Jack Kerouac said that the 'road is life,' but the railroad is really living. A giant, moving platform of bathrooms, dining cars, music studios, gallery space and a Levis® car with sofas and tables and deep-leather chairs that drop you right down to the trembling floor beneath you.
Our train is so heavy that, at velocity, a single loose axle has the weight of a chevy and one of the boxcar side doors would be powerful enough to collapse through the roof of a building. If it wanted to. But it doesn't. This train's not got one malevolent screw in its whole body.
This is an art project yes, but it's also an awful lot like a reality TV show minus the douche bags and curated weirdoes. They've thrown a bunch of artists, musicians, journalists and Levis® staff onto a train, dressed them up in denim, and sent them off into the grand and empty spaces of America to see what happens. Dusty places where no cell phone providers go.
But in the absence of decent connectivity, people mercifully begin to talk to each other again. They pick up guitars, play celebrity charades, do puzzles, have chili-eating competitions and if Giorgio Moroder comes on the stereo, they pull themselves off the chairs and start dancing. And believe me dancing on a train is not easy. Especially when we're coming down the mountains and the thing's flying at over a 100mph. It's like trying to dance on the back of a plump horse at full gallop.
We also talk about other plans. Dreamstuff. What about a Station to Station from London to Moscow? Or how about a port to port? Maybe they could navigate a ship around the Caribbean for a few months. Throw parties on the beaches. Levis could bring out a range of beachwear?
The truth is, it's hard to imagine a project like this ever really being replicated. The ambition and energy from everyone involved has been immense but I suppose, when you're taking part in something incredible you begin to feel anything's possible. To paraphrase another great American traveller, Mark Twain, 'travel is fatal to narrow-mindedness' and so far on this trip, the only thing narrow is our gaze from staring out across those bright desert landscapes all day long.
To check out the rest of the collaborations and contributors, go to http://levi.com/makeourmark