America Day 60 – Halloween

I’m in Rex’s Rendezvous in Warsaw Indiana. A man with a guitar and a beard is shouting at the top of his voice, mostly about alcohol. I think there was once meant to be a tune, but what hasn’t gone to whisky is swallowed by the noise which is keyed for a packed room. Including the four of us there are twenty people here. Not enough for the decibels. They’re all smoking though these people.

The drummer appears to believe there’s a rythmn but he’s too drunk to find it. The whole joint stinks so much of cigarettes that I feel like I’m 20 again. I remember not understanding the first few times I walked into a bar and it didn’t reek of smoke. Tomorrow it’ll be in my throat, and my ears will be ringing from this bearded howling oaf. Everybody is as far from him as possible but his one friend.


With my new modern sensibilities I went and put my nice cashmere coat in the car. It’s just come out of the dry cleaners. I don’t want it stinking of fags. O the times! I think I might be a little older than I once was, even if I still have wreckhead tendencies.

This is the best we’ve managed for Halloween. Torture. Smoke and howling. It is a little bit like being in hell, but there’s pizza and beer so we are staying. “I feel like I’m in hell,” says Claire, echoing my sentiment unknowingly. She just threw a pint of water over the barman by mistake because the noise is so egregious she’s lost coordination. They have an audience of 1. It is categorically the worst live music I have ever heard in my entire life. Well done the Halloween booking team at Rex’s Rendezvous. The next act might well involve me ripping my own ears out of my head while shrieking “Make it stop!!” Fucking hell! Now it’s a hip hop guy. “Is this open mic?” intuits Kaffe, and oh my God he might be right but if so why the hell inflict it on us at this volume? This is the opposite of fun. It better be the only place in town, like we think it is.

You get what you’re given here in small town Indiana. And everybody knows everything about everybody… “Is Toby Belch the sort of man who goes to Burger King at 11pm?” My guilty secret from last night, laid bare in a Q&A session earlier today. “Yes, if he can bring his own … hang on… wait who the hell saw that?”

Still the show was lovely tonight. It’s the smallest venue we’ve played, I reckon. It can’t sit more than 200 – likely not even that many. They packed in despite it being Halloween. But Halloween, like Brexit, has been officially postponed. It was snowing. Unlike Brexit it’ll only be for one day and the postponement is for people’s own good. Hopefully all the kids will be able to go trick or treating together tomorrow and it won’t be snowing.

Hopefully those idiots will stop shouting soon and go away.

No, I mean the open mic guy. I’m not talking transatlantic politics.

A year ago today I also found snow, in very different circumstances, as I walked over the mountain to Galicia

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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