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<- Back to fuck Tour Diary part 2

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August 10, Day 18, Toledo

The Ohio State Fair! Wow - a completely unexpected treat. The Ohio State Fair in Columbus is an enthralling, sprawling, full-on middle-American freak show. As the meat, poultry and dairy industries have recently fallen out of grace with health-conscious consumers, much of the fair is now devoted to shoring up the soiled and scuffed public image of these hapless foodstuff producers. For instance, I learn that eating pork two or three times a week may not necessarily be bad for me, depending on my age, height, weight and immediate reproductive plans.

Speaking of physical dimensions, I am unjustly turned away from all but the kiddie rides because of some absurd minimum height requirement. However, this does not prevent me from enjoying the other treasures the fair has to offer, including but not limited to the bi-hourly fair parade (complete with marching band and the Ohio State Fair Queen and Her Court - hubba hubba), Grand Ol’ Opry star Whispering George Anderson (he finishes his first song bobbing and weaving evasively, as innumerable women from all walks of suburban life are showing their appreciation for his craft by heaving their control-top panties and Depends in his general direction), life-size butter sculptures celebrating last year’s Ohio State University Rose Bowl victory, cotton candy, peanut brittle, maple candy, blue-ribbon fruits and vegetables, ultra-avant garde flower arranging, heavily scarred flame-jugglers and new product demonstrations galore (slicers, dicers, water-less car washers, the mop designed by NASA, super absorbent everything). The only disappointing aspect of an otherwise perfect day (aside from the aforementioned problems with the rides) is that I don’t get to fulfill my lifelong dream of having unprotected anal sex with a carnival worker. Oh well, maybe next year.

Sadly, like a perfect dream, the fun ends abruptly (but with no stains), as we are unceremoniously thrown back into the cruel reality of our business at hand - the tour. This means climbing back into the piece of shit that used to be our cool van, and chugging on to Toledo. I don’t remember anything about the show except the last band, The Unearthlies, an unholy marriage of shitty punk and shitty metal. The bass player is entertaining, but the drummer and guitarist make me wish I hadn’t forgotten my pepper spray at the Denny’s in Kansas City. These guys act like they have the inside line on the punk aesthetic, but I know better. You know what my idea of anarchy is? Kill all the wanna-be punks.

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August 11, Day 19, Cleveland

It’s raining in Cleveland, but that doesn’t matter because we get to hang with Sharon, bartender at the Euclid Tavern (site of tonight’s show) and longtime friend of the band. After the show, when it’s time to leave, I try hiding in the bathroom, hoping that Sharon will discover me, take pity on my plight of apparent abandonment and bring me home to start our new life together. In a predictably callous twist of the fate screw, it is Geoff fuck who discovers me, and as punishment I am imprisoned in the van cooler for an hour. I get even by eating a putrid peanut butter sandwich and shitting all over the rest of the food.

We spend the night in Kent with Bobbi and Alex. Very nice people - I even like their big dog, Earl, despite my history of problems with big dogs. I suddenly realize that for me, this journey has been one of deep and boundless spiritual growth. With my inner glow completely renewed, I climb back into the van and we continue eastward. Ted fuck starts whining about having to sit in the middle, so I summon my newly balanced chi and kick him in the balls.

August 12, Day 20, Pittsburgh

We get to Pittsburgh early, so the fuck boys go record shopping. Having spent nearly three weeks away from my supportive friends and family, I am in desperate need of a self-esteem boost. Knowing that there’s nothing like the glimpse of a life more miserable than mine to recharge my ego, I head over to the local Radio Shack and strike up a conversation with one of their typically pathetic employees. After less than two minutes of single-syllable interaction and thinly veiled sexual Star Trek references, I am completely rejuvenated and ready to tackle the world.

