Sam Hayne Says

And he was like “Happy Halloween” and I was like, TOEDALLY psyched! So I was like “Duuuuude, that’s soooo not cool!”, and he was like “Whateverrrrr!” so I was like “It’s toedally Samhain maaan”, and he was like “Woah girl, what are you? some kinda witch-bitch?” and I was like “You godda respect my beliefs cos if you don’t respect my beliefs then you don’t respect me, and if you don’t respect me then screw you buddy.” and then he was like “I’m sorry babe, happy Shadowfest.” and I was like “awwwww baby I love you”…

Ahem… sorry… You believe that the whole town was out of pumpkins yesterday when I went to get one? I’m gonna carve a tomato in protest.

2 packs for $7 (or $3.50 each)

“Our world has sprouted a weird concept of security and a warped sense of morality. Weapons are sheltered like treasures and children are exposed to incineration” – Bertrand Russel.

Up early on a fall back day listening to Power, Corruption and Lies by New Order.

Out of cigarettes and toying with the idea of not buying more.

Wearing a bizarre sarong thing for laziness.

Dreamt last night that I was onstage with a band and didn’t recognise the intro to one of our songs, so didn’t know the words, so faked illness to cover it up and sent the cleaning lady on to recite other lyrics to keep the audience entertained.

And that was Sunday morning.

He said she said that…

Nice night last night with people over for dinner which I cooked and which tasted very good, aided by a couple of bottles of vin rouge to oil the wheels. Drinking is down to a rarity nowadays, how American I am becoming. Talking of which, they were really keen here on that Guardian thing of getting UK citizens to write letters to people in swing states telling the US populace how to vote, oh yes. Kind of obvious really but as they said on NPR “nobody wants to be identified as the candidate of choice for cheese, schnitzel and tapas eating surrender monkeys.” So now you know how the most liberal media here thinks of you lot. I hope you’re suitably chastened and will keep your nose out of America’s business in future. They promise to do the same for you… probably.

What else? Hmmmmm… It’s all election craziness here with each side hammering the other on their past record. Kerry’s going for the vote for Hope thang while Bushcheneyrumsfeldashcroft are just trying to scare the bejeezus out of the population… check out the terrorist wolves for a taste of paranoia… Alvie was so scared by his Al Qaeda relatives he peed on the floor.

Got to try to find something to do on election night now other than sitting in watching it on TV alone… maybe I’ll go to a bar with a TV and get drunk alone and watch it… suggestions welcome.

Ito Eat Like Food Go Out Of Style

Well hello there. You’re looking well. Have you had your hair cut or something? No? Well you look really good. Those trousers really flatter you. And I love what you’ve done with your flat. It’s really “you”.

Why is it that some people are really good at getting on with stuff and others i.e. me are very, very bad? I refer of course to Geoff’s lovely blog site which I helped him invent. And how does he repay me? By updating it far more often than I’ve been doing this recently and not only that but by filling it with stuff he’s done while I sit around on my arse watching Ben (Landlord with a very good, deep south accent) fixing the plumbing.

It’s colder here than a polar bears nuts now, or feels that way (from my vast experience of feeling polar bears nuts) and more annoyingly my broken hard drive still hasn’t come back from the manufacturers. So despite having humped my guitar and laptop half way across the world, and gone through the crap with the soundcard in Manhattan, I STILL can’t sit down and record any bloody songs. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be? It means that the part of my day that was supposed to be filled with that, is now filled with just faffing around walking the dog, having long, hot showers, watching old movies on TCM, reading, worrying about Marc Almond,

and generally not doing much. Not that I’d rather be working or anything you understand, but I wouldn’t mind doing something that made me feel a bit more useful. Taking calls on the Michigan Radio fund drive was fun and I got to meet some nice people and talk other people into donating more money than perhaps they first intended. I also ate a lot of donuts and bagels there. If you fancy, you can have a bit of a listen to it HERE.

Marc is still in critical condition after his motorbike crash and Alvie is sitting forlorn playing his old Soft Cell tapes… Alvie says “Get well soon Marc… woof”

America spells cheese K-R-A-F-T

Oooops, now where was I? Burlington airport? yup that was it. Weelll then I got a plane and arrived in Detroit which has the most space age airport so far. The rest I’ve seen have been ripped off from Gerry and Sylvia Anderson from their original Thunderbirds blueprints.

This one was more Space 1999

As you were transported down the walkways to the baggage claim you were sent through a long low tunnel with walls that lit up in blues and greens while Eno-esque musak wafted over you. Sounds a bit crap but it was actually quite magical to the point where I quite fancied another go. Felt a little bit like when you used to (or I did anyway) go on the winter wonderland “trip” in department stores in Croydon before you got to see Father Christmas and get a crap plastic toy. Those funny pretend trips have left me with a love of fibre optics to this day. Anyway, do you care? Do you hell!

