Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tour: Notes from New York

* The sole moment of music/space/time confluence occurred at Stupid O'Clock on Saturday morning, after immigration, while in the cab from JFK into Manhattan. Leaving Queens, and crossing the bridge, the night sky was actually inky light, so it felt like 5am not 2. And as I stared at the Chrysler building (?) from the other side of the expressway, The Wedding Present's 'Go Out And Get 'Em Boy!' came on to the iPod. And for an instant I thought, yes, that is exactly what shall be done here.

* While walking down Lexington, about 57th or so, a church was passed. Gothic in shape and structure, and chocolate in brick and tone. I felt moved enough to want to write a poem, but I still haven't found the words yet.

* It is clearly a lot harder to achieve any form of stillness in New York than London (discounting gridlock, which is enforced). Example: a woman walking beside me down Lexington, who decided that the red man at the junction with 50th street was too much of a wait, and instead crossed over Lex (where the white man was present) to continue her journey down the street. An additional hundred yards for no obvious benefit, apart from the illusion of advantageous movement.

* NyLon: for a moment, around about Bryant Park, I had the hallucination that I was actually in London rather than New York. I had experienced no real culture shock, no real sense that there was anything significantly or qualitatively different between the two. Nonsense of course, and yet a very real sensation, until of course, the realisation of it made it impossible to sustain. Viewing Sweeney Todd at the Eugene O'Neill theatre later on was a similar sense of having a London close to mine, yet different, refracted back at me. This at least was tangible: myths I recognised, violence I recognised, and a stage design that looked liked the latest modish Smithfield/Clerkenwell eaterie.

* In the Barnes and Noble further up (47th?), I found two of Donald Barthelme's books. On the back of Snow White the text had it that he died in 1991.

On the back of The Dead Father this date was 1989.

There was something fitting in there being such confusion around an author as playful as Barthelme.

* I found a life on the subway on Monday - I think I was on the N train down towards Canal Street. Sitting on the advert directly opposite me was a 6 x 4 index card, plain white. Written in biro on it:

Most Positive:
- Trading game
- Lunch w/ presentation (good use of time)
- Marketing activity in group
- Today's activity on personal goals
- The encouragement not to freak out about a/b grades

Negatives/Things to change:
- Add campus/Orib (?) hall four by cluster
- Not enough "significant others" tickets for the Billiards event

In that one card then, the encapsulation of a nation's animating spirit: a student, clearly sharp, looking at where she (and I think it is a she: the colon is made of precise circles) can get better. There is ambiguity here - what are 'personal goals' and how are they different from what is on the card? (Maybe she is on an internship at the moment, at a firm where she really wants to work after graduation, and she's adding value to her role by busying herself with useful activities - the presentation, the marketing activities. And maybe she's been told that her slightly less than 4.0 GPA will be no bar to her joining in a year's time.)

I wanted to put an arm around her, and say, with as much wisdom as one who was there a few years before can muster, "You're on the right track, and you have it in perspective. You'll be fine."

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