Australia, Random Rambles
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10 Dishes of Trail Dirt

Dirt. As hikers, it’s in our blood, our beds, and quite often in our breakfast.

We walk in it…

On the PCT

..socialise in it…

Trail Days on the A.T.

..and lie down on it when the sun goes down:

On the PCT

In homage to this most elemental of elements, here are five quotes about dirt (the first particularly appropriate as spring gets underway down here in the southern hemisphere; the last a poignant reminder of the spring of 1987, when I last felt the wind ruffle my hair):

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Margaret Atwood

This magnificent butterfly finds a little heap of dirt and sits still on it; but man will never on his heap of mud keep still. Joseph Conrad

Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order. David Gerrold

I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt. George Orwell

Dirt makes a man look masculine. Let your hair blow in the wind, and all that. It’s OK. All you have to do is look neat when you have to look neat. Hedy Lamarr

And here are five great songs about dirt.

The immortal Tom Waits does Dirt in the Ground, a chilling Bone Machine classic, live (no clip unfortunately):

What does it matter, a dream of love
Or a dream of lies
We’re all gonna be in the same place
When we die

Legendary Boston punk band Mission of Burma in an exhilarating, anthemic rush:

It’s not fair 
The only intention’s to hurt 
Always there 
The strategy’s rumors and dirt 

How about another great Boston punk band? There must be something in the (dirty) water up there (the city also gave us Jonathon Richman). This one is 60s garage-rock kings The Standells with a snarling punk classic:

Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles 
That’s where you’ll find me
Along with lovers, fuggers, and thieves

This tune by great U.S. underground three-piece Silkworm is from their classic Steve Albini-produced LP Italian Platinum. Like a lot of great punk-rock, Dirty Air begins as a bitch, but ends up transforming crisis into statement of intent:

And it pours down on me
Stains my skin
Ruins my clothing
I will breathe that dirty air until I die

Tragically, drummer Michael Dahlquist and two friends were killed in 2005 when a moron intentionally rammed their car while attempting (and failing at) suicide:

Finally, proto-punk geniuses The Stooges, and a spine-chilling classic off the legendary Funhouse. I played this song so many times back in my university era, the stylus just about cut right through the dirt in the groove and out the other side. Iggy at his spooky and most soulful apogee, Ron at his restrained and righteous best, and that drumming? A beat of primal menace.

Ooh, I been dirt
And I don’t care
Ooh, I been dirt
And I don’t care
Cause I’m burning inside
I’m just a yearning inside
And I’m the fire o’ life’

Mountain punk. Get dirty.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote



    • Yes, we do, Mr Phreak, though you probably have a few sporting ones, which I don’t have (hmmm, maybe the odd mountaineer). And I keep having to add to that sidebar as I recall new ones…

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