Today I considered how our motorbikes are powered. We’ve been travelling for nearly a week, and we haven’t needed to refuel once.
On the surface we trek between gigs using train, or in a real tightness of funds, coach. One of these bikes up there would save me thousands. Jean-Michel refuses to tell us how the engine works, but I am sure there’s something like a bunch of flowers riding a miniature bicycle inside.
We are having a great time, and riding through the desert has made a wonderful from change from sitting in the cabin. Even if my motorbike hasn’t changed shape once. With Doesburg gone and the goats no longer a novelty, this blog was proving tricky.
Until the night rolled in three hours early, and we met George.
George did not tell us the rest of his name, if he was Nadadian, or born elsewhere. He only told us about the music.
George bought the radio in Lozowick. The design was chunky, made of black plastic, with weird symbols like something from the Eastern bloc. Only these were not Cyrillic. You had to change the station by turning a large black cog. Static ruled the bandwidth except for the very end of the dial.
He let me record an interview about what his discovery, and allowed the Butter Mouse to lead the way. George responded to her questions as if speaking to a puppet in the desert is a normal Friday night for him.
TBM: So George, what is your second name?
G: Aren’t you going to ask me about my radio?
TBM: Oh yeah. Can’t you conjure up your own music or something?
G: Kind of. But it’s the visuals as well.
TBM: That’s a television you’re thinking of.
G: No, I am referring to my radio. When I got a station, the first thing I heard was the presenter referring to the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by a different name. I kept listening after that. The station only plays one band, an indie group call Tube Sheet Tumour. Their songs aren’t great, but they translate into acoustic.
TBM: At least you have something to pass the time here. Not much to do in the desert.
G: The music is more than that. I ask everyone who travels through here if they’ve heard of the station, or even of Tube Sheet Tumour. Nobody ever has. I play my songs for everyone, and they are always original numbers.
TBM: Aren’t you going to play us some music?
G: Of course I am. I don’t know else how to show you.
::George played us a song. Above his head appeared a cloud, in the shape of a metronome, one eye moving back and forth on the stick. The image was so intimidating, I lost my flow with The Butter Mouse.::
G: A new image appears every time, regardless of the tune. I don’t get taken over, and I don’t think of them. Everything else out here requires some kind of control, some kind of will for it to happen. Not me. I am just playing songs out here in the desert.
You know what I think? This is the result of someone else’s experiment. Someone else wishes for something from another dimension, and the result is this radio. This is a connection to another dimension. Maybe they got scared, and threw their discovery away. I don’t know, I am here with the music.
We camped with George that night, He played us a few more songs, and we listened to his radio. His visions glowed like street lamps in the darkness of the desert.
We head to the mountains tomorrow.
On our way to meet George. Photo by Lewis Moorcroft.