The Groanbox Blog

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Gritty, Grimy Groanboxers Garishly and Garrulously Glide to the Goal Line

We made it. At least I think we made it. It's hard to imagine that the two months we just spent in our Volkswagen Caddy van zooming around England was real. We got to the point in our collective experience where we were convinced - due to what we ended up diagnosing as "Tour Scurvy", i.e. a combination of road-induced vacillations of euphoria and gloom, mental and physical exhaustion from hauling gear and performing once or twice almost every day, bad hygiene from the scant use of showers culminating in overpowering odors wafting from every angle (particularly michael's accordion), and dubious dietary habits including tesco cheese and onion sandwiches, two pound vegetarian curries, and north devon home-pressed cider (known to have a laxative effect) - that we were living in a video game controlled by an eight year old boy named Benny in a generic suburban town somewhere in the universe. It didn't help that we were blasting Wendy Carlos, the famous classical synthesist who made it big with "Switched on Bach", our friend Martin Ansell in Dorset who writes beautiful songs with bizarre imagery such as "chain-smoking insects" and "forest of jeans", and our friend Jane Bom-Bane's partner Nick Pynn's awe-inspiring universe of odd stringed instruments, wine glasses, and loops.
We ended up once again concocting quixotic plans, inventing a host of new characters who importunately hijacked our brains at various moments both appropriate and awkward, and mainly driveling out incomprehensible nuggets of meaningless nonsense at a rapid fire pace. This quote from William Blake seemed to be ever-present in my mind, probably because a) there was a daily Blake-themed story on BBC4 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth, wherein it seemed like every time we turned the radio on Blake was in the backseat commenting on our experiences, and b) it seemed precisely aimed at us. Here goes:
"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has has closed himself up, till he sees all thing thro' narrow chinks of his cavern." Desperately trying to cleanse our doors of perception, to grasp the cosmic connectedness of life, yet always cascading into a cavernous enclosure from which we see and understand nada.
A beautiful blur. This tour was more intense than any other we've done, and it is all a bundle of entangled memories, encounters with many wonderful people, and promises of much more to come in 2008. Let this entry be the introduction to lots of posts about our autumnal journey into the cities, towns, villages, and hamlets of England....
Hmmm, where to begin?

(First photo taken at the Barge in Gillingham, Kent by a friend, second taken by us in the New Forest at dusk on the way to Weymouth, Dorset).