The Fall. Part 6.

June 20th – 22nd New Orleans – Houston – Austin

We have found our new home! 

We’re in Austin and we love it. It’s cool, and young, and chic, and hippy and really friendly – and quite beautiful in places. It seems to combine a few contrasting elements without looking pieced together; there’s big business downtown, with expensive boutique shopping and funky little bars and cafes where the rich and busy of the world can people watch with cool disinterest – but just across the street will be a little hippy bar selling home made burgers with a guy outside the door playing bluegrass on an old acoustic guitar. Well, that gets me onto the music scene here – awesome – we went to the Continental Club on South Congress (‘SoCo’) yesterday. It was close to being a bit of a self caricature – like maybe we had missed the boat slightly) but it was still great fun. This was a tuesday night and we got there just in time to see the last of 4 bands on that day. Nice downhome outfit with sassy lead singer and really good fiddle player. Tonight we are going to something called Blues on the Green, with a renowned local band who are apparently on the verge of breaking through. They have Austin City Limits and South by Southwest, they have live music in coffee shops, ice cream parlours and supermarkets – oh my god – the supermarket is reason enough to move here alone. We have gone to the flagship WholeFoods everyday, it’s amazing. Shame about the state of public health and education systems in the US really…

I’m reading The Great Gatsby at the moment, really enjoying it – why have I hardly read any American literature at all? Austin could not be further from the world so cuttingly described by Fitzgerald. Before that I read Of Mice and Men, and it’s not that world either. I’ve got various other canonic American texts with me so maybe I’ll locate Austin in there somewhere, for now I’ll just enjoy it. Even the fact that the RV has a crack in the windscreen, and the oven appears to be broken back home, cannot lower my mood. 

Afterthought: the reason I haven’t read any American literature before is my snobbish schooling – Shakespeare, Dickens…anything written past the mid 19th century was considered a bit radical. America was still young…

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