Boogie Shoes – KC & The Sunshine Band
Winning Streak. Back in the day this was the main TV game show in Ireland. Might still be. Contestants would go on and spin a wheel or guess something and win money. The easy part was winning. The hard part was getting on. I think you had to buy a scratch card and get three star icons. This then meant you could send the scratch card in where it was put in a drum and each week on the show the name of three lucky contestants would be drawn. Lot of hoops. But. If you ever made it on, you were going to win something. A brand new Opel car! Ohhh. Two thousand euro! Wow. A luxurious holiday away for two! Dear Jesus. I think one extra lucky person at the end got a chance to ‘Spin the Wheel’ where the top prize was 500,000 euro. Something like that.
The wheel was basically a vertical roulette table with different sections indicating different prize amounts. A ping pong ball would be dropped in at the bottom and the extra lucky person would spin the wheel. The nation would then watch the ball dart around the wheel, bouncing along until it slowly came to a stop. Wherever the ball landed, that was your prize. Usually it would hop between 250,000 and 2,000 on the wheel, so you’d get the old “Is she going to win the big prize, is she, she is, she just won-” Ball hops one more time – “2,000 euro”. Ohhh, so close. The softly spoken presenter, who might have previously been a priest, would then say “Unlucky Mary but at least you got something. Aren’t you happy?” “I am” Mary would reply as she waves goodbye at the camera, her family in the audience hold up their banners and flags saying ‘GOOD GIRL MARY!’ ‘UP TYRONE!’ ‘COME ON THE PARISH!’
Classic show. Easy to see why it’s been on air for 20 years. Anyway, I think this show was the reason I always had the impression that luxurious holidays meant a three star hotel in Lanzarote or Turkey, flights included. This is a national lottery TV game show for God’s sake, these must be the best kind of holidays the world has to offer! However, since being in L.A I’ve realised that perhaps this is not the case. Maybe the high life is slightly higher in this part of the world. Take my recent trip. Pretty funking high and mighty. Seven lads and ladies. Off to Miami.
So we leave L.A early. Private jet. Oh Betsy. Read all about it. Land. Two escalades waiting for us on the tarmac. Hop in. Assume my bag is being taken care of. Scuttle off to the hotel. Shore Club. South Beach. Oh. Yeah. Hotel room is slick. High up in the heavens. Big as a bear. Could swing an elephant in here. King sized bed. About two elephants sized. White decor. Purple headrest. Black marble floors. Huge shower and bath, although who takes a bath in a hotel? Glass windows so you can see yourself in the bathroom mirror, if you were to look. Lights in the bathroom are even better than the ones they have in Vegas, makes any old clown look unreal. Seriously. You think you’re ready to go when you step out of the shower. No need to comb my hair or use gel, look at me in this mirror, I’m ready to go! Good for your confidence. Not so good when you realise how you actually look in natural light. Bushy Head Hayes they call me. Balcony opens up to a view of the beach. Steps away. White sands. Blue waters. House music pumping from the pool down below. Winter Music Festival is on. Why we’re here. Any old excuse. Time to get rid of these pants. Time to go have some fun! See a note on the table. ‘Welcome back Mr. Hayes, please enjoy these complimentary drinks’. Champagne. Prawns. Cocktails. They obviously think I’m someone else but I will definitely accept anything that’s complimentary. Dirty martini it is. Pants off. Marti on!
Miami kind of reminds me of a mix between New Jersey, Vegas and a little bit of Cuba. Never actually been to Cuba or New Jersey but I’ve seen photos. I imagine I’m right. Hot. Humid. Sticky. People playing trumpets on the side of the road. Palm trees. Some clouds. Instant sweats. Shacks. Sky scrapers. Built up. Run down. Turquoise. Light pink. Pale white. Dark brown. Latino. Americano. Meat heads. Block heads. Buff bodies. Slabs of human flesh. Steroids raging. Silicon fuming. Fake boobs as far as the eye can see, far more than even in L.A. Short skirts. High heels. Muscle tops. Wet gel. Baby oil. Shimmer tan. Leather hags. Sun drenched. Drudged. Drowned. Delightful. Flash cars. Dull minds. Non-stop shouting. Heys, hoes and yo’s. And this is all just by the hotel lobby. Miami Shore to the core.
