Stephen Fry continues his American journey by taking a look at the dramatic landscapes and peoples of the South West, meeting physicists, Navajos and semi-naked Mormons.
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This is not the South, this is not the Midwest. This is the True West.
The West of cowboys and of westerns.
A landscape that America shares with nowhere else on Earth.
'This is the Rio Grande rift, a tear in the Earth's crust,
'through which the Rio Grande flows south towards Mexico.'
The river has an iconic place in the American imagination.
It marks much of the southern border,
but also the beginning of a new frontier, west of the Rockies.
A frontier that rolled ever westward
as the pioneers, gold diggers, oilmen and homesteaders
transformed, in a matter of decades, the lawless Wild West of legend
into the most affluent and vibrant place on the planet.
You have timed this very well, I must say!
From here in the foothills of the Rockies in northern New Mexico,
I will drop into the spectacular deserts and canyons of Arizona,
Utah and Nevada, before crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains,
finally to reach the Pacific Ocean at San Francisco, California.
On the outskirts of Taos,
a favourite haunt of artists and hippies,
a very American phenomenon has sprung up
on the semi-arid desert of the high mesas.
The Earthships have landed and put down their rather untidy roots.
Born of the counter culture movement of the '60s and '70s,
these eco-friendly dwellings are still in the forefront
of sustainable housing, not least
due to the inspiration and dedication of founder Mike Reynolds.
Yeah, we launched about 38 years ago into this realm
and just kept going deeper, because we kind of got our eyes opened
by early media talking about clear cutting timber
and early oil shortage,
talking about energy, and we just kind of moved in this direction.
And then, of course, more timber issues, more energy issues,
more water issues, more pollution issues, more garbage issues,
more housing issues, so we just kept going.
We saw we were on a path that could lead to our own safety in the future.
Goodness me, it's the scale of it that's so surprising.
Yeah, this one's a little larger scale than a typical home,
because we're trying to demonstrate a large portion
of the square footage for food production.
-Including herbs, I see.
-Yeah, herbs and fruits and grapes.
There is actually grapes starting over here.
Pretty much the idea is a family of four could live here
with no utility bill whatsoever, be totally comfortable,
have plenty of water and plenty of food.
You've got lots of bottles everywhere,
into the cement, or into the adobe as it's...
Both, it's cement and adobe.
The wall outside is bottles laid in mud,
which you could totally do in Africa without any cement whatsoever.
-As are the cans.
-It dries and becomes a bottle and mud wall.
Which is both beautiful and, of course, somehow,
a rather good symbolic reminder
of all the detritus that we tend to leave behind.
And you say you use photovoltaic, ie solar, panels?
Solar panels, they are pretty common.
But the reason they are not used that much is because most housing
requires a tremendous amount of power
for heating, cooling, and pumps and all kinds of things like that.
Whereas these homes do most of everything for themselves,
so what little bit of power we need
is easy to achieve with solar, photovoltaic cells.
And here you've got, you know, all the normal kitchen things,
lights and coffee machine and cooker and so on.
Yeah, flat screen TV and computers.
In other words, you don't have to do without anything to live
-completely independent of all fossil fuel utilities.
-That is amazing.
Is it done through there, the electricity?
Well, this back hallway is kind of a buffer zone
between the living spaces and the exterior walls.
And it does show how the walls are built in this home,
they are earth ram tyres.
You could drive a pick-up truck into that,
and, you know, go through the windshield yourself.
And there, actually, is the water organising system
with the pumps and filters.
So that you have conventional household hot and cold running water.
-Do you recycle the water?
-Yes, we do, we have a limited amount
of water in this arid climate, so we take the water from the cisterns,
run it through our filters, take a shower in it,
then it runs into these planters.
What, the plants actually filter the grey water, as they call it?
They filter the grey water and actually clean it up,
so we flush the toilet with water you took a shower in yesterday.
But it's clean. It's not drinkable, but it's clean enough that you can't
tell it, it's certainly clean enough for a toilet flushing.
And then that water goes out into a conventional septic system,
which, rather than going into a drain field or a municipal sewage area,
goes into more outdoor botanical cells that are used for landscaping.
So no sewage ever leaves the home. It's used by plants.
And that's very unlike the way we do things
in the 20th and 21st century,
where we like to send our poo away as far as possible
and not really to think about it,
and to think about the enormous quantities of it that we produce.
'Mike's vision of a sustainable, self-reliant lifestyle
'is gaining wider recognition, as both the financial
'and the environmental cost of oil seems inexorably to rise.
'Not so long ago, this was the only way to live.
'For hundreds of years before Europeans invaded these lands,
'the local Indian population had adapted to this harsh environment
'by banding together in adobe or mud-wall villages -
'pueblos, in Spanish.'
And hence their name, the Pueblo Indians.
New Mexico has one of the highest percentages
of native Americans of any state.
