Things To Do During A New York Heatwave
Go house hunting.
For houses with built-in air-conditioning.
And swimming pools.
Hey, you can dream.
Talking of which, wonder why you can’t be going to the Mediterranean this weekend
When, really, you should be
Allow your son to sleep in your office because his bedroom is 100 degrees and your office has air conditioning.
Make him promise not to play on your computer before 7.30 am.
When you know you have no way of enforcing that demand.
Without setting your alarm even earlier.
Eat spicy burgers and drink wheat beer with your dad-rocking friends at Bonnie’s Grill
Hit The Gate for a pint of Old Speckled Hen even though you know you don’t need it
Wonder why you feel dehydrated the next day
Cancel lunch with a friend because neither of you wants to travel on the subway. It’s 97 degrees Farenheit on the street. What will it feel like going underground?
Inspired by a Pub regular’s endorsement of Fire & Skill, the 1999 Jam tribute album, dig out your copy to listen again.
Write a piece about it for iJamming!
Go through 3 drafts.
Decide it’s completely pointless to review a 6-year old album of 25-year old songs, and scrap the review.
Incorporate the important elements of the review in your ‘Things To Do In A New York Heatwave’ piece.
Like how the artist being paid Tribute should keep their distance from a Tribute album.
Unlike Fire & Skill, which was overseen by Oasis’ management, designed by Simon Halfon, and with sleeve notes by Paolo Hewitt – in other words, endorsed by Paul Weller.
Which might explain why he shows up singing a ‘hidden’ track at the album’s conclusion
It also might explain why the likes of Heavy Stereo and Reef were allowed on to phone in dad-rock renditions of ‘That’s Entertainment’ and ‘The Gift’ from a comatose position on the sofa.
Wonder why they couldn’t have asked for Morrissey‘s version of ‘That’s Entertainment’ instead.
Marvel at Buffalo Tom’s version of ‘Going Underground,’ and wonder if you’d feel the same way about it if you hadn’t lived in America for 18 years.
Fall in love with Silversun‘s archetypally English power-pop rendition of ‘Art School’ and decide it’s nothing to do with nationality. It’s about adding something to a song when you cover it.
Compare Liam Gallagher‘s tender (petal) vocal on ‘Carnation’ to Noel Gallagher‘s cynically ironic delivery of ‘To Be Someone’ and realize that the truest words Noel ever wrote were those on Acquiesce: “We need each other.”
Add Ben Harper‘s cover of ‘The Modern World’ to the Buffalo Tom, Silversun and Liam Gallagher versions that you rip to your iPod.
Put the CD back on the shelf and leave the other cuts to collect dust.
Dig out your copy of Substitute: The Songs Of The Who and realize there is absolutely nothing on it you wish to rip onto your iPod.
Except maybe Paul Weller’s version of ‘Circles,’ which differs from The Jam’s renditions of ‘So Sad About Us’ and ‘Disguises’ in that, this time you can tell it’s not The Who.
And maybe David Bowie‘s decades-old version of ‘Pictures of Lily.’
Though it’s sounding pretty tired by now.
By the way, The Who go one-up on Weller and include themselves in the track-listing on Substitute, perhaps believing that just because Kelly Jones is guesting on vocals, this somehow counts as a cover version.
Dig out your copy of Burning London: The Clash Tribute and wonder if there is any song in the world that Moby can’t neuter in an ambient style with a female vocalist
Wonder why only American acts made it onto the album
(Apart from Australia’s Silverchair)
And if that’s why it was so bad
Or whether it’s because it was overseen by Sony
Ultimately the same label about which The Clash wrote ‘Complete Control’
Which might be why nobody covered that song on Burning London.
Unless they just didn’t dare.
Offer respect to 311 for daring to tackle ‘White Man In Hammersmith Palais’
And doing it proud
Note that 311 also did a fair rendition of ‘Love Song’ by The Cure recently.
Wonder if 311 write their own songs.
And if so, what they sound like.
Dig out your copy of I’m Your Man: The Songs of Leonard Cohen and recall what made the Tribute album such a fascinating concept – over a decade ago.
Confirm that Leonard Cohen is one of the greatest songwriters ever to have celebrated his seventieth birthday by still writing sexy songs.
Rip R.E.M.‘s version of ‘Wall Of Death’ from the Richard Thompson tribute album onto your iPod.
Wonder why R.E.M. don’t write songs that good any more.
Wonder why you can’t find your Smiths tribute album from the Matinée label the day you decide to write about Tribute albums.
Go see March of The Penguins
Because cinemas are air-conditioned
The film is cool, too
Very cool. It’s set in Antartica, where temperatures settle around -58 degrees in the middle of summer.
Whether that was Farenheit or Celsius Morgan Freeman neglected to tell us in his otherwise sterling narration.
Either way, five minutes in you will no longer be feeling hot and bothered. You’ll be shivering.
Come away from the movie amazed, once more, by the miracles of nature.
