Michael Phillips, The Airstream Chronicles

The Airstream Chronicles

Direct from an old Airstream trailer in a dusty corner of Art Bell's Pahrump, Nevada compound.

In the only known photo of the two together, noted talk radio host Art Bell poses with the notorious airstream trailer housing mjp visible in the background.

I first heard Art Bell's "Coast to Coast AM" radio show in the early 1990s. I was living in a little cabin out in the remote Joshua Tree desert, and the entertainment options were limited, to put it mildly. A local AM station ran the show in the middle of the night, and it was an unparalleled parade of genuine lunatics and fear-mongers, discussing things like UFOs, crop circles, government cover-ups, reverse-speech, remote viewing, and every other paranormal kook topic you can imagine. It was fascinating in its unapologetic weirdness and stupidity, though my fascination was probably heightened due to the isolation of my desert surroundings.

Bell broadcast the show from his home, which was a trailer in the Nevada desert. I think it's safe to say that he never met a wild, improbable story that he didn't like. While he claimed to be no more than an impartial conduit for the theories and beliefs of the screwballs he had on the show, it was clear that he was a believer where much of the freakiness was concerned.

Near the end of 1995 I began posting messages in the usenet group alt.fan.art-bell, claiming to be reporting from an old Airstream trailer located in Art Bell's "compound." They were not finely crafted, well written satire, just a bunch of dumb goofing around that portrayed Bell as a clueless, clumsy hillbilly, which he wasn't. Though, in my defense, he did once accidentally crazy-glue his lips together during a commercial break, so these stories are just a wild exaggeration of that kind of unintentional entertainment and chaos.

They're rather dated and full of inside references that may not make sense anymore (and probably never did make sense if you didn't listen to the show), but in light of Art's demise in April, I thought I'd dig them up and make them available again. Both as a tribute to an original character - they don't make 'em like Art Bell anymore - and as a tribute to the early web, which was a wild and wondrous place.

mjp - 2018


mjp here. I used to live in an old Airstream trailer behind Art Bell's double-wide mobile home in Pahrump, Nevada. Arty let me live there rent-free in exchange for a bit of work around the compound. These are a few stories detailing just some of the weird shit that went on while I was there. Some people have accused me of making these stories up, but if you listened to Bell's overnight radio talk show, you know the truth.