Apr 092015

A proper writer or journalist would say –

‘As regular readers of this column may recall’ –

On a previous tour here in North America, Anto and I stayed in a motel across the road from Satan’s Kingdom. A deep, dark-eyed, heavily-bearded man of about thirty, wearing one of Kurt Cobain’s shirts, appeared out the door of the next room and asked if we were ‘New here’ and invited us in to play video games.

His name – Nick.

I have to say I found it a bit spooky but guess what – here we are back at The Alcove Motel for the first two nights of the Leo & Anto Spring Tour of some of the United States of America.

It’s a long way from a gloriously sunny, warm and Springy Bank Holiday Monday, driving from Headford to Tuam via the narrow country roads, through Carragh past the land and the four acre meadow on the hill where ‘Hay Wrap’ was conceived, past Bid Moran’s oul’ house, meeting the odd car and tractor and trailer, no-one in any hurry.

Leo + Anto Merc Side (1 of 1)

It’s a long way from there to rush hour traffic out of Logan Airport in a newly rented car in hail and sleet and snow (reminds me of the line Padraig and I borrowed for ‘Maroon And White’ from that maverick genius of a gaelic footballer, Michael Donnellan when he was interviewed about the tough Winter training in that classic sports fairy-tale film, ‘A Year ‘Til Sunday’) crawling bumper-to-bumper, brake-lights for miles. And the night falls so quickly here on this side of the Atlantic at this latitude, on the MassPike, like a swift, dark blanket, unlike the long, beautiful dusk and twilight back in the West of Ireland, recently enhanced by the advent of SummerTime.

Off the highways and on the smaller roads in the dark every red light I come to I’m stopping a few feet too far forward, unintentionally ‘Steppin’ out over the line’ (© Bruce Springsteen ‘Born To Run’ 1975) Proper book publishing would require I get permission to use this line here but I don’t think it’ll be required for this folly and, as my mother would’ve said –

‘The cursh a Moses on him anahow” – he never acknowledged receiving those outstanding CDs Anto and I dropped off at his house in New Jersey a while back.

As Anto says, the room is cold and smelly here. It probably hasn’t been slept in much since last season and the ‘Smoke-Free Zone’ sign obviously hasn’t been heeded by everyone over the years. But Anto gets a plasticky small electric blow-heater from the man at reception and it’s actually comfy enough after a while.

Motels offer an intriguing glimpse of the underworld, I fancy. I imagine this room being a venue of illegal deals and illicit sexual encounters; of money gotten or earned beyond the clutches of the InlandRevenueService changing hands amongst whispers and schemes and false promises. Likely it’s mostly fly-fishermen who come to fish across the road that stay here and what I’m describing is only in my imagination…….