Austin. Achingly hip and alarmingly cool. Coffee bean fetishists, thrift store hi-glam, nu-age craft ales in gleaming clean structures and retro set wide-eyed fresh faces.
Hot dog and burger bars tower their meats with all kinds of sides, only skyscrapers outside match their stature. Weed’s offered out by bar maids and waiters and I don’t feel young, pretty or thin.
Back home I had intent and purpose. I made shapes and sense of music and words and all time was divided, devoted. I made time to draw lines from without to within and direct them back out in new twists. People around me helped me build a home studio and they’d switch out the songs mine to ours. Back home I made time to make something with all of my tools at my tips.
Here we move place to place with a speed and a greed that breeds barely no time to take in. We breathe in the air but don’t pick up the scents, time to reflect slim to none.
We’re still star-fishing our way in and out, back and forth spikes out of Panama City Beach, moving on interstate spines. This is last trip where we go out and back before leaving our friend’s nest for good. Three New Orleans nights and return then it’s not so straight lines to nowhere.
New Orleans is glistening voodoo jewel jubilation with rhythm and heat in the pit of its soul. New Orleans sleeps rough in the dirt of it’s past, it’s disasters and racial divides. It’s truth is a sweet spot between.
Nashville has an ego. Lights, signs and neons all big as that ego with history gone to it’s head. It’s been ‘Music City – USA’ since WSM AM radio cast out it’s shout over 38 states with weekly live shows and recordings. Broadcasts began in 1925, name was claimed 1950 set against rock and roll. ‘Birthplace of bluegrass’, ‘home of country music’, ‘songwriting capital of the world’; There’s plenty of others to pick from.
Not too many families are neat. Webs and ties, some loved, some unloved, splinters and fractures fix and unfix; A thousand reasons appear to unite and divide. From the line down to me I’ve been lucky. In the line from me down, not so or not yet.
Rats on Run began here, in more ways than one. Took five years to work out what to do with the offer…
A man I barely knew and his American wife said come stay in the states anytime. He left UK for US and with wife and new life they’re deservedly proud; of each other, their changes, their hard graft and payoffs.
It’s the third in a clean three day stretch of 95+ degrees F here in Austin. Tomorrow’s looking like stretching to four. We’ve wore off sore heads, oozed out our insides and wrungout our ears with slabs of music and noise. Fuzzed 60s garage slams out of bars, so does country, old and new RnB, rockabilly, thrash and New Wave.
Cape Canaveral, Florida to Nashville, Tennessee; 740 odd miles in 90+ degrees F in a car with no AC, no fuel gauge, leaking break fluid and no radio. A cheap Bluetooth speaker spits out spike tin-whispers of anything with treble enough to push through the wind, windows full down, seats wet from heat. Sweat gathers neatly in all troughs of skin and that cheap tin of wasps keeps on humming.
It’s bigger here, faster. SUV bumpers ride up to my hips, steaks come in slabs as bloated as fists and talk runs at rates that I can’t penetrate. Wide open spaces with every bit packed up and built on and everyone got to get first. Southern Rock dominates each bar I find, bloated like those steaks but with half less to chew on.
Exit to Mexico Beach. Highway 98 so long, straight and one-laned a road that it’s easy to drift down its high-pine lined stretch. Got told it’s a shifted down, stripped down beach front, without the rude lights and the half builts and built up. Air smelt a little cleaner there.
From white sand that drops steep into warm green sea water I caught earshot of whoops and applause. I dried off to move to the source.