I sleep till one thirty and head out to meet a friend at the Hall of Fame. There’s a Get Back exhibition showing and we’re both big Beatleheads so it seems like a good way to kill time on a Sunday in Cleveland. My route is blocked by a footbridge closure and I’m forced to make a long detour to get across the Ohio river from the Flats to the city. It’s hot with a dry, dust-infused wind mocking my progress across one of the big high road bridges. I get to the R&RHoF exhausted and in no mood for the tawdry, dreary, tatty, uninspiring exhibits. If you’ve seen one old guitar and moth-eaten stage costume in a dimly lit case you’ve seen them all. I have fun peering at an original Mellotron (purportedly used on Strawberry Fields Forever) but the rest of it is so much junk, redolent of nothing, resonating with nothing. None of it comes close to reading a good book about the subjects. There’s a constantly updating video board displaying the current public voting for potential inductees with Duran Duran at the top and Devo languishing mid-table. Anyone who recognises the dubious honour of membership of this fake firmament is either too dumb or too old to know better. I pass a gold lamé suit once worn by Presley. I’ve felt more of a frisson passing a single glove speared on a park railing. It’s just cloth, hanging limply like drapes in a brothel.
Post soundcheck I find a half-fucked garden chair on some abandoned decking by the water. Lake Erie lies flat and maroon beyond a rusting transporter bridge. I’m surrounded by decaying behemoths of the Industrial Age. Geese fly in, quacking happily. Seagulls are keening, as they do. We shall fly away tomorrow. Someone has hoisted a kite on the wind beyond the tree line at the lake. As I walk back to the gig I see a mother goose with five fluffy yellow chicks pecking at a sliver of grass by a concrete wall. They look unsettled in this denatured place. I can hear Counting Crows’ big ‘90s hit piping from a distant speaker. So long and thanks for all the cheers. America is a thousand ideas all at once, unwieldy and incoherent, like a host of engines running in a vast field. Who can hear the music in all that noise?