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Welcome to Portland

Peter van Dyk | 21:18 UK time, Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The Bagdad Theater and PubFiona and I are in Portland finalising everything for the two programmes here.

We're at the KOPB studios and in the next cubicle I can hear Ros' co-host April, Eve and Fiona speculating about what people might want to talk about tomorrow. I'm happily blogging away, uploading photos from Columbus and the Bagdad Theater here in Portland - and then the phone rings.

It's Mark, it's 5.30 pm in New York (after a cracking programme from Harlem that I can safely say is unlike anything we've done before) and the rest of the team are stuck in traffic.

We're not going to make the flight, he tells me, please can you find an alternative. Hmmmm. I booked the flights and I'm pretty sure that Jetblue's 7.30 pm flight was the only way to get to Portland in time for tomorrow morning's broadcast. I harangue him a bit for an apparent lack of urgency in the team's efforts to get from Sylvia's to JFK. It was apparent to me at least.

And then, having predicted an hour-plus to get to the airport, they're there at 6pm. Mark called to say so, and said he'd call back when they're safely checked in etc. Probably forgot about that with the relief of making the flight, but they are through and hopefully all the kit should make it onto the plane.

Anyway, that's our little logistical scare of the day. I'm sure there will be another tomorrow, but hopefully nothing to compare with the horror of finding out on Tuesday that we had no ISDN line in Harlem.

Bagdad TheaterBut that's all in the past. The march of our US tour is relentless (just ask Ros, Mark, Vlod and Shona, who have to be at every venue) and now we have to look forward to what we will talk about with Portlanders (Portlandites? Should I have just gone with Oregonians?) tomorrow.

We've already had plenty of suggestions (as well as what we should see and where we should eat while in Portland) but here are the main points of Fiona's chat with April and Eve:

Thursday is World Water Day - Oregon has plenty of water (in fact, it's known for it in much the same way as Britain is) but should it rely so much on hydroelectric power, or consider selling water to drier states to the south?

Another issue that is central to Oregon is the medical use of marijuana. I'll just leave that hanging...

Iraq, of course, is an issue people want to talk about. But can we find a new aspect of the war to talk about? We've heard American and Iraqi views on the current situation, and we've talked about impeaching (or not) President Bush. Is there anything in military recruiters being allowed at schools?

We also wondered about following up on the Harlem programme - we heard some startling comments from the audience there, and got a huge response from Oregon and across the country. What do Thursday's audience think of what they heard on Wednesday?

And a final option for now - how far will leaders go to get their own way? How far should we allow our politicans to have a free hand? There's lots of anger over the treatment of Judges in the US, and can we link it to the row over Musharraf's suspension of Pakistan's top lawyer?


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