The first thing I can say with certainty is this: writing a travel blog post when I'm back from the place I've been is like covering my mouth for a sneeze that happened last week. It's a lot less urgent, and seems a little odd.
The second thing I can say with certainty is this: clocks are the biggest liars on the face (get it?) of the earth. If anyone dares to tell me that time moves steadily no matter where you are or what you're doing, I'll tell you that I've got a bridge to sell, and it happens to be in Brooklyn.
Speaking of Brooklyn on a more factual note, this where my 2-day sojourn begins. The Smorgasburg food festival and Brooklyn Flea Record Fair. Hip-times-ten-to-the-power-of-twenty-four, I know. But what food! And what records! An array of artisanal hot sauces, grooves, samosas, and deep-fried anchovies.
There's a quote by the Mighty & Excellent C.N. Parkinson, something to the effect of this: The best-organized office has the least going on.
New York City is chaos. Churning and reeling madness, waves of people, a place on the brink of total disintegration. This is especially clear to anyone from the orderly and well-manicured streets of smaller towns or – heaven forbid – suburbs. New York City is the cloud that looks like it might be a toucan or it might be giving you the middle finger, or it might be puffs of condensed air. You can't be quite sure but for a moment you're active and imagining.
It's a luxury to plan a city so everything is clear and orderly and works as efficiently as the lid of a coffin. Few if any people in New York City have that luxury. I lie awake imagining the systems that control their traffic lights and subway cars, and dream of some unspeakable mechanism that would put god's own wristwatch to shame.
The real action, it seems, happens at the brink of chaos. This is an interesting notion to consider the next time I wonder why, when I have months-worth of music labelled & categorized (read: embalmed) in iTunes, I don't feel compelled to listen to a single thing.
People say that New York has loads of entertainment. This is true. On the one night that I was there, I found close to 300 concert listings. But what they've really got going on is public entertainment. The recording above is of this cat literally bangin' on buckets. Using a damn garbage can as a ride cymbal. In Brooklyn there was a one-man-band banjo man. In Central Park, a jazz trio. In Greenwich Village, a barbershop quintet in front of a bakery. The list has no end.
Any one of these performers, you could record and you'd have an album to make people jump out of their seats and shake their derrieres. Which really drives the point home that from Milli Vanilli to Miley Cyrus it never is, never was, and never will be talent that makes a musician famous.
Before I let you go, I'd like to talk about Greenwich Village for a moment. Times Square can go to hell. Apple's famous glass cube on 5th Avenue can melt back into the sand that it was blown from. But if anyone talks crooked about the Village, they'd better be wearing some well-concealed shin pads because that's where I'll be delivering a swift and sudden kick.
I actually don't care that much if you insult Greenwich Village. It's not my damn neighbourhood. But it is a cool place. Get your chess skills up and still be swindled & trounced by a crack addict chess wizard in Washington Square Park. Have a slice of pizza so good it'll put you in a coma from Artichoke Basille's Pizza. Hear some jazz have some laughs go crazy.
Bob Dylan's ghost is long gone from this place, but there's something special still lingering in these streets, where they go by names and not by numbers.
To leave you off, the entertainment that left us off. And yes, that's my wife in the black top, second from the right. I'll hope the midwife doesn't see this one.