John Mellencamp, a hometown hero where I’m from, played Vega the other night. A giant silver Airstream, a trailer originally manufactured a few hours from where I grew up, had been in the loading zone for two days when several clumps of men in cowboy boots and women in fringe denim jackets finally helped us realize what the hell was happening in our neighborhood.
It’s more than a little strange when a guy from your relatively unknown home state shows up thousands of miles away, on another continent where people don’t know much about populism, roots rock, and poverty. I went to kindergarten with a girl whose dad once played in Mellencamp’s band. In fact, he was played on the radio so much that I grew up to sort of hate the guy’s music, embracing Springsteen as my substitute working class rock hero. As I snapped a photo of the Twinkie-shaped trailer while bro dudes posed in front of it, I mused loudly, “I wonder if anyone standing around here would be interested in the fact that I, too, am from Indiana.” Andreas glanced around to see if anyone heard me. In typical Danish fashion, if they did, they pretended not to. To myself, I wondered, Where the hell did they get such a nice Airstream around here?