Austin, Day Six
The cold front is sitting over Texas like despair in a geriatric ward. I take a wander round my new neighbourhood, crossing a public golf course and meandering through the plush university campus ending up on the fringes of downtown. It’s early and there’s hardly a soul about. It’s a relief to be walking. I buy a New York Times and dive into a local diner. Standard fare – eggs and burgers – but seemingly run by an academic lesbian co-op. They’re all very friendly and pretty in a geeky way and I feel as if I am on the set of one of those awful post-modern sitcoms. In the last two nights I have managed to watch – or rather, witness – two of the worst comedies I have ever seen; The Dictator and The Sitter. The latter is perhaps the less excruciating but it’s repulsive sentimentality is unforgivable. As for Baron Cohen, to describe his comedy as broad is like saying Richard Littlejohn is a little uncomfortable about homosexuality. The thing about these films is, that once all the taboos of taste have been broken you’re left with a kind of dull pornography. There’s no frisson of danger, it’s just mechanical. It’s clowns throwing faeces over one another and mugging at the camera. It’s like watching Mickey Mouse, drunk and pissing on a kitten.
In the afternoon I attempt to go and see Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master but the guy in the queue in front of me buys the last two tickets. Coincidentally, I had walked right past the Scientology centre in the morning. I peered in to spot some freakery but all I could see was a secretarial type talking on a phone at the back of the lobby. For a religion its public face is remarkably light on iconography or spiritual design. There are no symbols or spires, just posters and rows of books. It’s just a corporate HQ for a brand. A brand of lunacy, to be sure, but a brand nonetheless. Eventually they’ll figure out, for sheer fuck-offery, you can’t beat a massive dome, or steeple or minaret, preferably decorated with some horrific representation of a guy getting tortured to death on some planks of wood.
I drive back to my new gaff with my tail between my legs having failed in my mission to get myself entertained. I stow token foodstuffs in the fridge and take to the sofa to read and listen to music. The shuffle god throws up Bowie, Paul Westerberg,* Bill Callahan and Thelonoius Monk – the only known jazz artist to have become rhyming slang for human ejaculate. I read about David Foster Wallace’s harrowing mental states as described in his new biography. I’d ditch talent and creativity for sanity, wouldn’t you?
I have an early dinner (it might be so early that it’s officially tea) at a Thai place on a main drag. There appears to be a feeder with his obese wife at the table opposite. They share a dessert but he’s spooning up all that stuff into her mouth, not his. They look blissfully happy. My charming teenage waitress chases me to my car with the bill. I had mistakenly left her a fifty instead of a twenty. US dollar notes are all the same colour so it’s easy to confuse the denominations in a dark restaurant. This has happened to me plenty of times before with a different outcome. I humbly thank her for her honesty.
In the morning the sun reappears, somehow burning an aperture through the thick low cloud. There will be drums, bass and guitar today. I am apprehensive about working with all these unknown entities. I feel like I’m auditioning. Lord, make it rain.
15 Responses to “Austin, Day Six”
Luscious thighs and they get you from A to Zee.That’s well sexee.
Sanity! Not sure I’ve heard that one.
Is it just me, or are there more folk about?
“I’d ditch talent and creativity for sanity, wouldn’t you?”
You just broke my heart by asking. I’d have to read Wallace’s biography to understand the context of the question.
Do you mean ‘sane’ or ‘normal’? Dammit, this would be such a compelling conversation to have with you. You’re making correlations between creativity and madness? Am I? Huge and well-delved subject, with plenty of case studies to confirm/dispel the myth.
Difficult to untangle when you yourself have an ‘artistic temperament’.
Thoughtful and thought provoking blog.
In reference to the dull pornography clearly you are watching the wrong sort. Because you are in Texas how about a bit of Debbie Does Dallas
Step away from the Scientology Centre and nobody gets hurt! To think I loved Tom Cruise in ’86 in Top Gun, how things have changed. There is nothing worse when you line up for something and by the time it’s your turn you miss out, you should have said to them ‘don’t you know who I am?’ Like me they probably didn’t reconise you with the facial hair. Hope your Thai food was nice, I like it now and again. I am really craving a currie, oops sorry, curry right now (sorry Justin that was a freudian slip)
Please let that guy being tortured on the Scientology planks of wood be Tom Cruise.
I can’t apologise enough for my earlier grammatical goof. I adore your writing but then I guess you might know that by now!
Looking forward to the next installment Justin! xxxxxxx
I would ditch my boredom for insanity! Roll on January when I can return to uni and become insane with the pointless act of writing essays on the nursing process! NHS…any opinion? Fucking Cameron is a lying twat, I really do hate him! I digress, sorry.
I’m bored AND insane. It’s not pretty.
p.s. Good thing for Paul Westerburg that there are “no replacements found”. lol Makes me think of invasion of the body snatchers or some android robots…Bowie would have an androgynoid. ;-)
Your diaries never fail to disappoint Justin. The picture you paint of the “feeder and his obese wife” made me laugh out loud and remind me of that old monty python sketch with the enormous glutton and his bucket beside him in the restaurant where he finally explodes at the end and all that is left of him is his ribcage and enlarged beating heart.
Thelonoius Spunk! LOL!
Sorry about the bad movie experience. I hadn’t heard of the film “The Dictator” and so I thought you were talking about the old Chaplin film The Great Dictator at first, which is one of my favourite films and is obviously brilliant. But I quickly caught on as your narrative informed of the typical modern inanity being cranked out of Hollywood today.
I hope the session players work out!
Jesus….I just re-read my opening line there…I meant your diaries never disappoint! I’ve been running on empty these and it shows. Sorry! xxx
these days that is…I need to sleep more! lol! xxx
Brilliant…..! Hanging on your every word Sir.
howdy… i’m reading your ranting laments with interest as i plan my upcoming usa road trip in dec & jan, attempting to capture 21st century americana (should any remain) on film (well, digital).
i shall return to these damp grey shores in time for your sojourn through the towns & cities of our green and pleasant landfill when i hope you shall wear shoes that match your jacket (er, i mean coat).
You’re writing all of this on the iPhone – you, sir, have my greatest respect.