I should eat really, but I’m enjoying the sedative effects of this Hoegarden. A very relaxing bar this – dark lighting, candles on table, soothing beats, quite empty. I didn’t fancy a lot of the “Sex and the City” style restaurants I walked past in my search for a drink. Feeling more Tom Waits than Bonfire of the Vanities at the moment – Wait Wolfe! Terry Waite! Waiting for the Barman. Kind Barman – my age, big with a moustache and Boxfresh T-Shirt, telling me about a block party they are having on Saturday, he’s bringing the keg. He’s just introduced me to two guys who arrived and sat at the bar next to me. I bungled a terrible nervous answer to the first guy’s question of “So, what’s in London?” Idiots like me, apparently!
A great turnout though. Three Hoegardens and a great chat with a connected Taiwanese guy called Norman. I couldn’t really tell if she was just being friendly or actually fancied me, but I felt so wasted after all things today that I kept it light and said good night and good luck!
I’m dying for some food, but the city that never sleeps is obviously just having a quick crafty nap cause there’s nothing doing. All the shops are shut and the hot-dog vendors are tucked up in bed dreaming of mustard and umbrellas.
Too knackered to write any more…need…sleep…must…stop… Pigsy, I’m mean Norman, the Taiwanese guy, told me to go south of Wall Street for the best view of the Statue of Liberty and City Lights bookstore in Greenwich Village is a must too, for any wannabe writer like myself!The secret is don’t try too hard to be friendly with people. It comes across as needy and insecure – both deeply unattractive traits! Goodnight.
WOW, WOW, PUCKING WOW! This is like being in a movie! Everything is so real yet totally unreal at the same time. I almost wished I still smoked weed just to see what kind of affect that had to the reality presented.
To write down what I've done this morning doesn’t do justice to what the experience was – and it’s still only 12pm! I left the hotel and walked to Chinatown. I stopped in at a small coffee house to consult the Lonely Planet (LP) as to how to get to the Brooklyn Bridge. I resisted the urge to have aromatic crispy duck for breakfast. I walked to the bridge and crossed it in the burning sun with the great grey metal suspension rods either side of me like sparkling steel spaghetti, turning back every now and again to check the distance growing between me and the skyscrapers of Manhattan – such an iconic filmic image now real and incredible. Half way across I can see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty rising up out of the similarly coloured green wash.
Give me your tired, your hungry, your poor and I’ll shit on ‘em – that’s what the Statue of Liberty said (Lou Reed, New York)
I hung around in an area they call DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Brooklyn Underpass). It’s supposed to be a hip hangout for ubertrendy hepcats like me (!) But all I could find were offices, warehouses, tramps and adverts for the worst looking film ever committed to celluloid – the Wayan Brothers “Little Man”. I pray it doesn’t make it across the Atlantic but capsizes halfway across under the weight of its own crap and sinks like a coral turd encrusted with barnacles to the bottom of the slimy ocean.
Starving, I went into a bagel shop in Williamsburg run by the Arabic Beastie Boys – they free-flowed me into having a cheese and egg bagel that tasted fantastic, the best I’ve ever eaten. It’s now put me into carbohydrate shock and I can barely keep awake as I put fingers to laptop. I wasn’t sure if they were being genuinely friendly or just taking the piss! They couldn’t believe it when I told them I'd walked all the way from uptown Soho and looked at me with a mixture of awe and pity. The MCA looking guy directed me to go to Prospect Park and hangout, it’s on the F-Train near Coney Island (the end of the line). I was a bit worried he might be taking the piss knowing that this was THE bad-ass park of NY and a guaranteed arsepuck and mugging delight. But I’m sitting here now and it seems to be a world of rich brownstone houses, VW Golfs and rotund poor Hispanic women walking rich white babies, no doubt whilst their rich white mother(pucker)s sue each other over the water in Ally McBeal Manhat law firms.
It’s gently starting to rain here in the park and the laptop battery is starting to give me the evil eye. Think I’ll grab a sneaky beer somewhere. Sun’s over the Yardarm!
I envy the fact that Americans genuinely seem to be proud of their country and New Yorkers definitely LOVE their city. Maybe London and England would be a better, more friendly and integrated place if we felt the same way. There’s an innate pessimism in London that everything is always on the brink of pucking off, whereas, I feel here an innate optimism that the phone is always about to ring inviting you to a killer party!
