In Cruz control for a trip back in time

editorial image

I was watching ‘The Moaning Of Life’ the other night when I felt cause to leap from my chair, a feat in itself considering I’d been to the gym and was having difficulty in even speaking.

In case you don’t know, it’s a programme on Sky One where Karl Pilkington, erstwhile sidekick to Ricky Gervais, who calls him a “shaven chimp” amongst other unprintable names, travels around the world, basically complaining about things.

A large part of the episode I was watching, which concentrated on people indulging in a range of activities with the honourable intention of improving themselves, was spent in America, and having been lucky enough to travel in the good ol’ USA a couple of times, I was chipping in with a “been there” whenever the chance arose, just to annoy Mrs M who hasn’t.

San Diego and Monterey were two of the places I had nonchalantly picked off before the location changed to Santa Cruz.

Here we saw Karl strolling along the beach front in what my scant media training reminded me was called an “establishing shot” and just to the left of his wee baldy heid was the building that I lived in for six weeks in the summer of 1993.

“That’s where I stayed!” I cried, with the aforementioned, logic-defying, sofa jump.

With the programme now rewound and paused I excitedly gave Mrs M a crash course in all things Santa Cruz.

“Just there, below those windows, right? THAT WAS MY ROOM! And see that building? That was the bowling alley where they had a karaoke bar. And just to the right of that is the car park that you see at the start of The Lost Boys. Have I told you that they filmed The Lost Boys there?”

“Yes. Yes you have,” said Mrs M, nervously anticipating the sight of me disappearing up the loft and emerging with a photo album.

Pause now removed and Karl strolls further along what I had informed Mrs M was called Beach Street.


“OH! MY! GOD! He’s basically right opposite our window now!

“And on that street, right, there’s railway tracks and one day one of the girls who worked at the Boardwalk fairground was late when a freight train went by and took 15 minutes it was that long.

“Did I tell you they filmed the climax of the Dirty Harry film ‘Sudden Impact’ at the Boardwalk too?”

“Yes. Yes you did.”

The rest of Karl’s time in Santa Cruz is a bit of a blur as I drifted off into early 90s reverie about my trip there. And who can blame me?

Three months in California to do whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted to. That’s not going to happen again, that’s for sure.

It was definitely a holiday to remember, though I don’t know if holiday is the correct term. Most holidays up until then had been two weeks in Blackpool with my family. And it was certainly a completely different experience to my last holiday - a week horizontal on a lounger in Tenerife.

Teenage vampires and shaven chimps sadly absent.