...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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February 20, 2005 || 7:25 pm

Its been another rather busy (in a good way) weekend. Again, lots of bluegrass and the obligatory Sunday hangover.

I performed my first paying gig on US soil on Friday night - slightly less-than-glamorous (a wedding party) but still a lot of fun and the provider of $120 to my needy pocket. The weirdest bit - being requested to play Sweet Home Alabama which definitely does not come into our repertoire of genres. Possibly the worst version ever played, but they loved it.

Then, yesterday I spent all day at the bizarre and wonderful bluegrass music convention in, of all places, McFarland Mall. This is the generally scummy and mall-rat-infested old mall in the terrifyingly sprawling no-man's-land of Tuscaloosa. And where, for one day only, the whole mall is filled with the kick-off to the new season of jam sessions, hundreds of musicians of all ages and abilities camping out in little circles, jamming, sizing each other up, passing the breaks around and challenging each other to little play-offs. I played from 11am to 9pm with only a half-hour break for lunch. It was totally surreal and absolutely wonderful fun, compounded by the total non-sequitur of the baggy-jeaned, blinged up, mostly teenage and black mall-rats sporting the latest gleamingly hip sneakers looking on at these (generally aging and white) people invading their territory, playing stringed instruments in a jangly style, wearing cowboy hats and Western shirts.

Then onto the Faunsdale Bar and Grill for a local country-rock band (apparently the editor of the Lindon Times is the lead singer) who had managed to assemble the entirety of West Alabama into the bar (never usually more than half-full) for a much-needed beer (malls of course are alcohol-free zones) and bantering into the wee hours, before heading back to Greensboro before we stepped (much) over the drink-drive limit to continue the party and fall asleep on the sofa half way through, bizarrely, a late-night cable screening of 24 Hour Party People (which I think makes no sense at all to drunk Alabamians. Ecstasy? the Hacienda? acid-house culture? the Pennines?)

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