Cooper Brown: He's Out There

'We ended up in a pad high above the city in an outdoor hot tub. What can I say? I love San Francisco'
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The Independent Online

Sometimes I'm not sure why I'm a Conservative, apart from the fact that I love guns. It's not cool or very media-friendly being right wing, and sometimes I just think I'll become a Commie for an easy life. Then I read about yet another draconian attack on my civil liberties in the name of "security" and I remember that the principal ethos of my life is: "Leave me alone unless I'm actually bothering somebody else."

Since New Labour have been in power, the amount of control now used against the ordinary citizen is breathtaking: bans on smoking, hunting, shooting, assembling, protesting, dustbinning... it's a nanny state gone mental. This is when I remember that I'm a Conservative because I can look after myself and don't need some bastard Commie bureaucrat interfering in my life.

The worst is travelling. I flew to San Francisco on Monday... Jesus Christ, do I need a private jet or what? It starts when you get into a cab. An aggressive, ignorant nightclub bouncer drives you to the airport at a rate of about £2 a minute. You can actually see your bank account drain in front of you on the cab's meter. On arrival you have about 10 seconds to hand over £800 to the bouncer while getting your bags out of his car before a tooled-up member of the police starts demanding that you hit the floor before he plugs you full of lead.

Then you have to negotiate the "wall of concrete" to get into the terminal, where you are forced to join huge, snake-like queues full of horrible, ugly families. I show the guy in charge my platinum Amex card and try to get to the front of the queue. He blocks my way and tells me I can't go through. I ignore him and try to push past. He calls over his supervisor and suddenly I'm in a situation where I'm being told that I might be banned from the flight and I'm not allowed to argue back because this is a "security" policy.

We finally come to a sort of agreement whereby I can go through to the next security level. I'm forced into another huge queue where people try to tell me to put a lot of my stuff into a see-through bag. I tell them that I am fine but it's a bit like when you're at a gas station and the teller refuses to accept that you haven't bought gas – but you just want a sandwich.

I finally get to the X-ray machine to see two dopey-looking guys not even looking at the screen as my bag goes through. Next I'm randomly selected to take my shoes off while five bearded Osama-lookalikes waltz through, shoes and all. The whole thing is totally out of control and needs to change and fast or I'll never leave this country again. I know that a lot of you might be happy about this, but I'm serious.

I get to Frisco and it's totally insane. I'd forgotten just how hippy-dippy the whole place is. Even the guys at the airport are totally different from LA, where they can give you a lot of hassle. The guy who stamped me in actually smiled and said: "Welcome home, sir." How cool is that? I headed down to the ferry building to go to my favourite Vietnamese restaurant. The place is So Good, and I spend the whole night there with a couple of old Berkeley buddies as I tell them all about the success I've had in the UK and the marriage, and overall it's a great night.

The next morning I'm a bear with a sore head, and a friend tries to take me out on some Rollerblades up by the Presidio. I give it a go but it's really not my bag (man).

I'm staying at the Clift, a great hotel with the coolest bar in town. The place is packed with hot chicks and gays – a perfect combo for the Coop. I hook up with a couple of Google employees who know more people and have better credit cards than me (very annoying). They take me to a sensational restaurant in Little Italy before we hit a club full of Silicon Valley workers. I always thought Silicon Valley was named after some computer chip but these chicks were stacked and I realised there was a double meaning.

We ended up at this ultra-cool pad on one of the hills high above the city in an outdoor hot tub. What can I say? I love San Francisco. There were moments when I wondered why I bother to live in the UK at all. The States are so far ahead of you guys in so many ways. I guess I like to see myself as a kind of missionary trying to teach you guys the right way to do things. That's my position and I'm sticking to it...

One of the few things luring me back to Britain is that I have become Facebook friends with Catherine Townsend, the female sleep-around columnist who appears on the page before the Coop, as a warm-up act. I almost get more excited reading her column than mine – it's like free porn every Thursday. I've invited her round to the Cooperdome but, so far, she's been non-committal. She's probably too busy... working. Might have to develop a movie about her and get her round to try out the old Cooper casting couch. I wonder if she's a Conservative? Cooper out.

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