Like the fact that the male penguins go five months without food during breeding season
Or that it’s the males who nest and hatch the eggs
And that males and females alike march 70 miles to their breeding ground during their fourth or fifth year, without stopping, directed there by pure instinct
Or that, while waiting for their spouses to return to the breeding grounds with food – a mere 150+ mile round trip – they huddle together as one living organism for mutual warmth during blizzards where the wind reaches 100miles an hour.
And still go several more weeks without food
Wonder how the camera crews survived the weather conditions.
And even filmed under water
Without the penguins seeming slightly fazed by their presence
In the movie Madagascar, “The Penguins Are Psychotic.”
In reality, they’re an eighth wonder of the world
Aren’t we just a small part of it all?
Decide you’re going to use a Friday afternoon in town to download music.
Discover that there’s only 1 Magic Numbers track on the iTunes American web site.
And it won’t download to your computer.
Go to Limewire instead and download the new Paul Weller single for free.
Realize that it’s not Paul Weller’s songs you’ve grown so bored of, but the production.
Or rather, the lack thereof.
Keeping things simple is one thing.
But authenticity for authenticity’s sake is another.
Download a track by the Long Blondes.
And note how similar it is to Weller’s new single.
In an entirely different way.
Listen to Buffalo Tom’s version of ‘Going Underground’ again and wonder how you missed its brilliance six years ago.
It’s been slowed to a ballad, has a new guitar riff and female backing vocal, and yet in enunciating every word, rivals the original for emotional sincerity
Wonder if you’ll get sued if you post it as an MP3 on your web site to share its wonders with your readers.
After all, there’s hundreds of other blogs that exist purely to post MP3s
But yours is not one of them.
Have breakfast outdoors.
Decide to stay indoors in the air conditioning for the rest of the day. (And night.)
Realize you’re choking on the freezing and patently abnormal air coming through your wall and decide to go outdoors.
To buy a cold drink.
Decide to stay in on a Friday evening and eat healthy and have an early night.
Because you’re always that sensible.
Set your alarm for 6 in the morning.
Because only stupid bastards do that on the weekend.
Perfectly time the subway and your NYC geography to meet the Marathon Long Training Run in Central Park at the Mile 4 marker at 7.30 am.
Thereby gaining yourself an extra 45 minutes in bed.
Not such a stupid bastard after all.
Note how much cooler it is on a Saturday morning than a Wednesday night.
Why, it must only be in the low 80s.
Note that thousands of busy New Yorkers are all already out and exercising.
Does this city ever sleep?
Hey, that’s a good slogan.
Run 16 8-minute miles.
In a row.
Wonder why your legs hurt afterwards.
Get home, shower, stretch and pack your bags in 30 minutes flat and head back into town to Penn Station.
Wonder why your legs hurt.
And why you’re thirsty.
Take a train to the Jersey shore.
Meet your wife and kids at the beach. They had the right idea and escaped the NYC heatwave two days ago.
Realize this is the first time you’ve been on the beach as a family of four.
Pause to savor the moment.
Wonder if it’s true, as one of your old school friends just posited to you, that four is a nice round number,
Or whether it is, in fact, square.
Get all sentimental at your 7-month old sitting transfixed, in 3 inches of sea water.
Revel in the importance of family.
And wonder if you’ve sold your ambitions out for feeling so contented by it.
And whether Emperor Penguins ever experience this sensation
Wonder why you couldn’t have got on a plane to that festival on the Spanish Mediterranean Coast with your friends.
Remember it’s because the air fare had reached $2500 by the time you were invited.
Take consolation that they won’t be sleeping while they’re there.
Wonder if that’s consolation.
Take consolation that Air France loses their luggage and equipment.
Realise that’s no consolation for anyone.
Breath a sight of relief when Air France finds everything in time for your friends to play the biggest show of their lives.
At three in the morning.
Which is around dinner time for the Spanish.
I know: I’ve been there
Understand why the Spanish take siestas.
Vow to take siestas in your next life.
Before you have kids.
Because your 9-year old wants to go back in the water.
And ride waves.
On your back.
When you just ran 16 miles this morning.
Talking of which, wheedle an invite to dinner at your sister-in-law’s.
Because she’s a great cook.
And her septugenarian husband is in better shape than Leonard Cohen
Or good as
But remember that your sister-in-law only drinks Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.
Which necessitates a drive to the wine store.
Because on the Jersey Shore, everyone drives everywhere.
Which is why it takes 20 minutes to get there, even though it’s only a mile away
I plead guilty as charged
Note that most people are buying beer
By the case
Wonder if you’re the only person who examines this store’s 8 – count them – rows of Californian Chardonnay.
After all, it’s your sister-in-law’s local wine store. And she only drinks Kendall Jackson.
Find a bottle of the Dragonstone Riesling 2004.
Hope your iJamming! readers remember that you wrote about it last year.
Knowing that they don’t, offer them a link to the review.
Here it is.
Feel proud of yourself for buying a wine that’s only 8.5% alcohol on the day you ran so many miles.