I’m sitting on a bench at the very tip bottom of Manhattan Island, staring out at the Statue of Liberty. I wonder why the 9/11 bombers didn’t allocate a plane for the statue – it would’ve been a much bigger statement than the Pentagon and possibly even the WTC?
I can’t be pucked with taking the Ellis Island Ferry – I’m looking at it now and it looks like a lifeboat from the Titanic, all crowded full of ratty Disney-style tourists dressed in tees that scream ‘losers’. The statue does look surprisingly imposing, even from this distance. An actor is dressed as Spiderman to my right and is show-boating for the kids on the ferry. He’s being buzzed by a black Vietnam veteran in a wheelchair with the US flag sticking out the back. The old vet is trying to get the kids’ attention to tell them that HE is the real superhero not this ponce in the costume. The kids look singularly unimpressed and instead holler out for Spidey to climb a wall. Guy in wheelchair is metaphorically climbing his own wall, but it’s looking too steep for him.
To get here I’ve just walked all through Wall Street during its lunch break. Intimidating and very impressive in its cool, calm, sleek and moneyed power. Designer suits with built-in air-conditioning units. A small part of me felt jealous and wistful that I never really played that investment banker’s game. The larger part of me breathed a sigh of relief.
That ferry really is rammed. Overheard snippet of a conversation from two people walking past: She has a heart of gold but no sense. Are you talking about me?
Buzzard on a budget
New York Truths – Less really is more. The less I say, the more intelligent and cool people think I am! I want to stop trying to be a writer, a film-maker, an artstar – BE it or don’t. A school kid rushes past the window clutching an A star report card. He beams from ear to ear clicking his fingers as he goes. He is happy, and that feeling, whether we are adult or child. That feeling is the same.
I’m writing events in real time as much as possible, literally as I’m walking down the street, pausing in doorways or sitting curbside – trying not to look too weird. But New York seems a weirdness forgiving sort of place. I’m also writing down stream-of-consciousness thoughts as they occur resulting from these new experiences. To illustrate internal dialogue from factual events I’m using [….]. Just in case the flow seems illogical. It simply reflects the way things are going down inside my gourd!
Whoa Nelly! I’m really pissed. Good night though! Started off a bit dodge but redeemed itself at the end. I moseyed on up to Times Square and took in Broadway. Times Square makes Piccadilly Circus look like an East End pub’s Christmas decorations. I found a reasonably cool bar just off Broadway and had a couple of frozen Strawberry Dakaries. They were showing highlights of the England v. Ecuador world cup match, in which I’ve only really got no passing interest.
I wondered off down Broadway and got invited to a live recording of some stand-up comedy show for “Comedy Central”, but it looked as funny as watching a whale being raped so I decided to pass and headed off on foot to Grand Central Station. So impressive, so filmic. I think they shot the climactic scene of “The Untouchables” here (even though it’s supposed to be set in Chicago!) If not, it’s certainly been used as a location for many other films. Took the subway back, which is perfectly air-conditioned and clean, compared with London’s sweat rat ride. I’d love to know why London Underground has to be 8 times more expensive than this one and 80 times more unreliable, hot, slow, stinking? Is there anything London does well?
New York artstar Soho Trendies look just like Shoreditch Twats. To qualify for membership to this elitist group you must be male, do some sort of unpublished artform full of meaning and pretentious symbolism, have a trust fund to finance this because no other queynte will, and because how could someone as delicately creative be expected to hold down a job like the rest of us schmos? You must also never get too excited about anything, never smile at a stranger. Always role your eyes when you are forced to observe something unhip committed by a ‘normal’ person. The dress code in summer is wife-beater vest preferably light blue), pirate style linen pantaloons to the ankles, open-toed sandals or flip-flops, some sort of flat-cap (ethnic or ironic) and a low slung bag over one shoulder hanging down to the arse in which is stored some fliers for an underground poetry slam and art installation, a bottle of water and the “How to be a twat” guide to ensure coolness is being adhered to at all times. Finally, you must be pencil thin, emaciated by the effort it takes to remain so trendy and aloof.
There’s a lot of cannibalism in New York advertising. Huge swathes of ad campaigns revolve around the product eating itself. Pigs feasting on sausages. Cows eating hamburgers, bagels with eyes, legs and arms tucking greedily into bagels. It’s quite dirty if you really think it through.
