Friday, August 11, 2006

08-06-2006 -- Big Valley Jamboree

Driving on booze,
Natural thrill;
How can anyone deny a kick?
-The Molestics, “The Pleasures of Drunk Driving”
Kids, don’t try this at home – you won’t have nearly enough room, for starters. For a good golf-cart joyride you’ll need acre upon gleaming white acre of RV parking and the miles of rain-rutted mud roads that run through them. Plus, you’ll need a cart borrowed from a buddy who borrowed it from a buddy, and a brave buzz that leaves instinct and reflex unblurred. You’ll need a will to cut things close, as that’s the only way to build a sensation of speed in a vehicle that’s been governed down to top out at about the rate of a rickety retiree huffing to catch a bus. Even then, you’ll want a copilot who’ll keep you honest, who’ll harangue you for letting up on the gas, who’ll stomp the pedal down for you if you get too chickenshit. These are necessary elements; it’s a big responsibility, being this irresponsible.

It’s that kind of paradox that powers the Big Valley Jamboree, just like it powers any good-sized festival of institutional fun and frolic – the paradox of party in chains. Here is a central core of old-time country nostalgia and new-time country hoserdom wrapped in intricate layers of gates, places, wristbands, zones, passes, rules, rigidity and enforcement; its musical accompaniment a slick aping of forgotten folk forms brought to us packed and backed with millions of dollars of Machine Money. This isn’t just a slag on Hot Country – all mainstream music rips and repackages the real – and it’s not really a condemnation of BVJ’s ironfisted organization, either; without this twenty-to-one redneck-to-redshirt security ratio, something this big would rip itself apart. It’s just, you know… it's not my scene.

So, why am I here? Good question; it’s pretty much a combination of a friend having access to an RV and me having access to a free weekend. Sometimes you just want to get out of town, and the destination is seconday… or tertiary. In this case – one wild motor-tour of the T&A-filled wonders of the campground aside – it’s been so far a weekend of lounging around our out-of-the-way parking spot, sipping drinks, playing scrotoss and catching my breath. No phone, no pool, no pets, no tent to set up, nothing but sweet, sunshiny (after Friday night) sloth. I suppose I could have done the same thing somewhere else, somewhere much less Camrose… but then there wouldn’t be an RV, and the RV is key.

With gas prices likely guzzling their way up to a buck-twenty and beyond, these monsters – even a baby monster, a gremlin like this one – make no financial sense except as compared to hotel rates, and make no conservation sense except as compared to travelling in a cart powered by a waterwheel turned by a steady stream of Super Unleaded pouring out onto the highway. But, fuck me running… what blessed luxury! Three bunks, table, toilet, tanked water, and a propane-powered fridge keeping eggs, steaks, bacon, franks and two flats of Pil icy cold. A roof you can listen to rain falling on, without cringing away from nylon walls. I’ll never roll quite like this, myself – no plausible future scenario gives me the kind of bank I’d need – but every minute of hard-sided, upholstered motorhome occupancy makes my old hippie-wagon fantasies knock a little rougher against the walls of my soul.

My alarm clock this morning was the delicious PSSHT of a roommate cracking a cold one; in lieu of toothbrushing, I had one myself. Breakfast was deep-fried bacon, with eggs poached in the grease. Desert was a camping-cup of Toscano Rosso from a 4l box and a neuron-baking blast from a ‘70s-era “power hitter”, a solid column of opaque white smoke sniffed nasally rather than sucked, in the interest of Science. Thus fortified, there is water enough for a cold shower and a room-temperature Consul (like a Caesar but with gin; you make do with what you’ve got) before grabbing a luncheon joint and an orphaned Kokanee tallboy for a little early-morning scrotossin’.

I can’t hear the sounds of the day's Bulls For Breakfast event – bullriding with a side of sausage n’ pancakes – so I’m guessing it’s not yet ten. On a normal camping trip, I’d be worried about starting so early; here at Big Valley Jamboree, with a cushy sheltered bed waiting for me, falling back asleep as soon as possible is just about the best Sunday I can imagine.

1 comment:

K said...

Hey! Did you know the Kris Kristofferson was at the Calgary Folk Fest! You should have come up!