I grew up watching America on my TV screen. I watched Hollywood movies and Independents. I saw Pacino hold up a restaurant in Dog Day Afternoon. I grimaced as HIV was perpetuated through repeated promiscuities on Kids. I learnt to recite every Butcher line from Gangs of New York and yet as familiar as I was with the city, nothing could have prepared me for the city itself.
If I hadn’t known otherwise, I would have suggested that New York was a city in decline. The maudlin cries of the subway buskers complimented wonderfully the destitute and fantastically foul subway system. Above our heads, pipes rusted and sagged and the trains screamed past in great sighs of distress. The rats were as resident as the New Yorkers themselves. We spent our nights in the surprisingly divided Upper West Side and mixed with the white middle classes and their doormen. Across Central Park and up towards the East Side we strayed into Harlem and were shocked at the literal geographical divide between white and black. The trains ran slower in The Bronx. The sped up in Manhattan. There was a clear division of priorities and interests.
Manhattan itself paraded itself with a crass availability, the sight of a street worker at the rises of dawn. All the lights in the world but no sparkle. Time Square was great if you enjoy a barrage of relentless of advertising; meaningless words with no ultimate purpose but in the exchange of goods. The crowds were present but in steady streams, working everywhere but nowhere. Lost and the crowd.
I loved it though. It took me back to my beloved London. I realised I could live here, perhaps not indefinitely but certainly to pass a period of time. I could run the 10km around Central Park daily, taking in the scenery that raised me. I could plan my trips across the great American plains or I could sit in the coffee shops with a faint sense of self-resentment and pretentiousness. I don’t know. I love America and New York but it is everything I have ever known and nothing I have ever experienced. I’ll head back soon but I’ll probably buy a return ticket.
I saw the Tree of Life the other day, Terence Mallick’s offering with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn and to be honest – what there was of Sean Penn was so insignificant and unwarranted it was entirely pointless Penning. Anyhow, there was a beautiful recurring piano piece in the film; a take on Les Barricades Misterieuses by Couperin, that moved me enough that I felt compelled to make a video using the music. It is not so much an absolute work of art, but just a collection of moving images containing my brother who was kind enough to sell his face for the purposes of me running some film. I really love West London and the way it makes me feel when I am home and there is nothing quite like London in the summertime.
Really, this is very overdue. My first actual blog post in some time and I have to apologise for this. Life happened in a big way. In Ecuador, I got the job – did I tell you that, yeah well I got the job and so I quit my current job, because it’s, well, shit and we came back and I’ve been working out my notice. I can’t tell you how it feels to know I’ll be leaving. That job has been a black shadow on my sun for some time now. I have had visions of performing all manner of unspeakable acts in manner of marking my exit, but I fear for lasting consequences and so I’ll probably buy them all a box of chocolates and hope they choke on them. That’s the kind of person I am people.
Irrespectively, we made it back from Ecuador, unscathed (just about). There was more rain than we expected, it was colder than we expected, it held more in the way of altitude than we had anticipated, we spent more money than envisaged, I spoke little to no Spanish (but we knew that already) but ultimately a fantastic time was had. There will probably be further videos to document some of the most interesting parts of the trip e.g. flying across a zip-wire in a gorge in Banos, but for now, a montage will have to do.
For the most part, the protagonist is my girlfriend Nina. You can find her at mariposanina on wordpress. I don’t actually know that’s her name but it’s something to do with butterflies. That word means butterflies right? If you are very keen to see me, there is a fleeting shot of my feet on a hammock in Mindo. My hand makes a cameo too accompanied by some blood (mine too) following a fall in Banos. I think that’s all you fine people are entitled to. If you want to know more about what I look like, please send me an email at email@example.com. I don’t get many emails there for some reason.
So to conclude, here is our montage of our trip to Ecuador. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed filming and producing it which means both of us not just me because Nina is adamant that I make the distinction that she was not just the talent but also part of the creative process and not the overall front for what is my devastating directing capability. The song included is Compay Segundo – Oui Parle Francais.
Stay gold Ponyboy.
You know when you’ve not done anything in a while and then you do it and it’s incredible and you have the best time and you wonder why you squandered all that time scouring online for the best Aziz Ansari video; (well not wasted at all, because let’s face it friends, the man is a comical messiah). Well that happened yesterday.
I’m not sure how, but I stumbled across a Bloc Party song that I had not heard in literally years and felt so inspired, I had to make a video about it. Again. The way I see it – the quicker you guys realise I’m going to be making stupid videos, the better it is for all of us. This particular one showcases Gunnersbury Park in Ealing (West London) as it teeters on the M4. It is one of my favourite parks – as a child and now, simply to run through.
Go and watch an Aziz Ansari video. Then the one above. Or both at the same time. That would be INSANE.
I hadn’t seen my friend in some time and so after my interview in Leeds, I made my cautious journey back down to Birmingham where he inexplicably chooses to live. I say cautious in reference to the fact that there is a distinct problem with heading North in England, and that is the increased population of Northerners and hence risk of encounter. I’m never quite sure what exactly they are saying as meanings are hidden deep beneath forced articulations and colloquialisms. Everyone is eating Hovis, drinking special brew whilst walking up and down cobbled streets with flat caps and a bicycle with a basket in the front, all whilst mumbling something about going ‘down pit.’ Yes, it is a terrifying place indeed. My own special rule, for all of you who are not quite in the know, is to never tread further north than the M25. The moment you arrive anywhere where they don’t toast old Queenie and Maggie T before each and every meal you know you need to get the fuck out. Primitives.
So anyway, I saw my mate and it was nice. We went for dinner at one point where I beat down the urge to get Pizza, only for him to casually throw it into the order. I wanted to punch him. At one point he started talking about ‘Power’ and I told him to shut up and eat his dinner. We’re the best of friends.
Anyway, the point of this video, for any one that cares, is that there is none. This is a Dam Drum, an eponymously made Drum machine and sequencer from Dam-Funk and Stones Throw. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun poking my member at it. What?