It’s All Right, We’re Going To The End Of the Line

17 03 2010

Right, I’m getting this over with, because there’s plenty more things I should be blogging about and quite frankly, I won’t feel ‘complete’ inside without it.

The Travelling Wilburys – The End of the Line

Fanfarlo – Finish Line

Mable John – Your Good Thing (Is About To End)

and last but not least:

Friendly Fires – On Board

So here we are. New York City with a day and a half left in what I now consider to be my new favourite country. I’d always half-sneered at America but endeavoured to come here with an open mind ready to be won over. Man alive, was I won over.

New York was first, New York was last. I’ll be back here, but to be honest I can look back at the trip and say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. The places I’ve seen, the things I’ve done and the people I’ve met have all left a lasting imprint on me. It’s a great place. Go there before President Palin’s inaugurated.

So what to do on my last day? It started badly. I could barely get out of bed. I had wanted to go and watch the match. Liverpool were in action and while I’d been away their form had in no uncertain terms, gone to shit. I couldn’t get out of bed, so I hooked up the laptop and found Blackburn v Liverpool live online. I should’ve got more sleep.

I finally made it outside. It was cold. It was wet. But I had a lunch date. Yes, some of the people on the canyon trip actually wanted to see me again. It felt like an absolute age had gone by. Since I’d left Richard and Erika in Las Vegas I reckon I’d driven 4,500 miles down to San Diego, up to Vancouver and all the way back to LA before flying back to NYC. It was great to see them again.

I’d clearly had more lunches than both Erika and Richard put together since I’d last seen them. It was Erika’s last week in the city before moving back home to Paris so I was glad she could spare the time to join us. I can’t believe how it must feel to leave New York after living there for over two years, but she was going back to Paris, so I suppose every cloud has a silver lining! Saying that, she appeared to have taken a healthy dislike to all things French while she’d been there. They all “talk weird” in Paris apparently…

Yeah, tell us about it.

I walked back into the city with Richard and he left me at Macy’s. It was cold. It was pouring down. Actually, scratch that…it was SNOWING.

There are moments you tend never to forget in life, and standing outside Macy’s in December in the snow is one of them.

Now of course I’m sick of the bloody stuff. Snow can sod off.

I grabbed a few last bits and pieces. Jeans that actually fit me, shirts that actually fit me, those sort of things.

It was my last night and I was off to the big gig.

The XX and Friendly Fires at Webster Hall. A top venue for a top double-bill of England’s finest. I’ve liked Friendly Fires for a while. I’d seen them at Liverpool’s Korova with about 100 people crammed in downstairs. I’d seen them in the rain at Gateshead. Now I was in New York, possibly the only man in the audience aware of Ed McFarlane’s dancing. I eagerly awaited the American response.

But before that, a final meal!

I learnt throughout my journey that many of you expected, nay demanded, pictures of the food of America. Some of you to the point of obsession. Here’s the last one.

I went over the road to The Smith. It’s like eating in a scrubbed-up abattoir. Prime rib please!

This wasn’t going to help my dancing was it? Back to the gig…

The XX were moody as hell, not really what I was expecting but still quite mesmerising to watch. They’ve got something about them. I’m not sure what.

You may know The XX from their remix of Florence and the Machine’s cover of “You Got The Love”. The moody one. With the harps.

Anyway…it was electro-disco-pop-funk time. I took some pictures. None of them were any good. It was dark. And the place was literally bouncing. It took a while for the whole audience to get it, but Friendly Fires made sure they got all of it. Outstanding stuff.

Action shot! Look! He's dancing!

At one point the girl next to me turned to her friend and screamed, “Oh…My…God…Look at him MOVE! I want him!”

From that day onward I knew dance was to be my premier form of communication.

I (rather sweatily) left the Webster Hall suitably high on life. I met Alex for a final drink in the East Village and Greenwich and we toasted the great city. I staggered through a now warmer city, past a movie being filmed at 4am just off 6th Avenue. Streetlights, empty streets, wet New York tarmac: the perfect scene. I could appreciate that even when drunk, because let’s face it I’d had enough practice of alcohol-induced lucidity over the past 89 days.

Sunday was my last day in the USA. For now. As I say, I’ll be back.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day.

Can you ask for a better final memory of a city? (clean, anyway)

I checked out of the hotel and headed for the airport. I got on a plane and went home. I was sad. It took me a good 4 weeks to realise I was home and had to get on with life. New Year’s Eve was fun, as I just didn’t want 2009 to end.

It had been the best 90 days of my life.




2 responses

17 03 2010

awww, that almost choked me up!

My brother said to me, just before I came on my first trip over here back for New Year 02 into 03, that it was going to be “the trip of a lifetime”. And he was wrong. And so is anyone who told you this was going to be yours, because while it was an amazing trip and as your first experience like this it will always be very special, now you’ve caught the bug you’ll have many more “trips of a lifetime”.

And if you want to swing by SF on any of those trips, give me a holler.

18 03 2010
Matthew Rudd

A compelling trip, compellingly told. Fantastic.

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