That song, off the album Diamond Dogs -- which was another absolutely KILLER tune -- always brings me back to Dime Box, Texas. This was the last spot we played, during my last season on the road, at the end of a long, too long, series of circus jumps (A difficult move between lots, usually calling for tearing down, driving, setting up and opening for business on the new lot without time to sleep). The town was beautiful, the lot, the midway, was positively bucolic -- so different from the scrub grass desert-ish spots we’d been playing over the last few months. We were set on a lush, green, tree covered undulating hill (which made the the Tilt even more Tilt-y).
And it was October. This was the first and only Autumn I’d spent in the South -- I was homesick for scarlet and amber colored trees, 50 degree temps and people who didn’t think I was a freak just because my vocabulary went beyond two syllable words (on rare occasion).
We skirted Austin on our way to Dime Box but, sadly to me, we didn’t stop. I’d been seeing the gimme caps all season with the legend ‘Austin -- Nothin’ But Steers and Queers’ and figured this’d be my kind of town. An oasis in a sea of swaggering cowboy wannabes, goat ropers and mincing, Maybellined and Aqua Net soaked bouffant babes.
Years later, a bunch of my band playing buds made an annual pilgrimage to Austin, to play and compete at South By Southwest -- the annual music, film, and interactive (interactive what? what does the ‘interactive’ refer to? Isn’t interaction intrinsic to all music and film?) conference and festival.
Much envy. Now, here in the present, my GRAND niece (how, in the name of all that is transcendent, did I end up with grandnieces???!!!) is graduating from high school, in Dallas, and moving down to Austin. Naturally I’ll need to visit. Visit and, undoubtedly, embarrass the crap outta her. Nothing like having your 53 year old Grand Auntie down for a visit -- the one who wants to hit all the live rock clubs and **shriek, horror** DANCE! Yes, yes...deafies can rock out. We can dance to the music. As long as there’s a solid beat goin’ down, I’ll feel it. If I feel it, I gotta move. No choice -- it’s how I’m wired.
In any case, back in 1980 Dime Box, TX, after a long blisteringly hot, yet profitable, carnival Southern summer, I decided to blow some of that hard won cheddar on an air conditioner. Yeah, I was livin’ under a cap on the back of someone else’s pick up truck but, dammit, I’d had all the steam bath level nights I could take. I got the frosty freeze hooked up, cranked to meat freezer in the Yukon levels and told everyone I was simulating Autumn in Maine. And YES, of course there’s frost on the windows in Boothbay Harbor in October!
Ahhhh, sleeping in 50 degrees, pulling my sleeping bag tight up under my chin with David Bowie on the 8 track.
Heaven. Of course.
Panic In Detroit -- David Bowie