And says he’s using a satellite phone from up in his friggin balloon at like 14,000 feet, where he is wearing a space suit and just had a massive brainstorm. He says, Mate, we’re gonna create a new section on Virgin Atlantic, right behind Upper Class, and call it iPod Class. The whole section is redone in that glossy candy white color like an iPod. The walls, the seat backs, the seat cushions, the carpet, the bathrooms, everything in bloody shiny white, like you’re sitting smack inside an iPod. We throw in some fake champagne and cheap sushi and bang up the fare price by 30 percent over coach, or Lower Class as we’re now calling it. And you’re separated from everyone else by tinted plexiglass walls, so the punters in back can see you, and you can just sit there looking cool and going, Yeah, how jealous are you lot, you’d love to be in here in iPod Class, wouldn’t you, as if. Like the message is, Look at me, I’m young, I’m cool, I’m obnoxious and nouveau riche and arriviste, I’m tech savvy, I’m a dotcommer, I own lots of cell phones and PDAs and gadgets, I live in Silicon Valley and wear loafers without socks, I’m better than you, and when I fly … I fly iPod Class. The chavs and the Irish’ll go nuts for it. We’ll get David Beckham and his skank wife to do the adverts, or Wayne Rooney.
So I’m like, Wayne Rooney? That senile, constipated old guy from 60 Minutes? He wouldn’t recognize a friggin iPod if it came shooting out his butt. Branson’s like, What? So I go, Richard, whatever, but like, what’s the iPod connection here? Like, will there be a slot in the seatback or the arm rest where you can plug in an iPod? Or maybe some special headphones done up all in white to look like an iPod? And he goes, Well, it’s marketing, innit? It’s marketing. But I’m like, Yeah but how is some section of an airplane connected to an iPod, ya know? How are they related? Branson’s like, Hrm, well, uh, yah, whatever, who knows, but it’s marketing innit? Like there’s an Upper Class and now there’s an iPod Class. And it’s all white, like an iPod.
So the truth is I kinda sorta hate this guy cause he made such a big deal out of his stupid Virgin online music store and he was all Mr. Smack Talk about how he was gonna kick the crap out of iTunes — ya right — but now he’s pretending he’s my big “mate” or whatever. Maybe the altitude is friggin up his head and he figures maybe I don’t remember what a dickbreath he was on the music store thing. Anyhoo, I push back on him and say I just don’t see the synergy and I don’t want to dilute the brand and he gets a little PO’d cause as you might have noticed he’s got a teensy little ego problem, and he says in this sort of plummy fake upper-class accent, I’m sorry, did you just say “dilute the brand”???? My God I think I’m going to choke on a piece of foie gras. Dilute the brand? Look, I’ve been in your stores and I’ve seen these stupid iPod gizmos you sell. You tell me what the hell do they have to do with anything? I mean, the bloody Tivoli iPal? It’s a bloody FM radio! Only it’s painted white and has a plug for an MP3 player. But I don’t hear you bitching about that, Steve. So I’m like, Branson, my bro, cool out, do some yoga, smoke a doob, cut a fart in your space suit or whatever, but sure, go for it, set the controls for the center of the sun. Have the lawyers work it out and just give old Steve a slice of the action. And God bless you, you crazy goat-bearded bleached-hair balloon-flying freak. He says, Bloody right, mate, you won’t regret this, and I promise you can break a bottle of fake champagne on the first plane and take the maiden voyage, right alongside the Beckhams, my word as a gentleman. And I’m like, Dude, I don’t fly commercial, it gives me hives, I’m allergic to non-vegans, but thanks anyway and good luck. Then I called our lawyers and told them, I don’t care if you have to put a bullet in this a-hole’s head, but do NOT let this deal happen. Ha!