Monday, 3 November 2008

America - Georgia On My Mind

Continuing the story of our trip to America.

We started our mini-tour in Atlanta, alternating performing in various, mostly Methodist churches, with being tourists. We visited the Coca-Cola museum which was, let us say, tightly themed but great fun. I learned more than I thought possible about a carbonated drink. For example, I learned why Cola is ideally served in a glass full of ice. Not, as I cynically assumed, because the ice displaces the Cola thus using less of the fizzy stuff. No, it's because in the late 19th century when John Pemberton invented it as a patented medicine, refrigeration was a luxury and so ice was a status symbol. Therefore, drinking a glass of syrupy fizz that was clinking full of ice showed the world that you were well-to-do. (I've had that information rattling around for 14 years and this is the first time I've used it. Yay for blogging and the sharing of knowledge.) At the end of the World of Coke tour you got to taste umpteen Cola based drinks which would shoot across the room and fill little cups for you. I'm as fond of a soft drink as anyone but 60 different (or not so different) is about 59 too many. Matt (the wig wearing gopher), managed a sip of just about all of them.

Polly's vegetarianism continued to cause her problems. At our first gig the church had prepared a supper for us and the youth group. It consisted of loads of different types of sandwiches each and every one of them crammed full of meat. There was a tiny bit of decorative garnish on top of one pile. Polly ate it.

That night Polly and I were to stay with one of the youth workers. He was a lovely young man of about 18. A real all-American boy, Jeff was all fired up for Jesus and was an enthusiastic and generous host. He was giving up his self-contained basement bedroom in his parents house for us to use. He drove us through the Georgia countryside until we got to his parent's spacious home and were introduced to them. It was a bit odd to be honest. I was in my mid-30s at the time, about the same age as Jeff's youthful Mom and Pop. Both Polly and I felt very much as if we were Jeff's young friends, and were to be left alone to play with him downstairs.

Jeff also introduced us to his stunningly attractive, blonde girlfriend, Sloane. “Sloane?” I said. “Like the square?” With dazzlingly perfect white teeth, she smiled, blankly. “The square? What square?” “Er. . . Sloane Square. In London. There's a square in London called. . .” “London, England?” “Yes.” “I don't understand. I've never been there.” “It's where the Yuppies come from.” “Yuppies?” The cultural divide yawned wider and wider. Sloane favoured me with polite smile, less dazzling this time, and turned to Jeff. “ I'm tired, Honey. I'll see you in the morning.” She gave him a peck on the cheek and left, giving me a nervous look.

Later, when Polly and I were alone in Jeff's basement bedroom, Polly remarked how trusting his parents were, what with the gorgeous Sloane and effectively a self-contained apartment with it's own entrance, and a large, metal framed, double bed. But then, as we crawled into the bed, we discovered trust was not an issue. The slightest movement caused the bed to squeak loudly, the noise, echoing and being amplified by the concrete walls of the basement. It was probably the most effective form of intimacy deterrent, a kind of audio-contraceptive.

Polly and I spent the night almost not daring to breathe. Especially not in synch.