So now in Ann Arbor which is a University town and is all pretty low build and leafy. Dog walking on a daily basis and general chilling. I’m manning the phones (manfully) for the Michigan Radio fund drive over the next few days and went into their office for a “training session” the other night which kind of took me back if you know what I mean… They had nicer biscuits though.

Today the respective US administrations gave the Afghani Muslim vote counters the day off to celebrate the start of Ramadan and stepped up the bombing on the Muslims in Faluja presumably for the same reason. Meanwhile the Israeli’s moved their troops a few hundred yards away from some Palestinian refugee camps they’d been illegally occupying as a gesture of goodwill for the same celebration. Alvie’s comment on the situation? He says “Woof” with a tired shake of his head….

Beaver Droppings

Wednesday – Hmm, can’t remember what happened on Wednesday. It was possibly the day that I stayed in Burlington and had a look around the shops in which case it was the day that I bought a very nice shirt in a second-hand shop. Obviously, when I say very nice I mean 80% stretchy polyester, fitted, with big pointy collars as opposed to most people translation of the same concept. Maple fudge was also possibly purchased today if it’s the day I think it was and that is very very nice indeed. No Mooses.

Thursday – Lake Placid – A beautiful drive up to Lake Placid of Olympic and killer crocodile fame. Pretty little town totally based around snow sports which is a bit incongruous on another day that feels like high summer. No Mooses on the way there either. Most of the fun is in the drives just watching the incredible scenery unfold around you and seeing the impossible to describe colours of the Sugar Maples as they go into Autumn mode. “Very pretty” is as close as I get.

Friday – Canadia – Off to Montreal with Andy and Jess today but no Oscar. (He speaks very rudimentary French so wasn’t interested). A quick couple of hours in the car coming up through New York State across the islands (Little Hero and Big Hero) with my jaw on the floor again. No moose though. I have become very good at identifying Moose country. Just so you know, Moose country is marshland type places near forests and the crucial thing that identifies it is that there is NEVER a moose in it. Then over the border after a 20 minute wait and then I’m out of the US into a French bit of North America. Canadialand.

It’s very odd to just be in the US and suddenly be in a place where all the signs are in French. I’ve already been confused by the road signs in Vermont that point to Montpellier and St Albans all in one sign, so suddenly feeling like I was in France was all part of the surrealness, (or is it surreality?) of this trip. Went into old Montreal which feels ridiculously European. Wandered around for a bit then stopped for a crepe. That is always going to be funny no matter how many times I say it. Everyone speaks French and the place feels very laid back as a city in comparison to Manhattan. I think pretty much everywhere in the world probably feels laid back in comparison to Manhattan. Went for a walk down to the port area by the river and saw some very whacky structures on the other side of the water, one huge wire looking globe and some really crazy apartments in a block that looked like something from Planet Of The Apes. Then more wandering in the sun (like a summers day) around the old part of town before a promenade up to St Catherines which is the main shopping area and then a stop for a beer in a bar where you could smoke at the bar, allelujah! The Red Sox were on the tv stuffing it to errr… another team in the play offs which made everyone feel good. Everyones crazy about rounders here, which is nice. After we finished our drink, the Red Sox true to form threw away their lead, scared everyone silly, and then managed to win at the last minute. Last time they won the National Rounders championship was in 1492 apparently so they are due another go.

Food in a Polish restaurant with a piano player playing jazz versions of Beatles songs, and not just Beatles songs but the Ringo ones. Class. Reminded me of the interview with Lennon at the height of the Beatles fame when he was asked whether he thought Ringo was the best drummer in the world and replied that he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles. He he.

Thing about France is, when you walk around the cities, everyone seems pretty stylish and attractive in that French way. I have a new theory that the reason for the high quota of goodlookingness and welldressedness in France is that anyone who dresses badly there or has been touched with the ugly stick is immediately shipped under cover of darkness to Canada. Sad but true. And I’m sure I’m wrong. I don’t think there’s any Canadians reading this though so I can say what I like… or is there?

After that a trek back across the border via the duty free shop. I’ve got Moose Nuts, but the cream should clear that up. Some good questioning from the border guard, asking what I was doing here and how I was supporting myself, to which the answers are obviously “having a laugh for 3 months travelling all over the states to see people I like with no responsibility whatsoever.” and “I am independently wealthy for the moment thanks to an incredibly lucky house buy 5 years ago.” “You on the other hand are sitting in a small hut on a Friday night having no fun whatsoever.”. Guess whether I said any of that in real life….

