NOVEMBER 24 — CHICAGO, DAY OFF
With fewer than four weeks until the end of the tour, we seem to be a in a very different phase compared to the beginning. With all this time off, one might believe we were professional holiday makers. Rumour has it that ‘Black Friday,’ the day following Thanksgiving, is when Christmas shopping truly begins in the U.S.
The Winterly Material Fattening has begun in my eyes, the sight of hotel-goers laden with multiple bags filled with excuses to spend. Shopping in every-day life is the West’s key social activity, but come Saturnalia, it’s like we’re all going to die, frantically heading to the Church of Monetary Relief to pad our rebirths; the pastors and priests stand in the shops, convincing us behind false smiles that we will live again, in possession of everything we bought in our past lives.
The reader may infer that I am no fan of ‘The Holidays,’ a whole month in which little gets done in favour of worrying whether or not the iPad you buy for Aunt Ida will seem too luxurious compared to the fragrant soap you bought for Aunt Jean. You’re all getting socks and coal.
NOVEMBER 25 — CHICAGO, AND THEN DETROIT
Today is technically a travel day, but we won’t leave until 9pm, heading to Detroit overnight. Arising in the morning, I opt for breakfast at a posh gaff near the hotel; it should be said that almost everything around here looks a bit high-end, so an upmarket brekkie is par for the hole. If you want cheap, take a walk. We’re downtown and one has to expect restaurants of a particular calibre, serving food priced to pay the rent. As we in the employ of LC are not treated badly in the slightest, a thirty dollar brunch is not going to break any banks.
After a delicious plate of foodstuffs the waiter and I converse a little, the topic being the diner’s origins. As per the norm, when asked my reasons for being in a particular place (ie ‘What brings you here?’) I mention that I work in music, and then if pressed further, release details until the inevitable name-drop occurs. The waiter happens to be someone very aware of LC, and is quite curious about my job.
‘Do you have like a BA in Fine Arts?’ he asks.
‘Nope,’ I reply; ‘I’m self-taught, been taking things apart since I was a kid.’
‘Well, you must know your crap!’
An extra vowel and an apostrophe could turn that phrase around somewhat, but I presume he’s a positive chap. We talked about the reality of immigration, he being a white American completely at ease with ‘Hispanics’ who work and pay tax. The topic of language is touched upon and how English evolved through external influences. When the conversation turns to one of my favourites, William the Conqueror, I am happy to share what I know of Senlac Hill and the legendary arrow in Harold’s eye.
After the victuals, I spent the majority of time leading to 5pm writing. At the seventeenth hour of the day, we all checked out of the hotel and lived sans adresse pour quatre heurs until we rode the buses at 9 to Detroit.
In that misty time, six of we crew, we happy crew, went for pizza. Have you ever seen a Chicago pizza pie? I can tell you, while in the restaurant, being led to our table, I walked past one of Chicago’s monstrosities, half-eaten, guarded by a family. As my eyes met the mutant food, the first simile to pop into my mind was ALIEN AUTOPSY. In the pizza place we six had a few drinks, and after finishing there, separated for a time. I decided to visit the hotel bar, enjoying some internet with a real-life peachy-mango-pear-vodka drink which cost more than a bottle of vodka from a liquor store.
When 9pm came, The Winning Team and its affiliates assembled; we got on our buses bound for Detroit. Once settled, Keys Technician Dan and I killed wave after wave of zombies while knocking back a few more beers. Before too long, my bunk called me and sleep was went-to at a not-unreasonable hour.