So there’s seven of us on the trip: The Man, the Jac, Charlotte, Chowder, Patti, Kailandio et moi, c’est vous plait. Mighty group. Prerogative: Have a laugh. Hmm. I think that can be done. Meet at the hotel lobby for an evening tipple. Move on to some fine restaurants. Head to a poolside party for a port. On to a club for a knees up. Giddy up them steps. The good thing with being on a trip with The Man (one of, at least) is that he always knows where to go for a mighty munch. Whether it’s Cecconi’s, Mr. Chow’s or a little Italian place on the last night whose name I never got, each meal was a full on banquet. Delicious delight. I might have the Marlon Branzino (branzino fish on cherry tomatoes and asparagus), the She Wore Red Velvet (chicken in red sauce with cashews), Leaping Larry the Lamb (tender lamb dripping off the bone), Butter Ball Bass (succulent sea bass that melts in your mouth), What The Duck (crispy duck), Some Sort of Chicken Wrap (chicken in a lettuce wrap) or the Sam, Him (juicy chargrilled salmon).
Whichever it was, the response was usually the same:
Oh. Dear. Jesus. What’s the name of this one again?
Wash down these flawless feasts with some fine wine, espresso martini, or after dinner aperitif. Lording it up. Dessert for anyone who wants (usually everyone bar me, Lord Hayes, keep room for the booze and all). Some chocolate concoction of some sort. And then. We are done. Dancing. Fine. Fed. Fecks. Besides some marriage dispute difficulties at the table – triggered by two members ending up with the one room in our hotel that had a view of a dumpster – I had a simply glorious time!
First two nights we ended up going to a hotel called the Delano. Slick layout. Walk in and you’re greeted by a dark wooden hallway/reception area with huge white pillars running down on each side. Area is scattered with a piano, pool table, bar, wooden wheelbarrow chairs, benches, winery, whites drapes and curtains. Ridiculously high ceiling. At the far side a door way filled with light beckons you to come hither. Hither you go. Stroll out through a restaurant area and into a kind of Greek palace looking spot. Steps lead down to a garden part that feels like an orchard, surrounded on each side by tall plush green bushes. Chandeliers dangling from the trees. Chef cooking a barbeque. Pass him and you’re at the pool, a slab of white marble filled with crisp blue water, lined with palm trees on either side. Even has a classy looking table and chairs in at the shallow end. Feels like you’ve stepped into a Greek palace, basically. From a Lord to a Greek God, I’ll take that.
Seeing as it was the Winter Music Festival, all of Miami was packed with house music heads. This meant the music on offer was pretty mighty. And. Pretty horrendous. Depends where you went. You might have Eric Prydz showing people how it should be done. You might have an Irish Lord Greek God showing another way of how to do it. Or. You might have some absolute wasters rapping and MC’ing over horrific cheesy house remixes. All depends on where you went. Thankfully, the Delano was a gem. I think Pete Tong was the main guy there, accompanied by a DJ selection of his choice. They knew what they were doing. At the end of the Delano pool was the outside bar. Facing that were speakers the size of cars on their hind wheels. Absolute beasts pumping out soulful house. Your clothes were jumping off your body to the beat. Fluffy head of hair dancing along as the bass kicked in. It was class. Soul. Jive. Mighty. Also an underground club on the other side of the pool, so spoilt for choice really. Smaller but a big bucket of fun.
Anyway, that was basically the gist for the night time activity. Day time was more chill. Wake up. Hangover free. Holiday par for the course. Breakside. Poolfast. Stroll out the back gate to the beach. Attempt to put on sunscreen. Wind blows it all away as you spray. End up either patchy or streaky. Either way, pretty burnt. A base, as they say. Lay around on the beach. Observe the randumbers floating about. Have some guy ask if you’d mind minding his two deck chairs that are near yours? I do. He doesn’t hear you. Goes off swimming. You look at the deck chairs. Ah, they’ll be fine. Forget you were put on stranger’s deck chair minding watch. Go off for a stroll. Come back and realise two people have taken his deck chairs. See the guy coming back for a swim. Decide it’s time you go for a swim. Avoid the awkwardness of explaining what happened and how you let two people take his chair. Swim away. Great fun. Burnt to a crisp. Streak on.
