Showing posts with label downtown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label downtown. Show all posts

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Morning Hangover Post

Last night a friend of mine convinced me to go partying in the Meat Packing district in Manhattan. I was originally in the city just enjoying a sunny, relatively mild Saturday afternoon absorbing the sights and sounds. I hadn't been out leisurely in quite a while since I'm not really a friend of the bitter cold, but the weather seemed like a prelude to Spring and I didn't want to waste it.

I had on a vintage jean jacket and my black Levis skinny jeans, advertising the rediscovery of my rock and roll roots. While chilling in Union Square park soaking up the Winter sun, a few people approached me due to my style. It's always complimentary to the ego when your looks alone get others interested in you. This one group of people wanted my picture because I looked similar to one of the men in the group. Then later a woman who was researching information on fashion came up to me and wanted to interview me about my style, on camera. Since I had nothing to do I decided to give it a shot. So she asked me about how I describe my style - which was a topic already on my mind. I told her my style is kinda vintage rocker with a little modern hipster thrown in, and that I've gone through many phases in fashion over the years, some of them very embarrassing. Then she asked me what I'd change about my body - a slight curve ball of a question that I didn't quite expect, and so I told her that if I could change anything I'd probably want to be more muscular. It's hard to admit one's bodily shortcomings, especially for a man, but for me I've always wanted more muscle definition, without actually having to work out of course.

After the interview we talked a little about the reasons behind fashion - like what motivates us to dress how we want to. For me, fashion and style are a way to express to the world visually how I want to be thought of. I've always wanted to be in a band, but was never able to commit myself to the amount of practice it takes to actually be in one, so with fashion I can at least look like I'm in one.

Anyway, after the interview I called my friend who wanted to meet for drinks at a bar in the West Village. He knows the owner of the bar and so it was free beer all night - no complaints from me. Since I hadn't seen him in a while, we had to catch up on things. He told me he's actually giving up Facebook for lent. I didn't even know he was a practicing Christian, and so it got me asking him about religion. It turns out he doesn't actually believe that the Old Testament is the true word of god, which explains why he supports gay rights. The variety of Christian belief is astounding. But since my friend isn't exactly the deep thinking intellectual type when it comes to his beliefs, my probing didn't evolve into a lengthy discussion. And so after his girlfriend showed up and another friend of mine came through, we all decided to go to the Meat Packing district.

Now I'm not a huge fan of the Meat Packing district to be honest with you. Sure it's trendy and full of really hot women, but at my age, I'm just not into that scene anymore. Most of the clubs and bars play that kind of in-your-face techno that I lost interest in before I ever even had it. When it comes to electronic music I generally prefer chilled out house or electro. The crowds in the MPD draw the usual assortment of Jersey Shore guidos and Latino thugs that I'd prefer not to acknowledge the existence of. My entire time there I was really just observing the Saturday night rituals of a crowd and a culture that I've left behind years ago. I used to be a club promoter, and every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, I was surrounded by the Manhattan club scene in the MPD and Chelsea. Now there's no amount of alcohol that could make this scene tolerable and it's too bad I didn't drink enough to black out and forget it all.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rediscovering My Rock & Roll Roots

They say that everything popular gets recycled, and over my relatively short 30 years on this Earth, I've seen evidence of that. As I've gotten older I've become increasingly aware of the possibility that I could become an old fogey. I've been seeing some signs of it already: my plummeting disinterest in popular culture combined with my constant fascination with "intellectual" things like science and philosophy. It's not that these things aren't or cannot be cool, it's just that they aren't typically associated with things that "cool" people do. But "cool" is an extremely relative term, impossible to pinpoint. I think today because of the internet, it is easier than ever to stay "cool" so to speak, by knowing what's going on. Therefore I don't think that my generation as it gets older, will follow in the footsteps of previous generations that quickly shed their youthful coolness in favor of old fogey-dom once they settled down and had kids.

Back in the early 2000s there was a cultural explosion of a rediscovery of the old school and seemingly forgotten garage and indie rock that had been bubbling under the surface for so many years. It was in response to the nauseous commercial rock and rap metal that seemed to be hammering the final nail into the coffin of traditional rock. Grunge had run its course and devolved into the whiny alternative and anger metal that so permeated everyday life. At this time, I felt like an outcast not quite being able to identify with the culture around me. But when garage rock came back into style along with a renewed interest in 70s rock and punk, I found a bandwagon I could jump on. I had already been into many 60s and 70s rock acts like The Doors and The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, and so the culture around me seemed to be mirroring my interests. It was in a sense, perfect timing.

I remember the summer of 2002 quite vividly working part time at my sister's store on first street in the East Village. The hipster culture was exploding around me. Everyone cool looked like a 70s rock star or an Andy Warhol groupie. I grew my hair out long for the first time in my life because I remember at the time wanting to look just like Jimmy Page. I had discovered rock and roll and it seemed there was no going back. (If only I had actually learned how to play guitar back then instead of waiting years later.) But now a decade later this discovery seems to have faded a bit and I've been somewhat rediscovering my rock and roll roots, perhaps in an embarrassing attempt to stay "cool". But nonetheless, if Iggy Pop and Jimmy Page can still rock on while in their sixties, I think I can too considering I'm only half their age.

