oh and…

…the totally fantastic Wayne and his manager at Manny’s Music sorted me out. How good are they? Very good is the answer. They even understood the words that I used to describe what was wrong with the thing I had bought and so my piece of crap Aardvark USB3 Direct soundcard which didn’t work at all has been replaced by a glorious shiny Tascam US122 souncard which when plugged in works like a dream so Wednesday has been a day of music creation. I love doing this and I’ve had 3 and a half weeks of not being able to. You just don’t know how happy it makes me that my laptop, soundcard and guitar all work in concert with each other with no problem whatsoever. Really you don’t. Honestly, I’m beaming. Oh yeah!

Piece of crap…

Best thing in the world…

Star light, star bright…

So Sunday what happened? late breakfast (lets call it lunch shall we?) at the Waverley Diner. Left the place as always feeling stuffed to the brim with eggs and homefried potatoes, toast, coffee, OJ, more toast, grape jelly, more coffee, pancakes, maple syrup, more toast and more grape jelly. At that point the theory of travelling far kind of went out the window and so a brief stroll past and a browse through some very expensive shoe shops and a very cheap thrift store led the way to Washington Square and it’s squirrel floorshow. Todays episode featured young busy squirrel, we’ll call him Dave, scurrying around, finding nuts and then energetically burying them right in front of me before scurrying off to find more. As soon as the coast was clear, wily, old squirrel with cataracts and grey whiskers, he can be George, would totter up furtively, check that the coast was clear and dig up Dave’s stash and run off with them to his own burying place. This went on for about an hour before Dave twigged and was last seen chasing George in circles round the park. Ah, New York so much to see.

Monday was a little grey followed by technicolour. After a spot of dinner chez nous, we wandered off for “just a couple” of drinks at around 10:30 and utilising my favourite random and pig headed guidance system for finding good bars, I accidentally led us to a place called the Cubby Hole just around the corner from our pad. It was an instant hit with the boys as they poured us indecently large measures of Jim Beam and Vodka respectively (not in the same glass, that’d hurt). A Lou Reed soundtrack and a group of fairly hip looking locals made us feel very sophisticated like Sonia Jackson in a Harvester. Now this “don’t smoke” thing I always bang on about (trying to give up today) actually works out well sometimes because you get shunted outside of places when you want a fag and so does everyone else giving everyone there a common bond of a thing to talk about. It’s probably similar in Falluja. So any road at some point after a couple of drinks, the strength of which would have knocked lesser men down, we ended up talking to a lady. One of those that tends to prefer the company of other ladies if you get my drift, what do you want pictures? Oh alright then.

So anyway, she decided that we had to go to another bar so after another couple of really quite fortifying drinks, we wandered in a bit of a zig zag fashion off to Christopher Street, (home of the Gay Porn and Glen Miller shop as you’ll remember if you’re paying attention.) There we were introduced to Chi Chi’s, a bar for the Afro-American man who likes other Afro-American men. Obviously since I’m black and gay, I felt right at home. Errrr oh actually… Nah, it was a reet nice place with really friendly people who made one feel very welcome (no sniggering at the back you lot). The evening continued with light hearted conversation and jollity (actually everyone especially me talked a load of Jackson’s and I’m not talking Michael) only bought to a halt by the bar suddenly beginning to rotate alarmingly at a time of the morning which was way past bed time, in fact closer to getting up time.

Tuesday was postponed until Wednesday.

Wednesday is looking dicey.

Echelon Surveillance Network

Damn! It being Sunday says that there is but one week left of my time in New York. You know what that means? It’s the perfect time to get a cold and feel shitty, that’s what. Spent the last couple of days a sweaty, gooky mess but managed to get out and about thanks to miracle drugs. Not very far though, in fact both days it was only as far as the park by the piers to chill out on the grass and read and watch the world go by. I like doing that though so it’s not time wasted. Does people watching make me a voyeur? Feeling remarkably better today thanks to drugs and a few glasses of red wine last night.

The rest of my trip around the US is now booked. I looked at a map the other day and realised that my geographic knowledge of this place is worse than I thought, and I was already convinced it was pretty bad. Boston’s by the sea? Who knew? Now that I have the States the right way up I probably stand a better chance of getting from one place to another.

Think I might take the Staten Island ferry today or maybe go to Coney Island again and see the sea. Either sounds quite tempting.

Laura I have it on good authority that Krispy Kremes are just a brand name for a donut type thing so they’re not crispy like you think.

Had a good wander around Greenwich last night before stopping at a little Indian (How) for a bite. Had a look in a shop that sold only gay porn video’s and Glen Miller CD’s. I’m sure that makes sense in some way that just eludes me at the moment. Why did I go in? Because it was there. Did I buy anything? Hell no, I already have Glen Miller on my Ipod.