I'm in Santa Fe, which was America's very first capital city
when it was founded in 1610 by the Spanish
and given the splendid name,
La Villa de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis.
Today, it is the state capital of New Mexico,
but it's justifiably proud of its Pueblo Indian and Spanish heritage.
It is the architectural jewel in the crown of the south west,
and even if the adobe style is a spot over-indulged,
it makes a change to be able to walk around an American city.
Well, this is just another old Santa Fe courtyard, stuffed
with colourful knick-knacks for the tourist trade, you might think.
But actually, this was once the most secret address in the world.
It was simply a post office box, 1663, and it was the only conduit
from a rather special place in the mountains.
So this is the centre of nuclear America,
the nucleus, if you like, the cradle.
It's where it all began, it's where mankind first learnt
to harness the power of the atom.
Both a terrible and a magnificent event, I suppose.
And that building there, that half timber building,
was, in the 1930s and '40s, a school that actually boasts such alumni
as the literary figures Gore Vidal and William Burroughs.
And it was that school that was bought by the US government
and formed the kernel of the Los Alamos nuclear research laboratory.
This is the Quark Bar in Los Alamos.
Those of you who are good at physics might remember
that a quark is an elementary particle
named after a James Joyce word.
I don't know what this place makes me think of.
There is something very moving and very extraordinary
about the photographs of the pioneers.
There is a kind of optimism in big science,
and there is an optimism in being American.
And when the two come together, you create an astonishing energy,
rather like the energy that they created
when they split that atom and made that first bomb.
I suppose some would think
this is a grizzly place, a place of death.
But to me, I see nothing but optimism,
that's probably because I believe in science.
Many people these days don't.
I think America, for all its faults, still does.
Los Alamos still looks after America's nuclear arsenal,
But with its 2.5 billion budget and its massive supercomputers,
it's at the cutting edge in practically every area of research.
'Terry Wallace is Director of Science at the lab.'
Oh, that's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!
I can't begin to guess what it does.
So what we really have here is a very fancy electron microscope.
It's a microscope?
So we can prepare the materials
and look at them on a sub-microscopic level.
And at the same time, be able to probe them with ions,
so we can get the chemistry, the dynamics of the materials.
And it's everything from organic matter
to wafers of this, that and the other, is it?
The work that's going on here right now
really is concentrated on films,
in which we can push individual atoms around on the film.
And the idea would be able to build atom-based circuits
so you can have a quantum computer.
Los Alamos National Laboratory.
They are taking individual hydrogen atoms and moving them.
So those are hydrogen atoms,
that are spelling...
You are actually corralling the hydrogen atom, pushing it into...
So we grab those with probe tweezers, and we can spell out LANL.
So you have all this power of quantum mathematics behind you,
and this extraordinary supercomputer,
are there other areas that you are developing?
A substantial effort into what we call "living machines".
So can we make materials that self-reproduce?
Now, the idea there that we are working on
right now in the research is not focused on making living systems,
but systems which are self-aware.
And the example I would use is that if we could,
instead of having just normal concrete on a bridge,
we could have this self-aware material on the outside,
it could heal its own cracks with stress, when time comes along.
And so, I think this is a very realisable dream.
Our laboratory is here for one reason,
that's national security science.
But to be able to get to do national security science,
you have to be at the frontiers of science.
And since so much work is done here,
it's attacked about 3.5 million times a day
from all the different ways to try to either probe our information...
Hackers trying to get in.
But they are mainly state-sponsored hackers, and so...
Really? So, countries which we won't name,
but let's say they rhyme with "shina" and "bussia",
actually have people constantly, as it were,
-hammering at your digital gates, trying to get in.
Oh, my Goodness! I dare say Britain does too.
When the theory and then the practice of the power of the atom
was proved it was the most momentous moment in science's history, really.
Is there anything in science now which will yield
equivalent astonishment, do you think, in the future?
The real answer, I mean, we don't understand dark energy.
So, our solar system is filled with dark matter
and we see the interaction with dark energy, and...
Because energy and matter are consubstantial, because of Einstein.
Exactly, and so, potentially, the concept of what we can get
from dark energy or the conversion with dark matter could dwarf anything
that we see within our particular system of light matter,
or what we see.
Leaving the boffins at Los Alamos to ponder the conundrum of dark matter
and dark energy, I head for the light.
Possibly the best light to be found in the entire country.
This is Monument Valley,
part of the Navajo Indian reservation
that straddles Arizona and Utah.
'I'm meeting up with Jameson, a Navajo whose family
'have lived here from long before the coming of the Europeans.'
In 1938, John Ford shot his first western here, Stagecoach,
which was also John Wayne's first western, I think.
He did nine more movies here. Have you ever seen any of those movies?
Yeah, I did, yeah.
It's all because of Mr Goulding.
-Yeah, now, Mr Goulding, he was a trader?
-In the 1920s and 1930s?
How did he get John Ford here?
