Thursday, October 14, 2004

Saturday Is The Best Day Of The Weekend 

Sunday, September 26, 2004

When the Pilgrims stepped off the Mayflower in December 1620, exhausted by the ravages of their traumatic voyage and woefully equipped for the vast continent that lay ahead of them, they hopped onto the famous Plymouth Rock and then gratefully onto dry land.
They immediately headed up to the All American Diner on Court Street where they enjoyed waffles and unlimited coffee, all served up by a delightful young waitress named Jessica. They soaked up the pleasantly nostalgia themed ambience of the establishment, and marvelled at spotting their first truly obese Americans.
They ate heartily, tipped handsomely, took a stroll around town and went a bit mad taking photos of clapboard houses and stuff. It all looked so perfect. They wandered down the main street in town, passing humble bookstores and cozy diners and the offices of hopeful local politicians until they came to a conclusion: Plymouth, “America’s Hometown” was a lot more pleasant than their Rough Guide had led them to expect.

Of course, the Pilgrims had already touched land four times previously on Cape Cod, but this doesn’t stop the good people of Plymouth from milking the connection for all it’s worth.
Plymouth Rock, a small boulder now enclosed in a silly pseudo Greek temple, was almost certainly not the Pilgrim’s first stepping stone to America, and it’s nowhere near as good as the one with the Jacuzzi at the John Carver Inn.

With this in mind, me and Girlfriend packed up our belongings and headed off for Cape Cod. It took longer than we thought, mainly because I kept over mis-estimating my ability to negotiate “rotaries”, the inferior American equivalent of roundabouts. On rotaries, the only road signs you see are the ones you’ve just missed.

We stopped off for coffee and pie in Wellfleet, a pretty and underdeveloped village, where every business is dedicated to either crafts or lobster, but usually both.
After much leisurely rambling, we made tracks for Provincetown, a charming seaside town which took all our preconceptions of clapboard Americana up a couple of notches. It is picturesque beyond, erm, words.

We booked a whale watching trip and a table at Napi’s, then drank beer at the Surf Bar and more beer in The Squealing Pig. We’d noticed posters all around town advertising that three indie rock bands would be playing in town that very night. Excellent, I thought. A crowded bar and rowdy music - the icing on the cake.

So as darkness fell and the moon rose over the harbour, we shuffled on over to the New Arts Cinema full of dinner and expectation.
There were two members of staff present, four musicians and an accompanying friend, and no audience. Even more troubling, there was no bar. We ordered two coffees and took a table by the stage.

Eventually, when it became clear that no one else was coming, the opening act, a girl and boy duo called Rabbits came and sat at our table and began to sing. And I have to say, they were fantastic. They only did four songs, but Nicole and Jason were poppy and lively and such good sports for doing their set right in front of us. We grinned throughout like fools.

Afterwards, Tiger Saw, a quietly spoken young man who sang even more quietly stood on stage with an acoustic guitar and did his thing. This was followed by another lad going by the name of Thanksgiving, who wore his jumper artistically inside out. Both sang with a great deal of quiet, agonising introspection. Everybody in the room except me got their journals out and passed the time writing. I’d have done the same but I’d left mine at the hotel, not thinking I’d need it at a rock gig.
Thanksgiving finished his set by running in his flip-flopped feet to the exit, running back again, and collapsing onstage with his legs kicking in the air. He sorrowfully mumbled his last lines with his head trapped in the curtains. Everybody scribbled in silence. I examined my empty coffee cup.

“Both these singers had talent, and there were some lovely tunes in there somewhere, but c’mon kids - that’s no way to entertain a crowd,” I would have written if I’d brought something to write on.

It transpired that Jason Anderson, the boy from Rabbits, hadn’t been writing his journal. He was producing sing-along sheets so the audience could join in with his closing set. And once again, he was fantastic - perky, energetic, full of commitment and great music. By the end the crowd had swelled to six. Awesome!

When it was over I bought a Rabbits CD and a Jason CD, and chatted with Jason about bands and England and stuff. He was so pleased that I like Teenage Fanclub and Reindeer Section that he gave me a third CD free. Wer-hoo. If you take a look at their gigs list , you’ll see these guys are on tour practically non-stop.
“The average crowd,” Jason told me “is about thirty. But tonight was really special. You guys were great.”

Me and Girlfriend shook his hand and wished him well. We waved goodnight to everyone and wandered back to our hotel.

I dreamed of waitresses, folk singers and head on collisions.

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