I’ve been to Nice and the Isle of Greece…

Actually I went to Boston but hey, close enough. So courtesy of the lovely Fung Wah bus company ($15 all the way there) I get to see another city bringing my total of places visited in the US to 3. What a traveller! Boston was far more mellow than Manhattan. They seem to have cut back on the number of people banging dustbin lids together on the street at 4am unlike New York so I enjoyed the peace. Boston is also much smaller than NY and more spaced out (not stoned) so you get to realise how claustrophobic NY is compared to most places. What’s that? Oh it’s the sky. Weird. Stayed in a lovely little place called Brookline which is very pretty with fantastic houses and proper all American schools just like in John Hughes movies. Spent a lot of the time just being shown around by someone lovely that I’ve only ever met twice, and hanging out.

Back late the next day via the Fung Wah bus with a quick stop off at the…

Wednesday, after a bit of a late start, busy, busy, busy. Off to a gallery to see the Winogrand zoo photography exhibition. Excellent pictures. Total genius.

Back to central park for a little post-art recharge and then off for dinner at another little Italian, (Marinara, is that with fish?) and then off to see Stephen Fry’s Bright Young Things at the Angelika downtown. Good film but a few too many cameo’s got in the way of the story a bit. Still, enjoyed it though. Drowned our minor disappointment with lager at the Red Lion followed by gins and natter at the apartment. Woke up strangely with a headache. What happened there?

People at Aardvark who make my soundcard say that they only support it by email and then don’t reply to emails. When you call them they say it’s a software problem and I’ll have to speak to Microsoft… ahem. Or am I taking the card back to the shop tomorrow morning and getting my money back off Aardvark and then telling everyone I know not to touch them with an 80 foot stick? You decide, or even “you deicide” as I wrote the first time. Much better instruction don’t you think? Now here I am surrounded by the garden of delights that is New York. What’s on the telly?

I married Britney

Ooops, a few busy nights and what happens? Well this doesn’t for a start. Ok, brief whistle stop tour from Thursday night to here.

Thursday night, went and saw the the Zutons (excellent live, not sure I’d be a fan of the recordings), sax playing girl was stella (like a star rather than that being her name), the rest of ’em were like cartoon characters and the crowd did love ’em, oh yes. The Thrills were introduced by John McEnroe which was a little unexpected. They were OK but they seemed to be relying on click tracks and backing tracks for a bit of the backing which took a chunk of spontaneity out of their act. Seemed like they should have been a lot more spontaneous but were held back from being that way so it all went a bit damp. Irving Plaza was a good looking venue and the first place we’d been where the music was turned up loud enough. It suffered a bit from the interminable rules that seem to stop anyone from having fun though. All beer was about 2% proof in tiny cans. You could only buy it if you had ID no matter what age you were. Now I know I look damn good for my advanced years but even I don’t think I can pass for 20. Sure, you probably disagree and I’m being a little harsh on myself but I think I look no younger than 23. AND nowhere to nip out for a fag. (I refuse to stop calling them fags no matter what it means here, also interestingly “twat” is a really bad word here. Must say it more). Anyway, for a place that harps on about freedom so much there seems to be a hell of a small amount of it in New York. Guess that’s Giuliani’s legacy but hey, he cleaned the place up so it’s safer than London. “Hey buddy, you can’t do that, you’ll get a ticket.” Seems the freedom they’re on about is the opportunity to choose between 27 trillion formats of toothpaste in any drugstore. Decaf, low mint, extra sugar, sunny side up, on rye with miniature breath strips for me. Hold the mayo. So that was Thursday. Where next, ah yes, Friday.

We started Friday in fair weather maintaining a steady 7 knots which depth readings showing plenty of hull clearance. Bit of diner breakfast and then a bit of a read in Washington Square. I seem to be a bit of a hit with the boys down there (and the squirrels, but I think they may just be after my nuts. Ahem.). Drove myself nuts trying to get soundcard to record more than 6 seconds of sound at a time (yeah I know, dull) then out in the evening to the Lower East Side for an explore with a very genial tour guide (actually a very nice friend who lives down that way). Bars were entered, that had proper smoking bits (yeah i’m obsessed). It’s a very cool area which music in lots of bars and performance stuff, but not the sanitised Greenwich version, proper creative stuff. Me like. Back for Gin and sleep.

Saturday was a day of rest. Well it had been a hectic week. It’s just work work work around here. Nice phone calls and then out to dinner at a good Italian. Doesn’t matter how much Marinara sauce I have, I still wonder whether it has fish in it. It doesn’t. After that off to Marie Crisis piano bar which was extraordinary. Basically a cellar with a bar at one end, and a piano at the other, crowded with people singing show tunes as though their very existence depended on it. Managed an hour or so there but I didn’t know the words so it got to be a bit like that bit when you go to a wedding and don’t know the words to the hymns so have to stand there mouthing along like a goldfish that just jumped out of it’s bowl. Or something. After that back for a Gin and more sleeping.

