Catherine: We then had a 24hr train journey to Seattle which was beautiful, and made very memorable by a young man called Clayton Malloy Letson who was spaced out on something trippy.
Martina: After a very earnest man approached him to enquire about his instrument (who subsequently pranced off only to return with his flute), Clayton asked us if we wanted to hear a song. It was very hard to say no - so we didn’t, and instead sat in our self-made hell, inner cheeks raw with bite marks.
Catherine: He played us his ukelele to an unbelievably high pitched rendition of Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding, followed by Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles (who he wasn't sure if we would have heard of). He was great and weird, but had piercing blue eyes with a look that he could turn around and stab you at any minute.
Martina: With the aforementioned earnest-flute man standing by, eyes closed in rapture, singing and finger-clicking along, it proved somewhat difficult to be a mature audience. Catherine joined in the harmonising in order to relieve any energy which might otherwise had manifested into a Grade 1 giggly-fit, but I instead chose to stare into the Washington State landscape, thinking solemnly of dead children in order to prevent my own sniggers from emitting and interrupting the otherwise intense atmosphere.
We arrived later than anticipated in Seattle…
Catherine: …We’d become used to the somewhat slack attitude to timetables employed by Amtrak...
Martina: …and headed straight to what proved to be our relatively expensive hotel. Filled up the ice bucket and kicked back with some cans of Dr. Pepper and Diet Pepsi, watching people on the telly biggying up Jesus. Thank God we weren’t sleepless in Seattle that night.
We woke up on Labor Day (a big bank holiday in l'America), and decided that in order to get the most out of our only day in Seattle, we should target specific neighbourhoods.
We headed to Capitol Hill, where we ate pizza and drank copious amounts of fizzy pop (we simply had to guzzle more because they were free refills - greed isn’t attractive, is it?), the ever-so-sweet restaurant assistant came over for a chat and recommended to us a festival which was taking place in Seattle that day, called Bumbershoot. When we heard it was only $35, we decided to go and check it out.
Upon reaching the Space Needle (where Bumbershoot was being held), we were distraught to have discovered that we had missed the first act of the day - Miss. Joss Stone. Oh, well. So we went into the beer garden, and had a few beers while performing the dual task of chuntering and soaking in the atmosphere. We headed over to what looked like a school hall, where we moshed to a band called Kill Hannah…
Catherine: …Ahem – No moshing was allowed. Nor was taking drinks out of the strange white picket fence drinking compound.
Martina: …After having an excessively munchy tea, we ended the night by honouring our friend Paddy and going to watch Steve Earle…
Catherine: …Being hardcore festival veterans, we knew that we had the stamina and energy to rock out all night. However, on this occasion we decided to call it a night at 10pm, and returned to the hotel via a shop so Martina could feed her gossip-mag addiction, and I could buy some authentic Seattle coffee beans for my dad.
Martina: Unfortunately, the latter task went somewhat wrong when Catherine misinterpreted how to unleash said beans from their dispenser, thus spilling a significant portion of them on the floor. This problem was compounded when I crashed over to see what the Dickens was going on and subsequently helped to crush them further into the carpet. Being British and hence a little scared of confrontation and all that jazz, I suggested we make a hasty escape. We did.
Catherine: We had to get up early for our train so hot-footed it out of the hotel and off to the Amtrak station to make our voyage back to Canada. We thought we had left plenty of time but little did we know that we’d be foiled by an inept transvestite called Jessica…
words and pictures: Catherine Bolsover and Martina Booth