Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, Justin wrote Iceland, a blog about his band’s American tour. Justin isn’t on tour anymore, but Iceland continues, twice a week, on City Desk.
“Sir, I cannot contain myself any longer!” I exclaimed. “Do I know you? Say that I have met you somewhere before!”
“Hmmm,” said the familiar man. I had traveled three hours to my native Philadelphia for an exploratory rehearsal with potential musical collaborators, one of whom I suspected I had met before. “May I ask where are you from?” the familiar man queried.
“I am from Cheltenham—-a suburban community wedged between North and Northeast Philadelphia,” I replied. “And where are you from, sir?”
“I am from Abington—-a suburban community wedged between North and Northeast Philadelphia,” the familiar man replied.
“Say no more!” I implored. “Our secondary schools oft challenged one another in the popular American game called ‘football.'”
“Indeed,” agreed the familiar man. “In addition, I was in a local band of some repute called Captain Action.”
“Yes, Captain Action,” I replied. “I admired your band when I was a youth. A wonderful group—-but so ancient that surely it cannot be found on Google, AltaVista, or other relevant search engines!”
“It is true—-Captain Action is un-Googleable,” replied the familiar man. “But perhaps you have heard of my later band, The Clocks.”
“Why, indeed!” I exclaimed. “The Clocks were known for their pounding rhythms and sheer chutzpah. However, I also suspect that ‘The Clocks’ is un-Googleable.”
“Perhaps,” the familiar man admitted. “However, my current project maintains a viable Internet presence. We rap over hardcore records.”
“A fascinating premise,” I admitted. “But do you mean ‘hardcore’ as in 7 Seconds, or hardcore as in Judge?” The familiar man considered this question, but did not reply. Fearing I had committed a faux pas, I stared out of the window determinedly. We were driving through a gritty industrial area of Northeast Philadelphia, not very far from where I had grown up. Warehouses bloomed along the side of the street.
“Savor these warehouses, you fine Philadelphians!” I admonished my potential collaborators. “Oh, savor them! For I have emigrated to Washington, D.C., a land devoid of industrial areas and related warehouse practice space. My adopted city does not produce wares, but legislation which requires no warehousing. If you are a D.C. musician and do not live in a detached home or along the semi-industrial Amtrak corridor, you will be exiled by angry neighbors to band practice in the distant hinterlands of Gaithersburg or, if you are lucky, Fairfax!”
My potential future bandmates did not respond to my tirade. Goddammit, I thought. I must cultivate a deadpan image if I’m to disprove Tom Wolfe and successfully go home again.