ROAD TRIP USA 2010: ROLLING THROUGH NASHVILLE
After a brief stop in Asheville to see the Biltmore Estate, we made our way across country to Tennessee to Nashville, the home of country music.
Modern country music leaves me cold, but a lengthy visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum quickly reacquainted me with its varied history from the early days of American Folk music, through the “outlaw” countrymen like Hank Williams through to the “hard country” of Haggard and Paycheck in the 1970’s. An interesting way to spend three hours.
An even more interesting way to spend a few hours was an unplanned visit to watch the Nashville Roller Girls crush their Indiana rivals from Fort Wayne. As Neal and I walked to breakfast on our first morning in town, we passed the local auditorium and saw a sign announcing that night’s event in one of the US’s fastest growing sports. A far cry from the choreographed exploitation of the 1970’s and 80’s, which was more akin to wrestling, Roller Derby now attracts thousands of women across the country who compete in local teams and a fiercely contested national league
I will hold my hand up high and admit that, I at least, came fully prepared to sneer. I expected to spend fifteen minutes sneering as the girlies tottered around on wheels in front of a few bored friends and relatives and then leave to do something more interesting. What I got was four hours of joyous fun watching two teams of very skilful skaters compete hard in a furious and compelling battle. By the end of the first match, between the two teams second stream skaters we were hooked, by the end of the main event, we were whooping and hollering along with the 1500+ other spectators.
Although they compete in deadly earnest, the women don’t take themselves too seriously in Roller Derby it appears. This adds to the appeal even more and I was delighted to find that all the competitors all give themselves silly names like Violet Contusion, Hilda Beast, Maulin’ Monroe and referees have names like Jessticular Fortitude. My own particular highlight came when Neal approached one of the skaters, named The Jersey Jackhammer, after the match had finished and enquired “Er, Ms. Jackhammer, may I have a picture taken with you”
Amazing fun and Neal declared it “very possibly the best $15 I have ever spent”
I almost agree. But, it is just beaten out by our breakfast at Monell’s which cost exactly the same. Given our short stay in the city and our busy schedule, we did not have too much time to go in search of food. However, Monell’s came highly recommended for its communal style eating and down home food. Leaving Chris to rest up, Neal and I walked the short distance across the state park to 6th Avenue and soon found ourselves seated at a large table along with half a dozen other people just about to start breakfast.
This was my kind of eating. As servers hovered with pots of strong fresh coffee, our fellow diners began to pass around dish after dish of delicious smelling food. So much food, in fact, that our soon there was little space to put empty dishes down on the table. There were light, hot Southern biscuits, plates of crisp bacon and sausage, bowls of creamy cheese grits, sweet cinnamon rolls, fried chicken, scrambled eggs, buttery pancakes and, best of all, sweet corn pudding. Half an hour after we had arrived, the family style of eating made sure we had made some new friends and I pushed myself back from the table knowing would not need much else to eat that day.
If only all meals could be like this.
OK. Loyal DH fans, it’s trivia time. I was very excited to come across the handwritten lyrics in picture #2 at The Country Music Hall of Fame. Who can tell me what song they are from and who wrote them?
Next stop Memphis. I am off to see The King.