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 seventy
seven 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 catch
a 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 their

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 worked
with 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 process
progresses: Que take a seat, take a ticket interview, seat ticket interview… each stage reminds me of  the ape to man picture.


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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