Saturday – Chilling out and bought new luggage to replace the case that was kindly trashed by the customs people in Newark and then stuck together with sticky tape with a note saying sorry but it was part of their anti-terror work and there was no financial recompense available. Thanks. Bought some vegetarian salami for a sandwich on the plane… mmmm… and Jess cooked some excellent Thai food and Andy and I went out to a funky band bar and had a beer and then I discovered that I am possibly allergic to Shitake mushrooms despite loving them. Boilk.

Sunday – I’m now sitting in the departure lounge at Burlington airport eating a vegetarian salami sub, which isn’t at all bad but possibly would have benefitted from the addition of a bit of lettuce, mayo and salt and pepper, with Dexy’s Midnight Runners playing through the airport PA system for no apparent reason. Bet they’d switch it off if they’d seen those pictures of Kevin Rowland in a dress and suspenders that promoted his last offering… in fact that’s ruining my appetite. Delta have oversold my flight which was due to leave at 10:50 with a layover in Cincinatti and so have asked me if I minded terribly if I switch to North West Airlines (NWA who Ben likes so now I’m going to listen to NWA on me Ipod cos I can and it amuses me). My new flight is direct to Detroit and gets there much quicker so I’m not doing a great deal of minding currently. Did just find out however that my new, nice, hard Samsonite case (a bargain from Costco at about 50 quid) adds 10 pounds to the weight of my luggage which means I just had to pay 25 dollars to get it on the plane. Thanks again US customs for trashing my old bag.

Goodbye Oscar, hello Alvie.

I never meant to cause you any sorrow

And so now as the sun sets for the last time over the Piers…

…and YukaTV plays the national anthem for the last time before reminding you to unplug your set or your house might catch fire during the night and you’ll all die.

The memories of Supergrass fading…

…and the biggest pizza ever attempted by 2 skinny fellas ever, digested…

…we arrive, via possibly the prettiest plane ride ever along the Connecticut, in the domain known as Vermont ruled amiably by King Oscar of the venerable and just Retriever clan…

…to find that the squirrel followed me… can you find him?

Vermont is beautiful and what a contrast to Manhattan! The plane ride in from Boston was incredible. Maybe that was just after 2 and a 1/2 hours at Boston airport waiting for the connecting flight from NY but I’m not convinced. Most of the flight followed the Connecticut river into Burlington and the vastness of the landscape was jaw dropping. That’s a lot of trees down there. And fields full of pumpkins. Trees. A lot of trees. Other trees. More pumpkins. Have you noticed how many trees there are? Did we mean to grow this many pumpkins this year? Do you think we could fit in another tree in this gap? That’s really a lot of pumpkins. You know what would look nice over there? A tree. I’m not sure we’re going to be able to sell this many pumpkins you know…. etc… you get the idea?

Sunday went and had dinner with friends of my hosts. Very nice food and people and a nice relaxed way to finish off a day of travelling before a massive sleep on a very comfortable bed. No mosquitoes, no bugs, no sirens, no clattering metal plates being driven over, no 3am trash collections, no 4am tank deliveries, no car alarms, no 5am Stomp practice.

Monday, I had a look around Burlington a bit and tried to sort out contact lens purchasing… not as easy as it sounds and still not sorted. Beauracracy is more important than my impending blindness obviously. All that was followed by a spot of very nice mushroom risotto and cherry pie. DAMN fine cherry pie, Diane.

Had a big tour of the surrounding areas by my lovely hostess here Tuesday. Went to a bar out in the woods for lunch where I saw these things…


The bar was ably tended by a Californian lady who when confronted with the idea of a vegetarian sandwich didn’t blink despite her initial meaty offerings (on reading back that sounds a little wrong but I’ll leave it) and came up with a fantastic doorstop cheese number with creamy tomato soup followed by a ginger cake (known as ginger bread here which makes more sense than the biscuit we call the same thing) with caramel sauce… oh yes that was tasty. Off then to see a real life village general store which was half museum and half everything-shop. Wanted a t-shirt with a moose on but they were all too big… boo. Didn’t manage to see a moose, but I did see a couple of chipmunks which excited me enough. (I think they are possibly 10 a penny round here though from the reaction to my reaction), also smelt a skunk which had a apparently been dead a while and so did not smell as bad as a live one. Must be rough when you smell better dead than alive, but I’m getting used to it…

thought I’d leave a gap for you to enjoy that very funny joke…

After that we drove around a little more, went up a small mountain, got out and looked at another incredible view, then off to an orchard for apple picking and cider donuts …. mmmm they are nice! Bears pick apples too…

At some point in all of that we went through a campus where 4 people dressed in black were undertaking some bizarre but very beautiful and hypnotic combination of Abseiling and Ballet on the side of the main building. Really graceful as they somersaulted and caught each other in seeming slow-motion.

Day nicely rounded off by food in an Italian in town…. mmmm Gnocchi…