CES: Leaving on a Jet Plane... to Las Vegas

I know Mondays can drag, especially when it's the first one back after a break, but this one has been more protracted than most - 32 hours, in fact. My flight from Gatwick left at about noon on Monday, and after a full ten hours sitting bolt upright in economy class I arrived in Las Vegas for this week's CES at two o'clock the same afternoon. As Mondays go, then, it's been something of an epic.

The flight itself was unremarkable - meals were the usual packaging-flavoured mysteries anyone who's ever flown anywhere at any time will be familiar with. In-flight entertainment was a mixed bag - as my job often entails watching the same three-minute clip of popular movies over and over again I was looking forward to seeing a film all the way through, and sequentially. Those little screens in the headrest of the seat in front don't lend themselves to the full cinematic experience, though, and I had to give up on Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds twenty minutes in - the subtitles were just too small to read.

Gave Michael Mann's Public Enemies a go instead, but found myself bogged down by how unappealing Christian Bale is instead of watching the film. Is it just me, or is the sight of Bale as a cop sufficient to make you root for the bad guys? That parsimonious little slash of a mouth, lipless and spiteful, is currently one of cinema's least appealing aspects. I think it would have been better for all concerned if the Joker had done for him at the end of The Dark Knight.

You're never alone with an iPod, of course, and a flight to the west coast of America means you can tailor your listening according to the place-names shown on the little map of your flight most airlines like to broadcast. So after Glen Campbell's version of Wichita Lineman, Tom Waits' San Diego Serenade, Neil Young's Albuquerque, Bob Dylan's Romance in Durango, Isaac Hayes' take on By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Julian Cope crooning Las Vegas Basement, Dionne Warwick's definitive Do You Know The Way To San Jose? and most of Tim Buckley's Greetings From L.A. the tail end of the flight flew by.

And now that I'm installed on the 50th floor of my hotel with the sun setting over the mountains, this massive Monday seems to have been worth it. I don't imagine there will be much rest tomorrow, either, but at least it will only last 24 hours.

Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? – since then, he's written for titles such as GQ, Metro, The Guardian and Stuff, among many others.