I’ve always been fascinated by non-places, as Marc Augée described them, “spaces of transience where the human beings remain anonymous and that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as places”.
Spaces where we don’t need to conform or appear or relate to anybody, symbols of uncertainty and impermanence, Ballardian haven of weirdness.
In times where I used to tour a lot, I started to be particularly obsessed with rest areas, or whatever people called them: services, autogrill, lay-by, raststaette, basically what wikipedia defines as “public facilities, located next to a large thoroughfare such as a motorway, expressway or highway, at which drivers and passengers can rest, eat, or refuel without exiting onto secondary roads”
I had sort of a rank for different rest areas around the world and I would insist on stopping in some I particularly liked, even when I was almost peeing my pants and my desired area was still many miles away. Non musicians could argue that I could have stopped in a rest area when I needed to pee and also in my desired one, but I soon realized that most touring musicians don’t like to stop too much, especially if males, since, unless they are drunk, don’t feel the need to pee every other hour. On tours the breaks from the long hours in the van are the fewest possible and even stopping for lunch is not usually a real option, since we can all wait to eat at the venue to save some money.
So, since most of the time I was the only one needing to stop, I started to make detailed plans in order to be able to stop at the rest area of my choosing, coveted oasis where finally subject myself to all my rest areas rituals.