Well, they said that he went around and took pictures of the valley,
and then he made a trip down to Hollywood.
And he wasn't really accepted into the office,
in Hollywood, but he slipped the pictures underneath the door.
So when they saw those pictures,
they were, you know...
They were amazed by what they saw.
-And that's what brought John Ford here?
'In the hogan, the traditional home,
'Jameson's sister, Sally, has something to show me.'
What we do is, like, if we want to make a basket,
if we don't have material, we have to go out to Colorado
or Utah but it's still, like, 300 or 400 miles.
-Really, this is where these trees grow?
So you have to look for something long, like this one, that grows.
-And it's got to be bendy?
-So are they quite young?
They are shoots.
And what's the name of the plant?
-This is called sumak.
And what we do is split them into three parts, like this.
It's a lot of work just to do this.
But you have to know how to do that. If you don't, you just break them.
Oh, that's beautiful.
Oh, it's like the pith, yeah?
-So one shoot becomes six different parts.
Three. Each one has the pith taken out and you discard it.
So it's flat on one side, and you pull that.
And then this is the one that we have to put it up and let it dry.
And it takes a couple of days to dry, what we do is we take off that.
Oh, my goodness.
So this is the one that we use to weave with,
this is the one that we colour.
So this is what it is, right there.
Ah, yes, white and black.
So those four colours are the ones you use.
Yeah, and then we start off with sumak, like this one here.
Ah, so you leave one which you don't peel, you don't divide.
And that becomes... And you coil it up.
And then, when you're weaving, this one has to be moist.
And then what I do is...
I have to make a hole in here.
-Will you let me have a try?
I might well screw up.
You don't ever stab that finger by mistake? Do you?
No, my hand is always right here.
Ah, you keep it out of the way.
OK, put that on my lap, yeah. Oh, Lord!
OK, so the hole goes here, yeah?
-Don't poke your knees!
-No. Is that going to go through?
Oh, it's gone through.
And that's going to go through.
Oh, I hope the hole's big enough.
Back out the other side and pull.
I've made my first loop.
-Is this an important source of income for you?
It is, it's your major source?
And the tourists, how much do you charge?
I mean, because they seem very good value to me.
Yeah, if it's a twenty-inch, I sometimes sell it
for, like, 3,000, 6,000, 7,000.
Well, I think it's fantastic.
Have you got any... oh, you've got ones here.
Yeah, this one is called a traditional ceremonial basket,
and they call it the wedding basket.
The middle is the earth, and this is the mountain,
and this is the rainbow, and the clouds.
And this one right here, we never close it, we always have an opening.
And it's the mind, the spirit line.
Which goes between and through all the different elements.
This is the same, but with different colours.
It's very skilful and lovely.
I shall have to buy one now.
I may not buy one of your 3,000 ones, though!
'You can see why Ford was drawn to this place
'and why Navajo like Jameson and his family have no desire to leave.'
If ever there was a place where humans can feel connected
to some sense of the spirit world, this is it.
'Exposure to the spiritual always leaves me more than usually peckish.
'Jameson's wife answers my prayers.'
-This is Navajo fried bread?
-Navajo fried bread, I'm making.
-She makes the best fried bread ever.
Family loyalty, but I believe it.
I think it's great that you are all speak Navajo.
Because I was up in South Dakota on the reservation with the Lakota,
and they were saying that 10% of the children speak Lakota now,
and that's terrible, isn't it? You lose the language.
Yeah. Few years back, they were saying that they had a complaint
about kids kind of forgetting their language.
Really? So they are making an effort now,
in college and school, everybody learns.
Look at those steaks! I'm a bit tempted, can I taste some of that?
I'll tear a bit off.
Oh, my, that's as good as it gets.
It's light, it's fluffy.
Good, isn't it?
-Here, you can help yourself, all of you.
-Oh, that's good.
Right, here's the plates.
-Oh, what a place to eat! Isn't it?
But what's amazing to me is that you manage to live here,
right in the middle of Monument Valley
and have a private family life, while today, there are probably,
what, a thousand tourists up there, in cars, going round,
and you wouldn't know they were there, would you?
Some, they really want to step inside and talk to the family,
sometimes they'll do that, they just walk over here
and say a friendly hello, and we just go along with it.
-You don't mind that?
-Cos you wouldn't go down an American street
in the city and just open somebody's door and go, "Hello!"
Bordering the Navajo reservation, Lake Powell stretches for 250 miles
in a filigree pattern of extraordinary beauty.
Looking at these ancient rocks,
it's easy to think this would be a scene
you could imagine thousands of years ago.
But actually, it's only been visible for the last 30-odd years.
This is the completion of the great project
of damming the Colorado River.
And this is an artificial lake, a man-made lake.
It's the Colorado River risen up into an old canyon.
And maybe that's what adds its spooky kind of atmosphere,
the fact that there is no life that's grown up with the lake.
It's a new lake, so nature hasn't yet caught up with it.
