I am in a large queue of people, outside some sort of royal palace. We enter through a side door, and are interviewed on a couch by some security service officials. They ask me if I am carrying any weapons, as I shall be going to see the Queen. They are particularly inquisitive about my guitar. They ask if I have ever used it constructively, and I lie, telling them that I played it for an exam once. I suppose they think I could hide an Uzi in it.
Later that night, I am sitting in the second row of an American Airlines jet, waiting to take off. It is dark outside, and the cabin lights are dimmed to that peculiarly orange colour so redolent of airline films (Thursday, Channel 5, 9pm and Saturday, BBC1, 9pm). I take a menu from the seat pocket, and choose between having chocolate cake or chocolate orange truffle for dessert.