America Day 25 – Gruene Hall

Gruene Hall stakes a good claim as the oldest dance hall in Texas. We were all there. I was in my cowboy boots. They’re still pretty expensive by the minute of use, but they’re getting cheaper over the time I’m in Texas. It was a local band playing – Silvercloud. Steel guitars and drums, all behatted, good looking young men with music. We had a fine dance.


Their last song was almost certainly not called what I think it was called: “I’m not mad (I just had some crisps.)” Still, we danced to it like we had had way too many of those crisps and it was a blast.

We were experimenting with lifts on the dance floor by the end, fueled by the necessity to burn off a steak the size of a dead badger that I had just forced down my gullet. It was fun and physical. Now I’m exhausted and so happy. The band thanked us for the dancing. We thanked them. We were eejits. And we loved it.

Bridget is driving us home. What a glorious Texas night. I’ve had a great time in the Lone Star State so far and this night and this band have added to it.

“I think they were very genuine,” says Bridget. “I didn’t like country music until I started dancing to it. I didn’t do the two step in Illinois. Now I just … feel it.” I know what she means. That band tonight were local and – yes, very genuine. They told us on the mic how often they had been on the dance floor watching other bands play, and now here they were on the stage.

I had to learn the two step and I still don’t quite get the pattern but it goes a little something like this: “Slow, slow quick quick slow, slow, quick quick slow slow quick quick sick pant quick quick blow flow oh no quick quick go woe thick twit no yo? slow shit shit NO no no that’s my toe!”

Today I got a group of young men and women to baa like sheep, and commit to it. I called it education. We were looking at The Second Shepherd’s Play in The Wakefield Cycle and my thinking was that if they’re going to be exploring it for comedy somebody would need to be confident and loud with sheep noises. It’s the one where a couple pretend a stolen sheep is their baby when the shepherds come looking. That’s been my actual work.

I’ve also had everybody on the internet shouting at me about a non-existent leak from my flat which has been stressful and wearing in the extreme when I’ve been totally unable to do anything about it and when Brian is literally busier than he’s ever been in his life. It might be something invisible. But I think unfortunately it’s the rain. The guys we paid all that money to in order to fix it – they didn’t fix it. More money, I imagine. It never rains but it pours.

I’m back in my room, remembering that I’ve got to get these boots off before I can crash out and dream of something other than flooding please. It is literally all kicking off at home at the worst possible time. And here I am and all I can do is my best. Another useful lesson in zen, while everybody is shouting at me.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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