Maybe in a hundred years, the kingfishers and the grasses
and the reeds and things will make this a proper aquatic environment,
but at the moment, it's more like an album cover
or a computer-generated image.
This is going to be conceivably eggy.
The one word in the American phrase as you know probably is "over easy".
"Over easy" is when you flip it over and just barely cook it,
just to get the, you know, the runny bits off the top cooked.
The problem with that is the word "easy".
How do I get that over? Ohh, come on!
Now it's broken, well, it's not exactly broken,
but half the white's sheared off it, and if I flip that over,
I can guarantee it's going to burst in a... Ahh!
Hmm, it's not bad.
The extraordinary thing about Lake Powell
is that it's not better known.
It's as if someone filled the Grand Canyon with water.
Admittedly, we are not at high season now,
but we are about the only boat on this huge stretch of water.
HE WHISTLES AND CLAPS TO MAKE ECHOES
-That's...what do you call that?
-That's Navajo Mountain.
Navajo mountain. So that's very particular to your people.
That's another one of our sacred mountains.
Rob Bighorse, my Navajo captain,
wants to show me something very special to his people.
The largest natural bridge in the world.
The Greek goddess of the rainbow was called Iris.
Which is why we call the eye the iris, because it's like a rainbow.
All the spectrum is there with all the colours, if you look at it.
So, would you like to tell me about the story of that?
Legend has it that there was a little boy that got lost here,
and to make it across, back across, the deities made a rainbow.
And he made it back across, and after that, they just turned it into stone.
And since then, it's been sacred to the Navajo?
It's been sacred to the Navajo.
And how is that sacred nature shown?
-By never going over it of underneath it.
I read somewhere that actually,
-you could fit the Statue of Liberty under there.
Western science has its own explanations, what is that?
-That it's caused by wind or water?
-Yes, by water.
So at one point, the river, they say, was high enough
to have carved this out through the rock?
Yes. Just carved right through it, and there you have it.
'I've jacuzzied my way around the world,
'but this just about beats it all, I have to say.
You know, there are 1,900 miles of shoreline
on this man-made lake, it's quite extraordinary.
Very American, isn't it, to do it in this kind of brash style?
And I have to say there's a part of me that is entirely suited
to this Mr Toad-like way of getting around a lake!
Others would pull on paddles and oars, but not I.
'Leaving the other-worldly landscape
'and my gloriously gargantuan house-boat,
'I realise just how much Americans are used
to super-sizes in everything.
The distances out West are just vast, so it's with relish
that I'm going to hitch a ride the 400 miles south to Tucson, Arizona,
in another super-sized form of American transport,
the Boeing B17 Flying Fortress.
This is extraordinary.
I've been on a British Lancaster bomber,
but only as far as taxi-ing is concerned.
This is a first for me to fly in a 1940s bomber.
'The cloudless skies of the West make it the perfect place for flying
'and the United States Air Force has bases dotted all about.
'I'm heading for Davis-Monthan in Tucson.'
It's too loud for conversation,
so everything has to be done by signals.
They have headsets,
but they have to keep to very simple commands.
You know, the bomber crews had a really tough life,
there was nothing glamorous or romantic
about being a member of a bomber crew.
There were 5, 6 or 7 of them, depending on the nature
of the flight, and they all had incredibly difficult jobs to do.
They were very mathematical jobs.
They were constantly having to adjust for magnetic deviations,
and the compass, they were having to fly by dead reckoning
with pencil and paper to find out where they were.
They had to work out their height and their glide
and climb attacks, all sorts of technical stuff.
'There was nothing of the dashing warrior
'of the air about them, as there was for the fighter pilots.'
'They never really got the thanks at the end of the war
'for the job they did. I suppose we were all too embarrassed about it.'
Raining fire on civilians
was not something that we should be proud of.
As you might imagine,
there are quite a few air force bases throughout the West.
The guaranteed hours of sunlight
make it an ideal place to send young pilots for training.
But there are other functions, too.
This air force base is very special indeed.
It's where American aeroplanes go when they are retired.
Over 3,000 of them, worth an estimated 30 billion,
injected with synthetic rubber and wrapped in protective cling film.
But don't be fooled - at a single sound of a bugle,
they could rise again to serve their country.
They are not dead, they are just mothballed,
sealed up for the time being.
Line after line of them.
attack aircraft, surveillance aircraft, supply aircraft,
helicopters, fast jets,
great lumbering transports.
When I was a child, I used to think these tall cactuses
were the entire invention of cartoonists.
I didn't really believe there could be such a thing.
And to see them now in virtual forests is such an iconic American sight, isn't it?
It's called something like Carnegiea gigantea
and they have white flowers and an edible red fruit
but they don't seem to be fruiting at the moment.
And they are very often rude, of course,
because they have two arms and other protuberances.
If there was an Arizona That's Life, then Esther Rantzen would be receiving rude cactuses very week.
