Not to be Overlook’d

As the end of the first leg of the American road trip, Pookaverse presents a series of mini-retrospectives for some of the ‘little bit’s in between’ to bring you up to date with this first part of the journey.

Missoula, MT – 02/10/2012

Missoula, MT was the second overnight stop in Monatana on the way West to Spokane, WA and the eastern borders of Washington State. As previously introduced, Pookaverse has been using vouchers to drive down costs in the ‘overnight stops’ classified so as they lead to an event and are not necessarily an event in themselves. Or so Pookaverse thought.

Given this criteria ,and moving beyond this basic definition of ‘event’. After experiencing the ‘Tourist-Shearing’ enjoyed by hotels in West Yellowstone, Pookaverse vowed to up the quality of the overnight accommodation until equilibrium had been restored and hot bed-bug-bite lumps had recessed themselves.

View from the Balcony including 6 Jacuzzi units and a ‘real’ rock assemblage with a working waterfall…C’mon Inn, Missoula, MT

For Missoula, birthplace of cult film director David Lynch,  the choice from the ‘magazine rack’ was Best Western at $119 – approximately £73.52 – an expensive overnight stay by some of the options that Pookaverse undertook through South Dakota and Wyoming.

So after a relatively early arrival (16:30 MST) on 02/10/2012, Pookaverse parked up in the Best Western car park – again on the edge of this University Town – and a stone’s throw away from the I-90 westbound and another large, ubiquitous-looking (and seemingly closed) hotel with the none too promising name of the C’mon Inn. On the off-chance that the rates were cheaper, our group made its way over and entered into Arcadia. Or something approaching it.

The view from the pool. No maze either psychological or literal was identified during the overlook overnight stay

Nature indoors. An enormous two story complex with rooms all pointing inwards. All floors. Each room with its own balcony -two chairs and a table supplanted above one of six jacuzzi’s. Before we get to the table tennis table. Before we get to the indoor pool with another side order of jacuzzi.

A business and conference centre with over 35 enthusiastic attendees learning how to “Train the Trainer”. All looking inwards.

To a recreation of a mountain vista complete with waterfall, river, trees and rockpool.  Deer, Bear and even a lowly Moose. Paralysed and spent forces. Gazing soullessly at this ‘interpretation’ of their former habitat.

Creatures that once ran free, breathed, raised young. Ended. There is no condemnation here. It’s just a different mindset. A different culture. A real sport. You can buy a licence to hunt a Bear in Montana for less than $19 – $350 for non-residents.  And. Assuming. You are either over 18 or accompanied by an Adult.

Previously in Bozeman, MT. A visit to Wal-Mart. As we pulled up and parked to buy another travel plug as one isn’t enough to charge all our machines. A pick-up truck. Next to the ‘Mums with Toddlers’ spaces. Parked deliberately if not ceremoniously. In full view when entering or leaving. Picketing the entrance.

In the back a juvenile Black Bear corpse still wearing it’s  Spring livery – Brown.  With a muzzle.  And both front and back legs tied with large grey cable ties.  We didn’t see the hunter.

Note the cute, climbing and manageable bear decorations? The visage of savage nature, frozen, is less than 20 yards away in the lobby.

There were no ‘hunters’ in the C’mon Inn either.  So is it Arcadia?

Or was it the Overlook Hotel from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining?. Because  the more that Pookaverse examined the faux native american patterns on the carpet and walls, the numerous stuffed animals (taxidermy is a profitable venture in Montana) and the retro-70’s feel, the more that this remarkable space resembled the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick’s memorable interpretation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name.

Room with a view…of the watefall.

We didn’t have time to visit the Glacier National Park in Montana or drive down the Going-to-the-Sun road where the opening aerial shots of that tiny VW beetle winding it’s way through the mountains to subliminal Indian chants and screams draw you past the point of no return.

The way to Room 237…a few doors up from Room 205 where Pookaverse stayed…

Interpretation of Kubrick’s work is as long, exhaustive, obsessive and ultimately fruitless as the Director’s quest for perfection. For example, one scene in The Shining where Jack Torrance meets with the ghostly bartender took 36 takes. One such theory is that Kubrick, through the use of a visual narrative, was attempting to draw our attention to the  massacre of Native Americans by earlier white settlers.

Contemporary Western references to ‘Westernised Indians’ can be witnessed throughout the film most prominently through the different representations of Native American artwork  in rugs, wall-hangings, murals and even on a can of baking powder that appears in the larder. To name but a few.

Kubrick was methodical. Kubrick was also deliberate in his use of symbolism and what he wanted the audience to see in the frame. Finding ways to challenge and unsettle the viewer’s spatial perception.

The visual puzzle of the maze is reinforced through mirrors and heavily polished floors within the labyrinthine corridors of the Overlook Hotel long before the protagonist, Danny, is pursued by the irate spirit of his father/murderous settler through the actual snowbound maze at the film’s conclusion. Consider the possibility that it would be worth your time. To go back. To have another look. Can you see it?

An overnight stay costed exactly the same $119 dollars as the Best Western. It was ‘refreshing’ to have an overnight stay in a hotel and during the course of that one day have more questions than the ones you started out with.


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