STARKVILLE CITY JAIL
in tracking Johnny Cash's life, it is hard to overlook those brushes with the law, one of which occurred in Starkville, Mississippi, when he spent the night in the drunk tank after being found crawling in someone's garden after a show. At this point, the other band members were struggling to keep Johnny's behaviour under control, and he couldn't resist going out to find more fun.
He immortalised the episode in the song Starkville City Jail, although he did portray himself as the victim as a vindictive small-town police department, when the reality was much different.
It was this incident that led to the whole book, as it was seeing Starkville on the map made me realise how it fitted together so well, as well as discovering an old newspaper article about the man who claimed he had shared Johnny's cell that night and that Johnny had given him his shoes (something which is referenced in the song, although he claimed the police still had them). It was the difference between the two that struck me, but they were sharing the same cell.
Thankfully, Starkville hasn't changed much, and when Johnny left his motel room at the Starkville Motel, he was in fact leaving Room 22 of the University Motel, which I was able to rent for the night.
I wanted to call the book "Johnny Cash's Shoes", but I couldn't permission to use his name in that form from his estate, hence the title Lost In Nashville.
Starkville is a nice little place. I liked it.
The motel that Johnny Cash never got to sleep in
Inside room 22, the room that Johnny Cash never got to use
This sampler selection came about due to a Gordon Ramsay Hotel Nightmares make-over. The coffee stout on the left was divine.
The motel room that Johnny Cash left at the Starkville Motel
Room 22, Johnny Cash's room.
Downtown Starkville. James and Bruce discuss the Confederate emblem in the Mississippi flag
The Starkville drunk tank. The cell Johnny was kept in is the small one behind the silver car, with the white shading around the edge
The rear garden of the hotel, as remodelled by Gordon Ramsay
Breakfast in Starkville, Mississippi-style
The newspaper article that led to it all