Favorite Things, Volume I

I’m getting a little tired of writing about adjusting to life without the rock ‘n roll fantasy, and you’re probably getting tired of reading about it. So I’m starting a new series: Favorite Things. Could be a song, a movie, or a pair of shoes. These are the things that make me happy.

I love New York City. I love that it’s an island, separate from the rest of the country. I love that it’s full of culture and chaos. I love that it’s a great experiment in diversity, and that, for the most part, we pull it off. I love that it’s loud, fast and in your face. I love that it reaches for the sky, and sleeps in the gutter. I love the opportunity and the possibility.

But there are days when it’s just too much, too fast, too ruthless, too relentless. These are the days (nights, usually) when I hear Lou Reed sing “Romeo Had Juliet” and think, ‘Right the fuck on.’

I’ll take Manhattan in a garbage bag
With Latin written on it that says
It’s hard to give a shit these days

I walked out of the office Tuesday night and slammed into a wall of shuffling, gawking tourists. Just a few steps from the NR, there was a huge clot of bodies standing, staring and screaming in front of The Palace Theater. Apparently, Elton John was in the house. Which apparently means that tourists are allowed to lose their minds and stop traffic.

I dropped a shoulder and thought, ‘It’s hard to give a shit these days.’

Sometimes I look around at the JumboTrons, the fashion billboards, the flashing lights, the Naked Cowboy, and think, ‘This is it. This is the end.’ We’re more interested in the box office than the Oval Office. We’re more interested in the stadium than the statehouse. We’re more interested in what’s going on with Paris Hilton than what’s going on in Paris, France. Lou knows.

Manhattan’s sinking like a rock
Into the filthy Hudson what a shock
They wrote a book about it
They said it was like ancient Rome

“Romeo Had Juliet” was on my the pre-show playlist at the “Almost Home” CD release party way back in 2003. It fit the theme. The album (you’ll recall) begins with the song, “California,” and concludes with “New York.” Moreover, it’s a transcontinental love story that burns bright, then ends badly (even if it ends exactly as it should).

The perfume burned his eyes
Holding tightly to her thighs
And something flickered for a minute
And then it vanished and was gone

Lou Reed covers it all in just 3:09. And sounds cool doing it. Cool like Rivington come four a.m. It’s a little dangerous, and a little dark, and tough to tell the truth from the lies. And at the end, you’re not really sure if the sun’s gonna come up after all.

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