August 29, 1997 – NYC

In The Terminator, there’s a scene where Sarah Connor is told a speech by John Connor’s father, that John Connor’s father heard from John in the future.

John is born, Sarah tells John the speech, and then John grows up and tells it in the future.

…so who wrote the speech?

I now understand why my father owned a handful of Cadillacs. They are like driving inside a big couch. A big, $70,000 couch with 300hp and power 4-way lumbar controls.

It was worth every penny we paid Hertz. Do you know what it’s like to drive to NYC, and not have your legs or ass hurt when you get there?

I could go on about the car, but I will leave you with this: After crossing the border to the US, we switched the onboard controls from metric to imperial, and promptly forgot that the readout was now in MPH instead of KPH. We went up to about 100-110MPH before we noticed that the cars ahead seemed to be approaching at an alarming rate. The ride is just that smooth.

New York City was very big. Overwhelmingly so.

Even more impressive than the physical scale of the city was the economic scale. Where else in the world can you support a video game store that only sells retro/weird consoles, like $500 Intellivision and Coleco bundles, or Hello Kitty Dreamcasts?

I’m having a hard time writing any of this without sounding like a tourist.

Greenwich Village was blindingly fantastic, and anything else I say on the area would be a massive understatement. The rest of Manhattan was a bit too much for me at times, to be honest. Too much money, too many shiny things. It was like a giant set of <BLINK> tags had encapsulated the borough. I much preferred the architecture (and renegade craps games) of Brooklyn, or the back to back graffiti walls of Harlem.

The Siouxsie show was fantastic. Performing with her were Budgie, Knox Chandler (guitarist/multi-instrumentalist from The Psychedelic Furs and countless other bands), Kris Pooley (keyboardist from Jane’s Addiction), and Leonard Eto (from Kodo, widely considered the world’s preeminent master of Taiko drumming).

Again, anything I say about the performance will be wildly misleading, simply because I don’t have adjectives large enough. Instead, I’ll tell you that someone made the mistake of fucking with Leslie at the show (we got your back, ), and Leslie made the shitheaded sonofabitch cry like a girl.

Didn’t know who they was fuckin with.

Back in town, the show on Tuesday was great, aside from the (surprise!) turnout. Luckily, our expenses for this show were very small. A rental van, some food and spending money, a few dollars, and flyers. It’s hard not to break even, really, given those expenses — but it was close, for a while.

There seems to be a new crowd that is starting to come out to the shows, I didn’t recognize at least half of the crowd, and they all seemed to have a blast. I would very much like to see more of them, they seemed more interested in participating than complaining and sniping.

It’s hard, though, to tell if some of the new people are being friendly because they’re friendly people, or because I’m the complete stranger with blue hair who hangs out in the DJ booth. Anyone who’s ever played a show outside their hometown will know exactly what I mean.

It was great to finally meet Caitlin, after chatting online for the last seven years or so, which is almost long enough ago that meeting people online got you strange looks from your friends.

She is smart, clever, and capable. She’d do very well here, or overseas, or anywhere she chooses to be. Here’s hoping she’ll make the choice.

Letters from New York

Construction has begun on the Orwellian-named Freedom Tower, which will be 1,776 feet tall when it is completed, which will make it the tallest building in the world. Except for the CN Tower, of course. And don’t give me any of that “It’s a free-standing structure” crap — I had dinner in it, it’s a building.

But much more interesting than the mundane details of reconstruction is the choice of font for the cornerstone.

Everything looks better in Gotham.

Gotham was designed by Tobias Frere-Jones a few years ago for GQ magazine. Frere-Jones shares his thoughts on the blue-collar font:

I suppose there’s a hidden personal agenda in the design, to preserve those pieces of New York that could be wiped out before they’re appreciated. Having grown up here, I was always fond of the ‘old’ (or just older) New York and its lettering. After watching one of the most distinctive features of the city being destroyed last fall, it seemed more urgent to protect the original ‘character’ of the city, both in the sense of letters and personality. After collecting material for Gotham, I set myself the task of walking every last block of Manhattan with a camera, and recording anything extant and noteworthy.

They may have fucked up pretty much everything else do to with rebuilding on the World Trade Center site, but at least they chose a good font.

(This entry is syndicated from my website, Blue Redux. There’s more stuff there than there is here on LJ.)