As some of you know, I recently went to Phoenix.
As fewer of you know (but those who do possess this lore are among my very favourite humans), I’m something of a Phoenix Suns fan.
As many more of you will know, I take literally the shittiest photos of anyone in the world. On an incredible week-long trip to New York, the only photo I actually took was a weird pit of LEGO heads in the NYC store, which looked like something from a kid’s vision of Dante’s Inferno. In fact, here’s that bad boy right now, for the glittery fulfilment of your facial seeing-balls:
So my editor Laurie and I went to PHX on a stupid, last-minute whim, to go to the 20th Anniversary Babylon 5 reunion at PHX Comic-Con. This was a prohibitively expensive whim, and I’m sure I’ll come to regret it around tax season, but it also represented the first time I’ve left my house by choice rather than because I had to, in about 10 years. I think Katie recognised that (and maybe wanted a week to have all kinds of affairs) so she encouraged me to do it.
In Phoenix, it was (and I say this with great consideration, as someone who lived in Bangladesh for almost 4 years; has visited Egpyt; and had meningitis in Thailand) Human Rights-breachingly hot. We weren’t in a city. We were in the middle of a desert – there just happened to be a city around us.
Anyway, here are the photos. Despite meeting the B5 cast members; being served at every meal by uncomfortably nubile and embarrassingly luscious Arizonan nymphettes; and spending three full days around a billion people dressed up in various outfits, my photos are of… pretty much fuck all.
Here’s a picture I took in Birmingham Airport, close to the start of a 25+ hour, 4-plane journey from Ireland to Arizona. I found these little fuckers especially charming because of the way they claimed to work in “The Americas”, which felt faintly colonial, and a bit like if an American said they were going on vacation in “The Old World” instead of Europe.
Here’s a picture of a terrifying, leering pink bus cartoon man, who looked a bit like he preys upon children. I took this while waiting for Laurie in Birmingham. No children were harmed in the taking of this photo, but I can’t speak for their safety once the bus was out of sight.
Here’s my hand, obscuring most of Laurie’s existence. You can just see him rising above it, like a bespectacled scholar shipwrecked in the Sea of Knuckles, gasping his last regrets to the uncaring sky.
Here’s Laurie after making it ashore, on one of the weird spinal-radness beds that almost made us miss our flight to Minnesota.
Here are my knuckles again.
At this point, Katie sent me a photo of what was going on at home. Panic struck like a bitch-hammer when I saw Shakes not only destroying the kitchen in a storm of mess, but doing so by standing on the oven door. The same oven door he’d recently pulled off its hinges, just because he wanted to.
We were on floor 26 of our hotel, and this was on the wall. It meant absolutely nothing, but it charmed the shit out of me every single time I passed it.
Here’s Phoenix from our hotel window. The flattest city I ever did see.
Some more unholy flatness.
Phoenix, street-level. Look at this bullshit. They have palm trees, just like in cartoons.
Katie then sends me this slice of horror, where our 15-month-old son has managed to climb all the way onto the table, hunting for Shreddies. No Alexanders were killed in the making of this image.
Here’s a shitty pic of the main B5 event, which you can find all over YouTube anyway. Mira Furlan was there, and was lovely, and I love her, and she’s lovely, and the best ever, and lovely.
My one aim on this trip, in the initial emails to Laurie, was that if we made the stupidly long journey at all, I wanted to go to Majerle’s Bar & Grill in Downtown Phoenix. Dan Majerle is one of my fave ever Suns (I totally own his classic white jersey) and this was about as important to me as the actual Babylon 5 thing. We ended up eating there every day, because it was 2 minutes from the hotel. Score.
Sat in Majerle’s Bar, eating barbecue wings, drinking beer, and watching the NBA Playoffs… There are no words for how happy I was right then. I couldn’t stop grinning as I leeched modern-nights Americana from the very air. Laurie also told me about a novel pitch he had, which is still secret, but sounded a little bit like a motherfucker of a book with some clever stuff I wish I’d thought of. Thus, I now hate him.
The obligatory shot of the front entrance to the US Airways Centre / Center. That alone would’ve been worth the trip.
Only… Look! Imagine my surprise! More palm trees. Can there be any surer sign a place is hostile to human life than palm trees? Except maybe lava. Lava doesn’t count.
And then, lastly, this:
This wasn’t our hotel; I couldn’t have stayed in a building called that. I’m not ashamed to say that the name made me snigger.