So I ended up, at very short notice, in New York for Halloween and today...which is apparently the most important day in American history.
Although for regular readers of my blog this trip may sound a little excessive, do not worry...I am NOT squandering the Ox.Eagle.Album.Budget on trans-Atlantic trips.
No, that £5 note is still safely tucked away somewhere in the Transgressive Records offices.
I spent most of today with literally the only John McCain supporter I could find in NYC, a Vietnam veteran who regaled us with stories of how in San Francisco in 1967 hippies had assaulted him. Just because he was wearing his marine uniform. What makes it so much worse is that he was on crutches at the time. I think his story made me hate hippies. I might never even listen to 'Forever Changes' again.
I'm finishing this blog whilst watching the results coming in. Pretty exciting. Like the Eurovision Song Contest. Minus Gina G, Wogan, and the regular transexuals. In the apartment next door there's a 'Hot For Obama' party. They're getting pretty rowdy. Wow.
I'd like to...but I'm definitely NOT going to attempt to wade in to the political debate, especially not on a blog, but props to McCain for going on Saturday Night Live and taking the piss out of himself:
Imagine Gordon Brown getting gunged on 'Get Your Own Back'...Dev says that's a bad metaphor.
Anyway, there are also a few non-political stories I'd like to share about my trip, in no particular order, so will do so under different subheadings. I can only apologise that none of this is in the least bit related to the band, but hey...does art reflect life or does life reflect art? Maybe we can just be content with our lives being our output. I mean, living as an art in itself...does that mean anything at all to you? Thoughts on a Princess Diana postcard to: firstname.lastname@example.org
TOP 5 CHILDREN'S HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
1. Luigi (no Mario, which made it such a stronger look)
2. Michael Jackson (thriller era, about 12/13 just walking down the street alone, one white glove)
2. Dragon (he fell over, it was so sweet)
3. Chicken (not even old enough to talk, she just seemed confused)
4. Robin (I think he was crying, and no Batman, so again sidekick kudos!)
Believe it or not, none of the below even made the final cut...looking at these sickos shows you how high the competition really was:
Whereas most of the hipster costumes I'd seen in Brooklyn were either abstract comments on the economic situation or people dressed as Sarah Palin/Samantha Ronson, the Manahattan Halloween parade brought out the real shit: One that sticks in my mind was a two metre tall Chewbacca:
Along with the Power Rangers, the Warriors, Barack Obama (along with wife and child), Lil' Wayne complete with all tattoos, scarf and cup...
And my personal favourite, the guy who came as an AT-ST. Aka an All Terrain Scout Transport, one of these:
The reason we'd come to the parade was because a couple of days previously, my brother had sent me this link http://projectbueller.tumblr.com/
Knowing that 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' was and remains one fifth of my favourite five films of all time, he was right in thinking that I would jump at the chance to see the parade scene re-enacted in full. For those who need their memories jogging:
Whilst it didn't quite kick off in as rowdy or as legendary a manner as one might have hoped, getting to the parade 90 minutes early and walking alongside the float was a real honour. And one i'll never forget. It was definitely the closest I could ever get to being part of John Hughes' imagination. And besides, it definitely beat the 'Witches in Bikinis' float that it followed, a sight that I hope I am never subjected to again, in this life or the next.
"WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM? THEY'RE A FUCKING DISGRACE!!!"
Never make the mistake of answering the question of 'so what music are you in to?' when you're very clearly out of your depth.
The day before Halloween, I visited Hospital Productions, a record shop run by Dominick from a well respected noise band named Prurient:
Needless to say I hadn't heard of anything in the whole shop...but we ended up having quite an in-depth discussion about a few things, and he came out with some classics along the lines of:
"Wolves In The Throne Room? They're a FUCKING DISGRACE...if they wanna go and pretend to live in the forest because they're environmentalist hippy fags, then that's fine with me...but if they come here and tell me they're black metal...I'll tell them where to fucking go."
"Southern Lord is a label for music that is about itself."
"Sunn O))) are nothing more than an Earth covers band. And if you hadn't noticed...that's NOT a good thing."
