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a piecemeal unsong diary from newyorknewyork so good they named it.
i'd been on the plane for hours before i noticed someone's toenail laying on the floor. who cuts their toe nails on a fucking plane?
security guard at the empire state building to me: "the last guy who went up wearing those kind of boots jumped. you ain't gonna jump are you?" i told him that i hadn't planned on it, no. he seemed somewhat disappointed.
a gem of u.s. wisdom from the underside of a snapple cap: 'frogs can't swallow with their eyes open'. well i never.
went out for a pizza at a little italian place on madison avenue. very nice. bit my tongue. hard. made it bleed. and bleed. stupid me.
the t.v. in the hotel room hisses white noise under every station. kinda like watching television in a snake pit. but at least the hotel is clean and free of infestation. the last time i was in new york, back in the days when it seemed like a good idea to go for the cheapest accommodation available, it was another matter entirely i checked in, the guy gave me a key. the key lead to a dank room piled high with old newpapers; someone else's room (whose i dread to imagine). i went back down and got another key, this time the key opened a door that had obviously been kicked in and hurriedly repaired sometime in the recent past. the room was dark, even with the light on. dead cockroaches hung on the curtains. live ones crawled across the carpet unafraid of the electric light. everything seemed to have a thin layer of grime on it. to the right of the door in, was what looked like a walk-in closet. it had a lock on the inside. panic room anyone? what kind of hotel room needs a panic room?! as i sat, dumfounded on the bed, a cockroach wandered lazily by my left hand. the only plus seemed to be that hardcore pornography played on the television. it was like sitting in a hell described by tom waits. needless to say, porn or no porn, i didn't stay there long.
last time in new york i found a neil diamond lp on the sidewalk and brought it home. no cover, no sleeve, just laying there; it was called 'beautiful noise'.
another bottle cap, this time from another soft drink: 'on june 17, 1817, it snowed on nantucket.'
went to the guggenheim. some nice stuff. some rubbish. guggenheim is a great word.
g u g g e n h e i m .
m. gira live @ cbgbs (well, the smaller cbgbs next door). cbgbs: an overpriced fucking rat-hole with surly, slow moving bar staff who try to enforce and then re-enforce the establishment's 'one drink minimum' and then seemed happier making money selling 'official cbgbs t-shirts' to fucking tourists (hard rock café anyone?).
it was great to see mr. gira doing his thing with only an acoustic guitar for support. the man's a figurative giant in my book. falling over my words, like a starstruck tit, i handed mr. gira a copy of 'the frailty of angels, the treason of people'. hope he likes it.
and yet another bottle cap: 'harvey young started renting bikes on nantucket in 1931' apart from anything else, shouldn't that be 'renting bikes to nantucket'?
another bloody cap: 'beavers can hold their breath for 45 minutes'.
went to hello kitty's birthday party at the sanrio store just off times square. they were handing out presents and cake. presents. and cake. for a fictional cartoon cat.
the cockroach i saw on a subway platform was so fucking huge you could have reigned it up and charged to give rides on the bloody thing. urgh. jesus.
coney island in the cold "what do you do here in the winter time?", "i bite the heads off rats", "what do you do in the summer?", "same". coney island in the fall seems to be populated by o.a.ps and insane people. came across a sign which read 'shoot the freak', beyond which there was a small enclosure where, in the summer, punters can arm themselves with paintball guns and shoot at real gen-yoo-ine human beings. fantastic. the 'wonder wheel' and other rides were closed down for the winter but you could still hear the distant strains of calliope music drifting over from the indoor carousel down the street. very carnival of souls. spooky.
another pearl of wisdom, this time from the back of a mineral water label which promised to 'unwrap today's potential': 'take a fifteen minute walk'. well thanks for that. no, really. thanks.
sold one copy of 'frailty / treason' album to kim's video & music on st. mark's place, down in the village. so now i can say that the new unsong cd is available in new york if only in short supply a very short supply of one.
saw author donna tart read from her new book 'the little friend' at a bookstore on union square. someone who wrote 'the secret history' doesn't deserve to be so damn attractive. not fair.
bought a jar of 'spicy peanut butter' to take home. the question remains: spicy how?
city that never sleeps my arse. walkin around at ten past ten on a monday night and nothing is open. oh tell a lie, mcdonalds and wendys were open. woopee fucking doo.
picked up a number of cds: 'the way i feel' -boyd rice, 'recyclopedia britannica' -people like us, 'show' -the jesus lizard, untitled (m. gira solo acoustic limited edition cd), 'from here to infinity' (cd version!) -lee ranaldo, 'mute massaker' -caspar brotzmann, 'nursery rhymes for true fools of the grail: 20 strange, rare, and unpublished tracks 1980-1985' -die todliche doris, 'i am lucifer' -aa allen miracle revival ministries, 'oh me oh my...' -devendra benhart
bought some nice dental instruments at a market on 23rd street. the stall was called 'interesting items'. how can there be a demand for dental instruments at an ordinary street market?! who on earth is buying these things? (apart from me that is)
finally bought a copy of 'maldoror& the complete works of the comte de lautréamont' to read. my last attempt to read it was cut short by the owner of the book emigrating and rightfully claiming back what was his. been looking for it ever since.
at ground zero. basically it's just a big building site now, although i'm not sure if they've decided exactly what they're going to build there. ground zero now is little more than a commercial opportunity and an atrocity exhibition. loads of shitty, poorly printed photo books showing scenes of the disaster are on sale around the site and a bottle of snapple from a hotdog vendor is $3 -everywhere else in the city it's only $1.50. personally i think they should have just fenced off the big pile of rubble and left it.
nearly bought a 33" model of a human skeleton but couldn't imagine how i'd get it home. bought a real crocodile head instead.
on my last day in new york i decide to do something out of character and quite, quite ridiculous. i go rowing in central park. that's rowing in a boat, not arguing with someone. as in "gently down the stream". i cannot recommend this enough. great, great fun. picturesque too. the sun even came out. didn't get wet either which was, considering my history of maritime capers, frankly a miracle.
checking in for the flight home i get a pleasant surprise and am upgraded to something called 'premiere economy' (will this mean no toenails? i wonder). basically all this means is more leg room, bigger tv screens and the offer of a bucks fizz as i board the plane. for this some people pay and extra grand. not that i'm complaining.
on the luggage carousel at heathrow, before the cases arrive, a pair of battered trainers go round and round on their own, a small note attached which reads simply: "penny 4 the guy".
recommended: (audio) mr. gira live / (comestible) peppered beef jerky / (visual) the view from a rowing boat in central park / (sensorial) smouldering pre-shopping antici-say it-pation
reviled: (audio) the ticking of the hotel heating system (which sounds roughly like a half-arsed stomp rehearsal) / (comestible) pickles, pickles everywhere! / (visual) that mastodonic cockroach / (sensorial) my aching, aching legs
and so i return, my horizons suitably widened, to a grey and rainy london and to a great flux information sciences cd: 'summer'. ahhh, home sweet home.