Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Pamplona Without Hemingway

Forty-eight hours to Vegas, and all talk has reverted back to Stetsons and rebel-flag belt buckles. Reporting in from Sin City, where he's already a few sessions in at the National Finals Rodeo, Brew demands that, "No, seriously dude, you'll feel SO STUPID if you don't have a cowboy hat. The chicks all have 'em, dude - the BABIES have cowboy hats ..."

Fortunately I just started Iain Sinclair's London Orbital, which includes the following juicy little bit:

There's always a warm glow in not belonging, in being the only abstainer at a fleadh in Ballycastle, the only non-Iberian bull-runner in Pomplona who
hasn't read Hemingway; it means you're not responsible. You don't have
to enjoy yourself. It's not part of the contract to become one with the spirit
of place. You are not obliged to spew, fight, sing, dance, wreck your car or in
any other way amuse yourself. And this is very liberating.

So to hell with the cowboy hat and belt buckle; the goddamn rodeo can survive the encroachment of a single skinny white city boy with the whole city-boy nine yards: Clarks, cords, Harrington, Perry. I don't think that 150 years of Western lore are going to be ruined by that any more than they'll be erased by the advent of TV advertising boards, $50,000 pickup trucks, big-hat country singers or the pink shirt.

Speaking of travel, big news out of the Post-Gazette today: Thank god we've finally got a proper way to get from Pittsburgh to Myrtle Beach. The Johnsons Big Band's now-annual expedition to the beach in 2005 will benefit greatly.


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