"Los Angeles fired up for Tony Blair visit," the LA Daily News breathlessly informed its readers yesterday, going on to describe how the 1,800 tickets for the little leader's gig at the Bonaventure Hotel sold out, even at $80 apiece. "In a city where celebrity is taken for granted, one of the hottest tickets in town is for a politician - albeit not your ordinary back-slapping type," wrote the paper's Rick Orlov.
On his way from the cool north to the sweaty south, Blair will meet Californian aristocrats such as the Schultz family - George was big in the Reagan era - who are hosting a reception for him in San Francisco on Friday, and meet kingmakers like his old friend Rupert Murdoch as he addresses the annual News International shin-dig on Sunday at the golfer's paradise of Pebble Beach.
On Monday he'll meet Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the sumptuously phoney Getty Villa, where he can learn about the 12 Labours of Herakles - which makes the battle against Clause 4 look like a cakewalk. And he may even get a glimpse of Arnold, as Schwarzenegger and Blair both attend a forum on the environment on Tuesday.
And who knows, Tony may even hit the surf. But why California? "The reason," the No 10 website helpfully explained, "is that there is a crisis in the Middle East and the prime minister wants to get as far away from it as possible."
Actually, it didn't say that. Instead, it explained that California "is the sixth or seventh-largest economy in the world ... which is similar to ours in that it is a new economy increasingly based on heavy knowledge-based industries".
So, it turns out all that innovative New Labour zeal, that crusading spirit of enquiry, really has been drained from Blair: he's chosen to go on holiday somewhere just like home.
Except that his advisers may have misled him on this one.
Tony, some things you should know, dude.
There really is very little similarity between California and the UK.
Never, ever go more than a few sentences without saying this word, dude. Forget all the "Comrades, and I say to you" stuff. Dude is probably the most totally awesome thing you can say while you're here.
Dude, this is a literally awesome word, invented in California by surfer dudes (alright!) to describe anything that is literally, like, awesome.
Like is, like, the valley mantra. If you say the word like, like every few words, you are totally telling your listeners that you are from, like, the valley.
4. The valley.
This is not the valley that you, prime minister dude, know from your awesome time with Nye and the dudes. This is an altogether much flatter, less green valley, a place where rivers die, strawberries grow and strip malls proliferate.
There's a lot of them in the valley, picking fruit and shit. Many of these Mexicans are from Mexico, some are from other places that, dude, without being heavy, may as well be Mexico. Awesome.
6. The governor.
Don't call him Arnie. That's way too British. In California he is known as Arnold, or The Arnold. And the addition of a comic Austrian accent always brings laughs from a sophisticated audience. Mimic his pronunciation of
Kahl-ee-faw-nyah - a surefire vote winner. But remember, Arnold was once in the movies. This makes him far more important than any politician.
7. The mayor.
Well, the mayors. California boasts two mayors with a national profile: Gavin Newsom in San Francisco and Antonio Villaraigosa in Los Angeles. Newsom is not the sort of politician a good Catholic like you should spend too much time on. His outspoken support for gay marriage and his bullish leadership of sincity means that he will never meet the pope.
8. Orange County.
You've seen this one on the telly, dude. The OC - home to hipsters, surfer dudes, Ryan and Marissa, John Wayne airport, the Minutemen, theme parks and your friends and allies, the US Marines at Camp Pendleton. Semper Fidelis, dude!
California is home to some of your life-forming listening, Tony. The Doors, the Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and Albert Hammond, singer of the bittersweet seventies hit 'It Never Rains in California' (he wrote it in London). And nobody summed up the cultural finesse of living in Los Angeles better than honorary Londoner Woody Allen, who in Annie Hall described it as "a city where the only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light".
10. Things not to mention:
Earthquakes, drought, fires, Charles Manson, George W Bush, Enron, the Lodi terrorist cell, Richard Nixon, the death penalty, how hot it is in England, Warren Beatty, the prison system, immigration reform, Ohio, looted antiquities, smog, the price of petrol, community farming, New York City.
And the Middle East.
Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited
*Totally awesome and for sure one of the best satires I've like - ever read, dude!