I met Jens and Tim at friend/film maker, Steven Preston’s, house a couple days ago. They are two young, tall, handsome young men who have traveled all the way from Holland to the Coachella Valley to write a book on the desert’s generator-powered music culture. Having never been to California before, I was quite intrigued on what their opinion of the Coachella Valley might be. An outsider’s perspective. Are we cool? Are we lame? Only Jens and Tim would truly be able to tell us.

I slept on the idea and within a couple days I tracked down Jens’s phone number and ask him if they would like to be guest writers to the Coachella Valley Art Scene for the time that they are out here. I thought it would be really cool to hear all about their travels and their experiences. They are from the same generation, yet, from an entirely different culture, making it that much more intriguing in what they have to say. I told them they could have complete creative freedom with this feature and put the ball in their court.
Turns out, Jens and Tim were game, and the rest is history.

So, without further ado… I present to you… two desert nomads Jens + Tim…

Yes He Says
A Tale of Travels, from Amsterdam to Coachella Valley with Jens en Tim.

Episode #2: The roads are paved with pyrite.

To not have a car in this country…you’ll scrape your feet off past your knees walking to the supermarket. What a price to pay for a TV-dinner and a monstrous bottle of Mexican beer. This sour-legged morning, a suited-up man knocking on our door in the Tropics Motor Hotel in Indio disturbed our refuge among the superiorly ragged fifties design of our room. But ‘twas freedom he brought, regardless of his employer’s intentions. The smoking old-timer gazed at the rental car and greeted us with another; ‘Have your way, you fine young gentlemen’ as the doors shut. Indeed.

The vehicle, our talisman, gave us the strength to reach out. Now, to new friends we rode, smearing the roads with sticky dust – that long craved-for blend of our own sweat with the desert’s dust. We were bloated with hidden expectations, so full of awe, so full of nausea over the Sunshine State – the Promised Land. I had had a dream of frightening clarity – my feet were on this soil and with my lady I rooted in massive emptiness. Dreams: deceitful… We found not this homecoming, yet – we found peace in a backyard. From the backyard, languidly, to the friends sanatorium. We lost our sense of powerlessness through smiles and through 87 rating gasoline, we had shed the shell of the alien. Note: you need assistance to break free, the necessary tailwind, provider of velvet fun.

Now we shoot off, the delayed accelerator-reflex of the automatic transmission, yes, but off we are. Remarkable how in this land of violence you won’t hear your car roar. That weak buzzing, we’ve got ways to overpower it. We shred our tense nerves in the peaking highs of a crazing dose of autarky, as we fire our way past Pioneertown. On a fantastic ego-trip ‘Tunguska’ hurls itself through the speakers as we take, finally, our own goddamn golden path.

* All words by Jens van Dongen

* Illustrations by Tim Heijmans