Pop culture doesn't entirely disinterest me, just parts of it. The Gangnam Style K-pop phenomenon of last year I feel like I saw from the perspective of a 45 year old dad whose teenage daughter forces him to listen to it on TV - that is to say, I took one glance at it, and then kept reading the newspaper. I've gotten into newer musical acts like The Black Keys and LDC Soundsystem, but it seems my heart belongs to 60s and 70s rock and roll. It's funny how I should so strongly identify with the music of my parent's generation, but even my mom and dad weren't cool enough at that time to listen to the popular music of the day. I've discovered that every decade has music I could like; every decade had its "cool". And although musically I'm very nostalgic, I do prefer the times we are living in. I wouldn't really want to go back to any of these bygone eras, not permanently at least.

The past remains alive in the music it produced, as will the music of today for future generations. So as I enter my thirties I enter a new era in which being "cool" never fades - it just gets cooler. Now you can be cooler in your thirties and forties than you were whilst a teenager - as long as you got your shit together. So for me rediscovering my rock and roll roots is in a sense, rediscovering cool. There's nothing wrong with being into nerdy and scholarly things like science and philosophy while simultaneously staying threaded to all the other cool things our free society has allowed us to produce.

They're both worth fighting for.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Change is the only thing that's constant

I'm starting to learn that many good writers write daily, sometimes for hours. I've noticed that I make usually about a half dozen entries on this blog a month. Maybe I should be writing more. After all the more I write the better I will become at it. Great writers also read a lot also. I read a lot on the internet. I read a lot of news, but a great deal of my knowledge lately has come from watching videos on YouTube that explain concepts of science and philosophy and economics. This is very typical of the young today who can't even deal with the cliff notes anymore and have resorted to watching and listening to videos instead of actually reading about any of it. It is a pattern that a friend advised me to not get comfortable with.

Spelling is not an issue anymore thanks to the spell check mechanism. But spell check cannot make you a exceptional writer. I hate the laziness that comes and goes in me. I don't even have to get off my couch to do what I am doing now, and still I find an excuse to be lazy and not do it. Remember when you had to actually go out to obtain knowledge about a subject, to the library in the freezing cold? Those days are long gone and with it, that energy one had to have.

I did keep a written journal for years at a time and wrote several notebooks worth of events, documenting various stages of my life from high school to as recently as a few months ago. I still have one that I stopped writing in and for some reason I guess I stopped, maybe because of this blog. But in my notebooks I would write much more personal things regarding my personal life, and on this blog I've chosen for it to not be about my silly mundane day-to-day problems. My old journals I burned and destroyed years ago so no one could read them. I guess I wish I could have saved them until now, they'd be fascinating to read.

I really wish I was writing about my experiences hanging out with metal heads in high school in the 90s. It was a great era and subculture to document since a lot has changed in New York in the past ten years, and also because the heavy metal culture that existed back then has significantly waned. Change is the only thing that's constant. And that's never more true than in the secular metropolis.

High school was tough. I had a really hard time fitting in. Even among my own clique I was kind of the outcast. It took me a really long time to find myself, and to find my place. I'm still kind of looking but I'm a lot more focused now. I really wish back then I had the knowledge I have now, or at least (since saying that has become so cliche) I wish that I was as passionate about the same subjects back then as I am now (namely atheism and philosophy). I was always into atheism pretty much, but never had the passion to really dig deep into the philosophy behind it and religion. Also, I wish I had payed attention to more of the cultural changes over the years as they evolved slowly instead being shocked by seemingly abrupt changes that were really just the result of years my neglect towards them.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Growing up in NYC

There is something about New Yorkers. Growing up in NYC, was great. I wouldn't have wanted to grow up anywhere else. in NY you have the world at your doorstep. I had friends from all over the world. NYers party hard. Growing up me and my friends we would get drunk all the time when I was in high school. Smoking weed was just about an everyday thing also. Most people who grow up in NY like to party and drink and do drugs. I don't think there was anything wrong with that. I have two cousins who grew up in Maryland and thay were raised so goody-to-shoes to the point where I think they really missed out on a lot of life's experiences. All parents want to keep there kids from the bad things in life, I guess, I'm lucky that my parents were a bit loose.

Listen to kids who grew up in NY. Listen to their accent. NYers have a great slang that we use. Kids who grew up in NY do tend to be a little ghetto. Almost every kid in NY says the word "nigga" as if it was dude or man. Nobody else does that outside on NY. White kids in California don't use the "N" word, unless they're being racist. I'm not saying it's right or wrong it's just something about NY culture. I guess its because the hip hop culture started here, and that's why aspects of black culture are so ingrained here in the NY culture. I'm not sure exactly.

NY is the drug capital of the world. Every other friend of mine sold drugs growing up. And just about everyone was using. All the rich yuppies on Wall Street do drugs, most likely coke. If you didn't do drugs to me it seemed you were in the minority. Or maybe, my perception is just skewed in favor of drugs because my friends did drugs growing up, I'm not sure.

You can party hard in NY too. There are 10,000 bars and clubs in NY. Before I started going out I'd party at my friends cribs. We'd listen to music or make music, since many of my friends were musicians, and we'd drink and smoke. It was fun back then and I'm glad I lived it. I just wished that I had kept a journal back then to have documented some of the experiences, and turn it into a book.

Like I said I wouldn't have wanted to grow up anywhere else.


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