Thursday, June 25, 2009
'Someone told me it's all happening at the Zoo'
Finally a bright, sunny day. Time to play above ground, and time to try to replicate my good experience at the Aquarium.
I went up to East Tremont Avenue, the 2/5 line stop near the Bronx Zoo. It was an eventful journey in itself. On the way up a woman got on with a baby in a stroller. The poor kid was screaming the house down, I mean inconsolable. He must have been teething because somehow he'd got his shoe up into his mouth and started chewing on it. His mother saw this, leaned down and slapped him with a stern "No!"
To which an older woman across the car just said, despairingly, "Now you've just gone and made it worse" and sure enough, the kid had managed to ratchet up a few decibels.
But then the mother went off. "F*ck you! Don't you f*cking tell me how to raise my f*cking kids; I've got two kids and they're doing f*cking fine."
To which the other woman just sighed and said: "Oh, I seriously doubt that."
I love New York.
Then at 180th Street (I'd gone originally to Bronx Park East, thinking that was a closer stop to the Zoo) there was a mechanical failure that had everyone on the platform for a half hour, but it seemed to get fixed pretty quickly and I was able to come down to the next station and start to play.
Lots of people went past including a couple of school trips; it was a nice day and everyone seemed in a good mood. I played a couple of songs for the first time, there were lots of smiles and nods and bopping along. But not much money, unfortunately. I played for about an hour and three-quarters and ended up with $1.40.
Waitin' On The World To Change - John Mayer
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles
Tracks Of My Tears - Smokey Robinson
Bad Moon Rising - John Fogerty
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
People Get Ready - Curtis Mayfield
Queen Jane Approximately - Bob Dylan
Cortez The Killer - Neil Young
Drift Away - Dobie Gray
Galway Girl - Steve Earle
Tonight Will Be Fine - Leonard Cohen
There Is Power In A Union - Billy Bragg
Drive South - John Hiatt
American Girl - Tom Petty
Refugee - Tom Petty
Rosalita - Bruce Springsteen
The station itself has some lovely stained glass windows that look great when the light streams through them. They're designed by Naomi Campbell, although not the supermodel. Here's a couple of them...
One of the difficulties I'm finding with talking to the musicians I encounter along the way is that often they don't want to interrupt their performance time even for a few minutes, either that or we just can't communicate in a common language. I ran into both those situations today, when I came across Antonio Acosta, who was singing on a platform; and a group of Mariachi players who literally passed through my train carriage so quickly they almost forgot to pass the hat. Here they are:
Finally, I'm sure there's still a lot of information to come out about Michael Jackson's sad death today. But whatever you might think of him, or however he is eventually remembered, there's no denying the man was blessed with more than his fair share of creativity and talent.
This is my all-time favorite Jackson Five song. From that delicious opening piano slide to the beautifully understated rhythm guitar and funky bass line, it's just a timeless classic. This rather than Thriller, or Billie Jean or any of those overproduced pop songs, is how I'll remember his voice.