Iceland

Epilogue: Philadelphia, Pa.

I began booking my band's U.S. tour in December 2006. This 46-show tour was six weeks long, traversed 24 states and 2 Canadian provinces, and put approximately 15,000 miles on my Toyota Matrix. The first show was in Richmond, Va., on March 14, 2007. The 46th was in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 26, 2007.

At the beginning of the tour, I resolved to determine how much money my band spent on gas, hotel rooms, and food, and exactly how much we earned at shows. Once I was on the road, these arcane calculations fell by the wayside. Instead of fetishizing arithmetic, I grew a beard and contemplated the endless battle between representation and abstraction in the realms of visual art and literature. Distracted by aesthetic concerns, I had trouble determining basic facts about my band's tour. Did my band gain an audience? Did my band make money? Was this tour, from a financial and/or emotional prospective, worth the trouble?

After my final show in Brooklyn, I celebrated the end of tour by driving, alone, to Philadelphia. I was born in Philadelphia and my parents live there in a pleasant home featuring shower, toilet, and laundry facilities. Thinking I might make use of these facilities, I left Williamsburg at around 1 a.m. I drove the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway west over the Verrazano Bridge across Staten Island. By the time I reached the New Jersey Turnpike, the weather had worsened. A deluge of rain swamped the highway. Flash-flooding was reported by droning news reporters whose clipped Philadelphia accents haunt the City of Brotherly Love's late-night AM radio frequencies. Roadside prophets in soaked hair shirts contemplated the lightning-streaked skies and wondered if this night—finally—would bring their precious, oft-predicted, oft-prayed for End of Days. In Atlantic City, somewhere to the southeast, a dice player rolled snake eyes.

Because I had no need for gas, I did not stop driving until I reached my parents' home. I parked my car and, running through the rain, rushed into the house where I had been raised. It was late, after 3 a.m. Everyone in the house was asleep. On the kitchen countertop sat an apple pie in a cardboard box. My mother had left a note on the pie. "This pie is for you," the note read.

I looked at the apple pie and contemplated it. I was glad that the apple pie was there. At that moment, I was very hungry. At that moment, I thought I would enjoy a slice of apple pie.

In the darkened kitchen, I retrieved a plate from the cabinet and a knife and fork from the silverware drawer. I placed these items on the kitchen countertop and prepared to cut a slice of apple pie. I opened the cardboard box that held the pie and looked down at the pie for the first time. When I saw the pie, my jaw dropped. Someone had beaten me to the pie. That is, an unnamed party had already eaten a slice.

I thought for a moment. This pie is for me, I thought. Yet, someone has already had a slice. Thus, I cannot have all of the pie. Still, enough pie remains for me to have my fair share.

In the darkened kitchen, I cut the pie and removed my slice. With no one to watch, and with no thought of the past or future, I ate my slice of apple pie in the dark.

Comments

  1. #1

    welcome back!

  2. #2

    Justin, I've really enjoyed reading this blog the last few weeks. I hope it'll be archived somewhere. You've got a knack for story-telling. I picked up the Antelope CD at Crooked Beat records last week and it's really grown on me. Congrats on making it around the country and back in one piece!

  3. #3

    Philadelphia sounds like the place where the brothers love you back, in contrast to Monrovia, Mogadishu, Nairobi, Brazzaville, or PG county.

  4. #4

    So how does one break into the show business, anyway?

  5. #5

    Evidently, the absence of talent is not an obstacle. What you need though is access to the media and connections.

  6. #6

    Everhardt, you are joking...

  7. #7

    I couldn't be more in earnest.

  8. #8

    Now, how many half-decent shows have you seen in theXXI century? Is it greater than zero?? It a simple question.

  9. #9

    Yes, you are probably right, as always.

  10. #10

    No really, Ernest, why be ever so hard hard had all the time time time?

  11. #11

    Yes, that disagreeableness.

  12. #12

    Another week, another paycheck.

  13. #13

    I have enjoyed reading this blog. Don't sweat the haters, Justin, your deadpan stories of the road have been better than "adequate".

  14. Ernest Everhardt
    #14

    If you were any dumber, Josh, you'd be a Joshua tree.

  15. Ernest Everhardt
    #15

    Another fantastic outfit, Peggy, but then, you'd look stunning in a paper bag.

    Beaky: perceptive as usual.

    Bobby: such a pretty name.

  16. #16

    Nice story. Pretty much sums up my experiences on the road playing music. It's all about coming home and having a nice slice of pie.
    I'm sure the quiet of your parent's kitchen was a nice counterpoint to the chaos of noise, and sense of dislocation a tour can represent.

  17. #17

    What you call "music", jake, would probaly make Sid Vicious turn in his grave. Your parents should pull your ears, really. Jason is twice the man you'll ever be. Now, piss off.

  18. #18

    I meant Justin, not Jason.

  19. #19

    I think Justine belongs in the Department of Justice.

  20. #20

    Bah.

  21. #21

    What an unjust comment.

  22. #22

    You meant Justin, not "Justine", of course.

  23. #23

    I meant Jason, actually.

  24. #24

    Let me set this straight: By posting his unjust comment about the Department of Justice Bobby has done Justin and Jason an injustice.

  25. #25

    Beaky hits the nail on the head with his beak.

  26. Ernest Everhardt
    #26

    What kind of brainless stupid half-brain dead moron would start such a piffly trivial waste-of-space blog as this in such a troubled world?

    One must have the patience of an angel, or at least a Ghandi to put up with such puerile crap.

  27. #27

    Don't exaggerate, Everhardt. I find this blog quite adequate, actually. Iceland, get it?

  28. #28

    Indeed, you always blow things up, Ernest.

    Iceland has influences, to be sure, yet it's original and wonderful.

  29. #29

    Justin,

    Thank you for this trip. Your writing brings up that "levitational monologue" resulted from enduring hundreds of miles, people's faces and stories, empty and real places.

    Abrazos,

    Eduardo

  30. #30

    Eduardo, you've lowered the tone of this discussion. Piss off.

    Ernesto, you have great insight. Do continue.

  31. Ernest Everhardt
    #31

    Roberto,

    You look well. Lost weight?

  32. Ñòåïàí Aãàðêîâ
    #32

    Áîëüøîå ñïàñèáî àâòîðó. Âîçìîæíî, â áóäóùåì ÿ è äåéñòâèòåëüíî ðåàëèçóþ àíàëîãè÷íóþ èäåþ. :)

  33. #33

    Ëþáîïûòíî! Õîòåëîñü áû ïîáîëüøå òàêèõ æå çàíèìàòëüíûõ ïîñòîâ

  34. #34

    ×òî-òî ó ìåíÿ â Îïåðå äèçàéí âàøåãî ñàéòà ðàñïîëçàåòñÿ...

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