Something of a frustrating day all round. The weather sucks again and I think it just has a way of getting into peoples' collective psyche. Things will be better when we've a had a few dry, sunny days.
I ended up by unfortunate chance at one of the most unpleasant stations I've played at yet. I was riding the 7 line out to Queens when the train came to a sudden, jarring halt between stations. People on the benches slid along them; I was standing, and if I hadn't been holding onto a pole I'd have ended up on the floor.
These things happen, but I got off at the next stop - together with some passengers who weren't too happy - and decided that wherever it was, I'd just play there for a while.
Bad call. Hunter's Point Avenue station in Long Island City is a pretty depressing place to play, if truth be told. I read a story recently in one of the city papers that budget cuts had led the MTA to reduce the number of station cleaners it employs across the network from 1.5 for every million journeys to 1. This is one of those instances where the statistics in a story come to life.
I played for just under an hour - the only upside was that trains didn't come through too often, the downside was that there were next to no passengers. I used it as a practice session and maybe persevered longer than I should. I think this was also the first station I'd played at where I didn't even get a smile or a nod from anyone, and I guess that fed back into my own mood, as I definitely wasn't enjoying it by the time I wrapped up.
People Get Ready - Curtis Mayfield
Drift Away - Dobie Gray
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles
Romeo And Juliet - Dire Straits
Waitin' On The World To Change - John Mayer
1952 Vincent Black Lightning - Richard Thompson
Desire - Ryan Adams
The Waiting - Tom Petty
Tracks Of My Tears - Smokey Robinson
Heaven - Bryan Adams
As I was packing up, the only people on the platform were three student filmmakers, who I'm guessing were looking for some urban "gritty". We eventually rode together a couple of stops up to Queensboro Plaza where I connected to come back downtown. The above-ground section of track after Hunters Point is lined by some huge, graffiti-plastered warehouses which have, I'm sure, already provided the backdrop to way too many broody student films.
There was one gem later in the day, though. I was on board a rush-hour train and the doors were about to close at a busy station - I think it was 42nd. At the last moment a guy, who had obviously been for lunch at a nice restaurant somewhere, hurried up to the doors and for some bizarre reason thought he could hold them open using his doggie bag. He couldn't. Squashed leftovers.
Later, on a platform downtown, I ran into Neysa Malone who was singing and doing some dancing. She didn't want me to take any video, which is cool. She's pretty good, and you can check her out on her MySpace. Reminded me a little of Neneh Cherry or Cyndi Lauper.