<
July 2004
Thursday, July 29th, 2004

I guess I’d say ‘I’m Your Man’, Leonard Cohen’s much malligned 1988 eight track masterpiece, is the perfect album. For me. Right now. I keep coming back to it. And have for the past fortnight. It is wonderful.

A lot of the musical backdrops remind me of early Carter. Especially the spine tingling synthetic rom pom pom on ‘Take This Waltz’. I wrote a waltz tune, in my head, yesderday, as I hobbled up and down the length of Manhattan’s belly. I look forward to exorcising it from my cluttered brain space.

I am reunited with ‘I’m Your Man’ because Sioux Z was the third woman to save me the other day. I had just finished typing out the last entry, which, nigh on pure flow from brain to fingers to keys, took nearly an hour. I looked up from the screen, took in the torrential rainfall about the library in which I sat, and Amy and Cecelia were there, and the Shandaken household could not afford to get to NY en masse. And me, with my less than ten bucks, became the beneficiary of their sweet nature, despite the ugliness which had preceded. They gave me coach fare and wished me luck on my journey. I gave Amy her birthday card, etched out earlier in the uncomfort of the foreign home I was in with other people’s pens.

And I was on my way. I read the New York Times and Spin, and stepped into a New York in the midst of a monsoon. My bloodied, brok up feet hobbled the streets for an hour or so, carrying the bug bit carcass and soddden granny cart bag lady I’d become, a head growing frantic, unable to reach any of my New York people by phone. I considered trying to get into Spiky and Amy’s old flat to escape the flood. And I was hungry.

So, in a moment of weakness, I broke my rule, and went against 16 months of moral righteousness, and escaped the flood under the rancid arches of McDonalds, Union Square. I gave them money, in return for fries and a burger and a carbonated soft drink. And I sat at one of thier littte tables, soggy old New York Times open, and read Al Gore’s speech from the opening night of the Democratic Convention in Boston. I have a new respect for that man after that. It brought tears to my eyes.

My attention was taken by a number of the places patrons, all dirt poor, all crazy. One of Michael Palin’s Python era old men sat to my left, toothlessly burping and slurping a tea through his straggly white beard, occasionally breaking into a violent spaz-out, to the huge amusment of the tiny man child to my right, who’s crackhead mother ignoired his frenzied play, babbling to herself and foaming slighty at the corners of her mouth. I guess the manchild was two or three, and she was in her early twenties. She used to be pretty. Manchild gave up tugging at her leg, as she babbled hotly at the wall. He laughed with joy at the old man. He attempted communication with all who entered. He was facinated by my silly eyebrow jewelry and tatoos. He brought me gifts of straws, and put my rubbish in the bin. He said his name was “Little Boy” when asked, and I said mine was Adam. We drew picures together. “Mickey Mouse!” he gurgled happily. I drew him and Mickey Mouse. He squealed with delight. “Little Boy and Mouse!” His mother continued to babble, clawing at her left arm, white tipped tongue darting over crusty lips. Little Boy drew me a McDonalds arch. He gave me the pen, and said, “Clown?” I drew the McDonalds clown. “MONSTER!” he screamed, and ran about the place making monster noises.

I went back out into the rain after a while. As I got up to go, Little Boy’s mother broke face, stopped her chatter, took her boy’s hand, and said, with a Motherly assertiveness, “say gooodbye to Adam.” She smiled the biggest, glittery smile. Little Boy punched my arm and hid under the table.

Sioux saved me from the rain. At hers I showered, and dried, and listened to ‘I’m Your Man’. My contact lenses had arrived at hers too. I could see again.

And yesterday Paul Western Unioned me some money, and I hobbled the streets with my head held high, in new, clean socks, and I read XXL and I saw Spiderman 2, which made me cry a little, and was great in all the places the first film was dissapointing. In the nighttime I smoked a little weed, and was truly glad of all the things I have.

