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's t a r t s p r e a d i n g t h e n e w s . . .'

 

off to new york again for my aitches...

at heathrow awaiting our boarding instructions. sat opposite a shoe shop i notice that they're playing don mclean's 'american pie', a song which, if i'm not very much mistaken, is about buddy holly dying in a plane crash. i look about me to see if anyone else has made this albeit tenuous connection. just me then. a middle aged couple wander into the shoe shop and start dancing. it's all very dennis potter.

more waiting, this time in the 'executive lounge', a supposed perk via hostess elisabeth's bank account. a grey room full of crisps and drinks. o, and internet access for a price (a large bald man seems to be using it to ogle pornography). i leaf through a complimentary copy of the independent and find a colour photograph of a plane crashing at an airshow in italy, a bright orange ball of flame streaking across the page.

the flight itself is little more than a chore, i disembark in america having had no sense of travel or of the distance covered at all, as if i just sat in a cramped room with hundreds of strangers for 6 hours for no reason. this leaves me feeling strangely cheated.

saw a homeless man begging in 5th av with two cats. gave him some change. hostess elisabeth gave him folding money. women and cats. cats are like the four legged, furry version of ice cream.

came across a strange three part sculpture protruding from the water off roosevelt island entitled 'the marriage between real estate and money' by tom otterness (part three pictured above). a strange mixture of cartoonish cheesiness and surreal scariness, kind of mickey mouse meets hieronymus bosch.

it happened in the toilet in a wendys on 23rd st. there i was worrying about the lack of a convincing locking mechanism on the door when i saw the writing on the wall, both figuratively and literally. it said that the world was going to end dec 21st, 2012. so now you know.

we saw a lottery draw on tv for $55 million and wondered if maybe we should be multi-millionaires instead of whoever it was that won. we decided that we should.

the news kept playing footage of a helicopter crash again and again and again.

visited a small exhibition of the art of dr. suess. fantastic stuff, in every sense of the word. wish i could have afforded to buy one. one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. grade a solid gold genius.

fox news in the morning. what the term 'tabloid television' was invented for. part way through the programme a large slogan appears on the screen: 'take a look at this'; "take a look at this!" enthuses the anchor man. footage of flooding in upstate new york. brass eye is fiction no longer.

saw a bus going to a place called 'throgs neck'. great name.

had a dream roughly a week before we left for ny. i was standing on a rooftop watching three tall buildings burn. i looked down at my hand and on the inside of my left thumb were two, perfectly formed blisters...

...went to the metropolitan museum of art, where they somehow manage to enforce a supposed discretionary donation of $12 for entry, which to me seems like a confidence trick. maybe i'm just a stingy bastard. o, and the coat check men are nazis. best thing in it? the armoury by a long way, fucking i n c r e d i b l e antique gun collection and the samurai amrour is worth a look too. anyhoo, up on the roof garden you get a pretty good view over central park (ignoring the slighty ropey art sculptures). We've been there a minute or so before i notice thick black smoke coming from the chimney of a tall building on the other side of the park. just as i did in the dream i scan the horizon to my right and there's another: chimney. thick black smoke. i look for the third to no avail. and the blisters fail to appear. still, a disquieting couple of seconds.

saw a dying housefly buzzing and twitching on its back in the lobby of our hotel.

out for dinner at angelo & maxie's steak house i had a veal chop roughly the size of a volkswagen. mmm, as basil fawlty might say: "vealy good".

morning radio says a young boy was killed in a hit-and-run incident somewhere in america. his name: messiah lovelady. that's child abuse right there.

visited a sound installation down by the river in the financial district. entitled 'blue moon' by bruce odland and sam auinger, it comprises of 5 blue cubes in which are concealed speakers. playing through these speakers are the signals from "tuning tubes wired with microphones and suspended over the harbor" in order to "harmonize the pitches and rhythms of local acoustic happenstance, from docking commuter ferries and waves to helicopters overhead" lovely idea and some very nice sounds and chance harmonics but sadly, if not entirely surprisingly, the result just isn't loud enough to penetrate the surrounding ambient noise, or even to sufficiently add to it. make a nice album. on our walk back we see the queen mary 2 go by. now that's a big boat.

