In the words of the Queen song, I’m lazing on a Sunday afternoon. There’s playoff football on the tube, but as a Bengals fan, I’m under no obligation to pay much attention, and classes don’t start for another week, so here we go.
Tomorrow will be an odd day. I’ll likely stay up a bit tonight, and wake up around the time Mrs. M leaves for the first day of her new semester. This is because I plan to go to bed mid-afternoon tomorrow. You see, my flight to New York on Leather-Helmet-and-Goggles Airlines leaves at 6 a.m. Tuesday, which means that I need to be at the airport at about 4. But the airport is in Charlotte, which is about a 2-hour drive from Mondoville. So I’ll be getting up in the middle of Monday night to get on the road around 2 a.m.
The upside of all this is that after I get my shuttle from the airport and drop off my bags at the Aging Film Star Hotel (it’ll be too early to actually check in), I’ll have time to scout around the neighborhood for the day. And of course, I’ll be able to get back to my normal sleep schedule that evening. Still, I may be the only person I know who can get jet-lagged without ever leaving my own time zone.
This’ll be my second trip to the big city, and I’m looking forward to hitting a couple of places I didn’t get to last time. While I’m tempted to do the Met again, I think this time I may check out MoMA, and Mrs. M strongly encourages me to take a ride out to Liberty Island — she says that even though I won’t be going up in the Statue, the view back to the city is well worth the trip. Furthermore, I just really love riding ferries, tour boats, and the like. (I’ve never been on a cruise, though. Perhaps one day.)
Mrs. M and I have different styles of tourism. She loves to hit as many different locations as she can, while I tend toward a slower pace with deeper visits. For example, when we were scoping out Terpville two summers ago, I spent an entire afternoon browsing the National Archives; I think she hit three or four sites in that time. Similarly, when she and the Spawn went up to NYC in 2016, they pretty much took things on a dead run, while as I said, I spent an entire day at the Met a couple of years ago (although I have to say, having one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever had was a bonus). And that’s fine — there’s a reason they make chocolate and vanilla, after all.
Conveniently, there are at least a couple of spots not far from Aging Film Star Hotel that I want to hit. I’m giving serious thought to checking out the Tenement Museum, and in the other direction, I plan to make a pilgrimage to the Strand Bookshop. Not being a fine dining type, I’ll probably live on bagels, pizza slices, and Chinese food, but I do want to make a pilgrimage to Katz’s Delicatessen — latkes are one of my favorite foods I don’t have very often. I’m nowhere near authentic enough to do the Cel-Ray soda thing (having tried it before), but Dr. Brown’s root beer is fine by me.
I’m also a fan of subway trains, so I’m looking forward to doing that again. As a bonus, the Bowery Station is very near AFSH, and that’s a location that played an important role in my fictioneering career, as it was the setting for my first contribution to one of LB’s anthologies. I’ll be the one standing well back from the platform’s edge.
The centerpiece of the trip, of course, is connected to the fictioneering stuff. I’ll be making my second visit to the Mysterious Bookshop Wednesday evening, as part of a promotional event. It’s really LB’s show, marking the publications of From Sea to Stormy Sea and his collection of non-fiction, Hunting Buffalo with Bent Nails, but since I contributed to the former and have a mention (as does Mondoville) in the latter, I’m happy to claim a spot at the table. And if you’re in the neighborhood, swing by at 6:30 — I’d love to see you!
But to tell you the truth, one of my favorite parts of the trip — as with any trip that I take, really — will be people watching/eavesdropping. The ubiquitous “They” say that writers hoard experiences; we all know the myth of authors’ colorful back stories. And for some folks, I guess that’s true. But I think that for me, and perhaps for others, we collect observations, secondhand experiences. We collect voices, the rhythms of speech, the things and people we see. We collect the postures and gestures, the spatial relationships between people as they interact. It’s not some Isherwood (or Drama-era Yes) “I am a camera” bit — it’s not that sterile, as things get blended with memory and imagination. But it does all become fuel, and I’m looking forward to collecting it.
Obviously, I don’t expect to spend a great deal of time online during the trip, but I should have my phone, in case you want to offer advice or suggestions either in the comments or on Twitter. And I’ll probably post the occasional update while we’re at it.
A couple of paragraphs ago, Mrs. M and I got an excited text from the Spawn, who is hanging out at the Terpville public library with the Main Squeeze. To wit:
“DAD’S IN THIS BOOK AT THE LIBRARY OMG”
Made me chuckle.
I think I’ll wrap this one up, but as Jackie Gleason might have said, how about “a little traveling music?”
I’ve mentioned before that the garage rock movement of the mid-60s took place all over the world, and that the movement in Japan (where it was called “Group Sounds“) was quite lively. One of the leading bands of the Group Sounds scene was The Golden Cups. The Yokohama-based quintet mainly did covers and gigged at a nearby US military base, also cutting a few albums for Capitol/Toshiba.
I can’t find any other information on this particular track, so I’m thinking this may have been an original. It appeared on the Cups’ second album, innovatively titled The Golden Cups Album, Vol. 2. I like the toughness of the riff after the first 40 seconds of weirdness, so here you go, with 1967’s “Happening at 3 O’Clock A.M.”
See you soon!