Robin Ince On The Road: Salt Lake City Is So Friendly It’s Like A Horror Movie

I was assured that I would not find any exciting books in Salt Lake City. Although free copies of the Book of Mormon would flow like mead, bookstores would be sterile, if they even existed. It was a relief. I had picked up a lot of books on the US tour so far. As I left each city, my luggage was heavier than when I arrived, with everything from a political primer by activist Dick Gregory to ’60s pulp novels with titles like sexy psycho and Venus of Lesbos.

In Minneapolis, I had picked up a lavishly illustrated book of a fabulous display of supernatural-influenced art. I was flipping through it when a stranger sat next to me on the plane. Her arrival coincided with my switch to the page with a photo of Carolee Schneemann removing a parchment from her vagina. His performance (Inner Scroll) is still highly regarded, but it’s an awkward icebreaker with a stranger. I turned the page hastily and thought I should swap my readings, but then I remembered that all I had to hand was broken pencil, a fascinating publication on art and zines, but this issue was about how the Nazis are using zine culture and going from a scroll to a swastika could make matters worse. I think this passenger pretended to be asleep for the rest of the trip, even ignoring the free Fanta, lest I might attempt to engage.

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There is a beautiful and welcoming strangeness to Salt Lake City. I wouldn’t be surprised to see flamingos hitting croquet balls. It’s so friendly, almost on the cusp of that friendly you see in horror movies just before you find out it’s all been an elaborate trap to place an ancient man’s brain into your skull and body so that he can live forever. It was peak “have a nice day” in America and I did it. In fact, I spent two beautiful days.

I strolled down the main street with my tour mates Brian and Steph and within 500 yards tragedy struck. I discovered what would become my favorite bookstore on the tour so far – Utah Books and Magazines. It smelled of yellowed pages and aged book glue and there were strange dolls and other arcane ephemera staring at you from shelves. The books were stacked high and four deep, it was led by a rude, brooding and very entertaining brother and sister.

Brian and Steph watched me in my natural habitat, kneeling on the ground, flipping through books, piling up my yeses and maybes. An anthropological study of a bookworm. They enjoyed the novelty of my burrow, but quickly needed some fresh air and continued to the mall for juice and carrot cake.

Shortly after I had my hands on Winfred Van Atta Shock treatment – “More terrifying than psychology. more revealing than The gardians(I don’t know what the Guardians revealed, but I’ll find out).

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