Mermaid Overseas: San Francisco to Yosemite to Death Valley to Flagstaff to Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: San Francisco to Yosemite to Death Valley to Flagstaff to Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

When: 06/04/2015 – 10/04/2015

Lesson: People from New Zealand are called Kiwis because of the bird, not the fruit

Achievement: Having a hell of a lot of car naps in three different states

Lyric: I want the struggle, I need to learn

Quote: “My name’s Ross, I’m from New Zealand” (Ross Hogue) / “Fuck we’re losers” (Mitchell Webb) / “I do this thing called whatever the fuck I want” (Tom Latty)


1. Fly My Pretties – Bag of Money

“Have you seen my bag of money?”

I cruised out of San Fran in the most basic Jeep (but still a Jeep) available with three strapping Kiwis. Latty was the designated driver, Mitch was the DJ and Ross and I took the backseat eating peanut butter M&Ms. Mitch chose Fly My Pretties as the soundtrack to the beginning of our road trip who are from New Zealand and pretty darn good. This track particularly took my fancy as it reminded me of my chums Charli and Sam off their faces running around festivals and asking anyone who would listen “have you seen my bag of cash?”

Many conversations revolved around the differences and similarities in England and New Zealand, including accents. Mitch has a pretty good Landan accent and a common reaction to anything I said was “you fackin’ what mate?!”. Despite my fabulous American accent, I cannot nail the Kiwi.

2. Bon Iver – Holocene

“and at once I knew I was not magnificent”

Mitchy listened to some pretty sterling music including Bon Iver. This track stalked us on the road trip as it was chosen for the car soundtrack and also playing in a bar we were in one night. I love the way Bon Iver can capture nature’s imagery in sound, as if you can see where he was when he wrote these tracks. I aim to channel the incredible sights we saw in Yosemite and Death Valley into my writing.


As this road trip was not in my initial plan I was less than prepared for the rain and snow in Yosemite. I donned a fluorescent yellow poncho which resulted in my name for the day being Condom. Here we are looking soggy, but happy.

photo (20)

I felt like a child again on the first night in the hostel in Yosemite as it was “quiet time” after 11 and I had to creep into a pitch black dorm full of agitated French women groaning at my disturbance. A slightly different environment to the party hostels I have been embracing!

3. America – Horse With No Name

“The heat was hot and the ground was dry but the air was full of sound”

Latty, the machine, powered through the long drives and we arrived in Death Valley just in time for sunset. During the course of the road trip I managed to somehow slip back into being 8 years old and all I seemed to do was eat fast food, eat snacks, fall asleep, and repeat. Obviously not the best car companion to have and to top it off I felt like I was acting quite introverted for the majority of the time, spending the hours gazing into the desert, humming this song in my head and pretending I was Walter White at the wheel.

I felt a little naked not playing my guitar as much as I would have liked to but played a few songs around a campfire where we slept in Death Valley, sipping tinnies and wine. We rented a large tent and slept on what can only be described as hospital stretchers in sleeping bags. Despite Death Valley having the hottest temperature in the world, in the middle of an April night, cold is the only word that could escape my mouth.

We set off at 5am to watch the sunrise. Definitely worth the early waking for such spectacular sights and engulfing silence. The silence was broken by grumpy, tired Mitch spitting and farting, the sounds I got used to, me being one of the lads. Here he is in the glorious sunrise, probably burping as i took the shot.


We carried on to be in blistering heat reaching the lowest point in USA. We took a selection of different moody band photos in each place we visited and here are my favourites.


Badwater Basin


Hoover Damm



4. Tyler The Creator ft. Frank Ocean – She

“During sex, I overheard, a sword sliced the air, I pulled out the na-na”

The first night I met the Kiwi lads Mitch and I compared music libraries and although featuring a lot of similar artists his all time love is Tyler The Creator. Rap is not usually my cup of tea and my bestie Lottie has tried to get me into him before but I have included him in my soundtrack now and I am growing to really like him.

Mitch blasted Tyler in our room in Flagstaff before we had some delicious Thai food and one dollar beers at a College bar, eyeing up the Arizonian shorties and swiping through Tinder. I do enjoy being one of the lads as I always have done.

For our last leg with the Jeep we listened to the soothing Stephen Fry read the first 2 Harry Potters which was thoroughly enjoyable but bizarre when juxtaposed with the Desert surroundings. We also played 20 questions with Ross starting with the impossible “pocket lint”. One of mine was Deidre Barlow and I was very impressed of Latty’s vast knowledge of my beloved Corrie, which I am missing so much.


5. Chet Faker – No Diggity

“Baby never act wild, very low key on the profile”

Chet Faker heavily influenced the week’s soundtrack. This track was featured in the Golden Gate Park jam with Adelaide and Shane and this version was played in the Jeep, came on in the Flagstaff bar and when Sean (another Kiwi fella) joined us when we arrived in Las Vegas he also whacked it on the speakers.

We went to see The Grand Canyon which was bloody grand. I went to the Grand Canyon with my parents and did a similar route across the desert when I was at an age when I did not appreciate the experience at all. These vague memories and my childlike behavior in the car, creeped me out as, naturally, I feel I am a completely different human being since then. Perhaps that was why I was not acting completely myself during this amazing week and perhaps not representing England as wonderfully as I could have. I am still pretty sick though as this photo proves.

photo (22)

Checked into MGM Grand Hotel now with the 4 fanfuckingtastic Kiwi lads and ready to gamble my dignity (or what’s left of it) away…



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