...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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May 02, 2005 || 3:23 am

Back today from a lovely weekend of classic Alabama - bluegrass and telling stories at the top of the mountain at Horse Pens 40. And all the better for the arrival of the boy, rather culture-shocked from moving between hectic metropolitan life in London to slow-talking, banjo-playing Alabama. It's a transition that doesn't sound that extreme in words but experientially is one of the most shocking changes.

The people are mostly old and slightly less old bluegrassers from all over the state who consider themselves fairly normal but are eccentric characters of the first order, telling stories about their geriatric wanderings in their RVs and their past lives from uncles who did their housepainting wearing three coats because the instructions on the tin said 'put on three coats', through to WWII on a battleship in the South Pacific, through to how to get completely bewildered by the English system of roundabouts. The music is jamming with a 13 year old and an 85 year old at the same time (and the 13 year old is singing a song about moonshine), or standing at midnight around a campfire playing songs about how running over a possum meant food on your plate for a week. The speech is slow and Southern and you drink your beer out of a plastic cup as alcohol is technically prohibited. The landscape is huge and endless, mountains covered in virgin woods and sacred Indian rocks. The camper vans are huge motor homes with all mod cons, but where the breakers trip all the time as the power hookups can't cope with a microwave and a hairdryer at the same time.

This all makes for what I, having gone native, find one of the most pleasant ways to spend a weekend. And boy, don't I realise how native I've gone when I have two English visitors at the same time looking around with bewildered eyes. Suddenly I feel like a scraggy-haired sort of Rip van Winkle, exhibit no. 1 of 'How a Londoner can lose their civilisation'. And, having gone Southern, I don't give a damn what anyone else thinks of me, I'm proud of it.

3 comments

3 Comments:

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By Blogger just_plain_me, at 4:14 am  

Welcome to the South. Have you tried an Alabama football game yet? May I suggest Alabama vs. Tennessee... GO VOLS!!!!

By Blogger just_plain_me, at 4:16 am  

Welcome to the dark side. :)

By Blogger Rurality, at 10:23 pm  

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