”

    It should be stressed, for those who have just had their images of games journalists shattered, that Walker is hardly typical in our vocation.


  • MHW

    Ah, Gillen, we meet again.

    No, we really do — Quantock 5, if memory serves.

  • Will

    Can I just point out that I’m a lot more ‘rugged’ and ‘manly’ than I am lovely?


  • Steve

    “Eventually we stopped outside a really grotty looking place.”

    But I thought you would have known! If Rick Stein’s Food Heroes has taught us nothing else, it’s that all the truly best grub is found in the most grotty and humdrum of surroundings (usually in Sevenoaks, Saxmundham or Whitby, it seems). Not yer swanky, immaculately-decored, yet oddly bland posh eateries.

    Tsk, etc.