Austin, Day Fourteen
It was a relatively late one last night, battering away at a vocal comp with Mr. McC. Remarkably, it sounded good in the morning so we had somehow managed not to lose the plot, which is encouraging. I drove downtown to a 24-hour diner afterwards and sat at the bar. Corned-beef hash and eggs, root beer. The joint was filled with twenty-somethings in their chunky spectacles and carefully distressed T-shirts all gabbing away with enthusiasm while a string of loners like myself sat reading free-sheets on our bar stools. The night had cooled significantly with the narrowest sliver of a crescent moon sailing over the city in a sideways smile.
The sun comes angling through the trees straight into my eyes in the morning. I tune into Radio 4 on my phone, six hours ahead and as prissy as always. The tribulations of Gideon Osborne and the Tory overlords seem petty and puerile from this near five thousand mile distance. I take a trip round the park and take coffee in the sunshine, dabbing away at emails on my stupid device as I do so. In this cafe and at the bakery round the corner every table is taken by a be-laptopped dweeb. Computers have replaced cigarettes to soothe people’s social awkwardness. Their frowning little faces light up in the comforting glow. I survey them with mild pity. Nobody sits staring into space anymore. Nobody can be alone with their thoughts anywhere, anytime. The media pervades every crevice of our days, there is no space unfilled. And effectively it’s all advertising. And it’s just advertising itself, mainly. The media now inserts you into its advertisements, making you feel involved, immersed. But it’s not you at all. It’s their idea of you, it’s the avatar to which they relentlessly sell their shit. You have become the product and they’re selling it back to you. You have become their shit.
The studio is now starting to resemble the one in Berberian Sound Studio. It has a spooky late seventies/early eighties vibe. Lots of cork, pine and beige soundproofing. I’ll be glad to be out of here before Halloween. Already houses around Austin are bedecked with pumpkins and fake spider’s webs. In a corner garden near my lodgings a whole battalion of zombies has appeared along with little tombstones and various gourds in a scene resembling a Black Sabbath album sleeve. I’m not entirely sure if this diorama is intended to attract children or repel them. I could imagine it being pretty horrifying to a ten year old. A friend from Edinburgh has emailed to suggest the swift manufacture of Jimmy Saville fright masks for Halloween. I think it might already be going on. Funny to think that three weeks ago if you’d Googled Saville’s name, all the results would have been fundraising this, Jim’ll Fix It that. Now it’ll just be screeds of screaming outrage. He’d be squirming in his grave if his relatives hadn’t already dug him up and thrown him into a cesspit, wiping their hands as they walked away like Father McKenzie in Eleanor Rigby.
I have a fast dinner in a dirty restaurant that slings bizarre fusion food – Japanese/Mexican. But I vaguely recognise the music: indie Americana of some kind and it’s soothing, my mind drifts. I stare through the plate glass windows across the six-lane thoroughfare into a vacant lot, looking for shapes moving out of the darkness into the light like a dream.
12 Responses to “Austin, Day Fourteen”
The photo is fantastic. There’s something other-worldly about it that evokes an abandoned British railway station lost deep in the heart of nowhere. Its like the track has been long dug up but the ghostly zombies still wait for a train out to normality, and they wait, and wait. Superb.
I’m totally with you on this idea that nobody is ever alone with their thoughts anymore, no silence, no space at all.
People seek the safety of the billowing surge of white noise, in order to avoid having to think about their actions. There can be no consequences to actions when you dont have time for a conscience. You cant be impelled by the dictates of an inner voice that you cant even hear.
Hubris always speaks above the ideals of community and fraternity, who never shout as loud as T.V. and coca-cola anyway. Its the real thing. Its nothing.
The kids all talk about what individuals they are; yeah, real one-offs they are, inspired by x-factor and dressed by Jack Wills in the uniform of the crass, a tattoo of uniformity.
Its hard to be happy when you dont have the wit to know what you really stand for, and so you fall into the arms of the advertisers, sponsored by static, and sated by mediocrity. Principles come for free so have no value against a kind of shiny happiness, bought from the bonded, or better still abducted for eternity with credit.
I came here to the site tonight to travel to Texas and immerse myself in the beautiful noise, and yet instead Justin gave me time to appreciate the silence inside myself. What a beautiful gift this place is.
