The greatest city in the world (or, empty fridge)
Wednesday December 13th 2017, 5:43 am
Filed under: New York,nostalgia Tags:

There’s nothing in the fridge. Nothing in the cupboards. At first I was annoyed, but then I thought about living here, and I can safely say I don’t think I ever had all that much in the fridge, either. Why would you? It’s ALL there. Right Fucking There.

I fucking love this town. It speaks to me in a way no other city, not even my beloved London, ever has. I can’t afford it (and never could), and it occurs to me that I’ve never managed to live in a city I wanted with a job I wanted, but fuck it. One out of two isn’t bad. And this isn’t a kvetch. Despite being ass cold outside (or, more accurately, quite chilly combined with insufficiently warm clothes, as I just don’t own that shit any more), I found a 1) cozy pub with no TV happily thrumming along for 9 pm dinner and a few pints of Guinness and 2) a specialty market beyond your wildest imaginings open until midnight. Not only that, but I walked less than half a block each way.

The cold air seeps in through windows, as I drink my mud coffee (packaged nostalgia. perfect). The noise also seeps, but that’s what I get for not knowing the place was _on_ 14th st until after I booked it. Fucking AirBnB.

The only spot free at the bar was a big table surrounded by couches. I had it comfortably to myself for an hour or so, quietly reading quite a good book over pints, before a group of three colonized the other side/corner. Fair enough. Then a woman who worked at the bar came out – trans, fabulous – to be greeted by hugs from two of the three and an introduction to the third. She then turned to me and took my hand warmly, expectantly. “I’m just the guy in the corner,” I said, “I’m not with them.” “Darling,” she said, “you’re with me,” giving my hand a squeeze. She stayed, chatted for a bit, and then said her goodbyes. As she was leaving, I looked up from my book, “Don’t I get a goodbye, too?” She leaned down to give me a hug, “Always.”

I fucking love this town. Off to look at some books (after I buy a hat).



Pathetic
Wednesday May 03rd 2017, 1:23 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,himself,myjobfuckingrocks,nostalgia,whatsnext Tags:

I’m headed up to Santa Barbara to give a paper this weekend. The thing I’m most excited about for my most-expenses-paid, two nights in a beautiful beach town with good food and wine, plus a chance to chat with clever colleagues about work I love? Two nights of uninterrupted sleep. How times change.



Thusly

And so the last weekend of a decade passes thusly. Errands, work, walk, drinks. Eat, narrative, more narrative. Walk, errands, play, narrative, eat, drink. Bustling, walk, music, drinks, eat, narrative, drink.

Much reflecting of late, as the decade ticks around again, but he looks up at me. Not much by way of conclusion, nor thoughts that add up to anything in particular. I’ll take it, I guess.



Gimlet

Buying him that $14 dollar gimlet was the best money I’ve ever spent. He talked shit. I nodded, smiled. He talked trash about her. I nodded, smiled. I win, motherfucker, and you not only know it, but raised a gimlet to it at the beginning of our evening. Cheers.



showers
Saturday August 02nd 2014, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Boozy,HelLA,holidays,jazz,nostalgia,summer Tags:

You would think the fact I’d been on on a small green rock in the middle of the fricking Atlantic where the locals wear, I shit you not, foul weather gear to go shopping in JULY when the rain and the wind pick up a bit, that I wouldn’t be quite as pleased to listen to the rain outside as I am. An odd summer (not of the ‘good summer/weird year; weird summer/good year’ debate) of West Coast humidity, plus drought, making the rain welcome, and the variation all the more soul filling as Donald Byrd sings “get in the groove” manfully as the Blue Note 75 radio station shuffles through its absurdities. (Ooh. Ornette Coleman. Those earings! Water tanks on the skyline!)

A few weeks of rustling and bustling follow the crazy of the work. If I could do that 20 weeks out of 50 I’d be a star, I suspect. Maybe I’ll aim for 15. Himself only a few weeks further along, 18 on Monday. Apparently we can be heard, which makes me want to curse a lot. And make the dogs bark, to habituate and make things easier upon arrival. As if anything can be made easier on arrival. Not so dramatic nesting plans, sanding and priming and painting the iconic piece of new arrival furniture, boxing books and moving bookcases and priming and painting a room somewhere in a shade of the welcoming palette. A shelf for speakers, the keyboard tucked under, a japanese screen to divide, or really suggest the division of, the room. 6 more weeks of teaching begin on Monday, then 2 weeks with the books in their native habitat, then an entire year, give or take. Plus the minor changes coming. None of which have been as frustrating as my attempt to buy a bike that’s neither a midlife crisis nor a dadbike. But the bitterness has faded on yesterday’s dire dirge, despite the meh of my attempt to re-embrace a taste for the popular at the Bowl last night.

