Mar 2, 2010

Spent A night In A Town Called Weed

Wednesday 24th - Day 17

There's this town in Northern California called Weed. When I saw it on the map I laughed out loud. If you had a dumb sense of humour then you would too.

I really wanted to go there, but how was I going to find a song about Weed the town? There are plenty of songs about weed the drug. One of them might have been about the town of course, but I didn't want to listen to a ton of blunted buffoons praising the herb. So I figured that Weed the town would just be something I'd drop into the funny town name pub conversation the next time it came up. (I always tell people about the time I went to Twatt in the Orkneys.) But Weed was sitting right in the middle of sparsely populated southern Oregon and northern California which had to be traversed if we were to go to San Francisco and beyond. If only I could find a song about Weed. I was talking about this dilemma with ex-postcarder Michael Broadhurst last year and he said "But you do". He was right too. Jay Farrar, the main songwriter of Uncle Tupelo, has a song called California which starts with the lines...
"Walked the streets of San Francisco,
Spent the night in a town called Weed."

Now I didn't recall the line because the song it came from isn't that good. When I first heard it I wondered why Jay Farrar, a writer of alt country songs about American ennui that could be coruscating and almost mystical, would come up with a song title as bland and as cliched and as overdone as California. In Jay's defence his song does also contain the lines...
"It's been said before,
But it's worth saying,
No one could dream a place like California.
It's been written before,
But it's worth repeating,
No one could dream a place like California."

Though I disagree. California has been done to death. And even if a songwriter did come up with a new insight on the Golden State then they really ought to come up with a better title. AMG has 1264 instances of songs called California. Admittedly some of them will be different versions of the same song but that's more than evened out by all the California Girls, Dreams, Suns, Nights, Hotels and other assorted rock cliches. So although I don't agree with Jay that it bears repeating, I am grateful to him for mentioning the town of Weed in song and thereby validating my childish desire to see it.

And it was well worth it. Weed is a sweet little town that's pretty high. Nearly 3500 feet high, which is higher than anywhere in England. Established in 1897 the town takes its name from its founder Abner Weed. You can call him Mr Weed. He was a timber baron who went on to become the Senator for California. So you can call him Senator Weed.

If I was mature I'm sure I wouldn't find it at all funny that there's a Weed Bakery, or that you can play Weed Bingo. But in reality I was giggling all the time in Weed. The police car that said Weed Police nearly made me wet myself. But best of all... the teenagers in Weed do actually go to Weed High. And if that isn't silly enough, the school's team is the Cougars. Weed High Cougars? C'mon! (For those not familiar with what Cougar means in modern slang parlance click here.)

So sorry it's not a great song Jay... but thanks for visting the town. And nice to see you got a t-shirt to prove it.


  1. It was closed. Seriously. Would have meant a long drive up a cul-de-sac just to see it and then a long drive back. So we skipped it. A lot of things like that close for the winter, be it all but one of the roads into Yellowstone or the roller coasters in Sandusky. Wimp city USA.