Monthly Archives: April 2003

I meant to say: we saw two films at the weekend. Raising Victor Vargas was very entertaining and rather touching, although I wanted to cringe at times (see it, and you’ll know what I mean). But it was great. The other movie was City of God, set in the favelas of Rio, Brazil. It was an amazing but extremely violent film. I was in a rather tense state after watching it, and I’m not sure if it has completely worn off even now. So anyway, I would recommend both films.

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I have the new Goldfrapp album. It’s rather incredible, but not exactly as I would have wanted it. Much of it is a departure into 80s style electro minimalism. With that in mind, it’s surprisingly good, and stands up to repeated listens. Still, being a pretty square kind of guy, I can’t help enjoying the quieter songs (‘forever’ and ‘black cherry’) much more. The singer has a great Cocteau Twins style quality to her voice here. Very cool.

Talking of new releases, the latest incarnation of Stretcher Case, without me in the band, has produced some new material. These tracks are very cool, with a manic, dirty feel to them.

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I see that Verve has reissued Dorothy Ashby‘s superb Afro Harping album on CD as part of its LP Reproductions series. Although they keep on releasing things I already have on LP, this looks like a very nice series. I wish other labels would do it…

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We saw Mark Gardener, the lead singer of Ride, play last night at the Knitting Factory. He was quite good. It was just him singing alone with a 12-string acoustic guitar. He played a mix of old Ride songs (e.g. ‘dreams burn down’, ‘vapour trail’) and new songs. His guitar playing was brilliant, and very much in the style I play (except he can play!). That said, it was a late, late show, and he didn’t exactly hold our interest through the set. He looks completely different these days – the locks of dark hair are gone, replaced by a closely cropped blond army cut.

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“Damon seemed kind of pissed off with me,” she says, “because I was jumping around, going, ‘That was amazing – they’re going to be the next Smiths.'”

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A good one: No, I don’t want to ask the audience.

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Great, the 15th ‘freak snowstorm’ of the year in NYC. Actually, yesterday was a big day for me and NYC: esther and I booked our one-way ticket out of here. We were able to get a very good deal at Cheap Tickets. Their price for a New York to London single ticket was $100 less than Orbitz, and over $500 less than Expedia!

So, in just over 6 weeks, I will be saying goodbye to NYC. It’s a strange feeling. Fundamentally, I’m exhausted, and am tired of living in a hyper-busy state. I know that this is partly of my own making, and that it’s perfectly possible to swan around the city without getting stressed about everything. Sadly, it doesn’t seem that it’s easy for me to do this. So, after 2 full months of travel, we plan on moving somewhere a little cheaper, quieter and more low-key. Exactly where that is has not yet been decided, but we think it might be Glasgow.

With most of my CDs packed away in cellophane sleeves in an enormous shoebox, and most of my records soon to be sifted through and packed away also (there will be some left over. Tell me if you want them!) I won’t be reviewing too much music for a while. But just for old time’s sake, and also as something to look back on in the future, I thought I would compile a short, annotated list of what I’ll miss about NYC, and what I really won’t miss at all.

So, here goes:

Things I will miss about NYC (apart from my friends, obviously)

Totonno’s pizza (1524 Neptune Ave in Coney Island, Brooklyn).

It’s impossible for me to sufficiently convey to you how good this pizza is.

Academy records (18th Street between 5th and 6th in Manhattan)

Great prices and a fast-moving inventory make this an incredible place to buy used CDs, particularly jazz and soundtracks. The relatively new vinyl-only branch (10th Street between 3rd and 4th) is also excellent.

Restaurants in general. I can’t imagine finding another place to live where it’s possible to eat well so inexpensively.

Things I won’t miss about NYC

Winter. The first winter I was here for was 1997/1998. The winter was scarcely noticeable. I spent 98/99 in Amsterdam. 2001/2 wasn’t bad, but the others have been hell! As of today, it feels as if we have been perpetual winter since December!

Summer. The extreme heat in the summer, combined with the oppressively cold air conditioning that’s often employed to counter it, really can’t be good for people…

The radiator in my apartment. For what seems like 7 or 8 months out of the year, my landlord sees fit to crank the heat up to 11. This ensures that even when it’s -20 outside, we are baking like bread inside, and have to sleep with windows open and the covers off. As an extra bonus, the radiator next to our bed begins a mighty howling and rattling routine every morning at around 6.30 am.

My job. I work in publishing. It’s really not a bad job, but I will be happy to leave it. Perhaps I’m just fickle. Whatever, I definitely won’t miss the stress.

American TV. Ok, this isn’t NYC-specific, but it’s still something I’m going to be saying goodbye to: I don’t have cable. We don’t need it really. I’m sure I would find lots of lovely things to watch on it, but then I wouldn’t be doing the other things I need to do. That said, just like everyone else, I need to kick back and do nothing once in a while. So I do watch terrestrial TV. And it kind of blows, no? We’re bombarded with ads every 10 minutes, even though I’m not in debt, and I definitely, definitely am not going to be buying a car, however low the monthly lease is! Plus, the only time I ever feel like watching is around 10 or 11 pm, when all there is to watch is ludicrously banal news and Friends reruns.

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These things just get better and better!

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