But they are noble - some of them are up to 45 feet.
Some of these saguaro cacti are over 100 years old
and were well into their middle-age, when the Tucson film studios started life here
as an alternative base to Hollywood for shooting Westerns.
Since 1939, it has been graced by everyone from Jimmy Stewart to the Duke, John Wayne, himself.
The studios are still used for filming, as well as being an attraction for us out-of-towners.
-That's a stagecoach you got there, mister.
-It is pretty fancy, isn't it?
-You don't see too many around these parts.
-Never seen one in my life.
You should come to London, you will see hundreds of them.
Mind you, we don't see many cowboys in London, so it's a fair exchange.
Well, well, Fry.
I thought I told you.
We don't like your kind in this town.
You see, me and my boys here, we run this town.
We don't like you here.
Yes, well, you've told me a number of things in the past
and none of them have left me singularly impressed.
Well, looks like we outnumber you three to one.
So how best you get on your horse and ride right out of my town?
Well, that seems to have evened the odds up a little, doesn't it?
Fine by me, Fry.
I wanted to kill you anyway.
Oh, really? Many have tried, Marshall, few have succeeded.
Only two, in recorded time, have succeeded in killing me
and even they didn't do it very well.
-Well, I'll do it right this time.
-Make your move.
Ooh, that hurt.
Ooh, it's...it's rather like...
-You think about that next time.
Oh, excuse me, I think I may be having a death scene.
Oh, sweet mother of mercy, is this the end of Stephen Fry?
You win, Marshall.
Yes, we showed that sheriff a thing or too, didn't we, Spinoza?
He'd never heard of phenomenology, can you imagine such a thing?
Let's see what this town has to offer us, shall we?
The Three Amigos!
Eschewing my taxi for an eagle's-eye view,
I travel the 350 miles north towards Las Vegas, Nevada,
passing the famous stretch of the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon.
At its westernmost end, the river is once again tamed.
This time, by the Hoover Dam - an extraordinary engineering feat,
born out of the great public works after the Depression.
It's the dam that has created the water and light
that powers the oasis of wealth, beauty, opulence and vulgarity
that is Las Vegas today.
Look at that!
PILOT: And you have The Rio and The Palms.
Sin City, as Vegas was known in the days of the Rat Pack, has evolved.
Today, less than half its revenues come from gambling.
Business Conventioneers are the new high rollers and with them come a host of arcane management rituals.
The newest entrant in this lucrative field is an outfit called Spy Games.
-There has been an incident.
Really? Well, do come in.
Will you take the time to read the letter, please? Are you alone?
Yes, I am...tragically.
-They call me Trixie.
"Mr Fry, you have been personally selected to join forces
"with the notorious Las Vegas crime boss, known as 'The Boss'.
"You will be acting as our mole
"in the newly-formed group of CCI special agents that think they can outsmart us."
Here is the deal, Mr Fry. There has been a kidnapping.
I've done the kidnapping.
The problem is that the agents are getting a little too close.
I need to know that I can trust you.
Right. The agents of...?
-The agents of the Agency.
-Are getting too close?
-Yes, to me, to the Boss. I need your help.
-Right. I'm on your side, am I?
-Yes, I hope so. Can I trust you?
'Can Trixie trust me? Can I trust her?
'Vegas, where the unthinkable, if you're not careful, becomes reality.'
Sir, why do you have your glasses on your paper?
-Ah, these. Well, I use these for limited vision.
-Why aren't they on your face?
-Why aren't they around your neck?
-Because they are only necessary when I'm reading. I have presbyopia.
-Are you being difficult?
-Get up against the wall. Get up against the wall. Spread.
-Are you laughing?
-Yes, because this was what I was looking forward to.
-All right, we have case 257.
The mission. We have received information that Michael Caprio,
the PR director of Chippendales, has been kidnapped and he is in danger.
Your PR director has been kidnapped,
so you can't dance for those ladies if we don't get him back.
The Boss has planted his spies throughout the city to take watch over the current situation.
These spies are expecting a visit from informants
whom they've never met face to face,
but are identified by a secret code word.
The special agents are to pose as informants by using the code word to gain information,
where the ransom is going to take place and discover who the Boss truly is, since we have no idea.
So do you guys get what's going on?
-You want us to pretend to be informants for the Boss?
Exactly. Man, he is bright!
Your team must select a team leader, appoint a case file agent...
'Spy Games run corporate bonding and team leadership courses.
'All that management guff I have luckily been able to avoid in my life. That is, until now.
'Only this course seems rather more complicated
'than firing a paint gun at a portly middle-management colleague called Dick.'
-Are you on our team?
-Yes, I am on your team.
I'm the only one who might look as if he isn't a Chippendale.
'I'm tagging along today with some of the Chippendales,'
one of the big hits on the strip for the past five years.
I don't know why they need this but self-improvement is a fundamental American right
and they seem to take it pretty seriously.
