The former ministry of transportation, one of Stalin’s Seven Sisters.
Places I’ve been where people think I’m a local :
* Czech Republic
Places I’ve been where people know right away that I am not a local, and most likely American :
* Everywhere else
Day 1 : up before everybody else for a solo walkabout. I used to marvel at old peoples’ propensity for early rising, but, you know, that’s usually how things turn out. Seize the day, etc. etc. Feels good, man, this sensible living, although I am informed that today’s sightseeing will be highly alcohol-fueled and that we will be meeting in the hotel bar at 10AM for a pint. We are in the center of town, where it is quite ritzy, all high-end coffee and sushi, so, pretty much the same as any big city. I was asked for directions twice ( I do, in fact, look like these people, except for the very pale eyes many of them have ), and I could only shrug, which I hate, but I know exactly 5 words in Russian – yes, no, hello, goodbye, and thank you. It’s all bustle, as it is in any very expensive place, and the stereotype of the heavy-set Russian lady is very much not in evidence : high heels all around, short, tight skirts. It’s very summertime-pretty here, and there’s an air similar to European cities I’ve been to – Munich, say. Moscow, so far, does not feel innately foreign to me.
Summertime, and things get heavy. Last night she was on the porch, and her old man ( I mean old - I guess they live on his disability check, because they don’t work, they never sleep, they never leave, and they never go inside the damn house — they just sit there on the porch all day, watching ) was smacking her. He’d been yelling all day, but now he was hitting her – not that the intensity matters one bit, it’s the act itself, but he was smacking her the way some people would swat a little kid who won’t follow instructions. Him red in the face, her cringing but not backing away. No, I didn’t do anything. She hates me, and has ever since I had to kick her out of the bar for stealing tips. I’m pretty sure she’s the one who kicked that dent in my car, too. Fuck it. Later, gunshots, down by the river. I heard someone say, ” should we call 911? “, and, although I wasn’t looking, I could sense a collective shrug.
But, goodbye to all that. This morning I’m flying to Russia, the last place I thought I’d go next, somewhere I haven’t been since I was 5 years old. I’m going to tag along with a band on tour for a little bit, and then I’m going some other places. Photos and thoughts if and when I have the time and the internet.
If you want to hear a real, honest-to-god old-time New Orleans city accent, here. You’ll notice that it’s kind of unique, and has very little in common with a, say, Georgia or Alabama accent. Hubig’s Pies burned down, which is sad.
Mardi Gras 2010 : that’s me, on the escalator. FYI, I’m also sporting a grass skirt, black tights, and gold-painted sneakers. Parading with Zulu is something I did for a few years, and it was a mind-bending experience, but ultimately I wanted to have a Mardi Gras where I wasn’t spending the day on a float with thousands of people screaming at me for coconuts, and, ultimately, I got tired of trying to justify ( to myself ) wearing blackface. More here.
01. Just had to drive through 2 feet of water to try and find high ground to park on. You may have the idea that life in New Orleans is a never-ending party, and it is, more often than not, but when it’s not, it’s really, really not.
02. I have to go away for work this weekend, to Florida – not that I’ll see any of that famous sunshine from the inside of the recording studio. Florida, rapidly becoming, to me, the weirdest state in the union. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this gratuitous photo of Frida Kahlo, which I saw at Mick Farren‘s blog.
Klein’s On The Square, Union Square, 1980s. Yes, it’s another set of photos of New York City, the broke, relatively empty, bad old way it used to be – and they are beautiful. My city, the few years I lived there, was a city of abandoned Automats, shabby porno theaters, and worn-out Victorian ornament. See it.