Check Out Time, Ornette proclaims. At the Bowl last night, the incense burning tenor player was at his usual spot at the tunnel. “I’m a friend of [mumble], and I know he’d want me to say hi,” I said. He stopped, got up, came over to shake my hand, and said “I’m also a friend of Herbie’s. He’s a great man, Herbie, but he’s got time for us all. Any friend of Herbie is a friend of mine” Blink. Wifeblink. “Kirby!” I shouted, “the guy whose wedding you played a bunch of years ago. Kirby.” Pause. “Oh. Not Herbie. Herbie Hancock? Oh. Kirby? Kirby. Aaaah. Kirby. Any friend of Kirby’s is a friend of mine,” he offered charitably, no less warmth in the renewed handshake. It didn’t seem right to put money in the case, then.



furniture
Wednesday July 09th 2014, 9:47 pm
Filed under: can't make that shit up,damn,nextish,nostalgia,something new,summer Tags:

Shit’s getting real in the Whole Foods parking lot. Or, really, in our parking lot. The first paraphernalia is in the house. Or, rather, under the house. And in the garage. In pieces. Ragazzi! Posh, Italian, beautiful hard wood, and apparently banned by the federal government. Living on the wild side, really, or the drop side. My reverie shattered by the car not starting after leaving the lights on for five minutes while I unloaded the pieces into the garage and the basement. A “for fuck’s sake” and “you’ve gotta be kidding me” thankfully the only cursing, as I managed to roll start in reverse on the first attempt. Let’s hear it for manual transmissions, folks. But the infinite shift in stuff has begun – the soft and the pretty and the tender the more likely show in town. Of the donors, one ready to be rid of it and its rude occupying of space, the other rather more nostalgic for a lot of years of life lived across two smalls, but very much past. And so it goes, not quite generations, but hand me alongs. Ragazzi! (Which, a little googling suggests ain’t as posh as it used to be. The donors suggested it was a little company that has gone out of business. Possibly, but if so, the name is now on sale at a major mark down good old fashioned retail outlet.)



Yeshyo
Sunday May 26th 2013, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Boozy,change,inner-polish-teenage-girl,memory,nostalgia,reminiscence,scooters,seasonal,whatsnext Tags:

Or, as The Bird and the Bee would have it, again and again and again and again / do it again. Nina Simone playing in the background, a nod to the same coming of age/romance films that have occasioned alarmingly much of the little writing found here in the last handful of years, 1995, 2004, and the latest before movie on the docket for tomorrow. For all of the ways in which I don’t want to live here, I’m rather reliant upon being able to see such films upon demand, before release, or to go see Joss talk after a screening of his latest. Entitlement meets indifference, sprezzatura meets traffic, soul meets mate. “Unexcited”, the cover of the nyt magazine reads (though, apparently, according to yctnw, it’s a matter of female sexual desire / drugs for same in one’s 50s+. I had thought it was a larger ennui / late life boredom issue. Which I suppose it is, in some ways – things not working? Things not exciting? Take drugs.) Anyway_s_, he said, with a nod to the boy who is now a young man who should really call his bloody mother, these damn movies. A student, a few years ago, talking about growing up the same age as Harry Potter, identifying beyond protagonist to deeper transitions and dilemmas of self. And these movies, I think, broadly appealing similarly – what it is to be young and in love, 32 and both in love and not in love and somewhat successful but not done, and above all being not 23. And, tomorrow, though I’ve assiduously avoided spoilers, to the point of reading no press or interviews or previews or even adjacent press on the matter, the 7-up for my romantic soul, the self that wrote, with the dark and biter passion of 18, “love, and I wish I could say always, but we both know it can’t be so” (or something vaguely similar. I’d have no ask her to dig the copy of R&G off her bookshelf and read me the ?incriminating? inscription), though I can’t remember seeing either film in the theatre, to the point of rather wondering if I did, or if it was blurry VHS and second run at the Sunshine or the Angelika. So with new 88 keys and hours of music made in the last few days, we’ll go see tomorrow if it resonates then as it has resonated for so long, whether they have something to say beyond what I’ve known, or are just a travel-porn version of lives i actually have lived. Or something.



