Wednesday, October 02, 2019

The Handbook of Hymen

Si: It’s one of those iconic motorcycle trips - we just got round to doing it as it’s such a great time to discover the United States of America, because of the huge changes that have gone on. It’s a good time to actually see what the States is about now. Route 66 has got historical status now, so there’s been a certain shift in the American psyche towards 66. It’s the mother road, it’s the most important road historically, in modern history anyway. It seemed an opportune moment to go and do it.
Dave: Over the years we’ve both visited America on east coast and the west coast. Obviously we know about Route 66, but there are thousands of miles of unchartered territory - there was a migratory route that really is the heart of America, real America, so it was something we wanted to do.
I couldn’t really picture what was there and it was a long time coming, it was quite difficult to film, as you need to look quite hard off Route 66 to find stuff: we didn’t want to go to just diners and drive-ins and eat burgers all the time. We wanted to get to the heart of America and the people.
Si: Route 66 is so important in terms of social history, in terms of it being a migrant route, it being an immigration route heading west towards California for fame and fortune and more prosperity. And all of that social history is the stock and trade of Dave and I, quite apart from the food.
Dave: We both reread John Steinbeck The Grapes Of Wrath, which is the story of that migration across America. It’s kind of the story of what created America. The modern America that we know today owes an awful lot to Route 66. But within that, we went back to the basics of Native American people, the trail of tears, where Cherokee people were taken from their land - all of that links to Route 66 and the migration. It took us a while to realise the depth of culture and history that was there, and that was what we really wanted to explore.
The weather was so horrible last night that I just stayed in and improved my mind with episodes 2 and 3 of the Hairy Bikers: Route 66. You'd imagine from first tabloid principles that this pair would drive me nuts,  but I am always astonished and impressed by how much history and social commentary they manage to sneak into their shows.
What road trip would you love to do next?
Dave: I’d love to motorcycle right across Russia. We’ve filmed in St. Petersburg, and I got quite used to the Georgian food. I went back to Russia after we filmed there a few years ago and Georgian food and Georgian wine is beautiful. That’s in the far west of Russia. But I think you can go all the way across to Korea and China - can you imagine what’s to be found there? A little bit like in America, a big expanse that we know very little about. We know even less about that expanse in Russia. However practical that is I don’t know, but that would be my dream.
Si: I’d quite like to do the ‘stans, all of the ‘stans - because I know absolutely nothing about them. Apparently they are incredible. I don’t know about the food… I was looking at the map the other day and there are quote a lot of ‘stans. All of which used to be a part of Russia, a part of China, or whatever… remarkable.
I think that they will need more than six episodes to do all of Eurasia, but I am up for it even if it turns out to be an heroic failure.

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