July 23, 2005

I’m beat (beat red). The sun through the blinds opened my eyes this morning and I decided to sit poolside. Adorning a pair of (gasp!) shorts, I conjured up my courage and made it to the spa area at 1pm. After reading and writing in my personal journal, I proceeded to fall asleep for two hours. Lying under the Texas sun relieved me of my farmer’s tan. Now it has left me looking even more asinine. The tops of my arms and legs are burnt pink, and the backs of my legs and and arms are white like Capser. When I awoke I called Craig Stewart. He was putting personal items into storage, and told me he would call in an hour or two.

Acting under the assumption that he would want to meet downtown, I thought it would be best to get a head-start and walk through Austin. What I did not expect–what no one could have expected–was that I would end up making a large circle around the entire downtown area. I didn’t think Austin had such a rough terrain, but next to Mexico and San Francisco I haven’t seen so many steep hillsides in a long time. Nevertheless, I started innocently enough at my hotel, on 3rd and San Jacinto. I first made my way to the State Capital on 12th and Trinity. I walked through Waterloo Park before passing through the grounds in front of the Capital building. With steep hills preceding the complex, I was afford some nice photos of the city’s skyline. Then I walked all the way to Lamar, where I visited Waterloo Records and ate at Waterloo Ice House. When I had gorged myself on a bacon cheeseburger and pints of Shiner Bock and Sam Adams Summer Ale, I walked the length of 6th Street back to San Jacinto. I returned with a face that resembled an apple and dampened clothes like I had forgotten to disrobe before taking a swim. My shoulders and legs are throbbing. I kept myself hydrated with bottles of water, but the heat remained quite fierce for the duration.

At Waterloo, Craig called to tell me that he was going to be unable to meet. We traded e-mail addresses, phone numbers and he promised to give me all the attention and information I required in order to make the interview good. Luckily, a random person on MySpace sent me a message today telling me he had read of my exploits and could get me in touch with the following people in Seattle: “Scott Colburn (Mudhoney etc.), Jack Endino (Sub Pop, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains) Reflekt Records (Producer Jeff List) and more. All new bands.” If that’s not reason enough to extend this trip, I don’t know what is.

I spent $100 on records at Waterloo. Oops! They had one of the widest selections I’ve ever seen. Having visited all the requisite stores in the New York and New Jersey areas, and places like Reckless and Dr. Wax in Chicago, or Vintage Vinyl in Saint Louis, Waterloo by far was the best. For those of you keeping score at home, I purchased:

Pajo – Pajo
Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden
Jackie-O-Motherfucker – Liberation
Jackie-O-Motherfucker – Fig.5
Nick Drake – Bryter Layter
Labradford – Prazision LP

Considering Drake was less than $10, the rest were pretty expensive. Jackie-O stuff is mostly out of print… so the investments were worth while. The Labradford album is their first, and also the first record ever released on Kranky, which makes it a historic memento. If you named a band, any band, Waterloo probably had their entire discography–including bootlegs, imports and out-of-prints. With the exception of Pajo and Drake (one of my biggest inspirations), I only purchased what I had never seen available before.

I did not drink this evening. I booked hotels for tomorrow, the next day and Albuquerque. Then I watched some TV for the first time in two weeks probably, and Emma called so we spoke for a while. It was hot, I wouldn’t mind this right now.

from the heart of america, i bid a fond farewell.

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