The moral of the story, is that he then convinced me to spend $90 or so on about 6 CD's that I'm pretty sure will either be the worst or best stuff I've ever heard...the next day I had a gathering with a couple of 'friends' and tried to play a track or two from some of the albums:
DEFINITELY not socialising music. Unless you're socialising in hell.
HECKLE AND HIDE
Blood Manor was the second of the two walk-through horror houses I hoped to visit on my trip ('Nightmare: Bad Dreams Come True' literally changed my life --> another story for another blog), but getting there at about midnight on the evening of the day it closed was definitely a mistake. And looking back, I'm man enough to say so. Having not been man or wallet enough to purchase a $45 R.I.P ticket (that's like V.I.P but spooky) in advance, we simply walked up brazenly hoping to be met with open arms. Instead we were met with a queue of Madame Tussaud's back in the day proportions. Literally about two hours long. Probably longer in fact, we stood in it for about fifteen minutes and moved less than fifteen inches.
It's at moments like these, when an idea hasn't exactly gone according to plan, that I will trust the alternative options provided to me by people who ACTUALLY live in the city I am a tourist in. So when my friend Sophie piped up with, "Hey, why don't we go to 'Jekyll and Hydes'?", I was foolish enough to get pretty hopeful. After all, here and her boyfriend look like:
And THIS is what she promised us:
"It's a restaurant with a scary theme"
"You sit at a table in the library"
"All the staff dress up and speak with ye olde English accents"
"Everything on the menu has spooky names"
"Every so often, all the lights go off and then start flashing and skeletons come out and stuff"
Now I can't hammer home enough how much of a lie this all was. Although I guess I did see a 'Frankenstein Burger' on the menu. Chilling.
When we got there we were told that all the scary stuff had stopped half an hour ago, but that "the restrooms are still scary"...we were then sat somewhere that definitely didn't resemble a library but far more so, one of the worst and lowest budget rooms at Ripley's Believe It Or Not. i.e. next to our table was a fake Tuttenkhamun (sp???) head that looked like it was made of polystyrene. Was this the scary theme I'd heard so much about?
Not wanting to seem ungrateful, we didn't complain about the dirty cutlery, or the fact that it took our waiter almost twenty minutes to ask what we wanted. When he did finally arrive, there was definitely no costume, and not only did he not have a fake English accent but didn't even understand our genuine English accents. Alas.
The most offensive point of the meal came when a waitress asked "what have you guys come as?"...we were just wearing our normal clothes. It was the day after Halloween.
SICK OR TREAT
Another incident that ensued (this one with potentially life threatening consequences) happened during stage two of my evening's celebrations on All Hallowed Eve itself. Having gone home to change in to my 'night costume', a $39.99 representation of Jesus Christ, I started walking the twenty or so blocks towards a loft party where my friend was playing a gig. Initially I thought the looks I was getting were of the obligatory "great costume bro!" variety...until mothers with children started crossing the street when I approached. I really wish I'd been wearing my glasses, because it wasn't until this point that I realised I was definitely walking through the wrong part of town: The Jewish Quarter. Dressed as Jesus. On the sabbath.
And Hasidic Jews definitely don't celebrate Halloween.
Now I genuinely love Jesus and so was already worried about offending any Christians that I came across, but I hadn't even thought about the other key monotheistic faiths. The costume was just meant to be a celebration of his life, not a way of causing even more rifts in such an already tumultuous world. But I guess whatever I say, it was definitely my bad, because little did I know that all that stood between the apartment I was staying at and my friend's gig was Jewish family upon Jewish family. Now I see where I went wrong. And so to the Brooklyn Jewish Community of New York City (fingers crossed you read this blog): I apologise.
"king of the juice"
Later on in the night, things really did get a little hairy, and when Jesus hooked up with a mime artist and Mick Thomson from Slipknot, a wrong-turn past a synagogue meant jumping in the first cab we saw and hot footing it out of there. Maybe THIS was the closest I could ever get to being part of John Hughes' imagination.
Let's conclude without concluding: By the time you guys in the UK wake up, the United States of America will have a new president. I don't really know what to say...I hope Lordi win.
Thanks for Dev and Ilirjana for all the photos:
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Blog-Royale November 4
THIS BLOG IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION