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The Weekend Top 40


1. The woman – let’s call her Nona Hendrix – who gave me such a pleasant interview for my book in New York City on Friday. Sadly we had to cut it short to make it downtown for the next interview.
2. The man – who shall remain nameless – who stood me up for my next interview in New York City on Friday.
3. This being something of a blessing in disguise, as I had to spend the next three hours on my cell phone dealing with the dilemma of a band’s broken down van 1200 miles away and a canceled show as a result. Not the way to start an American tour.
4. New York City being ablaze in World Cup Fever, reassuring given the lack of buzz in the countryside. (To be fair, nothing buzzes up here apart from the flies and caterpillars.) Adidas Billboards everywhere and every other bar or restaurant inviting people in to watch the games. I am forced to resist due to item #3.
5. Picking up Levi’s 505s at the Levi’s Store for $30. The price seems to actually be going down.
6. Crappy clothes at Triple Five Soul. Why does every brand I ever love give up making good clothes as soon as they become popular? (Sean Stussy, I’m talking to you, too.)
7. Getting out of NYC without knowing the Germany-Costa Rica score, getting home to Phoenicia and watching it on my new TV/cable box. Were those some great goals, or what?
8. Then watching most of Poland-Ecuador before going to sleep all too late. I’ve actually seen a football match in Ecuador – in high-altitude Quito – and came home with the local team’s Barcelona-inspired shirt, so have always had a soft spot for them. First victory in Europe: good going.
9. Sleeping in the office to better facilitate watching the World Cup. (Don’t worry, there is a bedroom.)
10. A weekend on my own – the family have gone to the mother-in-laws. How will I spend it, I wonder? It’s not like there’s a World Cup to watch. Oh wait, there is. That’s the weekend sorted then.
11. Waking up ahead of my alarm clock Saturday morning and getting a quick run in, before driving over to an English friend’s house to watch England –Paraguay. (Some games you can’t watch on your own, even if you did just get a TV and cable.)
12. England’s lackluster second half and Sven’s defensive decision to sit on a one-goal lead by substituting a forward with a midfield player. As the Italians know only too well, these tactics can come back and bite you.
13. England had better now seriously hope they don’t get Germany in the next round. And if they do, don’t go expecting a repeat of that 5-1 victory.
14. Picking up a pair of good quality Path shoes at the skate store in Woodstock when I couldn’t find a decent pair on Lafayette Street in Manhattan. Never would have expected that chain of events when I moved up here.
15. The lavish Mercedes convertible with its Woodstock license plate promising “peace, love and music.” (And wealth?)
16. Argentina looking tasty, and the Ivory Coast looking pretty keen themselves.
17. Watching a disappointing documentary on Robert Moog – with no backstory and no sight of the site in Trumansburg where he first set up office. (And which I photographed when I visited the town last Autumn.)
18. Playing FIFA 2006 on the Playstation. It’s no fun playing against the computer. And it made me feel like a saddo. I’d sooner play against my son – even if he does insist on being Brighton.
19. Finally getting stuck into The Last Party by John Harris. I bought it about 3 years ago. Damn good start. Anyone else read it?
20. Taking advantage of a solo Sunday with a lengthy training run for the Escarpment Trail Run, which is now only seven weeks away.
21. Only a couple of problems: it’s barely 45 degrees and it’s been raining all week. (It is June, is it not?)
22. My trail shoe gets stuck in the mud in the first 100 yards of flat terrain and I inadvertently pull my foot out of the shoe and stick it back into the mud. Should I turn back now?
23. The first mile is almost entirely mud or mud streams. And it’s cold. Like, really cold.
24. It is the middle of June, is it not??
25. Listening to Neil Young’s Living With War in its entirety, for the first time, over these first few miles. A record I think I’ll need to write about in more detail some time very soon.
26. Giving up on dodging all the mud and running right through it.
27. Going further along the Trail than I’ve managed before, making it beyond Windham High Peak, down a ways and then back up a little to the magically-named Burnt Knob, something like 80 minutes after setting off.
28. The 500-foot climb back up to Windham High Peak feels like seriously hard work. Given that the Escarpment Trail includes a 1000-foot steep climb up to Blackhead Mountain almost exactly half-way through the race, my fatigue after just 90 minutes serves to remind me just how damn hard the actual event will prove to be.
29. See? I take a tumble over a tree root, but my responses are good: I quickly put my hand down knuckles first to avoid damaging the iPod. I get up, my clothes covered in mud and my left hand covered in blood. The iPod, fortunately, stays clean.
30. At least there are some views to die for along this trail: clearings that look out on an entire mountain range full of nothing but green trees. You can also die from these views, too, if you slip – and people do slip when taking on a 19-mile run up and down the mountains. Take it easy, bro.
31. The run down from Windham High Peak seems particularly long and none too easy today, and that mile of mud at the end plain just pisses me off.
32. After two and a half hours of constant rocks, mud, streams, tree roots, steep climbing up and down and only occasional flat trail, I can conclude that was the hardest run I’ve done since my last Marathon.
33. That said, I ran and walked and climbed and fell a solid 12 miles, almost two-thirds the distance of the eventual run. That part feels good.
34. Back in the car park, a couple come up and ask me what I think of their doing the trail. I look at their shoes – he’s wearing out-of-the-box sneakers and she has white shoes. I tell them I think they shouldn’t do this trail if they like their new shoes.
35. My own trail shoes have already lost a heel – and they’ve got less than 30 miles on them. A man I meet up top of the mountain tells me that’s the third pair of Merrels he’s seen with the same problem in two weeks. (Does he just stand up there inspecting people’s running shoes? Does he know the meaning of life?)
36. To be fair to this couple at the bottom of the mountain, the main Mountain road up to Hunter has been closed for repairs and the short and sweet hike to the (stunning) Kaaterskill Falls hike is inaccessible.
37. Though I still don’t know why someone would come out in white shoes in mud season. Have they never heard of hiking boots?
38. I have all three of Sunday’s World Cup games taped down in Phoenicia, but I can’t be bothered to drive down to watch them.
39. A hot bath full of Epson Salts. Man, that feels good.
40. Solea Polenta Corn Chips with Garlic-Chives Hummus and a bottle of Red Hook India Pale Ale. And that feels like Paradise.

