Three Homeless Nights in Chicago

You know how sometimes you look at someone and you think, “That could be me in ten years?” Well, let’s hope those things never become true because in a decade’s time I’ll be a homeless black man. I should back up here because you might now be confused, thinking, “That Chirpy, he ain’t a black man…

Underhanded Tactics at a Baseball Game in San Diego

I went to a Major League baseball game in San Diego. For anyone who doesn’t know the first thing about American baseball, the San Diego Padres are not a good team. Not a good team at all. That’s all you really need to know. The Padres (henceforth to be known as “we” because I like…

Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake, Utah

When you think of America as an outsider, you think of certain places: New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco. They’re shown in movies and TV shows all the time, recognised by their skylines or by their landmarks or by, err, their psychopaths, natural disasters and terrorist atrocities. So when I planned my month-long…

Late-Night Conversation in Los Angeles

There’s only one book that’s ever made me cry. Winnie the Pooh came close, The Koran left me right on the verge, but it was Jack Kerouac’s On the Road that put me over the edge. It wasn’t like Toy Story 3 crying, and not even your-team-getting-relegated crying, it was just a bit of face moisture. If I’ve…

Night at an Amateur Dramatics Group in Los Angeles

I spent two nights in Los Angeles, California, and didn’t even see the Hollywood sign. I did, however, enjoy an evening with an amateur dramatic group in a public library. Yes, friends, that cliché is true. Everyone in LA is an aspiring actor or actress. If anyone tells you different it’s because they want you to…

A Cosy Night in Paris with a Romanian and an Indian

Picture your bedroom at home. You’ve got a bed in there, a double or a king-size if you’re doing well in life, a single if you’re poor and unloved. You’ve got a TV on a chest of drawers maybe. You’ve got a lamp, a bedside table, a wardrobe, some pictures or paintings on your wall,…

Indiana Jones and the Obligatory Petra Reference

Sure, sure, the title doesn’t really make sense. It should really be something like “Petra and the Obligatory Indiana Jones Reference” but that ruins the whole “Indiana Jones and the Something Something” trope. Is trope the right word? This entry isn’t starting very well is it? Is anyone still reading my words or have you…

Couchsurfing a Bedouin Cave at Petra, Jordan

The Bedouin whose cave I couchsurfed at for two nights outside Petra, Jordan, terrified me. He was tall, muscled, had dreadlocks, and was really serious all of the time. He didn’t laugh or smile once, no matter what you said, and he always had some nugget of philosophy to impart. He was like a Rastafarian…

Watching British Sitcoms in San Antonio, Texas

I’m British. I like comedies. I especially like British comedies. But I spent one night couchsurfing with a guy in San Antonio, Texas, who knew more about British comedies than I did. From Grandma’s House to Bread via some inexplicable and awful little-known one-season abomination with a title so unimaginative I’ve completely forgotten its name, he…

Invited For Sex By A Gay Israeli Goat Herder

In Jerusalem I was invited for sex by a gay Israeli goat herder at an LGBT party beneath the walls of the Old City. I had been expecting certain things of Jerusalem: churches and mosques and Western Walls, an assortment of weird and wonderful new food, and maybe a political discussion or two. I wasn’t expecting…