Nashville to Clarksdale

September 5, 2011

On our way to Clarksdale we had the option of stopping at Graceland or Graceland Too. The first I’m sure you all know. The second, we heard about from our letterpress friend in Nashville. Graceland Too is home to an Elvis obsessed man who has turned his home into a shrine to the King. We decided this sounded much more interesting and headed for Holly Springs. We’d heard his house was pink, so when we were greeted with a smurf blue house, we were kind of shocked. The place was so weird, like little boys trapped in his cellar weird. There were fake Christmas trees painted blue all around the barbed wire perimetre of his house. In the garage had what looked like a hearse as well as a pink Cadillac with the number plate ‘Mom’. All of the windows were painted black and boarded up. The guy apparently drinks 24 cans of Coke a day and runs tours 24 hours a day – all you have to do is knock. So we approached the door with slight trepidation. Correction, I was pretty much peeing myself with visions of him kidnapping us. We knocked, we called out, we walked around the back, we banged on the door, he wouldn’t open it. Disappointed/slightly relieved, we went back to the car and drove onto Clarksdale.

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See y’all later Nashville

September 1, 2011

So Nashville. Well, we wouldn’t actually recommend going there unless you really like hotdogs, fried chicken or are a fan of songs all sung in the same tune about Jesus and America. For a town that’s pretty small, it has a huge nightlife. Every bar has live music, every night of the week until all hours. It’s pretty cool. That’s until you hear lyrics about how if you don’t respect America you’ll get a boot in y’alls eye.

Seeing as though we’d been hankering for a hotdog since Chicago, and I Dream of Weenie had been shut the day before, we went back eagerly the next day (some might have said it was a little early for hotdogs…1130am?) for lunch. It was everything you could want from a hotdog; soft bun, juicy weiner, great fillings. So much so, we got one and a half dogs each plus a packet of crisps as I couldn’t wait five minutes for them to be made, hence the picture of me in a hotdog coma afterwards. When I finally stood up, the food moved around a little and I was able to manage ice cream at Jeni’s Ice cream. Wow. If I thought the ice cream in New York was good, this was better. Mostly because the girl there gave us (me) about twenty free samples. There was ice cream with sweet corn, goats cheese, and basil – all separate flavours mind you and it was so, so good. After Jeni’s we were finally full, so we went and looked at some engagement rings. The owner told us that Keith Urban bought presents there for Nicole Kidman. I’m not sure if that was supposed to appeal to Luke’s manly competitive spirit and therefore make him think he too should get me a 2 carat diamond, but it didn’t work. Had he challenged Luke to kick ups, loser buys a carat, that might have worked better and I might actually have a ring by now. JUST JOKING LUKE.

Our final stop during the day was a great place called The Isle of Printing (I keep forgetting the name and Luke will tell me and then helpfully spell ‘Isle’ for me, albeit incorrectly). Bryce, the guy who owned it gave us a tour of his studio and letterpress machines and his artwork. It was one of those moments, those gems you wait for when you’re travelling. Had we not had a chat with another local, we would never have found him. We loved the place so much we bought one of his prints. Later that night, we were waiting for a table at Taco Marmacita when we saw a bridal shop. Seeing as though we had nothing better to do, we went inside. The girl working there was so excited to meet us, she went and got the designer so we could have a picture with her. It was really, really random. I think we’re on their Facebook page now. Luckily, our table was ready straight after we said ‘cheese’ so we could make one of those walk backwards and don’t make direct eye contact exits.

Our final goodbye to Nashville was at the Big Bang Bar. Famous for their dueling pianos, they had some uber talented musicians playing every song request under the sun.  It was pretty amazing. They covered everyone from Nirvana to Meat Loaf. All in all, Nashville was fun, but if any of you are planning on doing a tribute tour of the Luke and Vanessa tour, maybe skip it.

Nashville, so far…

August 31, 2011

Tonight we saw a real life cowboy, gun in his holster, checked shirt, hat, boots, the works. It was like something out of an old Western except the saloon was an ice creamery and the two baddies in the corner were actually us shoveling red velvet ice cream.

After going to Jack’s BBQ for the ‘best BBQ in town’ (it was pretty good) we decided to Tootsie’s Orchard Lounge for some singing about a love lost in a trailer park. We were told by the singer to ‘holla then swalla’. I thought perhaps we’d stumbled into a budget porn, but then I realised she was just making everyone cheer and take a drink. Country music is a lot of fun, although there are a lot of dudes in all the bars who look like they’re on a car sales ‘top performers’ conference. The reason why I’m pretty sure I’m right is because we saw a lot of name tags with names like ‘Troy’ and ‘Earl’. On our way back to our car, we were approached by the only black guy in Nashville, who assured us he wasn’t a robber but could we give him some money. I liked his upfront approach, but the answer was still no.

Today we tried to go to I Dream of Weenie, supposedly the best hot dog place in town. We got there 5 minutes after it closed, but never fear, we will eat a hot dog one of these days. Luckily, Katy B’s Ranch Dressing was open. Ok, so it wasn’t food, but this is my new approach to shopping these days – we go to places that don’t sound like shops and then it’s a ‘surprise’ to Luke when we get there. Surprise! Another vintage store! This place was cool though, she used to dress drag queens in New York and had a signed thank you from Pee Wee Herman (Big Top Pee Wee was a masterpiece).

And this, was day one in Nashville.