Arcata, California


Hippies, like other fundamentalists, usually believe the world is about to end, continually revising the date as it fails to occur (currently December 21st, 2012). In this part of the world, that belief is melded with right-wing libertarianism, so that one’s apocalyptic preparations should include a bunker full of guns and tinned beans. Nonetheless they are extremely friendly people, surrounded by giant redwood forests full of elk.

And this is Hippie Town. They grow a lot of pot here, quasi-legally (medicinal use, etc.) and people buy houses here just to grow it in. Everything is green and left-wing, the town square – The Plaza – is home to dozens of mumbling acid-casualties, soap-dodging ropeheads and panhandlers, known locally as “Plazoids”.

We’ve had four days off here for some reason, and we only do four shows on Sunday and Monday; obviously a hippie wrote that schedule. There are five bars in a row right next door to the hotel, so guess what I’ve been doing?

It’s cool and foggy here (or is that marijuana smoke?), like my head which has taken on something of the place; I’ve become indolent and indecisive. I hope it’s temporary.


One of the theater technicians here claims he met me in New York in 2000, and that I took him downtown to see a Salsa/Klezmer band one night and there he met a girl who took him to her Grandmother’s penthouse, seduced him, but would only have sex if it was in snowy Central Park. He tried to oblige but the police intervened and he never saw the woman again. I almost believe him – I even remember the band – until he claims I had a blue mohawk at the time: I would remember something like that.


One last day in Arcata to stock up on patchouli oil and stuff. (That’s a bit unfair, it’s quite a civilised little place, good coffee etc., and a great local Fela Kuti style band called Albino.)

After ten years, I’m finished with the circus, for a while at least (best of times, worst of times, etc.). Will I go back there or do something else? Will I live in Australia? Will I have children? No sé!

I’m free! Free I tell you! Free to…um, er…dunno. I’m starting to feel a little like I’m staring into an abyss: no job, no home, no plan. I could work in Europe: I’m unencumbered and I’ve already got the passport. Or I could just buy a panel van and live in it. I’m having a cliched male midlife crisis – how the hell did I let that happen? If I buy a red sports car, please kill me.

I’ll spend Christmas with my family (first time in ten years), but meantime I was toying with the idea of driving down to Las Vegas with R., a crazy feral jester guy from Australia who got a gig – to his and everyone else’s amazement – in Cirque du Soleil (he wasn’t trying to, but they keep track of people and wanted him, ahead of thousands of serious young acrobats who had dedicated their lives to getting that gig). He lives down there and drove up to see us in his giant old Lincoln Continental. I fancied a “Fear and Loathing”-style road trip.

That fell through (R. went home); but I have other options: a stay in San Francisco with a couple of clowns (literally) I met there, or. a side trip back to Monterrey to see L.; and the end of the Forum will be quite a party, I imagine, with all my new friends (who have probably forgotten me by now). I’ll put a little buffer between my old life and my new one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.