soundtrack
Saturday May 25th 2013, 11:14 pm
Filed under: Boozy,memory,Music,nostalgia Tags:

Apparently I didn’t rip the whole disc, just the one track. “Canaan”, by tomandandy, also sometimes known as Tom&Andy, and various other permutations with capitals letters, spaces, and punctuation. The soundtrack version, “Farewell my friends, I’m bound for Canaan / I’m travelling through the wilderness / Your company has been delightful / you who doth lead my mind distressed.” Or something, several octaves lower and with a male singer as against the female singer of the movie credits. Hmm. (On a motorcycle through Arizona and Utah, it became “bound for Kanab”, an inside joke that you had to be there for, really.) Apparently the rest of the early/mid-90s techno/world (think Womad with a beat) soundtrack wasn’t worth ripping, back when ripping was slower than listening, and CDs still ruled the land. A viewing of the first of the Befores this evening, as well, in anticipation of the viewing the last. And, by my side, 88 fucking keys. Something closer to what I imagined when I walked in to the music shop on the Cowley Road less than 24 hours after seeing 6×07 for the first time and bought a synthesizer rather than a television, a thing with which to create rather than consume. No research, no comparison beyond what was in the shop, no thought of spending time on the internet to make sure I got the right one. And 61 synth-action keys that would both charm and disappoint me for a fucking decade plus. 6×07 aired in 2001, so I suspect my visit to Ravenscourt Park is not long after, give or take. And now, some ?12 years later, a replacement keyboard for the 4 or 500 quid I spent with the greatest of sombre intent, and yet the innocence of intention unresearched and unrefined. 88 keys. Piano action. High notes and low notes and gigabytes of unlooped samples. Now all I need is lessons. I don’t want the 90s back, or the zippered/stepped filter sweeps of the Zoe soundtrack, nor would I ever name a daughter Zoe, knowing it could only end wildchild, but a baby (year!) in the grass yesterday, and a baby-ish boy now 21 and finishing college soon, the chance to put my thoughts into notes and my heart into notes and my fingers into the rigour that precludes thoughts, I wonder. In particular and in general, a tenure present to myself, I wonder what I will create with this that I didn’t the last time I resolved I wanted to create and not consume. Lineage, I believe, numbed most of it. Too busy, not ideal, not in the right space, not despondent, not 27 again (thank god). So I play scales and combis and learn the Korg speak, and spell things in the English spelling despite having been gone for many more years than I was there, and I wonder.



Regularly scheduled

Tonight’s regularly scheduled Nostalgia-Fest(tm) has been delayed due to eminently foreseeable circumstances. A contract offered, yesterday, an early morn and the closure of an exam today. One to London, one to New York, one here for a bit before heading to San Francisco, one to the Air Force and another back to his baby boy. They don’t tell you, not the places you’ll go, but the people you’ll say goodbye to as they go to those places. And so, flint (as is apparently the case with my Reading Abbey wall fill rubble) to the tinder, movies of promise and regret and loss before it’s lost to spark the few bits of fuel not already consumed.



performative
Thursday May 26th 2011, 9:29 pm
Filed under: magic,memory,nostalgia,poetry Tags:

passion. They had it, the students, the cast not of thousands but a dozen. Midsummer, a show I don’t think I’ve seen performed since I built the set for a production, in the years before time, amidst memories less stable than I might have guessed. An amazing set, an abstracted forest of horizontal wooden and metal beams protruding from a wall running the width of the stage, perhaps 12 feet tall and curved at the bottom. There was much leaping and sliding and jungle-gym hijinx that make me amazed nobody was seriously injured, with the pathetically craven and safe hindsight of age looking at youth. This evening, a Puck channelling Rayanne Graff with Darryl-Hannah-Blade-Runner eyes, and an uneven but committed cast. passion. performance. Not only the fearless bodies on stage, bodies held up and out for laughs, for groans, for mockery and interest, but the audience. Perhaps it’s because they’re usually in class, but an unusually powerful sense of community, of cheering for friends and loved ones, of belonging. And in that belonging, the base and the ledge, the depths and the heights, to enable, to disable, to offer up something that mattered not at all, but says everything about them. And I forgot, for a few hours, pretty much everything else. The shadows did not offend, and I feel, keenly, that none of this is a dream.