The show at the 31st Street Pub is mostly amorphous. Note for future bookings - when presented with the opportunity of appearing as the fifth of five bands on a rainy Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, the correct response is "no, thank you." After loading out, we drive all night across Pennsylvania so that we can spend our day off in Manhattan. I support this plan wholeheartedly, as I was always the only one in my family who really identified with Zsa Zsa’s character on "Green Acres."

August 13, Day 21, New York City

Wow - a whole day off in New York City! I begin the day in high fashion with a trip to my favorite New York restaurant, Five Roses (on 1st Avenue, between 10th and 11th). They do this thin crust oil and herb pizza - no sauce, no cheese - for $1 a slice. In heaven, they serve the same slice for a dollar, but it comes with a free large root beer. In addition to being delicious and a great value, this royal fare can really help firm up your stool, especially if you’ve been riding in a van all day everyday for the better part of a month. Highly recommended.

A quick glance through the local press indicates that I am not the only one who is "stool aware." There is quite a buzz in the air over the "Plunger Gate" scandal which is taking place in Brooklyn. The word on the street is that some of the NYPD’s finest have developed an exciting (though not currently "officially" approved) new interrogation method whereby a male suspect is sequestered in the precinct men’s room for a brief period, during which time he is beaten senseless and sodomized with the wooden handle of a toilet plunger (aka The Plumber’s Helper). This is the number one story in every local paper (even the Times), but in reading the accounts of the incident, I notice that not a single reporter has seized upon the supreme irony of this apparent abuse of police authority. Think about it - the very tool designed to dislodge a turd from the pipes of our external sewer system is used to invade the pipe’s of some poor chap’s personal sewer system, and it all occurs in a restroom built to flush away the donut turds of the people who’s job it is to flush away our societal criminal turds. And how about the published photos of the officers suspected of committing this procedural faux pas ? One look and you’ll know that these peanut-brains have never been anything but turds. What does it all mean? How should I know? I’m a monkey. We don’t have these kinds of ridiculous problems where I come from.

August 14, Day 22, Boston

The Middle East restaurant/bar/entertainment multi-plex in Boston is always an enjoyable and interesting tour stop. As any U.S. geo-social-political buff can tell you, Massachusetts is technically not a state, but a commonwealth, which means that it’s local laws are not written by earth humans, but rather passed down every Tuesday by aliens from a technologically superior, but cognitively underdeveloped galaxy. The details are unimportant, as long as you remember to take nothing for granted. You think I’m kidding? Just try to park your car within the city limits without violating something. Really. Or get in line behind a touring music group trying to buy beer after midnight at a supermarket with their out-of-state drivers’ licenses. Tonight we are lucky, as Jesse, our hero and savior, snatches the band from the steel jaws of impending multiple criminal infractions and offers us asylum at her home in Allston. This is the same Jesse who brings the band toys every time they play in Boston, the same Jesse who makes all the wierdness that is Massachusetts bearable. It’s also the same Jesse who seems offended when I ask if I can photograph her in the shower, even after I explain that the photos will be strictly for my own personal enjoyment. Oh well - turns out it’s my turn to sleep in the van anyhow.

August 15, Day 23, New York City

We make it back to New York City in time to load in at the Mercury Lounge, and then head off for a photo shoot for Magnet. Wierdness and chaos raise their familiar heads; consequently, the photo session takes too long and the band miss their sound check. In the end it doesn’t matter, as tonight’s sold out show is easily the best of the tour. Viva Manhattan!

August 16, Day 24, Philadelphia

Whenever I’m in Philadelphia, I begin to think like an anthropologist. This trip is no different, as I notice a couple of interesting local societal kinds of things that pique my intellectual curiosity. First, for reasons unknown to me, although Philadelphia is a major urban center not unlike New York City, everyone here is on average about 20% heavier than the citizens of Manhattan. Possible causes - food, drink, fashion, economics or what? Very strange.

