Day 3, St. Louis, Missouri:
Ate at Peppy’s Grill. “Always Peppy” read the back of the cook’s shirt. Continued reading “Wonder Boys”; nearly finished. Almost exclusively listening to The Field’s “Cupid’s Head” while I read. It’s ignorable but it blocks out everything else and has a pulse. East St. Louis is a city in the process of being forgotten. The statistics are Third World, a shop or house that isn’t boarded up is a miracle; it is the equivalent of a dog holding on that needs to be put down. We took our anthropological tour through and quickly drove over the bridge. The Arch looks like an alien structure, almost oppressive in its height. The neck gets its workout while around it. People key their names into its base. A white-caped-crusader of Jesus stands near the base by the Mississippi River, lined with rocks and wood and a riverboat and a stand selling funnel cake, spouting the usual Jesus-freaky colloquialisms. A very oh-yes-we-are-Christians couple agreed with him that yes the church is too fractured and yes love is the answer but with an obvious sense of reproach when dealing with a man in a cape. I wondered if it tests a person to see their beliefs echoed back to them verbatim by a clearly troubled and strange person. Made our way around the city and found it a ghost town. Show was at the Lemps Community Center. Waited for the venue to open at a nearby park, greeted by a couple and their dachshund Ziggy. Leashless and adventurous. Played with Sweet Cobra and Cloakroom, not many people. Salad and pasta for the bands. Played in shorts; felt the thawing of my bones. Winter is in the rearview and almost feels like it never happened.
We uh, took a tour, and now uh, we’re drinking it. The beer.
Found an interesting creature at the base of the St Louis Arch
The saddest image in the world you can be witness to is a middle-of-nowhere-Ohio-rest-stop-Taco-Bell-employee, slack-jawed and squirrelly, dumping the contents of his tip tray, maybe five or six coins, into his hand, letting one go under the register, and spending more time than it is worth trying to fish it out with the end of a pencil. At this same place can be found a man intently weighing his beef jerky options; another man just standing there in the bathroom admiring the wholesale art on the wall. A perpetual gray that you can’t imagine moving with any kind of wind current, just stuck there forever hanging. With the intention of playing a prank on Keith of Empire! Empire!, we found ourselves in an Indianapolis thrift store scavenging for Colts merch to wear in unison and antagonize his Lions-rooting-heart. Again, a scene of sadness, of prematurely saggy skin and dead eyes, of drug-addled cashiers with scabs on their face. Played the Moon Mansion. A somehow clean and well-maintained anarchist-Foods-Not-Bombs house. The literature on shelves, the patches over knees, the whole bit. Will Ninetails is a tall gentleman with a shirt wrapped around his head who is a staunch advocate of the Navy’s flight training program. An acoustic act was playing his last show before moving to China; he flirted with his (I have to presume with the context given) Chinese girlfriend via push mosh. E!E! were trapped in their ice-riddled driveway for an extra couple of hours so the prank was never executed. Skedaddled in the morning before Foods Not Bombs was set to start. Saw an Eeyore, with his sad and heavy eyes, worn in earnest on the back of a thrift store worker’s shirt and tattooed on the arm of a fry cook. Somehow his image speaks volumes about the spirit of the area. The plains persist.
Day 1, Akron, OH: We have a new van and it is essentially a mobile living room. The chairs are soft and there are overhead reading lights; this is a game-changer, I repeat, this is a game-changer. A bolt holding down the backseat has been casually rusting since the presidency of Bush 41, making it impossible to remove, so we had to make due and stuff everything under and on top of it. Turned into a masterful work of Gear Tetris. The Midwest is a dead world. There might be more dead trees in Western PA/Ohio than there are stars in the universe. Sighting of slight alt folk at a rest stop led to discovery that they were pop-punk former superstars Fireworks. Laminated tour pass as badge. Sheriffs of posi jumps. Defend blah blah. Guy was nice and we wished them well. I plowed through 130 pages of Michael Chabon’s “Wonder Boys.” Again, overhead reading lights: game-changer. Played the Fool House. Several drunk men enjoyed us and made visible displays of their affection. A cat named Dirtbike slept in my suitcase; still wary of cats since the frequent feline debacles of last tour. You never forget the world-ending feeling of a sleeping bag covered in cat piss. Todd Thompson’s father, Tommy Thompson, celebrated his 52nd-or-so birthday with us after flipping his car that day devoid of insurance. The beers helped, but he seemed happy enough.
See you in Texas
the world is incredible. there are girls in this world, and there are also dogs. you can put melted cheese on any type of potato. sometimes flowers grow even when nobody is there to water them. right now on this same planet where we live there are people who are in love with each other kissing each other on the nose. emotions and colours are both things that exist. everything is so great
I’m going on tour for two weeks. Recommend me records to listen to.