So now I’m on to today. Still with me? Day of the bugs. Hell, we found out what had been munching us… They weren’t nice. We ran away and left it to grownups to fix the situation. Wandered down Broadway for a few hours looking for clothes and finding some. Into the Apple Store in Soho which is an remarkable place. Literally a cathedral dedicated to the purchase of preposterously well designed, very white consumer electronics. Fabio I bought you something there which should make you happy. ;-). A bit of a walk along the piers on the way back which was very pretty as the sun dipped in the sky and twinkled on the Hudson. After that back home for an evening of pizza and watching Titanic. Never seen it before and missed the end so I’m hoping they all arrived in America safely. Looked like it was going pretty well up to the point I saw.

And now the future… Tomorrow I catch a bus down to Boston for the night which means, horror, setting an alarm clock… that’s going to smart. See ya on Tuesday.

How To Cheat Death

First the technicalities. My new soundcard is being badly behaved and it’s annoying the crap out of me. I’m on the phone to the people who make it tomorrow, probably to be told that there’s one tiny button that I haven’t pushed that they forget to mention in the manual that will make everything better. God I hope so. I’ve got a bottleneck!

Second the mundanities. I went out today first to the laundrette and then to the music shop Manny’s up on 48th Street to pick up a cable. Don’t ask for a lead. They don’t know what that is. Then I went to a drugstore looking for a mosquito killing device as I’m getting munched again by the big brother of the fella I killed in a previous post down there. Then I bought some food at the deli (New York deli’s are a fantastic invention) and came back and ate it. Shortly, I will have a shower and then I will go to the laundry again to pick up some nice clean sheets. See how my life has changed?

Thirdly the good stuff. The Thrills tonight at the Irving Plaza which should be ace and the support, The Zutons get a good write up too. I saw the advert for Perfectil below on the subway which I thought the lady readers in Europe may appreciate. I am really looking forward to Monday a lot. Oh yes.

Barry Island Mini Gulf

Hey well, meeting someone you never met before can be a very, very good thing and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Had a bit of a wander through Chinatown yesterday. Man, if ever a place smelt bad, then it was Chinatown. It has a great feeling to it though and is much more Chinese than the picture postcard London equivalent. Walked back up from there up Bowery and then across 4th to Washington Square before cutting across Waverly and across 6th to Greenwich Avenue and then home. Listen to me, sound almost like I know what I’m doing don’t I?

Tomorrow depends on the weather but will hopefully involve making some music which I’m beimg very lax about… Oh and we go to see The Thrills too…

Cryptic Crossword

1 Across, Off to Boston for the night on Monday to see someone I’ve only met once before. (4,8)

1 Down, See picture, this is just an office block (2,3)

Superior Sound Simplified

First support Amy Correia had a certain charm but seemed to lack a bit of oomph. She had the balls to do her last song in a totally acapella (all right, can you spell it?) style which was very good and she had a lovely voice. Polly Paulusma, well, least said soonest mended. We had to go to the bar while she was on. She seemed to play about a hundred songs, each of which was an hour long, and about being slightly miffed about something really minor in a wistful way. No saving graces. Dull.

The Divine Comedy were fantastic, stripped down to a 3 piece of Neil on piano or guitar and a cello player and another guitar/ banjo player. They did a 3 part set, first with the Piano-ey songs then the guitary ones then Neil returned to the piano for encores where they took requests for songs from the audience which was chaotic but very funny. As far as I remember they did We Are The Champions, Wonderwall, The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore, and a few others.

The Bowery audience were a bit prissy, especially upstairs where we went for the view. “You’re going to have to stop breathing on my back It’s driving me nuts” said one strange young lady. Now I wasn’t standing very close to her, and well, it was a gig so we were all standing facing the same way, and I had to breathe. It’s not like I was thrusting at her and licking her shoulder. She should be so lucky…

Today I’m going to meet someone I never met before. Ohmigod. That’s not some hippy philosophy thing by the way. It’s arranged.

Oh and if you want to be alerted when Yuka TV is live, use the special email request under the picture… Not that picture down there, that one over there.

bad language close to the watershed

Ah, Monday morning and Wogan’s on the radio, the sun’s out and I’m off to see The Divine Comedy tonight. Other than that todays joys feature going to a laundrette in the basement, looking for somewhere to get my hair cut and making pop music tunes.

Yesterday was an excellent day featuring a walk along the piers through the new Rockefeller Park down by the Hudson. Excellent place to chill out on the grass and watch the boats go by although some of the park areas are made of astroturf which makes it a bit Disney. Everyone was down there in bikini’s and shorts yesterday, except me obviously. I look crap in a bikini. After that I grabbed a pizza slice from Joe’s Pizza which is apparently famous and then bought a nice, new pair of trainers, nice and cheaply. Back to the apartment to flop for a couple of hours and then out to the cinema to see the very, very fantastic French thriller Red Lights. Go see it, it’s not at all bad. Then off to the Red Lion for a few beers and a chat to a looney Norwegian woman who scared us both by being only 6 years older than us but looking old enough to be our mum. After which we escape to the apartment for a bed time G+T and pop music…. and sleeeeeeeeeeppp…