Waking up in a dodgy hotel in New Jersey catapults the imagination into fits of unwelcome scenarios as you wonder what stories the walls could tell. Having said that the hotel doesn’t have to be dodgy to conjure up sleazy scenes and having said that, who are we to judge what people do in the privacy of their own space? Most people are getting in, cleaning their teeth, and going to sleep not concocting evil plans, acting out dubious scenes, or perverting the course of history, that happens in plain sight. But the broken air conditioner, the peeling paint, the barely working fridge, the bathroom door that doesn’t close, the curious stains on the floor, and those strange fellows hanging on the balcony upstairs make you wonder. And having said all that it was still $112 per night.
I looked out of the window to see a police car parked outside, all its lights flashing. I opened the semi-jammed door to see two mysterious keycards on the ground outside. We called an Uber and were met by a Tesla that scooped us up asap and wound its way around industrial Jersey terrain to James Mastro’s Guitar Bar in Hoboken. James was there and sitting on the shop floor was my Seagull and my Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Box dropped off by NJ Brian a couple of days earlier. We stayed for about an hour, James had me try his 1963 Silvertone through the Bad Cat amp and I noodled around like you do when you are in a mate’s guitar store. An English guy came in and after talking it transpired that his dad was Lonnie Donegan’s banjo player. He was surprised I knew who Lonnie Donegan was so I sang him the chorus of Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bedpost Overnight) and My Old Man’s a Dustman.
We Ubered to Newark airport and the new Terminal A and caught the plane to Dallas. On the flight, I listened to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers‘ Long After Dark (1982), Roy Buchanan’s self-titled first album (1972), Taylor Swift’s Fearless (2008), and The Strokes‘ Is This It (2001). It’s always nice to report an event-free flight but the descent was shaky and the landing heavy with the taxiing to the terminal building taking forever. By the time we got to the baggage carousel I was feeling quite queasy. Sarah was there to pick us up and a bottle of water later I was feeling better and we were on our way to Dallas proper.
We dropped our bags off at Carron and Ed’s place (the Airbnb above the garage) and went to Thai Thai, our favourite Dallas restaurant, for dinner. Salim came to meet us for a hug and a chat before we left to shop for the stay. We’re here and we’re tired but we made it.
Music today has been The Strokes‘ Is This It (2001). They managed to push all the right buttons for the press and the audience followed suit. An unlikely success story although I like this album, it’s relentless, uptempo, with singer Julian Casablancas doing an American version of Mark E. Smith via The Velvets – I think. The driving guitars and rhythm section kick the album along like a new wave express. A trendy foot tapper.