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Monday, 17 October 2016

USA: Train Arrive! Washington DC - New York, Americana; Jack Kerouac; Bob Dylan; Twin Towers

After a lifetime of listening to (and singing) country and blues songs about American trains - and many a road trip - I've ridden my first intercity train in the USA. Not quite the mystery train or honky-tonk cannonball of my imagination, and no lonesome steam whistle or shining smokestack, of course; I wasn't even "movin' on down the line" - just a journey from Washington DC to New York for a wonderful long weekend and a memorable family reunion.

 National Gallery of Art, DC

The Early Morning Train

I was delighted to find that the free onboard Amtrak magazine, "The National", contained an excerpt from a previously unpublished and untranslated story by Jack Kerouac: "Looking for Work in America, Lost Fiction by Jack Kerouac", from "The Night is My Woman", an autobiographical novella written in 1951. It was written in French patois and translated by Jean-Christophe Cloutier; it's included in the new book, "The Unknown Kerouac: Rare, Unpublished and Newly Translated Writings" (Library of America).

So I did find a slice of Americana to appeal to the landscape of my imagination. There was plenty more to enjoy in New York, although I sometimes felt that I was time-travelling, or being beamed up from the plateia and ancient plane tree in Vitsa's mesochori square in Epirus, or from Poundbury's Queen Mother Square (soon to be "launched" by HM The Queen and other members of the Royal Family) and beamed down into the centre of Times Square with its spectacular illuminations and giant "jumbotron" advertising signs, its crowds, absurd costumes, weirdo face-masks, hustlers and painted ladies. It was quite a jump-cut transition.

Maybe I'm experiencing Late-Manifesting Agoraphobia?

PS my camera went on the blink after being pointed up at a skyscraper. 
I've just ordered a new one. No more photos until it arrives.

The photo that broke the camera

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