Long days in a van.
You think about it– or actually, you try not to:
All those jaunts up and down the rippled back of California.
The endless miles through Texas on shimmering highway. A smoking ribbon that just barely connects bastions of civilization across a cruel wasteland.
Prague to Vienna in a rusted service vehicle, back wedged so long against an Anvil flight case that you can still count the imprinted dimples of rivets across your poor shoulders.
Those miles, those hours-they add up.
But ya know, what else affords you the chance to sit and talk to your mates the day long, each of ya sitting within spitting and hitting distance?
It’s like being kids in a fort made of a refrigerator box, taking turns holding the flashlight, telling scary stories.
A 6 hour conversation, paused only for the occasional piss break or Anthony’s reassuring snore, off again on yet another one of his catnaps.
And the topics!
Serious conversations about Family and future. Religion, politics.
Superhero debates that go on for hours, the failure of Lucas and the criminal desecration of the Star Wars legacy.
Oh brother, do these guys like to talk about food!
Meals past and those anticipated, we share recipes and gross out stories about things we’ve put in our mouths out of dare or just drunken hunger.
So on yesterday’s jaunt, Berlin to Hamburg, with the warm German breeze thrumming cross open windows, the talk turns once again to food.
We leave the Ramones Museum misty eyed, hiding our sentimental tears from the lads of Top Buzzer, who are with us tonight as well.
The autobahn beckons, and soon we are rolling again, and we are all in agreeance in our hatred for corporate Fast Food.
But I admit to a recent trip through Jollibee, a bizarre Pinoy fast food joint that caters to the Filipino taste for grease and meat!
The sampling of both the Spam and Corned Beef sliders were, ya know—not so bad after all.
A van conversation starts like this, a simple statement, but soon it bisects and veers off course, an organism that cleaves and mutates into something else altogether.
For we are soon talking of the virtues of Spam and its’ popularity among the Pacific Islanders.
And then someone volunteers-of course! that this SpamFan club, spread from Kauai to Samoa, is based on the cannibal past of the islanders and Spam’s sweet gamy taste—like nothing more than human flesh!!
And away we go!!-we have today’s—hell, this whole week’s ! topic at hand:
The Forbidden meal, the meat of the human!
Soon the miles are melting away as we are shouting to be heard.
Would you, hmmm? Dare to taste of human flesh if it was offered?
Is there moral dilemma at play here?
Or are we simply wasting perfectly fine protein with each passing funeral parade.
Ant shrugs and says why the hell not? I’d try it!
Kimm keeps judgement to himself, not sure just yet where this one is going.
Will he awake in tomorrow’s hostel bed, missing a toe or earlobe, only to find Alf and Anthony already flossing their fangs, sated?!?!
Frank, the German handler and all around good guy, is of course Vegan.
He listens to our heated debate with growing disgust, and soon I can see him scanning the side-view mirrors and calculating the severity of injuries in a mid highway leap—surely a small inconvenience to escape these lunatics.
We size each other up, considering where to start…. Leg meat or breast?
It is soon agreed that the twin loins hugging the spine will be the prize at this year’s Labor day cookout.
And then we wonder–do we eat enemy or friend?
Surely, the meat shall be that much more savory, dining upon the braised thigh of a girl you once held as dear!
And what of the chance of amputated limb?
So you lose a forearm in a wind torn regatta, what do you do?? I say you throw a grand dinner party, (left handed) and there your once mangled wing is dignified on a bed of risotto with roasted pearl onions, a treat for your friends to enjoy one last time—-whoever gets the serving with the Misfits tattoo gets to take home the centerpiece!
We are feverish now, bursting with ideas:
A quick text is sent to a friend of an intern at Food network.
A chain of tasteful and locally decorated theme restaurants?
Cookbook recipes are pulled from thin air.
And as we pull up at the fine Hafenklang club to meet up with fellow Cali gourmands Face to Face, our discussion spills into the cobblestone streets of Hamburg.
Frank runs into the night looking for a block of tofu to cleanse his violated palate and mind.
We are served dinner upstairs after soundcheck, and we inspect each piece of mystery fajita for the telltale sign of life: Hickey or freckle-either would thrill us!
The gig is great, a last few moments with the Buzzer before sending them back to UK with bags of unsold CH3 tees loading down the Volvo. thanks guys!
Face to Face slays it, and we wrap things up chatting it up and seeing them off as well, for we will be staying in the vast dormitory flat behind the club–by ourselves!!
It’s off to the Reeperbahn for a nite cap, meeting up with the Turbonegro chapter camping out at Lunacy.
It is a Sunday though and quiet out, and even the Mediterranean prostitutes parading the boulevard seem tired and bored.
One skinny Polish exchange student sidles up to Alf and offers him anything for 50 euro—-you better watch what yer offering there, sister!!
It is stewable tendon that he hungers for, not erotica!
After brushing teeth and donning pajamas, we each grab a bunk–there’s gotta be 16 beds in that room–but leave the lights on for a few moments more.
Frank announces he will be sleeping in the van tonight, muttering something about watching the gear as he bolts for the door.
And then it is just the 4 of us, and someone hits the lights.
But I can see those eyes glowing in the dark, and catch a flash of incisor and molar when someone coughs across the room. somewhere in the night a canine howl bays low, waiting for the answer, but we all hold our tongues.
The conversation, it seems is finally over.
The sleep takes a long time coming, each of us knowing the tastes, if not taste, of fellow man.