Friday Friends

Happy Birthday to Hunter Ski Bowl co-founder Orville Slutzsky, who turned 90 this last Tuesday and was given a great gift from God: the first snow-storm of the winter. Somewhere between two and three feet of snow fell in our home area on Valentine’s Day, giving the kids two consecutive days off school and possibly saving Hunter, Windham and Belleayre – the three Catskills ski mountains – from what Slutzsky had only just been quoted as calling “our worst season ever.” And you know he’s been round long enough to know of what he talks. Orville Slutzky, who could have retired 25 years ago, still shows up for work almost every day at what must be one of the USA’s last family-owned ski mountains.

Looks like we won’t be playing football for a while, then.

Also celebrating their birthday on Valentine’s Day were (and will be) Marlowe and Jack Wallace Ferrie, born this last Tuesday to Kristin Wallace and iJamming! Pub member Tom Ferrie. Not only were the babies born happy and healthy, they weighed at an impressive 15lb between them! I imagine it will be a while before I see Tom on the ski slopes again; I hope he will continue to join us in the (virtual) Pub. Congratulations to the both of you!

A speedy recovery to Tony Wilson, who revealed that he has highly developed kidney cancer in typical manner: by writing an article for the Manchester Evening News so as to share his illness with the world. Tony is an easy magnet for vitriol, but he is one of the great music lovers of our age and one of the great entrepreneurs of his generation. His partly fictitious autobiographical movie 24 Hour Party People is one of the greatest movies ever made, in any genre. We wish him well.

One shouldn’t wish cancer on one’s worst enemy, but as I’m not a Buddhist (yet), I would like to wish a long, slow, incurable illness on the bastard who stole my mother’s purse out of her hands in Beverley last week, having evidently followed her across the street from the local hole-in-the-wall ATM. I love Beverley, and I’ve always appreciated that it’s big enough to be more than a picture postcard of old-time small-town England, but I have only contempt for those who rob the old.

On a more positive note, hats off to our toddler Noel, who somehow poured a full glass of wine into a bowl of hummus while I wasn’t looking on Valentine’s Night, managing not only to avoid spilling a drop but to return it to the same place and resume his scribbling so deftly, as if he had been doing so all along, that I was initially left wondering if I’d drunk the glass without realizing it. (And no, it was not me who knocked the glass over. I’d only had one sip!) Wine-infused hummus comes highly recommended, by the way: he may have hit on a new recipe.

Noel: one of the first words hes learned is ‘Cheeky.’ (After Thomas The Tank Engine.)

Good luck to The Rapture on launching their dance imprint Throne of Blood with an all-electronic live/DJ set at the new Club Studio B in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, tonight. I had fully planned on attending, but banged my leg up badly on a certain mountain this week and am having problems walking, let alone dancing. Thankfully, next week is not a school holiday up here so I won’t feel like I’ll be missing out on mountain activity. Equally thankfully, I have no holiday booked in Utah. Nor any races to cancel in the next month. I can get on and write, instead. (Yeah, right.)

On the subject of new Brooklyn venues, kudos to our old friends Rob and Susan Sacher on finally opening their new Luna Lounge in Williamsburg. The original Luna was a major fixture on the Lower East Side; here’s hoping the new venue has a similarly positive effect on the Brooklyn scene.

Congratulations to Esther Bell, another old (but still young) friend who this week celebrated the DVD release of her new movie Exist. Set “in the trenches of America’s resurgent protest movement,” Exist stars Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio. Esther’s previous feature film Godass, an autobiographical tale about a punk girl with a gay dad, starred Fred Schneider. She certainly knows how to hire them: one of her first short movies, Purple Jesus, was filmed in Athens, GA and starred my future wife, Posie Strenz. In fact, I’ve just remembered that Esther filmed our wedding for us; my favorite scene is the one where she and her then-boyfriend are outdoors, whispering sweet nothings to each other, when he says: “Shouldn’t we back indoors filming the reception?” and she says, “No, I’m sure there’s nothing exciting going on.” Meantime, I can be heard fronting the wedding band, massacring The Proclaimers ‘I Met You’, a moment that was not, evidently, caught on camera.

The wedding band that afternoon was Joe Hurley’s Rogues March. Congratulations to Joe on having his song ‘Madcap Tears’ used in a new TV ad for Captain Morgan’s Rum. Better yet, the ad is actually, almost unbelievably for American TV, very funny: You can watch it here. Last night, Joe wrapped up the third of a four-Thursday residence at Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction in New York’s East Village. Each night has been presented with a different theme, appropriate for a singer and songwriter who is also a playwright and renowned raconteur. (And avid West Ham fan: he recorded and released the single ‘Bleeding Claret & Blue’ for last year’s FA Cup Final.) For his final Thursday at Mo Pitkin’s, on Feb 22, Joe Hurley will be joined by another good friend, Joe McGinty, for a night of Loser’s Lounge Ballads. The Loser’s Lounge is yet another East Village institution of which I’ve written about several times: you can visit its web site here.

Madchester, so much to answer for….

Congratulations seem due also, then, to Posie and myself, who met 17 years ago tonight, at the Melody Bar in New Brunswick. If I’m not mistaken, it was a Friday night, too. By a very pleasant coincidence, tomorrow (Saturday) evening, a long-overdue Melody reunion is taking place at the Loop Lounge in Passaic, surely the last of the old New Jersey new wave bars still standing. Posie and I should be able to double-celebrate it as the anniversary of our first encounter, given that I’m pretty sure we didn’t hook up until after midnight, which would have made it Feb 17, and I certainly didn’t get a kiss out of her until the bar closed and we were on the street… and even then, she was the good Catholic girl and made sure there was no tongue action. Anyway, our hotel is booked for tomorrow night, we know of people flying and driving in from across the country, and a good time is expected for all. Expect much by way of photographic and anecdotal evidence next week.

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August 2022