Sunday we tried out the pool party at the Shore Club. Got a couple of poof cabanas. Early start. Mimosa time. Music should be good. Hopefully. Right. Come on. Oh no. Is that guy MC’ing over every song this DJ is playing? Sweet Jesus. Make him stop. Here, get off the decks. Give me a go. Who is this little rapping clown? At least there are ten more DJs on the line up today. At least they’ll be goo- Oh no. They’re all horrendous. That’s shame. At least the pool’s busy. And everyone’s having a good time. Right? I mean, look at that guy over there with the hairy back. He’s enjoying it so much he found the time to read a book in the middle of the pool party. What’s the name of the book? How to Make Money and Win at Investments. Now there’s a guy I want to invest in. Wuu. This party is rocking? Or is it the booze? What is this, a mango mojito? Sweet Jesus. Unreal. Oh, it’s a coconut mojito. Yeah, I knew that. Am I drunk? Perhaps? How long have we been here? Seven hours? Oh yeaaah. Fun day.
My gibber is running wild. Tiring me out. I’ll finish with what I thought was the funniest story. Everyone laughed the most so perhaps it was. We’re at dinner on the last night. Italian place. Outdoors. Busy street. Nice spot. Ordered up. Banter flowing. The room with a dumpster has been replaced with an ocean. Everyone’s having a good time. Marriage disputes are over. So I think I’m talking to Chowder across the table when I notice Charlotte get up from her seat a few down from me. Walks past me and asks us if we’re having a good time. As I’m about to answer, she ruffles my humidity fro hair. Both hands. Full on shaking my head. My hair is already a ball of bush so it could barely be more messed up if she tried. However, what no one was expecting was the reaction it would cause in me. See, when I was growing up I used to have perfectly combed hair. As in PERFECT. Comb it back. Comb a centre crease. Part it to the sides. Little fringe bump. Gel would hold it in place. Alfalfa from the Little Rascals style, minus the bit sticking up at the back.
As siblings do, my brother used to know how to wind me up. One such way was to ruffle my perfectly combed hair just as we were leaving the house. Ruin all my hard work. Obviously he would mask it with a “Having a good day, sunshine?” so if my Mum would ask what happened, he would claim he was just being nice. Sure. Blatantly knew it wound me up. A kerfuffle would ensue. As you do. Anyway, whenever somebody over-enthusiastically ruffles my hair ever since, the same feelings jump to the fore. This person is trying to annoy me! They must be stopped. Now obviously Charlotte didn’t realise any of this when she made the fatal error. However, she did ruffle so much it was as if she was trying to dry a child’s hair after a shower. So, my emotions were pushed. Obviously this lead me to do what any man would do:
Turn in my chair to face her. See body parts of hers in front of me. Impulsively ruffle them back with all my might.
I’ll let you piece together what parts they might have been. I’m sitting. She’s standing. Facing me. Do I have to spell it out? Bee. Oobs. Saw them. Saw red. Reacted. Ruffled. For dear might. Anyway, the table witnessed this. So a momentary gasp of silence sucked the air out of the vacuum. Followed by a five minute non-stop chorus of laughter. Kind of awkward in a way, you know what with your buddy, her husband, sitting across the table having just witnessed this all. However, everyone saw the pretty funking funny side of it. Plus. They all saw what happens when you ruffle a Lord God’s hair. Lesson. Learnt.
And on that note. My point is… That’s what a Winning Streak prize should be? No clue. Miami vice. Very nice! Unfortunately the private jet was heading on to the Caribbean. Which meant traveling with the lay folk on the way back to L.A. Tut. Awful. The usual carry on. Poor Kailandio gets stopped at airport security. Her Alexander McQueen purse is confiscated for potentially being a weapon. Some clowns work in these places. When I tried to point out to the security people that the girls’ shoes posed more of a weapon that a purse, the shoes were then almost confiscated. Good work all round. Leave the purse behind. Depart on. Go to our gate. Wait for our flight. Have some New Zealand guy still high as a kite try to be our friend, in an unfriendly, annoying as funk kind of way. Almost get in a fight with him. Dodge on. Board the plane. Realise that guy is sitting on the same aisle as us. Wonderful. Wonder if he will kick off again. Luckily didn’t. Fell asleep. Woke up to learn that he licked the woman’s face in the row of front of him. And then an undercover air marshall arrested him. So. Yeah. Fun. And that was it. Some hoot. Great trip. The end.
Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant