Thursday 6 December 2007

A holiday medley, off key

There's an ad campaign for something or other, on several subway trains at the moment. It runs the entire carriage with ideas like "You didn't wait 12 months for a set of dishcloths", and "Visions of socks and underwear never danced in your head". Well if you're waiting for anything for 12 months the most you're likely to feel at the end of it is the kind of relief you get when you finally hit that porcelain after a long pee-holding-in stint... and actually I have had that vision of socks and dancing underwear. I testify.

I had a brief conversational interlude yesterday over breakfast with a pair of chess players and the topic of sentimentality arose. One of the chess players mentioned a Mariah Carey song (oh she who is so bountiful in this emotion) and how it was steaming with what he called "fake sentimentality". And I wondered aloud, "well, what is REAL sentimentality? Is sentimentality ever real? Isn't that an oxymoron?" I suppose an answer to that could be that actually, it's real sentimentality if the person feeling it is buying into it at the time, perhaps. But any definition of real that means authentic and actual (yeah, concepts galore, but maybe you know what I mean) to me, doesn't include sentimentality. But it's an interesting question.

And so, in this spirit, with this little question mark of sentimentality over my head as I step down into the spaghetti junction at Pacific street, I remember my iPod. And as the q train chugs out over the Manhattan bridge with a vibrant peach and rose sunset backlighting the Brooklyn Bridge, and the statue of liberty somewhere in between (can you believe I never noticed it in that picture before?) my fingers reach quite naturally for Rhapsody in Blue (the Previn version). Gosh, though. It really does mine that seam. If you're looking for exquisitely elegant sentimentality, Rhapsody in Blue is probably what you're looking for. 'Specially with that view. Woman can only take so much of this vibe, however elegantly drawn, and so I switch to New York Counterpoint as I emerge from the 6 at Lafayette street.

And go walking through Soho.

And this is some of what I see...

The skyline on a red label on a courier bag
A middle aged man sending an email on his Treo
A Grace's Market NY bag
A massive vinyl image of clueless beauty at East Houston and Lafayette
Tits in a car window on Lafayette
Some famous actor looking angry and withdrawn and cold
Very well made beautiful shoes
Exquisite long johns
An art deco parking garage
Midnight blue
Avoca wool
A woman surrendering to the image of one she believes to be more beautiful than her
A woman luring another in from the streetside of the window of her shop

As I skirt along Spring...

A well dressed woman pulling trash out of a clean, freshly painted dumpster
The waft of shish kebabs
Tall thin blonde women who might be German metal head boys
Five inch patent heels striding indifferently across the cobblestones
A chef smoking a fag watching me walk down the street
The man transfixed at the "Gifts for Reading" table at the MoMA design store
An image of Kate Moss airbrushed (for she looketh like this no longer, if she ever ever did) into an alluring vision of expensive sundrenched fuckability (with impeccable hygiene and no past)
The man on the phone
Woman in mink
Some photos that look like mine on the wall by the escalator in Bloomingdales
The cold street
The evenly scattered salt on the pavement
The expensive looking graffiti that makes expensive mouths water
Healthy dogs in jackets
Look up! Look up!
The sight of an imposing Soho loft at Broadway and Broome
He eyes my stripey tights with glee
A boy sitting crosslegged in the freezing street, tap tap tapping on his 17 inch laptop
The Housing Works bookstore on Crosby, as I enter
"Archipenko adheres to the limitations of the block, finding within its confines solutions at once simple and complex" on the first page of the first book I glance at: "Alexander Archipenko: Vision and Continuity", p. 120.
and I think of Dean street and 5th avenue
And I find a seat
and I sit
and type this from the notes in my small notebook.

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