It’s not often I come out and take a hard line on a subject being someone who likes to get all sides of the argument and then think it all through from what I hope is an unprejudiced wholly objective viewpoint: the helicopter as opposed to the worm’s eye view. But on one matter my mind was made up ‘pretty darn quick’, that moment of revelation coming in Tennessee whilst listening to radio station WKDF on 103.3FM out of Nashville when some poor misplaced hillbilly sang “Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed”. Continue reading
During my early years a framed picture hung on the wall at the top of the stairs: a deep blue lake backed by numerous rocky peaks swathed at their feet by a multitude of conifers. It was a place in the Canadian Rockies near Lake Louise that my mother had visited in the late 1950s when she lived and worked in Canada. Photograph albums from that time pictured her on horseback with Canadian cousins or smiling as she sat in sleek finned cars from that era. Continue reading
Clarksdale Mississippi has an abandoned, ramshackle air of neglect in the air. It is a place where that much over-hyped notion ‘The American Dream’ has not materialised yet and is unlikely to any time soon. When we first drove through the downtown area nobody was walking on the streets, just the odd car pushed slowly through the intensely hot and sticky air that wrapped itself around everything. But people do seek Clarksdale out as it is famous for being a focus for the extraordinary music that spread out from the Mississippi Delta: music forged in a cauldron of fear, cruelty and despair. The Blues, possibly the most sublime and pure synthesis of African and American culture that there has ever been and ever will be. Continue reading
The girl taking my supper order looked at me as though I had just asked if I could sleep with her mother.
“We don’t serve beer here Sir,” she replied. Continue reading
In the Orlando Greyhound Terminal all is hustle and bustle: a short young woman of astonishing pinkness is trying to coax a can of Coke from a huge vending machine: a small child is glued to her side literally riding on the roll of flesh that encircles her midriff. Seated across from us are three men who could step in as extras for a remake of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ without a wardrobe change or recourse to a makeup artist. A man in baggy tracksuit pants shuffles from the ‘restroom’ clutching his groin: he needs to as if he releases the material the pants will fall to the ground, they barely cover his backside as it is. In the land where the car is king taking a bus might seem like a poor decision. Perhaps: perhaps not. Continue reading
I settled happily into my seat on American Airline flight 922 from La Paz to Miami: it had been delayed for 13-hours and we were ready to get going. Sitting in the window seat was a well-built young man wearing a bright yellow FIFA football top. Buckled and upright we began a round of formal chat of the ‘where we’d been and what we’d been doing’ style. Adam was a Pastor’s son from Indianapolis, Indiana and had been visiting his Bolivian girlfriend’s family in Santa Cruz in the eastern side of the country. Yasmin, pretty in the picture on his cellphone, was on another flight back to the US and her college where she was taking a degree in music. She and Adam had met at his church 3-years previously when she came with a choir to sing there. Continue reading
We met walking. And by that I mean it was when we first really spent time doing something that we both loved to do. The summit of Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, Wales in late summer of 2003 will always hold a very special place in our collective memories: it was where ‘We’ began. Continue reading