We leave for Northampton after breakfast, under a sullen, grey sky, listening to the Galaxie 500 Peel Sessions CD that Damon and Naomi gave us the night before (along with a tote bag, and a novel). Already, everyone is very tired. Ticket sales have also been poor for Northampton, and the promoter wants to cut our "guarantee". I wonder what's going wrong, and mentally prepare myself to find a job when I get home: something repetitive and unchallenging, like nightwatchman or lighthouse keeper, although these are probably pretty competitive, given the amount of out of work authors in circulation.
Listening to a collection of Burt Bacharach songs in the car - "most of all, when snowflakes fall, I wish you love" - I sometimes think my whole musical career is a reaction to the promise songs like these seemed to give about the grown-up world when I listened as a child, and how the world eluded and disappointed me. Moons and Junes, all those early McCartney ballads, Merseybeat songs, it seemed like life and love would be a kaleidoscope, a beautiful and noble reverie.
Northampton was indeed quiet, but a great show and a lovely place, and suddenly I feel in rhythm to tour again. We drink at a bar just opposite the Iron Horse and are slyly accosted by some "Celtic" musicians, who play reels on the harp and violin around our table. The others find it funny, none of us have the stomach for this stuff, but for me there is a genuine danger in the past - I find myself thinking, "what if they play "Down by the Sally Gardens"?" - the music would lead me all too clearly back to people and living rooms where I last heard the tune played, and which are now gone forever.
As we head down towards New York, we leave that cinematic Vermont / New Hampshire autumn behind. No more scarecrows, pumpkins, piles of chopped wood, crimson leaves blowing through the murky, descending evening. I loved it while it lasted.