Ah for fuck sake. 1 hour internal flight south from LA. Hot hot day and I'm squashed between two massive fatties and the window. I look down as the plane rises out over the ocean and stare in shock at the amount of sharks I can see thrashing about down below. White caps cutting this way and that. Dark crescents beneath the blue surface. Sharks. Hundreds of them or waves. I'm deep In confusion and disbelief wondering if there's a massive feeding frenzy just off a Californian beach or whether I'm mistaking the sea's natural state when Mrs Happy Fatty nudges me and says"So where you going?"
I look across with utter dread. i am not good at talking to strangers. I have no small talk just big horrible tactless talk.
"I'm going to interview a band called Public Enemy for an English music newspaper."
the two massive fatties coo and wow and offer me some food. I am small,
skinny, suedeheaded in a Lacoste Shirt I picked up In Brazil. I have
dark blue linen shorts. On my lap sits my luggage. A bag with long
trousers. A too hot Duffer top. A tape recorder and some tapes. A book.
They have their luggage. Food. My short attention no tolerance narrow
minded short circuited inability to make small talk or friends already
has them pegged as obese boring Americans using a short internal flight
"Peter and I love music. We are going to see Dick Dale."
I think Robin Hood. Dick Dale. Alan A Dale. maybe some wooden faced MOR crooner?
"I've not heard of him."
Both of the fatties. "WHAT? Dick Dale, the guitar man. we goto see him
everywhere. Every show we can afford. Conference centres, theme parks,
rock and roll reviews, he's our favourite."
I'm trying to work out how they can both talk perfectly in unison. maybe
they've said this many times before. I start to soften. they push a bag
of Beigel Chips at me. I'm 21 and go on the road interviewing and
"Well we have a lot in common then ..."
"James. I'm James. I'm the Features Editor of the New Musial Express in London. I love America. how often do you see this guy?"
The fatties have become people. Music people. I have something to talk to them about but they do all the talking. In unison.
"We've always loved Dick, ever since we were young. The other live bands
just dropped away or broke up but Dick kept going. he's a great
showman, his guitar music came before Surf music. You have such a great
job. You get paid to do what we have to save up to do. but we don't let
things get in our way. It's what we love doing.
"We have a son about your age but he prefers films, he works in a video
store. All the time it's films. we can't understand why he doesn't want
to come and see Dick with us any more. He used to when he was a little
boy and we'd drive across state to see him but not now. he's got his own
thing. we love Dick dale. he loves films."
We start to descend and they begin wrapping their food and putting back
in boxes and "aloominum" foil. I check my bag and my pockets for my
folded up itinerary. I've gone from narky narrow minded hungover cynic
into having a great twenty minute blast of enthusiasm about this guitar
player I've never heard of from two people I'd judged before I even
talked to them. Welcome to my outlook.
I've gone from being trapped by size in a sun hot window seat wondering
if there's an ocean of sharks below to happy and warm and inspired.
We land and stop and they struggle out of their seats, pushing the ones
in front down. we are the last people off the plane, they are buzzing
and upbeat. Happy music people, they can't move as fast as I but I wait
after I've crossed the Tarmac at the steps up to the airport.
"it was nice to meet you, enjoy your concert. I'll look out for Dick Dale in the future."
"And you James, so nice to meet an Englishman in music too, you go and
buy some of dick's records and if you're ever in Orange County look us
up. Peter and Cathy Tarantino."