Love the “end of the line” railway imagery Les!
I doubt I would ever tire of visiting diners in the USA, though often I’m not a fan of the cuisine. As was said in an earlier piece, generally unrecognisable from British attempts at hospitality and that’s just the customers!
I stumbled across this, ‘RIP Jimmy Saville My first guest on my first TV Show A proper British eccentric.’
Apparently, Ricky Gervais said that; it’s the first time he’s made me laugh.
I imagine the capitalisation of ‘my’ tells more about poor standards at the Daily Mail than it does the mindset of Mr Gervais.
I never found myself endeared by Mr Savile.
Excellent photo! Halloween might as well be a national holiday. We do love our zombies and monsters. Jimmy Saville…now that will give kids something to really be scared of. I always thought he had a frightening face anyway. He will make an excellent addition to the Freddie and Jason masks.
I myself will be Alice in Wonderland this year, inspired by a series of rather bizzare wonderland type dreams I had recently in which John Lennon was my most gracious tour guide down the rabbit hole. Most notably was one in which I was baking a salmon and when I served it on the table it began to speak to me in John’s voice! The fish’s mouth was moving and it had eyebrows like the Groucho Marx! lol! He asked me if I still had these magic pellets he had given me in the previous dream I had of him. They were the oddest things. They emanated some kind of incandescent, ethereal glowing essence and colours I’m not sure I can describe. He insisted that I did not lose these pellets so I put them in my jeans pocket. When I looked down, I was wearing an apron in this dream. There in the pocket they were. I asked him, “John, why are you a fish?” “It’s better than being a walrus” was his deadpan reply with his eyebrows moving up and down like Groucho. I woke up laughing so violently I almost fell out of bed! LOL!
I LOVE root beer. Stewarts root beer is THE best root beer if you can find it down there, try it. It is the real deal old style root beer.
You would make a wonderful large white rabbit! ;-)
I would LOVE to see Mr Currie in a large white rabbit costume!!! Excellent suggestion Glinda!!
Weird dreams though… do you need conselling?!!! LOL xxx
Lol Nah…I’m just a weird fairy. ;-) I’ve always had really intense dreams and lots of lucid dreams.
At the risk of sounding imbecilic, I love sitting staring into space immersed in my own thoughts. I have a smart phone, an old disguarded one, but I only use it to text and ,surprisingly, make phone calls, but I must admit I would be lost without the music to listen to. My laptop only comes out to see what you are up to! Having said that I did log on to David “shitface” Camerons Facebook page once, but that was only to tell him what a total wanker arsed, full of bollocks, prick he was!
I abhor electronic reading impliments…. the feel of a book is much better. Although the other day I started reading a new book and after reading the first few words realised I’d already read it! I was on a bus unable to pick a different one and just for a moment I thought if I had had a Kindle I could already be reading another one! But it was only momentary, I will NOT succumb.
Americans always seem to make more out of events then the British, seemingly putting more fun into them. Will our stiff upper lip ever relax?! If you are still over there, on All Hallows Eve, will you dress up and go trick or treating?!!
Delight to read again, such beautiful words, those of a poet……… x
I agree..laid in bed with an electronic book just wouldn’t be the same as flicking the dog eared pages of a paperback! I feel that something is amiss now when I walk into a library (or learning centres as they’re called here) nowhere near as many books as there used to be. I find it really irritating to be surrounded by people tapping away on mobiles, laptops and such like! I want to say ‘turn it off and piss off’! I may do when I’m very old, then I might get away with it!!
It annoys me too Karen. I was once on a night out in London with my husband and stood next to us were a group of four blokes, each and everyone of them had a smart phone in hand tapping away. I don’t think they said anything to each other for an hour!!
Probably ‘Tweeting’ each other instead. We found it highly amusing, sad gits!! They might as well have stopped in, saved on the taxi fare and got a few tins in.
The irony of me tapping away on this laptop has not gone unacknowledged so I’ll go and pick my book up now to apease my soul!!
They probably thought it made them more attractive to girls! Ssh, don’t tell them the awful truth. Let them have their dreams.
We’re OK, nobody knows!