Today it is Sunny and Hot.

— Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

And so the rain pours down outside this gentle libary in which I type, more by feel than sight, in front of a screen that throbs and pulses quesily, an unclear mesh of half formed characters and bright colours. I close one eye in order to focus on the errors I just typed, then unclose, because the other sarts to dry quickly, causing stabbing pains and more confusion than is needed at this juncture.

No I am not on drugs, dear reader. Drugs are for children and pensioners. I am just half blind again. Is all.

Low as I was, I was not expecting the intense and pathetic dose of poor fortune that accosted me last night. I know I wrote a few weeks ago of The Balance – for every bad a good… but I wasn’t expecting to be assaulted by that force with such relentless ferocity. Ho hum.

See, I was initially going to hitch back to New York from Shandaken today. I have just under ten dollars, and the bus is $29, or thereabouts. But then the guy who’s renting us this big old dusty stone house up this lonely mountain rang and said he was driving that way, should anyone want a lift. And I did. He said he’d be round later, but, at seven or so, halfway through a particularly sdurreal episode of The Simpsons (rendered nigh on unwatchable thanks to Fox’s freakish ad frequency) he called to say he was ready to depart, but I’d have to make my own way to where he was, which was Woodstock. Since there are no buses after 6pm around these parts, I figured the only way was to hitch. I used to hitch a fair bit in my youth, back in North Wales, where the terrain was similar and so was the frequency of the public transport. And my financial means.

So hitch I did. Out onto the open road I headed, dragging behind me my life in a granny cart, trundle trundle, left arm peaking with an angled thumb, and ten or so minutes into my stride, a kindly old gent pulled over and offered me a lift as far as Fenechia, a few miles down the road. He said he used to be a ballet dancer. And upon being dropped in Fanechia, I wandred a further twenty minutes or so, before being picked up by some hippies. Sadly, the hippes were only going another mile in the direction I was, and dropped me at a sharp turning that said , “Woodstock 14 Miles”. I wandered up that turning, which soon became a pitch black and narrow old windy road, much like those back in the Wales of my youth, and was soon overcome with a familiar feeling. A sickness in the belly spread as I wandered this funny lane, and day became night. I passed abandoned old shacks, upon the porches of which lay torn furniture, brokebn electricals, sodden shirts. I came acros a gang of little hick local children, who looked straight out of Deliverance, and tried to give me trouble. There was a small scuffle, some words exchanged. I think my englishness ended up going in my favour, as did some assumed feigned bravado and insolence.

So. Some time later, it now was, and I’d been walking for a long time now. I didn’t know how long. I had not a watch, a phone, none of that. The road was black and I could hear nothing over the rumble of my granny cart. No cars came. Houses were few, and lights infrequent. Bugs feasted on my bare shoulders. Rain dribbled between the trees, that towered on either side of the knackered old road, pointing into the night sky like spears. My trainers tore into my sockless feet mercilessly. A single car passed, and did not slow down.

Later I saw a little light, a welcome sight to me. I had passed one pain barrier, and was now into another kind of barrier. I was talking to myself, cursing, grunting, offering occasional cries into the night. And I saw this light. Blinking. And closer it came. And then I saw it was a roadblock, and I was ovrcome with despair.

So no wonder there had been no cars to give me lifts. The road was blocked. I fell to my knees. And shouted something into the trees. And then I saw another light. A little house. It looked cosy. The windows a mesh of bug-keep-awayer. I knocked on the door. A portly bearded old man answere, and told me the roadblock was nothing to worry about, but to keep to the right, as they were digging up the left side of the road. I used his phone to try and ring Shandaken, to get Gerard who was giving me the lift’s number. I had been andering many, many hours. Woodstock, I was told, was another eight miles. “Downhill, mind, if that’s a comfort!”

But the line was engaged, with that primitive dial up that’s been plagueing everybody. So I headed back out into the night, throguh the barrier. Over gravel, I felt my way through the blackness.