walking along the river by battery park hostess elisabeth notices a couple on a bench, a coat strewn strategically across their... 'laps'. his hand: jiggling, her legs: slightly parted, her expression: strangely distant.

hostess elisabeth bought me a pair of fantastic red crocodile-look shoes. it was two pairs for $69 forchristssake!

after a day of torrential rain, the empire state building is lit up in blue against a gun metal sky, somehow both real and unreal simultaneously.

on the staten island ferry in the fog, the manhattan skyline appears creepily, piece by piece, not showing the lights in windows until the last minute, as if we'd returned to find manhattan utterly deserted. of course this leads hostess elisabeth onto her zombie apocalypse theories...

saw a mentally ill man in central park unwilling to walk in the direction his 'carer' seemed to want to guide him. "get away from me!" he kept shouting "don't touch me! don't touch me you cocksucker!" well it made me laugh.

morning radio announces that a radio ad in ny has a 32% more positive response if voiced in an english accent.

we're mistaken for locals time and time again which probably only means we're not intelligent enough to look lost when we are.

a homeless man wearing a tin foil crown rummages through a trash can opposite me as i eat breakfast. he leans forward and his crown falls off. street theatre at its best.

central park zoo. worth the admission price for the polar bears alone.

in a 24 hour mcdonalds opposite the empire state building (we're not proud, we were just hungry -you'd have to be). we're served by a bizarre woman mountain, who barks (almost literally) her orders in spanish at her co-workers like a kind of obese laryngitic duck.

rowing again on the lake in central park, the skyline still shrouded in fog. lovely.

cds acquired: 'earflash' - voice crack, 'eye on steel' - daniel menche, 'the flow of sound without parameter' - contagious orgasm, 'rever' - larsen, 'scavenger' - calla, 'well... well... well...' - r.l. burnside, 'intervention' - david coulter, 'delerium cordia' - fantomas, 'consumed' - plastikman, 'everlasting' - refused, 'a small child dreams of voiding the plague' - the hafler trio, 'hljodmynd' - the hafler trio, 'how to slice a loaf of bread' - the hafler trio, 'charlie' - melt banana, 'mxbx 1998/13000 miles at light velocity' - melt banana, '(something in japanese)' - m.s.b.r. / kengo luchi

waiting for the plane home, i glance across and notice a young, nervous looking arab man, staring fixedly down at a small photo album; i catch glimpses of babies, family members. of course my brain leaps in all directions. he's clean shaven and wearing trainers, track suit bottoms, but is this just a disguise? is this man boarding my plane in order to somehow kill its passengers? maybe he's just a normal bloke who's afraid of flying. i watch him on and off for over an hour, wondering at the word 'overreaction'. the plane is delayed. everyone sits around, bored and unaware of the maybe terrorist. then i look up and he's gone. i don't see him again until we're on the plane, he's moving around from seat to seat, unsure where he's supposed to sit. i sit down in the narrow, zero-leg-room uncomfortable seat and ignore the possibility.

the first night's sleep back in my own bed and i wake up at 3:39 am. it's pitch black because i haven't reconnected my radio alarm clock yet. i open my eyes onto the nothingess and have no idea where i am. none. it's not that i think i'm still in the hotel room in ny, or that i think i'm somewhere else, i have no clue at all where i've woken up. it takes me literally close to five minutes of blindly touching walls and feeling the crap on my bedroom floor before i work it out. strange fucking experience. welcome home.

recommended: (audio) 'blue moon' -louder please / (comestible) veal chop / (visual) the empire state building after the storm / (sensorial) the electric air before the storm

reviled: (audio) bad musical 'theatre' / (comestible) return in flight meal / (visual) airport interiors / (sensorial) butchered feet from too much walking