Mark Twain said the coldest winter he ever experienced was summer in San Francisco. Fooled by blue sky and palm trees when we drove in, I failed to realise this city has its own micro-climate direct from the Arctic Circle. The first thing I had to buy was another sweater and hot coffee. Thus fortified, we rode the platform on the cable car down to Fisherman's Wharf where the waterfront is full of buskers and the water is full of seals.
Back in time for another open-mic spot, at Cafe Lucca. The last three nights I've been regaling the locals with me pomes. There was open-mic at Camerons English Pub, which has a red phone box & a London bus outside it, but otherwise is big & bombastic American-style so my set had a certain novelty cachet, especially as all the other performers were musicians. Most of them turned up at Cafe Lucca the next night, and Saturday was even better, the whole cafe filled with appreciative audience for both Mo's singing and my extended poetry session. So thanks to all you generous Californians for coming along to hear a writer from England, and for being so exceedingly nice about what you heard.
There's a significant ripple of interest in the election along the California coast, with a healthy rash of Obama car stickers and street merchandise, and a spoof debate doing the rounds. But the big news over here currently is Halloween. They take macabre seriously here. We went shopping for costumes at a hangar-sized building dedicated to vampires, ghouls, and other life-sized grotesques. Those evil-faced pumpkins are just a start, you can buy anything revolting from a bloodshot eye that walks to a torso that crawls, any costume from the tooth fairy to a plateful of poo, a vampire outfit for your dog or for $300 a family of gothic zombies.
Am I going to pass scornful comment on this national obsession? Of course not, I wouldn't be so rude. I'll simply say what San Mateo Coffee Company says to promote its Pumpkin Spiced Latte: " We hold this to be self-evident."