We arrived in Ann Arbor and narrowly escaped the clutches of an awful hotel downtown, on a cold and snowy night. Bizarrely, he recommends that we stay at the Best Western, which we do, except someone has rebranded it as a Clarion. It’s a nice hotel, and deathly quiet – maybe five other rooms occupied in the whole place. Some friends from Bay City have tipped me off about the rivalry between another university in Michigan and Ann Arbor’s university. (Ann Arbor’s a university town.) Another friend from Pennsylvania informed me that at their university they had the chant : “Ann Arbor’s a lady of the night”… but not in those exact words. It’s not smart and it’s not clever – this is not on a par with the chants of Pompey Supporters Club. Anyway, we feel Ann Arbor’s much maligned, ’cause it’s been very nice to us.
The Ark’s a nice venue, but hard to describe. It’s somewhat like a cross between a theatre, a lecture hall, and something else… I’ll work on that description. The walls are covered with photos of more folk and rock people who’ve played here over the years. It’s a nice way to get a sense of the place. The walls of the dressing room also give you a sense of the place, but as the messages were written by touring bands, the messages are rude, crude and far too obscene to be listed here.
The show goes well, as do sales. Ann Arbor is the HQ of the Grotto’s booking agents, so after a long meeting following the show, we all had a few beers… and a few more beers later, Mick’s creating the Guggenheim Grotto spelled out in peanut shells on a bar table, and Kevin’s convincing us that it’s a great idea to hop into the hotel hot-tub. I will concede that these were both fantastic ideas, but it’s hard not to feel self-conscious when all the hotel rooms, upstairs and down, are facing out onto the pool and hot-tub.
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