Sunday, June 17, 2012


Beacon Theatre, Upper West Side

You know you're out of touch when you see a theatre canopy advertising KEANE and you wonder if it's Roy or Robbie.

It's hardly Dolores or Molly - and it's definitely not John B. What can I say, I don't listen to music anymore, unless it's reggae and I'm willing myself back to smoky Brixton in the late 70's and early 80's. I loved reggae. Loved the riddim. Pablo Gad, Hard Times, the hidden secrets in the language:

"Now I am a man I jus' a burn collie weed in a chalewa. I jus' a rub it in a chalewa..."

(Chalewa - a ritual ganja chalice, as referred to by U-Roy in 'Chalice in the Palace' about a heavy smoking session with Queen Liz of Buckingham. Ahhh, the narcotic mists of time overwhelm me.)

Sure, I recognise a few of the names in the top 40, Usher, Coldplay, Rihanna and Bieber, but who the hell is Aiden Grimshaw? Sounds like a sex toy carved by a sailor. 

Alex Clare? Wasn't he a TV psychiatrist? - The only music worse than music you don't know, is music you know too well. Classic Rock. Hotel California. Once that song checks into your head, it never leaves. 

 Shouldn't have done that. Now it's in there again.

Dolphins do WHAT to people??!!

I walk down Broadway and find a man, fearfully shining a flashlight into a hole in the ground...

Who you gonna call?

So, along with five other guys (of course they're guys) I stop to watch because, hey, this is New York City and it's really just a toss-up whether it's a live alligator or a radioactive squid or Will Smith being regurgitated by a foul-smelling film critic.

"They're probably checking it for Obama," one of the guys says.

"He ain't down there," fastballs another.

And then the first guy has to explain that he meant they might be checking it for explosive devices for the next time the president is in town, and there's probably miles of passageways down there and who knows how many lunatic al Qaida cells lurking in the shadows and...

He manages to suck all the humour out of the moment. Then the man with the flashlight drops an iron manhole cover into place.

"Show's over, folks"

Me and five other guys drift our separate ways.

Go Straight to 'L' , boys.

I hop a subway to 14th street...

Where I find this enigmatic sign/graffiti. I could of course ignore it, but I'm reminded of Hermann Hesse, in Steppenwolf, coming upon the Magic Theatre, Alice finding the Rabbit Hole and Bertie Ahern discovering all that money tucked under his mattress. In this world, anything is possible. 

So I follow the signage to a mysterious passageway on University Place. It's dark and strange. I hear a voice. I see shadows moving. And then I realise I'm in the company of the same five guys, all looking up at a nervous cat on a rickety fire escape, and one of them whines:

"I didn't really mean that the president was actually down a hole in the ground."

"Forgeddaboutit!" says another.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Barry, I found your blog through generation emigration. I remember your piece on the site and really enjoyed reading it. I remember thinking , this guy should have a blog. I am so glad that you do and am looking forward to reading your posts about your life in NYC.