Home Travel Stories Destinations DESERT OLDS - Part 5 Lollapalooza, CA
DESERT OLDS - Part 5 Lollapalooza, CA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Magnus King
Sunday, 28 March 2010 15:35

DESERT OLDS - Part 5 Lollapalooza, CA


Writing and Photography copyright Double Dragon One Owner Collector Car Ltd. Owner's Manual covers copyright GM Canada, GM USA. Excerpt from 'Caruso' copyright Roy Buchanan.




Nantucket Blue 1967 Cutlass Town Sedan built Dec 20, 1966, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. 330-2bbl-250 HP, two speed auto, 2.78:1 axle. To read a history of the Cutlass and check out its MPG look in the GAS LOGS subsection of the TRAVEL STORIES drop down menu.


67 olds cutlass owners

Above you see the Canadian owner's manual. Below is the USA manual which uses a photograph that also appears in the 1967 Oldsmobile dealers' brochure. The inner content of the US and Canadian owner's manuals are virtually identical.






Both Martin and I were in bad moods because of women that morning as we sat in the drawing room. I still hadn’t gone to sleep. The gnawing buzzing adrenalin was wearing off, replaced with a washed out aching ennui. Physically drained, my mind was still swirling away on the Selena thing. I left the house to do a quick workout which would provoke a deep sleep afterwards. Martin sank into somber isolation back in the drawing room as I hit the bright sun in People’s Park, pitting my muscles against gravity.

Back at the house, I passed out for awhile, waking up groggy to a phone call in late afternoon. It was Laura, inviting me to dinner. I felt a twinge about leaving Martin, still immersed in a fog in the drawing room like a statue in his chair. He had a book and no inclination to make dinner or eat anything. We'd fallen into the routine of me making our plain spaghetti noodles with steamed broccoli. Of course, I left the broccoli off his plate. When Martin orders a hamburger he takes elaborate pains to explain to waitresses that when he means a plain hamburger he means meat on a bun, period.

"A bun and a patty. Nothing else. No mustard, no ketchup, no mayonnaise, no tomato, no lettuce. A plain bun. Do you understand?"

With me gone, there was no way anything was going to get cooked. I left the vortex Martin was washing away into as I headed out into the sunshine.

Watching Martin's misery was instructive. Any time Selena flashed into my mind, I completely blocked out any thoughts of her, replacing her image with positive thoughts of Laura who actually did want to see me. The hot sun rays penetrated my system. The sun combined with my mind control produced high spirits by the time I got to the restaurant.

The place was seemingly small from the outside, just another typical middle class eatery down near College avenue. Once inside, I realized that this place was very spacious and crazily expensive. I was dressed very wrong. I was way out of my depth. Laura was known by the door person, the waiters, everyone it seemed. She insisted on paying the entire bill on her credit card. I didn't make the slightest attempt to argue the point in case she relented and I was suddenly faced with a massive unpayable bill.

Laura was a straight shooter and took things a bit more seriously than I did. She tolerated my rambling and philosophical ravings and at times was actually engaged by them. My in transit status allowed us to enjoy the moment and suspend judgment which would apply swiftly if I lived here and this was heading somewhere. Back at her immaculate house we chatted on the couch. It felt different than the first night at the party. I was stone sober and the atmosphere was almost formal. The roommates were all out, emphasizing the coldness in the metal and glass vastness as darkness settled. But before long things heated up and we were back in her bedroom.

Lying around as night unraveled, Laura related a bit of her background at some prep schools that she loathed. She referred to her mother with exasperation, but softened up when discussing her father. He seemed to be at the root of her pursuit of law. She had never once mentioned anything positive about law and yet there she was, planning to be an expert witness. She talked for quite awhile about the direction she wanted to go.

I was reminded of the dinner with Leslies’ planner friends the other day. My floating existence stood out in acute contrast to her concrete approach to life. Her plans were light years away from my seat of the pants day to day existence and yet I was starting to intuit that for all her logic, her plans were flowing from an emotional basis. She seemed to be creating a logical explanation for the emotionally motivated plan her to follow her father's path through law school. There was no point pretending there was any logic in anything Martin and I did... to quote the Roy Buchanan song, 'Caruso' when he confesses his evil ways,

"Ain't going pull no hard luck stories... I just did it cuz I wanted to."

The next morning I awoke around eight. Laura came in with my clothes which she’d run through the laundry and drier for me at some ungodly early hour. She vanished again, then reappeared carrying a tray with legs which she set up on the bed. She returned with one for herself and we ate a really good breakfast in bed. Standing on her balcony, we savored the view of the world. The Bay Area fog broke and sounds of life began down below. I drove her to her first class and agreed to check in with her next week. She was going to a relatives' wedding over the weekend in Southern California. All was right with the world again as I drove back to Oakland.

Back home, Martin was distracted and distant as he burned inside his personal hell, but agreed to go for a drive. I was relentlessly chipper and chatty while he pondered the end of his life with Leslie. He perked up considerably when we made it into the Flood Building where Dashiell Hammett used to have his office in downtown San Francisco.


Later as we meandered up to the hills in the North West corner of the city we had a good view of most of San Francisco. Wind buffeted us as we looked down on the city from atop Mars street. A network of power lines converged up in these hills which were still somewhat wild and undeveloped.

We made it back to the house in time for dinner. My plan was to have a quiet weekend while Laura was away. I would stay out of San Fran and completely forget about Selena. It would be nice to have a few days off from drinking and late nights and just meander around Oakland and Berkeley, taking it easy.

That whole farcical scenario exploded with the ring of the phone.

Jocelyn, a Vancouver girlfriend of mine was in town and excitedly outlined what I was going to be doing for the next few days. Jocelyn and her friend Astrid who worked for Joce's jewelry business were visiting San Fran on the way to a jewelry trade show in L.A. They had brought Astrid's boyfriend Jack along for the ride.

"I miss you! Hurry up and come over here! Jack and Astrid are with me. We just checked into this really funky hotel in downtown San Fran called The Phoenix. All the artists and musicians stay here- it's this modern art building with amazing metal sculpture and incredible paintings on all the walls! Wait till you see this place! We've got guest passes to Lollapalooza and a few days to explore the city before we go to the convention in LA. How long till you get here?"

My weeks of San Fran roaming paid off. I was able to find the hotel on Market street easily. Joce was right about the hotel- it was unique. I found her with Jack and Astrid lounging in the shallow end of the pool as the sun just barely cleared the surrounding skyscrapers and refracted off the clear blue water. Loose stylized sixes and nines adorned the base of the pool, likely meant to be the astrological sign of Cancer which is a water sign.

Joce was up and out of the pool leaping up and down excitedly like a little kid and dragged me off to the hotel room for a reunion. When we eventually emerged from the room the heated pool was filled with a few people looking up at the stars, drinking coolers, chatting. Jack and Astrid were flaked out on the lawn chairs.

"So what's the plan?" I asked Astrid. She always coordinated the fine details and made things run smoothly.

Astrid answered, "We all want to see Perry Farrell's new band, Porno for Pyros. Jack knows the guys from the sideshow, so he wants to stop in and see their show. Since we're going to be there anyways, we may as well spend the day there and see some of the big acts as well. Then there are some really interesting import shops Joce and I want to investigate over the next few days. I left us several free days before set up time at the trade show in L.A."

We went out that night to some bars they wanted to see and even hit a few Mission spots, but didn't run into Selena. Back at the hotel I couldn't sleep. Joce is sensitive to just about everything on earth and is a restless sleeper, fidgeting and tossing and turning. It was role reversal. Now I was the tired one just like Selena always was and Joce was like me- super hyped and crackling with energy. Of course the comparison isn't exactly precise.

Joce is a funny mix of contradictory traits.

On the one hand she is a small slim girl with a Goth look about her: pale skin, black hair and a somber aura. Mentally she can be reserved and retreating like Goth people. On the other hand she is highly excitable and literally vibrates with energy. Despite her high energy, she suffers all sorts of food allergies and mysterious ailments. She is a non conformist artistic type but is also a canny businesswoman and quite smart, with degrees in the sciences. She was the eldest of the four of us, but usually the most naive and childlike in her sense of wonder about life.

Jack and Astrid were also several years older than me, and they too had a youthful vibrancy and openness about them. My interrupted sleep the previous night made me into a grouchy old man that morning.

I felt bleary and tired despite a few hours logged ostensibly sleeping. I went out to the Cutlass to fetch my cereal for breakfast, simply pouring tap water over it. Jack, Astrid and Joce all subsisted apparently on air. They rarely ate, and when they did it was crackers or something else insubstantial. They were all quite lean, live wires. I lounged in the pool. In my fatigue I was riffing away on the connections that only I was seeing. Everyone else in the pool nodded numbly,

"Ok, so the bottom of this pool is decorated with the astrological symbol for Cancer, which is ruled by the Moon. In the edge of the sky we can see the white moon slightly if you look down that narrow patch of sky along Market Street. See it? So here we are in water in a Cancer pool in a mix of Moon light and Sun light on the last day of this year that the Sun is in the sign of Cancer. Floating through the days, lying in a pool is sorta symbolic of the changeable flowing nature of the sign itself."

Jack and Astrid were mildly interested in this line of talk and Joce indulged me in any crazy rant I went on anyways, so I continued to draw parallels as everyone drank vodka coolers and leaned back to catch the sun.

