Tuesday, 26 November 2002

A perfect start to the weekend

5:00pm The 1614 to London


Dan has fallen asleep, the hassles of the working week have drained the colour from his cheeks and forced his eyelids and body to succumb to gravity. Sitting opposite me with his slack face leaning against the rattling window he is enticing me to snooze too. My laptop is open in front of me, but the harsh screen glare makes my eyes slip off to hook on the brightly lit windows of houses that abut the tracks, looking for a glimpse of unconnected lives.



6:30pm Linhope Towers


I have just one hour in the house I call home, that time must buy me an unpacked work bag and two packed bags full of camping gear. I am used to this routine now and shake off the dullness of a week's work as I fold clothes and hunt for equipment to the smooth bass and spacey vocals of The Orb.



8:30pm The M6


I'm watching Birmingham track smoothly past the window as Gus accelerates hard around another lorry. The M6 keeps pace with us by paying out more road, more drivers, more lamps as quickly as we can blast along the fast lane. We haven't spoken in 40 miles, the car is too full of The Prodigy's ferocious Music for the Jilted Generation to allow space for normal speech . Liam Howlett's vicious breaks and beats spit and stutter from the sound system, the thundering bass and acid squelches adding an angry glamour to the rain-soaked, sodium-painted road that rushes us North.



10pm Welshpool


I'm driving now, the car slipping through dark and lonely Welsh country roads. Jon Carter Live at the Social is scribbling messy ragga chants and chunky basslines into the night air to briefly enliven the hedges and fields that shoot past. The hills grew from minor ripples as we drove through the borders and are now vaguely visible as black monsters holding the night sky's edges high above us.



11:30pm The end of the road


We have parked in a single-track country lane high above Barmouth. There are no other lights visible, no sign of civilisation save for the tarmac of the layby. Bob Dylan is accompanying us as we sit on the tailgate, wrapped in fleeces, drinking beer and staring at the shifting undersides of low clouds. We are talking rubbish in diminishing voices as the rush of the journey is diluted by the slow grandeur of the surroundings. The moon is out now, its palette can only stretch to greys to colour the world; hills, clouds, sheep, trees are all monochrome.



1am


Two sleeping bags lie side by side in the back of the car. A gentle snoring resonates, behind it lies a vast silence.



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