This far into the desert, time gets weird. I posted this this blog only three days after the last one, but I’ve no idea when the release date will be. The sand stretches to the horizon all the way round, and give little indication of distance travelled. Jean-Michel says not to worry. He won’t let us get lost.
His attempt at reassurance is the most worrying comment I have heard of in Nadada. I never considered the possibility of getting.
Doesburg was the first town we’ve visited that I didn’t play a gig in. This was more than reasonable. Nobody lives there anymore.
From afar, the first buildings look like they might be inhabited. A sheen of red moss covers the outside, which resembles fresh paintwork. We rumbled into the abandoned streets, and the scarlet plants framed every window and door, running onto over a ground spotted with weeds.
We parked up. The place had a musty smell, like old newspapers and mould, and something creaked on a loop. Jean-Michel explained that the creators of Doesburg not only brought their own wood, and actually built the buildings, but failed to cope with the time differential. The moss was probably created as a bit of a laugh a few years later. He said the best way to experience the town was to potter off by yourself, and wait for time to kick in.
The Butter Mouse and I headed round the corner, and entered a house with a front door clinging on with one hinge, rocked back like the last few hours of a milk tooth. The place might have been a family home, but now we kicked through crushed cans of imaginary drink, and the fragments of broken tiles. A goat wandered through the empty rooms, smelling faintly of Sangria.
We were investigating of an abandoned bathroom when the time change began. The Butter Mouse turned her head to look at a ragged crescent of mirror, and with a pop the air contracted.
My face itched. When I tried to scratch, my uncovered hand moved towards my face at the pace of a slug. The Butter Mouse remained staring into the fragment of mirror, her head bobbing backwards in a lazy nod. There was a hole in the plaster, and outside tiny birds flew through the sky, their wing beats clear individual movements. The goat bleated a noise that rang on and on like a organ note.
With another pop, time snapped back into place. My hand missed my face, and thrashed into the wall hard enough to bruise. At least the itching stopped.
‘Is everyone OK?’Jean-Michel shouted. With nothing to contest with, his voice carried through the town.
Only one tourist ran into issues. He had tripped backwards been through a doorway when the slowdown began. During our cosmic experience, he spent five minutes careening backwards, arms pinwheeling through the air in methodical circles. When the world popped back into place he sprawlED backwards onto a broken piano, and nearly broke his ankle.
Doesburg is worth a visit, but this is the first place in Nadada that has unnerved me. It lacks the mischief of my other stops, and I was glad to zoom away. God knows what people thought when they first arrived.
Through the desert. Onto the mountains.
On our way to meet George. Photo by Lewis Moorcroft.