Oh, gotta get the camera.
I am so sorry.
'I think we are off on the hunt to find informants who have been planted all over the city.
'And unless I've got it wrong, my job is to sabotage the whole thing.
'Not quite sure how this helps team-building. Maybe I'm a lesson in the limits of trust.
'Or just a pawn in a game I don't understand.'
Excellent. This is fun, isn't it? Nice pool, nice day. 'Nice breasts!'
'Anyway, what is abundantly clear is that Americans love this stuff
'and take it all on board without a hint of the sneering or cynicism
'that I fear my compatriots might indulge in. Not I, of course.'
-The Boss talks about a guy named Whyler a lot.
-But I've never seen them together.
-The hostage exchange...
-We have the phone number, the picture...
..is going to take place by the railroad tracks.
In essence, it's like a treasure hunt.
'And, baffled as I am, it's an amusing way to see the mega resorts which have taken over the strip.'
You've got the bureaucratic side of spying.
One clue solved, so we're off to another of the many themed casinos.
-Remind me what we are looking for here?
-Well, we do not know. We are coming here for a clue.
So we've just got to hope for a text.
"Locate Jugs - Star Trek experience."
And now we have to find a man called Jugs
and we have to take photographic evidence of our meeting.
Excuse me, sir, would you take a picture for us?
That would be very kind, thank you very much.
'But being the cunning double agent that I am, I've turned off the flash.'
Is it on the wrong setting?
Well done, James.
'I'm beginning to enjoy my duplicity.
'Maybe I should have taken that job with MI6 after all.
'Oh, and I must exchange a token with Jugs, without the chips twigging - all very Spooks.'
You're right, I'm so sorry.
-You gotta make sure you count Jugs in.
He had a hand off, he has tried twice to misdirect us in the directions...
And I think he took the flash off the camera.
He is trying to slow us down.
He also keeps leaving the camera. That's why it's in Sean's hands now.
So, we are at the Hilton and we are going to the Grand, we think, yes?
One, two, three, four, five stops.
OK, gentlemen, we do have some things on our mind right now and that is the mole.
So if everybody, right now, would empty their left pocket.
-Way to go! Gentlemen, I think we have found our mole.
-Why, why, why?
-Because, one, I saw you hand it to Jugs.
Plus, at the Star Trek Experience you tried to misguide us.
Even when I told you the right way, you tried the other way.
You also turned the flash off, so we couldn't take a picture.
And you tried to leave the camera on the bar.
So, with all these things, every time we talked it over as a group, we've decided you're the mole.
'I have to admit the Chippendales are not just a bunch of pretty pecs,
'and like so many Americans, they just seemed instinctively to get to this, whereas I don't.
'If only their foreign policy was this sophisticated.'
I'm a weasel, I'll fight for anybody.
'Well, we seem to be reaching a climax of this thriller.'
We think so far, we've seen Wyler. That's the guy is on the station.
We think may be the Boss, the Boss who recruited us in the first place is actually the Boss.
Plus, the one who recruited me and calls herself Trixie.
She's called Trixie. That's what she told me her name was.
'So, we make the rendezvous and the game plays out.
'It turns out that Trixie is probably the real boss and... Oh, who cares?!
'What's important is that the Chips are better bonded
'and I've at least learned that I'm no more cut-out to be a spy than a Chippendale.
'Oh, well. That's two more career doors slammed in my face.'
One of the lesser-known facts about Las Vegas
is that in some respects you could say the city was founded not by the mafia,
not by property developers but by the Mormons, of all people,
the Church of Latter Day Saints.
When they founded their home city of Salt Lake,
back in the 19th century,
they then sent out other Mormons towards California.
And every 50 miles, which was as far as a telegraph could reach
without needing a relay station,
they would set up a community, a settlement of some kind.
And on the way, at the 50-mile marker,
hit this little place in the desert.
It seems a very, very unlikely mixture -
Mormonism and Las Vegas -
but I'm actually going to what you might call a...
secret photographic shoot involving Mormons,
right here in the city of Las Vegas.
How did you get this idea, Jad?
Ah, it actually came to me last year.
I was talking with friends and thought,
"You know wouldn't it be funny if, you see the fire-fighter calendars,
"you got the police calendars, Marine calendars...
"Well, what about Mormon missionary calendars?"
Yes, it's very tongue in cheek, it's very funny,
it also has a really deep-rooted message about tolerance,
about accepting and about tearing down those religious barriers.
Is this the kind of thing that might cause the elders to frown
and raise eyebrows, if you can do both at the same time?
Um, no, I think if we went any past this they might, um,
you know, we're not doing anything they can frown upon.
-We're not breaking any rules.
No, right. What about the structure of the church?
In the Church of England, or the Episcopalian church as it's called in America,
there are Bishops and Priests, and a hierarchy, if you like.
Is there a hierarchy, you have elders?
Yes, there's the Prophet, who overseas the whole church.