It’s day two and of my Easy Rider inspired quest to find the real me through finding the real America! I’m now sitting in Central Park on a beautiful sunny day, eating a lox and cream cheese bagel the size of a car tyre. In fact if anyone gets into trouble out there on the lake, I could simply through them this bagel. For those of you who are interested, I’m in the process of selling my Aunt’s London flat and the projection that it will sell is financing this plastic fantastic trip. I’ve just called the Estate Agent at Next Move to find out if what’s happening, which was surreal. The 16 year old office twat answered the phone and seemed impressed when I told him I was calling from NY. Also got a call from those queyntes at Smith Lawson, the collection agency of Scottish thugs and recovering Glasweigan crack addicts, working on behalf of the Student Loans Company. It was ridiculous to hear their queyntey Glasweigan voices down the phone as I was walking through Chinatown.
If only my phone wasn’t charged for receiving calls abroad, I would’ve loved to keep them talking for as long as possible, only mentioning right at the end that this has been an inter-continental call and cost them more than they are trying to inveigle off me!At the rate I’m getting through clothes, by the time I hit the West coast I’m gonna be one smelly English intransient. Fie-Fye-Foe-Fum! I smell the arse of an Englishman!
OK then. A brief recap of what has occurred. Last night I wondered around three or four bars again until I finally hit upon one that suited my mood. I propped up the bar with a tomboy Turkish girl who reminded me of Sly Stallone in ‘Over the Top’. We had a three way rap with a really fun Irish barmaid who was suffering from a bad back and kept feeding me free Tequila as an excuse to indulge herself and help with the pain. With her insightful advice and friendly vibe she’s really helped ease me into this trip. Tipping bar staff, well, tipping everyone, really smoothes the creases of life here. I stumbled out round two feeling like Nick Nolte after a car crash and have got a terrible hangover to for my troubles. Today started with a bagel breakfast before a wonder-wander through TriBeCa and up to Central Park. I crashed out in the shade of a skyscraper for a couple of hours and then headed down 5th Avenue.
A problem with NY is that there are NO public ‘Comfort Stations’. Down 5th Avenue my intestine is feeling like an anaconda. I was getting so desperate for a relief that I was seriously thinking of offering a tramp $20 to take a drink. In the end I stumbled across Central Park Zoo and watered some edges! Late afternoon I see the needle shape of the Empire State and feel obliged to do the tourist thing and check out the view. The speed of the express elevator is matched only by the speed at which the American tourist-machine tries to sell me things. EVERY angle and opportunity has been exploited, even down to the poor sod in the gibbon suit aping King Kong in the foyer, thrusting commentary headphones for 6$ at me. But, the true power of the view could never be packaged, reduced and sold.
It was breathtaking. In the top 5 things my eyes have reflected. Wow! that’s cool. It’s not often in these past few years when I can say that I’ve done something today that’s in the top 5!) The interior of the building had a real Batman Gotham City gothic vibe to it.
In fact New York as a whole has a real super-hero vibe to it. I keep expecting to see a web-slinger swing over my head or a big spinning golden globe with “Daily Planet” written on it. It’s true what they say that “Ghostbusters” is one of the best films of place every made – it really does seem to sum up the spirit and look of New York.
I then checked my email to bring myself down from the sky to the reality at street level. I spent about an hour composing boring emails to Estate Agents / Lawyers / prospective employers. It kind of brought me down to be only two days into the trip, but already dwelling on the reality of returning. The estate agent (he no longer deserves capital letters) has told me we can’t even exchange contracts till 28th at least. Maybe if I can complete before 13th July, I’ll fly Will Squire out to Frisco for a few days to large it? (Ha! What a great gal I am!)
Finished off just now with a fatty $45 steak served by a fatty 45 year old waitress and am now back in my hotel room getting packed up ready for flight tomorrow. I’m trying to formulate an overall impression of New York as I thrust T-Shirts into my bag. It’s without doubt one of the coolest, hippest cities on earth, but rather like the Shoreditch Twat, it can be a bit unrelaxing due to its unrelenting trendiness and treadmill of events. The cooler the bar I was in; the more it exposed my lack of coolness – mmm, something to analyse there I think! But not today. See you all in New Orleans, by way of Atlanta.