A Year In Nadada: Week Twenty Five- The Other Side Of The Mountain

Time is crazy here. We spent a day in the mountains. A day. The road to Duchamp is not long. If you didn’t stay the night, you could drive all the way in three hours. But I’m guessing up there you’ve been receiving these once, maybe two a week at most. And we are still here. 

The night was long, and full of dreams. In the morning I found The Butter Mouse on the breakfast table, surrounded by plates with crumbs on, and half- drunk cups of tea. A handwritten notes from Jean-Michel apologised for the mess.

When it was time to go he arranged our bikes in a triangle, his at the front. Duchamp sat at the bottom of the hill, the drums, guitars, and laughter already audible.

‘The triangle is important,’ he announced. ‘Stick in the triangle.’

The slope started off gentle. I am still not sure how we drive these things, but they only need a nudge to get going.  The incline increased until the trees and lake blurred into green and blue. We tried to brake, but gravel flew up from the floor, and my stomach buttoned up. Any semblance of the road vanished under my feet into a moving strip of grey. I wanted to check the Butter Mouse hasn’t fallen out, but there was no way to turn my head.

The trees were gone. Instead on the roadside were men in top hats shouting through megaphones, grinning teeth in dark caves, and something the size of a human, but with legs like a bird. A man made of newspaper reached for my legs, the rustle of his sheets lost in the roar of our engines.

This didn’t seem so bad when our bikes started to dissolve.

The mud flaps and body work went first, sliding into the wind in a million particles. I kicked at one of the pedals, and it exploded into a burst of colourful sand. The Butter Mouse’s sidecar separated from the side of the bike in a trail of grey chalky trail. The left hand wheel was enough to keep his transport going, and we motored down together in sync.

When the handlebars crumbled between my hands I had to spread my arms for balance. The bike kept going even when parts of the engine turned to dust. By the time we rolled into Duchamp, we hung on skeletal metal remains, luggage rattling off the side.

This is Nadada. Nobody cared.

We scraped on saddles down a muddy path laced with the guy ropes of hundreds of tents. They were mostly the primary colours of festival and campsite two birthers, with some notable exceptions. Huge Mongolian structures with roofs stretching to the sky. One with an ant farm installed in the side, the insects ploughing their way down to the ground sheet.

In a rush of warm pastel snow our bikes were gone for good. We sit with out legs arched next to something you might consider a yurt.  Only about halfway across panels of wood dot the fabric, stuck in like nuts into chocolate. One was a full grand piano, the black polished to perfection except where the feet hit the mud. A group crowded round the instrument, playing songs with the words sung backwards.

Jean Michel told us to have a good time, and to look out for  The Kandinsky. I turn to say goodbye, but he was gone. I clawed up The Butter Mouse from the sodden ground, and tried to find the way.


Our trip down the mountains begins. This is seconds before our bikes started to dissolve. 

Our trip down the mountains begins. This is seconds before our bikes started to dissolve.