-Oh, so there is an equivalent of a Pope, an absolute head.
We want this to be a real angelic look
because that's like a belief, you know, the Mormon beliefs are based on a lot of angels.
-There is this thing about celestial sort of...
So you could become an angel?
Well, it's more than just becoming an angel.
It's actually becoming resurrected.
So the Mormon beliefs are that we live here on Earth, we get a body, flesh and bone, you die,
-and then through the grace of Jesus you're resurrected.
-So it is a Christian church?
One of the core beliefs of Mormonism, which causes a lots of controversy with other Christian faiths,
is the fact Mormons believe that they can actually become like God
and become a God of their universe, like the God of our universe.
In a strange way, science has at least vindicated the possibility
by suggesting there could be infinite universes.
It's interesting because the Mormon church is very conservative but their beliefs are very radical.
It's an interesting point.
It's that mixture of the straight-laced attitudes -
no sex before marriage,
no drugs including alcohol, tobacco, caffeine,
even quite minor ones like cups of coffee or Coca-Cola.
Yet, on the other hand, the most extravagant beliefs for the future,
and in the nature of celestial transcendence and angelic beings
and beatific seraphic and cherubic hosts.
What language did you just talk?
-You lost me, like, about 20 words ago!
-Oh, I'm sorry about that!
So do you think you will have a career in the church, or...?
-No, I don't have the personality for it.
-Really? Why do you say that?
What personality do you need then, do you think?
Um, I think you need a little more strict personality... a little more not-smiley.
Do you think there is prejudice against Mormonism in America?
I really do believe that Mormons are looked at as a second-rate citizen.
I think some of the prejudices are just lack of education.
Like as far as the gays and the polygamists,
-they that we believe certain things which we don't.
-There's a moment when you have to mention it to someone.
And you may not see it in their face but you feel that "Oh".
"Oh?" A weird? Or do people just go, "Oh, OK?"
Sometimes people ask me how many kids I have or how many wives. Stuff like that.
-So you just get used to that?
-I just laugh.
I mean, you are a proselytising religion though?
You do want to convert the rest of the world to Mormonism, unlike Judaism, say?
Right, that's their mission. The mission of the church is to bring people in.
I suppose some people would object to that.
I mean, some people just don't like the idea that they are going to be preached to.
Oh, absolutely. I don't like to be preached to.
Who likes to be preached to?
And I think missionary work is not necessarily to go convince people,
it's to find those people who are looking for something.
Looking for answers, and, you know, hey, this may work for you, it may not work for you.
And this is the official uniform of missionaries.
This is how they are identified.
You got the white shirt, tie, name tag,
sometimes backpack, bike, you know.
These are the guys that you see going door to door.
And then the guys that we shoot, you know,
that's them for who they really are,
to show that these guys are just regular guys.
Regular kids. They are young, they go out when they are 19.
That's brilliant. That is very funny.
That is hysterical!
They said I was being boring,
-so I tried to spice it up a little.
-Really? What scripture was that?
Of course, there is more to Nevada
than the new kid in the desert called Vegas.
It's known as the Silver State for good reason.
Gold and silver mining reached a peak here in Virginia City 150 years ago.
30,000 prospectors made this town one of the richest in America
and, to help them spend their hard-earned scratchings from the mother lode,
came inevitably the gambling dens and prostitutes.
The mines have all but shut down now
but the whore houses, like the casinos, are still booming
and only in Nevada they are entirely legal.
Queen among them is the illustrious Mustang Ranch,
run by its formidable madam Susan Austin.
Hello, yes, you must be Stephen.
-I am indeed. Hello. Wow!
-Well, what a pleasure.
-It's a pleasure to meet you as well.
This is my first time in a brothel, I have to confess.
-I have a brothel virgin on my hands, what fun!
This is our parlour and this is where the ladies do their line-ups.
It's also where we have all our achievements.
-Is there an award industry for brothels?
-Oh, yes, there is!
Brothel of the Year? Courtesan of the Year!
I was trying to create a British gentleman's club,
where the old hunters could sit around in front of the fireplace
and discuss the animals they have hunted in Africa,
as well as the women they conquered.
It would raise eyebrows in the Garrick,
which is a club I am a member of in London,
but you've got comfortable chairs and dark wood. It's on its way.
-And you mentioned the line-up,
-is that when a customer - would you say customer or John, or...?
-Well, I use client.
When a client comes in, we seat him here and then the ladies come out.
One from each side of the room, one at a time.
They introduce themselves and then step back against the mirror.
-Hi, I'm Mandy.
-Mandy, hi. Very nice to see you.
Well, sit down. I'm here for a chat, as it happens.
That way, the gentlemen see them walk, talk and up close
and decide whether that's the one he wants to pick.
See, if I were doing that, I would just be embarrassed about offending the one that I didn't choose.
Oh, no, no, no. I always give a little preamble before.