"So the symbol for Cancer looks like 69, doesn't it?" I pointed at the squiggly signs wafting through the surface of the water. "When the Sun was in Cancer in July 1969, the entire Kennedy thing wrapped itself up. First, JFKs symbolic decade of hope actually came true with man landing on the moon in July. Funny that the Moon itself was the goal for a solar masculine dream of exploration. The ships were even named Apollo and manned by men. Again, the Sun and the Moon. Simultaneously, JFKs brother created suspicion in the way he handled the Chappaquiddick drowning which became public right around the same time as the landing. The JFK dynasty ended in water..." Of course, that day I didn't know that years later JFK, Jr. would also die in water, also in July just before he was preparing to enter politics.

As I talked about six and nine i related it to how the nostalgia for the 1960s made the 1990s a sort of refraction of internalized moments made external... reflecting time back at us... the 1990s were just the 1960s upside down. The little music player began playing the Jimi Hendrix song, "If Six was Nine." We all laughed at the synchronicity.

I swam a few lengths of the small pool and floated on my back looking up. On all sides of us we could see the tops of skyscrapers framing the brilliant blue sky. Traffic noise off Market street was somewhat muffled but always present.

Astrid took us all out for oysters and other delicacies at a nearby seafood place. This was a wonderful taste sensation for me and a complete meal for them. Walking along the main drag, I was reminded of the story of why this street came to be. The original planner Jasper O'Farrell decided to create a very wide road that would accommodate increases in population and traffic. He had to leave town to avoid being lynched by a typical mob of shortsighted imbeciles. 100 years later his street, Market street is the only street that actually has decent traffic flow on it. Streetcars, buses, cars and bikes all use this massively wide road that cuts at a 45 degree angle south west down through San Francisco. Every block or so subway stairs pop up out of the medians to access the line that runs below market.

Back at the hotel Astrid had a surprise. She had finished making pants for me that she'd begun back in Vancouver. Despite 90 degree sun I put on the black leather pants she'd made. They fit perfectly and had a tough design about them that was classic. Joce said it would be a true test of my straightness if I could wear them with impunity through the gay-dar filled streets of San Francisco.

Jack was wearing a leather vest and other stuff Astrid made for him that emphasized his lean tanned build and black hair creating the impression of a turn of the century Native Indian. My outfit was more suggestive of a menacing biker. Astrid was also wearing one of her own creations. Her light blue eyes and blonde lion mane of hair was set off with a multicolored series of scarves and outfits leading down her curvy but lean body to bare legs and soft suede cowboy boots.

Joce had brought something, too. I'd lost a black amber ring just before we left on the trip. She believed that was symbolic of a change or shift internally that was manifested outwardly by losing the ring and embarking on a big adventure. She gave me a gold necklace with a marble sized piece of Amber in the setting. I felt the yellow gold crystal and it seemed to radiate energy like a mini sun, which might have just been my imagination. But Joce insisted that it was a 'warm stone' and it wasn't just in my mind. She went on to describe it's properties,

"It's also called Electra by some people. It has electrostatic properties and generates negative ions which are a natural painkiller. It draws sickness out of a person and stimulates grounding..."

Everyone piled into the Cutlass which had much more room than Astrid's sports car. As we hit the highway Jack expressed amazement at the smooth ride,

"I thought this was just going to be a bucket of bolts!"

We slowly cruised the highways running through San Fran and found the fairgrounds.

Jack's friends got us in free and we wandered about Lollapalooza. The Rolling Stones original concept of a rock and roll circus combining big acts hadn't gone over as well as hoped back in the 1960s, but the formula proved to be successful for Lollapalooza in the 1990s. We wandered from simultaneous shows playing on two big stages to a side stage like an old style circus. Soundgarden was on the main stage partway through. The sound was massive and thick. People stood stunned by the wall of noise. The big stage also had the Red Hot Chili Peppers going full tilt later on.

On the side stage Porno For Pyros came on in a blaze of energy that seemed to last for just an instant. There was a lot of excitement among people to see just what new stuff Perry Farrell was going to come up with. The music was good enough to carry him into a vibrant and hyper performance. The vibe was similar to Jane's Addiction probably due to using the same drummer. With a history of performing together the two former Jane's Addiction band mates set the feel for the new additions.

Joce yelled to me,

"I wonder why he didn't go on the big stage? He's the one who organized the whole thing after all!"

"He probably wants to preview his new band under the radar. If he had used his clout to hit the big stage, it would look as if he was forcing his new band on audiences or using his influence as the creator of this show to get free promotion. This way people come to him."

