In which Athens, GA is great

Blogging from the airport shuttle on my way from Athens to ATL. “Radio Free Europe” on the radio, on a station whose bumpers bill it as “the college football voice of the south.”

Things I liked about Athens:

Grits at Five Star Cafe.

Steak and gravy (roughly equivalent to chicken fried steak) at Weaver D’s (“Automatic For The People.”) White, very peppery gravy, as it should be. After lunch, coffee next door at Jittery Joe’s, a coffee roaster/bike shop/used book store in a converted barn.

The great young group in number theory and algebraic geometry at UGA, almost all hired in the last three years.

Cheesecake with green tomato relish at Five and Ten. I am less enthusiastic about dessert than most people but this was the best thing I ate yesterday.

R.E.M tourism. Had the shuttle driver take us by the abandoned church where they used to practice in 1981. And I went to the 40 Watt to see an Athens band, Twin Tigers, play. It’s true what they say about music in Athens; the place was much bigger than the High Noon and was packed, even for the first band. And not just with tragic indie kids with ironic mustaches. I think regular kids in Athens go to indie rock shows, kids in fraternities who listen to the college football voice of the south. Maybe there’s a counterculture of tragic country and western kids who run the college radio station!

As for Twin Tigers: loud washes of sound which was boring at first but which won me over. Given the style of guitar-playing, surprisingly non-deadpan vocals, heavily reverbed a la Simple Minds. “Automatic” was the standout track. Don’t know how to include links when blogging by phone, but I think you can download this free.

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5 thoughts on “In which Athens, GA is great

  1. I agree that Athens is a great town, at least as a place visit (and quite possibly as a place to live, but I have no direct experience with that). Fortunately, there’s a topology conference there every summer, including a big deal one in year congruent to 1 mod 8, so I have many excuses to go…

  2. Ben says:


    Next time you go to Athens, consider taking a Georgia Skies plane from Atlanta instead of the Shuttle bus. It is cheaper and more exciting than the bus, although it takes the same amount of time. I discuss my last Athens adventure here:

  3. Frank says:

    So I heard that R.E.M. still plays shows at the 40 Watt, under random pseudonyms so you only get to see them if you decided to check out a show at random. Which does appear to be the proper way to experience the place. Any idea if this is true?

  4. JSE says:

    No idea! All I can say is that Twin Tigers were definitely not R.E.M.

  5. It was even greater while you were here.

    Come back soon, and for a longer period of time. (Or at least, spend a full day here in which I have less than 4 hours of teaching.)

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