Compensate by buying a bottle of Garretson’s “The Craic” Syrah. (With a touch of Viognier)
Which came in at over 16% alcohol in 2002.
If such a thing is possible.
Decide you’ll save it for your next get-together with The Killer Kevin, who must also have been looking for the wine as he signs off most of his posts “Chase The Craic”.
And he’s about to go to Germany where he’s promised to bring back better Rieslings than the Dragonstone.
Sunday morning, head to your favorite clothes store in the world, Brave New World at Point Pleasant.
It also sells surf boards.
And snow boards.
Which are half price in summer.
So’s the spring clothing line now that the fall line is in the shop.
‘Fall line’ marking the time of year, not the descent on a snow mountain.
Take advantage of the sale on shoes from the spring line and pick up a pair of skate sneaks by emerica for $37.
That’s approximately £20.
Sorry, couldn’t resist that.
Buy a pair of E&S skate shoes from the new fall line because they’re so comfortable and, hey, they’re still only $60.
Probably because they were made in China.
Which you feel really guilty about.
But then: who doesn’t get their clothing made in China these days?
Lo Enterprises. Their shirts are made in India.
(Which is, unlike China, a functioning democracy.)
And they’re good quality.
And great designs
And only $40.
All the same, long for the old days when a trip to Brave New World presented an embarrassment of design riches rather than what’s now mostly copy-cat clothing mass-produced in China or the antiseptic designs of Abercrombie & Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger
Back when Sean Stüssy reinvented street clothing.
Made sweaters you wore for ten winters straight before they even showed their age.
Before he started making crap clothes that ripped to shreds the first time they went in the wash.
He probably switched his manufacturing to the third world.
Recall attending Lollapalooza 1990, the first one, in San Diego, and marveling that literally half the kids there were wearing Stüssy.
Wonder where Sean Stüssy is now.
And where all those kids are from Lollapalooza.
Maybe they’re still living and dressing the same way, still checking out the surf and skate clothing.
With their kids in tow.
Like the guys at Brave New World whose 10-year old kids carry their own surfboards.
Note how 10-year old surfboarders all have sun-lightened blonde hair.
Just like in the movies
Aren’t clichés beautiful?
Be a little sad that you never learned to surf
Be glad that your 9-year son has already remarked he can’t wait for winter
When he can snowboard again
But in the meantime
When can he go back in the water
And ride waves
On your back?
Wonder how anybody in their right mind can post a bumper sticker that boasts ‘W Stands For women.’
As in George W.
In case there was any room for confusion, the same car window has a Bush-Cheney sticker in the rear window.
Talking of which, a house on the sea-front has three Lexus’s in the driveway.
Naturally, they’re all black.
Though only 2 of them are big Fuck-Off SUVS.
The other is merely a 4.3l sports car.
With the vanity plate 1 TRB
Wonder if the plate used to belong to the Tom Robinson Band.
But seriously, folks, how much money is tied up in these three cars?
And when does ‘how much’ become ‘too much’?
Wonder how anybody in their right mind can post a bumper sticker that asks ‘How Many Miles Per Gallon?’
On a car bumper.
The fact that it was a Saturn is no excuse
If you believe that every gallon comes at a human cost, don’t drive.
6000 workers people died down Chinese mines last year
When did you last see a bumper sticker that said “How many lives per lump?”
Take a train home Sunday evening to catch Mocean Worker‘s live soundtrack to the movie Tarzan in Prospect Park.
Last year Pere Ubu performed a one-off soundtrack to accompany The Man With X-Ray Eyes.
It was incredible.
And all for a donation of $3.
Sadly, where Pere Ubu effectively replaced the original dialogue, Mocean Worker – Adam Dorn to his friends – only intersperses the original dialogue.
Sometimes with instrumental music that fits so seamlessly you forget he’s actually doing it…
And sometimes with well-known pop songs to force the point home.
He also feels the need to interject his own observations here and there
…Perhaps because the movie is so unapologetically racist
…That it’s not enough to just watch it and cringe
…We need to acknowledge that it’s racist
Note how the Celebrate Brooklyn series usually attracts a patchwork mosaic of the mixed metaphor melting pot
But how the audience tonight is mostly white
And, if like me don’t recall seeing the 1932 movie before, are becoming more embarrassed with every minute
Did people really believe all this nonsense back then?
Note that there is unlikely to be a declaration on the credits that “No animals were harmed during the making of this movie.”
Mocean Worker points out that it was a comedy
Perhaps not intentionally so
Though you’ve never seen a less convincing ape costume in your life
Credit to MoWo for doing his best under the circumstances.
It is, after all, a brilliant concept: inviting musicians to compose and play a one-off soundtrack to a ‘classic’ old movie.
And part of the reason Celebrate Brooklyn is a cut above the average summer parks festival
Despite the fact there was nothing else in this year’s series I felt I had to attend
And that Tarzan already marked the festival’s conclusion for the year
And that the English football season has just started
Summer must be almost over
Wake up to another hot, steamy day