Second, as we travel from town to town, I have noticed fluctuations in the way local citizens express their civic pride. Within the framework of my hypothesis, people can be separated into two broad categories - those who like where they live and those who don’t like where they live. We encounter members of the latter group most often in smaller towns; the people who make up this segment of the population generally have a certain pathetic look in their eye, something like "help me, save me, take me with you - I don’t even care where you’re going." Members of the "satisfied" subset can be further subdivided into several smaller categories, as follows:

1) Those who directly extol the advantages of their community, no matter how implausible, with phrases like "You know, it’s really not a bad place to live" (most evident in Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles and Boston).

2) Those who selfishly and shallowly deride their town to dissuade any potential future citizens from moving there ("Oh, you wouldn’t like it here, it rains too much") on the grounds that it is already too crowded (Seattle, Portland and San Francisco).

3) Those who choose a more indirect method of expressing local support by adopting the attitude "Everywhere else sucks" (i.e. New York City).

In the interest of completeness, we should consider the plight of those who are too drunk to care where they live (Missoula, Denver, Boise and Moorehead). There is actually yet another group to be considered - those that are happy no matter where they live - but I am not including them in my study because they are too well-adjusted to be interesting.

As we load in for tonight’s soiree at the Trocodero (up two flights of stairs in the Balcony), I am inspired to make another mental note for future shows: whenever the venue name includes words like Balcony, Loft or Attic, I will hide in the bathroom until all of the equipment has been moved into the club. I have been especially tense all day, as Timmy fuck’s significant other, Lori, is traveling with us to Philadelphia. Normally this would not be a problem, but for the entire trip she has made no secret of the fact that she plans to steal my last peanut butter sandwich. When she finally makes her move for the food, I climb on her back, get her in a full Nelson, and repeatedly slam her head into the van window until she loses consciousness. By the time she comes to, the sandwich is safely en route to my lower intestine. To the victor, the spoils.

August 17, Day 25, Washington D.C.

Tonight’s show at the Black Cat is uneventful. This is the first time fuck has played in Washington D.C. and it comes off well enough. We meet up with Chicago pal Jeff Gramm, who is visiting his parents in Washington. Jeff says his folks have plenty of room at their house and offers us a place to stay for the evening. This is a special invitation, as Jeff’s dad is Senator Phil Gramm (Republican, Texas), and I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve spent the night at a U.S. senator’s house, though I’ll have to check my notes. We don’t get to meet Senator Gramm, as he is away on business, but we do get to have breakfast with the Jeff and his mom, Wendy, who is utterly charming.

No doubt you are waiting for a witty diatribe from yours truly to mark this tremendous occasion. Unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view), I’m actually at a loss for appropriate verbage to describe this deeply profound event. The idea of fuck spending the night at Senator Gramm’s house is simultaneously funny and absurd on so many levels, that it defies summarization.

August 19, Day 27, Charlottesville

I like Charlottesville a lot, because in my book of universal truths and equations, Charlottesville = sushi. Great, cheap sushi, compliments of the Tokyo Rose, site of tonight’s fiesta. I stick to the vegetarian offerings, because contrary to what Curt (or Kurt or Kurdt or whatever he called himself) said, fish do have feelings, and most of the time they are pissed off about being eaten.

The only downside of the evening is having to say good-bye to the gracious Two Dollar Guitar, as this is our last show together. The Two Dollar guys have been a constant source of fun in an otherwise up and down trip. I could go on and on about how great it has been traveling with these three fellows, but my inadequate verse would probably just degrade into sappy, tearful, homoerotic mush. It is probably enough to say that I am looking forward to seeing them again real soon.

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August 20, Day 28, New York City

After the Charlottesville show, we drive all night through a miserable rain storm to get to New York City; we all have errands to tend to before we can leave for Europe. After a quick stop at the local Radio Shack to get a voltage converter for my vibrator (that thing eats batteries like the queen eats bon bons), I spend the rest of the day eating pizza, practicing my french and catching up on Plunger Gate. Viva Manhattan!

This being the end of the first leg of the fall ’97 fuck world tour, it seems like I should offer some sort of overall state of the tour editorializations, but I just don’t feel like it.