26 June 2011
'Acres of Slot Machines...'East Lansing. Show day.
Waking up in downtown Detroit was unexpected and, when I went downstairs in search of breakfast, things kicked firmly into the surreal. On arrival last night, the cars pulled into some kind of back entrance to this hotel, so it was only on arriving in the lobby this morning that I discovered we’re staying in a full-on casino. Any hope of food lay across the other side of the casino floor so, direct from the mud of Glastonbury, I find myself walking through a sub-Vegas nightmare all in one click of the Viewmaster. Acres of slot machines being played by zombie mind-slaves stretched out in all directions, every one chiming away making this blanket of ambient noise that sounded weirdly like the beginning of With or Without You. It doesn’t take much perspective to see these places for the soul-sucking black holes that they are and, after a few days in England’s green and pleasant land, I was way high on perspective this morning.
I found the food place and saw a couple of our security guys sitting at a table so joined them. It was massive multiple-buffet affair, rammed with patrons so it took me a minute to get my bearings and figure out where to start. I settled for an omelette, and it was only after having eaten it that I noticed a huge line of people waiting for entry. I had inadvertently wandered in through the out door, not only jumping the queue but placing myself at a point in the customer-flow system where it was now logistically impossible to pay for what I’d eaten. No-one seemed to care. I suppose if you’re working in the seventh circle of hell the occasional omelette theft might actually brighten up your day.
It’s about a ninety-minute drive from downtown Detroit to East Lansing, which was conducted mostly in silence. En route we passed an anti-evolution billboard, erected one assumes by a local creationist church that left me a little incredulous. Context is everything when it comes to viewpoint and I think most of us in the touring party are still processing the events of the past week.