Friday, 27 March 2009

Alabama

Sweet home Alabama?

Today I’m feeling completely removed from reality. I’ve reached the point of the trip where this suitcase wielding life has become normal and home is but a distant memory. I’m excited for the final few days but the comforts of Oxford are also appealing, and my own bed seems the ideal cure for my current sleep deprived state. A few minutes ago we passed through Oxford, Alabama. If you replaced the cyclists with American diners, the university buildings for cloud-covered mountains and threw in a few more indie bands, you could be mistaken for confusing the two.

Right now we’re on the highway, approaching the end of yet another 150+ mile stint without a turn. I just ate a deep fried steak and we’ve crossed the border into Georgia and with it, entered into a brand new time zone, meaning we’ve lost an hour of our day already.

So Birmingham was interesting. The hotel we ended up residing in was in the centre of the downtown area but it was an absolute ghost city. We walked for miles to a restaurant recommended online only to find it closed at 5.30pm. There were no bars, no shops and more alarmingly than that, no people. Every street was filled with office blocks and car garages, and the only messages I received about the place from concerned readers on Facebook and Twitter suggested that this wasn’t a town we’d want to spend a lot of time in. We eventually found a place to eat and then a bar, which must to our confusion, had a signed, framed Frank Turner poster on the wall. A few games of pool were enjoyed, playing in teams of beds so myself and Ben teamed up and apart from him pointlessly potting the black (seriously, you wouldn’t believe that shot, but I promised I wouldn’t go into too much detail), I think we claimed the moral victory. By the end of the night it was half-full and after fielding the standard “what are y’all doing in the south?” questions, it was time to call it a night and return to our large, square room. All of these high-rise hotels are doing wonders for my fear of heights.

The lack of, well, anything, in Alabama has left a disappointing gap in my tourist t-shirt collection so I’m hoping Atlanta will pick up the pieces this evening. Simon flies home tomorrow whilst the rest of us head to New York for a couple of days of partying and catching up with old and new friends. The Celtics are playing the Hawks tonight. The game is sold out but we’re gonna befriend some touts and take our seats to yell “from downtown” and other favourites from the heady days of NBA Jam.

In news much closer to home... The Tupolev Ghost are out on tour right now, featuring none other than Ross Smithwick of Secondsmile fame on bass. From all accounts the dates have been going swimmingly and they’re all over the new issue of Rock Sound magazine, including a track on the covermount CD. When I get home I’ll be uploading a new Shapes video and I believe Copy Haho’s recent London show will be up on the Beastcast.tv website. I have some other exciting news to tell y’all (I’ve been in the south for too long, I’m talking like a Texan) soon, but will be keeping that under my hat for a while. I’ve got three final nights of partying to enjoy first.

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