American Airlines #126 has begun its descent into Newark, NJ. I can’t believe that just this morning I was looking down from Parker Mesa, some one thousand or more feet above Malibu and the sparkling blue Pacific. And soon, I’ll be emerging from the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan, back into the big bad city. So amazing, these modern times. I’m pretty lucky.
So, what’s the deal with this whole New York L.A. thing? Where will I end up? Well, the day job not withstanding (which is, of course, a major variable), my love for both cities ebbs and flows.
Standing on the beach in Santa Monica, jogging the palm-lined streets of Beverly Hills, or hiking the dusty trails of Topanga Canyon, it seems like a no brainer. L.A. has the outdoor vistas of Telluride (CO, where I lived one summer in college) and the cultural opportunities of New York City. There’s something in the air. There’s an ease and some kind of spiritual seeking that’s appealing, and tough to define. That said, there’s the flipside: the Eurotrash, the peacock-like displays of wealth, the plastic surgery, the BBD (bigger better deal).
New York, by contrast, is so real. Too fucking real. I came home to cold, gray skies singing The Pixies’ “Caribou” in my head (“I hate this town / I live cement”). If I’m lucky, there’s, like, one beautiful thing a day, and it usually has something to do with the sun. ‘Cuz it’s a major endeavor to get to the beach or the mountains, and odds are, they’re strewn with litter. Still, for some reason, it feels like what you see is what you get here: no pretense, no illusions, just hard cold in-your-face reality. I’m sure that a bit of an over simplification, but it feels that way.
So… guess what? I have no idea. As if I needed more to wonder about — Who am I? What am I doing with my life? Who’s going to pay for my next record? — I’ve now added Where am I doing it?
On the singer/songwriter front (oh yeah, that’s why I’m here!), I wrote a song in late-afternoon half-light yesterday called “The Matador.” Dunno’ if it’s a keeper. But the next record’s sure shaping up to be very L.A. Not too surprising, I guess.
Hollywood’s still sleeping, stars dancing in their head
Your broken heart’s still bleeding, and you can’t go back to bed
Everyone is waiting for a sign of what to do
When the mountains start to shaking, and the sky falls down on you