31 May 2001
Show Day: Buffalo - HSBC Arena
We appear to have woken up in Pleasantville. Or the Truman Show. Birmingham, Michigan, turns out to be the most mind meltingly twee gift shop village you can imagine - its twin town presumably being LegoLand. It was highly disorientating heading out this morning to take a look around, as you just felt like nothing was quite real, like you'd stumbled onto a film set. Still, if you'd wanted to buy a bronze dolphin sculpture or embroidered pillows, you'd have been spoilt for choice. Not only that but I passed no less than three fur coat stores, so political correctness clearly hasn't penetrated these parts as yet. My favourite shop of all, though, was the 'Bakery For Dogs', selling all manner of pooch accessories, chocolate-dipped bone-shaped biscuits and even canine greeting cards for all occasions (including 'Thank you from our dog' notes and 'It's a Dog!' cards for new pet owners). I was looking for a bookshop, but couldn't find one.
I'm just about to finish a very weird book called 'Being Dead' by Jim Crace, about an older middle aged couple who are found naked and dead amongst the sand dunes - the victims of a random mugging by a nutcase whose identity is unimportant. The story works its way forwards and backwards at the same time, filling the backstory of the couple, their courtship, love, marriage, eventual disillusionment, boredom, squabbles & compromises, whilst simultaneously describing the ongoing decomposition of their murdered bodies, which harshly relegates all of their seemingly life-consuming injustices to utmost triviality. It was given to me by my friend Bob Greene in Toronto, who is the unsung weird-book-giving champion of North America. Mind you, he did also give me 'The Master and Margarita' many moons ago, which turned out to be one of the more life-changing reads of all time. I ended up reading four different translations.
Meanwhile back in reality, we will shortly board Elevation Air to fly to do a gig in the town of Buffalo in upstate New York, where we can only hope baby-sitting arrangements will be less taxing than in the greater Auburn Hills area.