My preconceived idea of what Harlem must be like (a bit dodgy and scary) turned out to be totally wrong, with mainly classy café bars and restaurants, health spas and hair salons lining the main streets. I was hoping to find some funky arty boho kind of shops, but there didn’t seem to be any. It didn’t matter, though, as that’s not really why I was there – I DO NOT NEED to be shelling out any more dollars on crafty things I don’t need, so thank god there were no funky arty boho kind of shops, actually.
When I later made my way back down on the subway to my brother’s apartment, it was only because I walked a little way past the entrance to look at the bus timetable that I happened upon Thor, the cool cowdog, and his almost-as-cool cowboy human. They kindly allowed me to take a pic of them, and I was glad to be able to return the favour and take a snap of them with the cowboy’s iPhone. Round these parts, one good turn deserves another, y’hear?
Later in the afternoon I set off in the other direction – i.e. downtown - to play at the Sidewalk Café open mic on the Lower East Side. It turned out to be a mammoth trek there from the subway station at W. 14 Street and Seventh Avenue, and the evening itself was a strange mixture of the good and the not so good. An English chap I’d met at the Bitter End showed up with his friend Susan (who took the pic of me – thanks!), and we all hit it off, so that was the good part. The not-so-good part was that all those who wanted to perform drew numbers at random to determine the order of play, but in the event some – well, quite a few – people seemed to manage to push their way by other means to the top of the list, so that although I was officially number 13 (eek!), I didn’t get to play until nearly 11 pm, after which I didn’t want to risk taking the subway back, so had to shell out for a taxi ride all the way back up to the Upper West Side. I was very glad I did though – especially after seeing the state of some of the folk, from the safety of the taxi, as they staggered around on the streets that I would’ve been walking along… Some of the acts also left a bit to be desired – in particular the female stand-up who thought that talking in lurid detail about the most gross bodily functions and sex acts constituted rollickingly funny comedy. Let me tell ya something bluntly, darlin’ – it didn’t.
Tomorrow evening I fly to Nashville, so here endeth the tales from New York, to make way for musings from Music City, Tennessee! Yee-hah!