The sound was drawing a lot of onlookers some of whom were asking what band this was. They were getting into it without knowing who it was. Smart move on Farrell's part. He had tried to make this event a "Woodstock for the 1990s" and there were quite a few side booths aimed at creating awareness of environmental issues and other concepts that had been raised in the 1960s hippy movement and then languished for decades.

The side stage was quiet for a little while.

Then Jim Rose staple gunned a dollar bill to his forehead as he announced the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. The crowd flinched and pushed away. There were some of us who pushed forwards to see what he was going to do next. The Torture King put dozens of needles through his flesh. The Tube did weird stuff with a tube up his nose, a guy ate bugs, a sword swallower came on and the crowd seemed to oscillate with tension and revulsion. So far the performers had control.

The most worrisome part came when an audience member was invited to stand on Jim Rose's head while he was face down in a bag full of broken glass and light bulbs. Jim later told us that about one third of the volunteers maliciously tried to do some serious damage, as if standing on your head wasn't enough already. It's human nature. Evel Knievel once said that a large part of his audience wanted to see him make the jump but there was also a big percentage of the crowd hoping to watch him crash.

Jack had toured with the sideshow for awhile and renewed old friendships while the rest of us kept wandering about the place.

The crowd pushed and shoved and the grease from fast food stands permeated the air like some oppressive entity that forced me to reel back out of the claustrophobia of flooded senses. The grease was so pervasive it seemed to block out sound itself. Standing on a hill looking down on the sun setting across the giant parking lot I breathed fresh air and felt the dewy grass. I savored the peace away from the noise, crowds and grease.

Down in the lot a junker Toyota idled in pace with a scumbag in baggy clothes who was methodically breaking into all the parked cars. Jocelyn yelled at me to stop as I charged down the hill.

The standoff between me and the guys in the car and the guy roaming between the cars lasted for about ten seconds. First the driver who tried to intimidate me averted his watery pinned eyes when I stared him down. As I advanced on the roaming guy his gangsta bravado vaporized. He dashed to the back door of the car and they raced out of the parking area. The sun set and Joce and I headed back to the noise.

"That was really stupid! There were three of them. And what if they had guns? This is the States, you know."

Sometimes I forget about the extreme crime down here. Literally thousands of people get shot every year. Guns are commonplace. Dumb confrontations that should remain meaningless escalate into permanent damage when guns come out. It's a weird contradiction that in a place known for freedom, the danger of getting shot impinges on that sense of freedom like an omnipresent cloud. There is also the danger of earthquakes tsunamis, landslides, flash fires... the list goes on.

The way to live free here is to have a good grasp of the concept 'suspension of disbelief'. In his book RINGOLEVIO, Emmett Grogan believed that some people escape the odds. There are some people that dumb accidents don't happen to. He said that his fellow participants in the game Ringolevio are adept and savvy and stupid accidents just don't happen to them. I know people who count themselves above inane random luck as well. But then Grogan died in a stupid accident, overdosing himself on a subway. He was found at the end of the line.

The small side stage featured Stone Temple Pilots who managed to fill up the place with sonic sounds. Wandering about among the stands devoted to counterculture concepts we saw many tattoo stands just like you would at some amusement park or travelling carnival in the old days.

Back at the hotel everyone passed out and I attempted to find a way to get sleep. I was starting to theorize about my astounding stamina over the last few weeks. It might be that I was able to sleep very efficiently in just a few short hours and Joce's restlessness continually jerked me out of the deeper stages of rejuvenation. The other theory was that the continuous wakefulness had finally caused a crash that coincidentally landed upon me on the first night that I spent at the hotel with Jocelyn. The first theory made more sense. Both Laura and Selena were deep peaceful sleepers. Anytime I'd been with them I was out cold the entire night until I woke up due to signals emanating from within my nervous system.

My image bounced back at me from a shiny one way glassed skyscraper. I saw a bleary unshaven thickly muscled thuggish guy moving slowly... dark energy and all black clothes. Behind me danced lithe colorfully dressed light buoyant pixies- Jack and Astrid. Joce was staring into space, absorbed in her thoughts. Stars of sunlight scorched my eyes as the reflections merged into the metal supports of the glass panes. The sun kept moving and creating new stars of white light... the background behind me changed. I moved my eyes back to reality and followed the group as they explored the city.

We found some pretty sophisticated graffiti. I'd become accustomed to the typical downtown San Francisco iron gated forbidding looking building reeking of piss and flanked by street guys on cardboard with the occasional parked shopping cart. These dismal buildings are adorned with hieroglyphic gang graffiti only decipherable by those in 'the know'. But on our sunny walk we encountered big stretches of San Francisco buildings covered by artistic graffiti. The old hippy vibe of San Francisco wasn't completely dead and forgotten after all.


Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 March 2021 21:04 )