I say, "Honey, this is the way it works.
"All the ladies come out, they introduce themselves.
"You pick the one you like.
"Now, if you don't come to a decision with her, you come pick another one.
"You are not getting married, this is a business."
How did you find the first time?
Was it nerve-wracking, did you get help, were you all psyched up for it?
Um, I was nervous, but I had... a friend of mine was here.
Everybody, all the girls here are very awesome.
Just very helpful, you know, and they...
It's like, when you first start, you're either prepared to do it or you're not, you know?
So, they choose and then their rooms are off here, are they?
-And you haven't had too many weird requests yet?
But what's weird to me is far beyond what's probably weird to other people!
You're a young girl, an attractive young girl,
and you might get some men like me coming in -
great overweight, wobbly people in their fifties, and your heart must sink, "Oh, no!"
-Not at all, not with me.
-Oh, you're OK with that, are you?
That's why I'm here. I like men of all different types, sizes, shapes.
-And do you think that's... And you enjoy your work?
-I love it. I love my job!
-Fabulous. Not many people can say that.
My mum knows and she's like, "I'm so glad you found a job you like."
I'm like, "Me too! I should have been here years ago."
Now, we're going to stop right here.
These are our negotiating rooms. We don't discuss sex and money in the bedroom. Most brothels do.
It has to be discussed in a private room. It can never be done in public.
That's one of our state statutes. So...
-Oh, so this is by law, not just...?
And the girl will decide on the basis of what's required how much it will cost?
-That's how she prices it.
-And it's not your decision, as the madam?
-No, it's not my decision at all.
It's the independent contractor.
She is a businesswoman, she sets her own prices.
Right. So it's like having the Louis Vuitton concession in a department store, as it were?
-That's right, exactly.
-You are the department store manager but they can charge what they like.
They can charge what they'd like.
What would happen if you met a man - either a client, or a man you happened to meet in some other way -
whom you completely fell for, who became THE man.
Would you still want to carry on working?
Yes. If he was "the man" he would have to accept that fact.
So we are first going to the Italian Suite.
Oh, my word, this is very grand!
-Isn't this wonderful?
-This is not what I expected at all.
-No, not at all.
-This is like a four-star hotel.
Are there many advantages to legalised prostitution, then?
When you control something like this and you make it legal,
you have state statutes, federal statutes.
Everything that guidelines how you operate.
So the girls have safety checks, they use mandatory condoms,
everything is done in a very legal, very safe manner.
This is the mini Hawaiian Vacation,
-complete with chickens on the ground.
The monies that are paid to the ladies now are taxable,
so they become a productive member of society.
They don't have a pimp beating them up and stealing their money.
They are actually independent businesswomen.
Now, we are at the Asian Suite.
Oh, my goodness, Chinoiserie a go-go!
Look at that!
It is the oldest profession in the world.
You can only hide it by not making it legal. It goes underground.
And the beautiful double-sized Californian king bed.
-Now, that's a playground.
You could party on this bed, couldn't you?
Yes, you could party on this bed and never run out of room.
And I've had a few groups who have.
Leaving the lubricious delights of the Mustang forever behind me,
I head for the mountains and the purifying alpine air of Lake Tahoe
that straddles Nevada and California.
Once over the Sierra Nevada mountains, it's California,
with the scent of the ocean to lure me on.
# All the leaves are brown
All the leaves are brown
# And the sky is grey
And the sky is grey... #
Unlike the pioneers and prospectors of old,
I've had it pretty easy in my cab
and I've now made it, as the anthem goes, from sea to shining sea.
# ..If I was in LA
If I was in LA
# California dreaming
# On such a winter's day. #
There we are - the Pacific Ocean.
As Darwin remarked, the very badly named ocean.
It's not being pacific today.
It seems a long, long time ago
and a lot of miles since I saw that first sunrise in Eastport, Maine.
But the journey is still far from over.
In the next episode I discover the delights of San Francisco,
travel up the Pacific coast, meet vintners and dope smokers,
encounter sasquatch believers and old believers,
go hunting for whales and swimming with sharks.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
The high mesas of New Mexico are the starting point for Stephen's journey through the dramatic landscapes and peoples of the South West. The physicists at the Los Alamos lab, who are unravelling the mysteries of dark matter, contrast starkly to the ecohouse dwellers living off the grid near Sante Fe.
Staying with the Navajo Indians in Monument Valley in Arizona, Stephen learns to weave a basket, before heading to the sublime beauty of Lake Powell and life aboard a luxurious houseboat. He takes a World War II Flying Fortress bomber to the 'Boneyard' in Tucson, where 3,000 military planes are eerily mothballed, before living out a fantasy by becoming a cowboy at the Old Tucson Studios.
In Nevada he meets semi-naked Mormon missionaries during their calendar shoot and is initiated into the intricacies of brothel life by madame extraordinaire Susan Austin, before heading over the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Pacific Ocean.