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Discussion

3 Comment(s)

  1. snotty moore

    12 June, 2006 at 5:04 am

    I don’t know Tony, Germany might have scored some lovely goals but there was enough space down the flanks of the three man Costa Rica defence to drive a tank division, I mean, a combine harvester down. (It’s osmosis from reading British media, sorry) I would be very surprised if Germany beat a good side, like Argentina, because their defence is shocking, proving Der Kaiser’s belief that Germans can’t defend in a line correct. But their Ardiles-style recklessness will win them a lot of friends as they get knocked out in a 6-4 thriller. But yeah, probably not against England. We weren’t especially dire- I don’t think Portugal and Holland were much better really- but as ever we ran out of steam in the second half (Sven’s one contribution to the English language is the phrase ‘First half very good, second half, not so good’). Too many Sergeant-Majors, not enough sophisticated officers. Luckily we do have Wayne ‘Wazza’ Rooney (SAS) to dive in. He can’t be any more unfit than Owen, surely. I’m with Chrissie Waddle, Radio 5’s best pundit, who suggested that bringing on Aaron Lennon for Owen- a quick man to play off a big man- would have made more sense, because the PR Guys would not have been able to push up, and Joe Cole is better on the left. (Downing can’t cross, a flaw for a winger)
    I’ve read ‘The Last Party’- I even reviewed it so there might be a quote from me on the cover. It’s interesting but flawed. Harris is a strong believer in pop’s cyclical nature (ie. 1955- Elvis, 1966- Swinging London, 1977- punk) yet Britpop’s major influences- Slade and T. Rex for Oasis, Madness and Teardrop Explodes for Blur- are not mentioned because they don’t fit that plan. But of course, provincial schoolkids don’t lead fashion, as he should know, having been one. Also, there is far too much (apparently inaccurate- she has never cleaned up) stuff about passingly popular Spanish Britpop band El Astica, largely because Justine talked and Damon didn’t. And of course, there’s the hypocrisy involved- I voted for Blair in 1997 because he duped Noel and Albarn. If he couldn’t fool pop singers then how would he cope against other politicians. In conclusion, John knew there was a story there, but even after he’d written it, he still wasn’t sure what it was. I’ll send the original review if you want.

  2. PadsCasinoOnlyLivingSomethingOrOtherInStatenIsland

    12 June, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    “25. Listening to Neil Young’s Living With War in its entirety, for the first time, over these first few miles. A record I think I’ll need to write about in more detail some time very soon.”

    Something to ponder: Aside from “America The Beautiful”, would these songs had a little more kick to them and become a bit more auto-realized had he had Crazy Horse (with a second guitarist) with him? The way the 100-voice chorus sounds, would the close Crazy Horse harmonies be just as powerful? (witness “Mother Earth”, “Love And Only Love” from Ragged Glory or “Slip Away” from Broken Arrow fro comparison). It might be a frivolous criticism but I reckon to keep the opposition’s mouths shut good and proper, these elements could have perfected the album.

  3. 19 June, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    Snotty
    I’d be happy to see your review of The Last Party. I’m enjoying it so far and haven’t yet got to any parts I strongly disagree with, but I’m a big sucker for overalll pop history books.

    Paddy
    I think Neil’s message is actually better served by the caustic recordings and massed choir – but I’m hoping to write some proper words in order about this album and will make my point a little more coherently then.

    Cheers!

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