4am to 10am Ape to Man at the US Embassy.

Alarm rings out , 4am!   Eyes wide open. By 4.30am my car  takes a swerve of a slip rood and swoops  into the slip stream motorway.  I’m zooming in to the capital, only seventyseven miles to go.  There’s a visa appointment at the American Embassy at 8am. I’m told it’s good to get there at 7.10am.  Plus I need to have spare time to get my visa photos done. I think leaving at 4.30am means I should be able to be at the embassy at 7.10am in Mayfair. I stop at four service stations on my way to London. Not a one has a working photobooth.

At 6am I arrive at the underground car park beneath The Marble Arch on Park Lane.   I know there’s got to be a photobooth at Victoria station so I wait  on Park lane and catcha bus.  London is waking. Gorgeous. I find a photobooth in the station and then return to Park Lane on the bus and walk into Mayfair, to the Embassy. A giant golden eagle looms from the top of the embassy.  It’s a fortress. Armed police stand with their automatic machine guns strapped diaganolly across theirbodies.

There is no-one there except me, first in line. It’s 7am,  but now I have to wait and it starts to get cold. A woman turns up, and we start chatting. We warm to each other.  She works in the record industry, has an office in New York and an office in Hamburg. I have workedwith musicians and record companies in Hamburg.  And from that point on Diane Cheadle and I chat away in the Q then inside the embassy while we wait to be interviewed. There are few female managers in the music industry in the UK. It’s more integrated  in the states,but I can tell she is strong as steel when it comes to her work. She’s a laugh too.

The Visa appointment staff at the embassy are  officious and not unfriendly. The processprogresses: Que take a seat, take a ticket interview, seat ticket interview... each stage reminds me of  the ape to man picture.

image

You know the one. First the illiterate crouching ape with  hands and feet on floor - that’s how it feels going into the embassy -  and then the ape starts to stand a little   - that’s me in the Q at the embassy. The last image, the walking man... that's  me leaving the embassy.  "Visa" as Gordon Ramsey might say "sorted".

Now I am worthy of walking  back through Mayfair,  Londons most exclusive district.     The Visa will be posted  early next week between 6 and 8am at a cost of Thirty four pounds.  Nice. Oh how human I feel now, with my stamp and all, I can stand tall.

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