And a squelch.

A wet foot.

A tumbling of rocks, a fall, a sharp pain, a deep wetness.

And me in a big sludgy hole, with stones and wet gravel slapping the back of my head.

Keep to the right my fucking ARSE!

I screamed.

And clambered out. Temporarily losing a shoe.

But out I got. And on I trudged.

After a while, there were a few cars. One, then two, did not slow, laughed in my pitiful face, calling stuff I could not quite catch out of their windows. The rain was falling harder now, and I, sweating trickles of salt water, was thankfull. Then another car. It slowed down. Nearly stopped. A great big silly grin broke out across my wet red bug assaulted face.

Sweet Releif.

But.

Cackles of laughter, the screetch of rubber on loose road, and the car was gone, and so too my hopes for a lift on this ugly black night. I called out into that blackness, laughed bitterly, licked a splash of sweat off my arm, tasting salt and bug, and soldiered onward, downhill, into the black.

At one point I stumbled, and fell down a little hill on the side of the road, and tumbled into a stream. There I lay a little while, scooping up water in my hands and pouring it over my head, down my throat, praising nature for her bounty. A while I lay, listeneing to the night, a welcome respite from the dull roar of the granny cart. And then I up and on, on, on, on, for a long, long time.

Dogs chased me a little later. Big ol’ dogs. Where the energy came from I know not, spent as I felt, but I hoofed that great granny cart up in my arms and sprinted down the mountain, big barking beasts behind me. I ran a good while, until I was sure I was alone again, alone with the crickets and the hungry bugs that I batted off my wet shoulders. And I later came upon the little town of… Bearsville? Bear something. A man told me I was two miles from Woodstock. My heart soared.

That last stretch was easy. I was limping now, feet bloody stumps angled inward to avoid further damage, granny cart rumbling, belching, bouncing along, eyes so wide the left contact popped out, three weeks old, into the air… sweat pouring, veins bulging, I near flew down that road, that final stretch. And in no time, I saw the big blue house, my detination, my goal, and fell to the ground in front of it, panting, grinning, sticky and spent.

I rapped on the door. And waited.

Again.

And

again.

Dude’s big American truck was gone, I realised.

Knock knock.

Knock knock.

Nothing.

I tried the door. And it opened. And there lay a note for me, explaining that he’d been able to wait no longer, and there was a matress and blankets for me, and to get some sleep. I fumbled about in the dark of this foreign home, unable to find the light swicth, but eventually happening upon the phone. I rang Shandaken, and James anwered, and said it was nearly midnight, and Spiky and Amy had been out in the car looking for me for hours.

I found a light. I peeled off my trainers, and saw bloodied, and somehow bitten feet, arms and shoulders thick with similarly huge bites, their surface yellow and red and bubbling. I washed in the sink, and fell into the matress, and today I awoke in a strange place with the rain falling outside, and rethought my plans.

— Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Monday, July 26th, 2004

And the pendulum swings. About 7 hours ago I felt more unloved and unwanted and placeless than I have felt at any point this century, yet now I feel quite chipper, despite having been first out of the Monopoly game we’ve been playing all night. It is strange, this up and this down, and I know not fully what to make of it.

I do know, however, that the stuff I wrote whilst staying in Maryland upset my hosts very much, which saddens me. I didn’t for a second think my observations and musings would cause anyone offense, least of all my generous hosts, but that just goes to show how little I really think about such things, and what little I know of the American mind.

Similarly, my general nature has caused great offense amongst the female contingent in this Big Old House, which too is sad, and I don’t really know what to do about it. I have tried, but it seems I have failed. Oh Jeanne.

So there remains something of the pariah about me, but that is nothing new. I see now that nothing has changed at all, and I am the same duck I always was, in the same pond, flapping about in the same shitty water.

My predicament ensures that I shall continue to be a burden of some kind upon a number of people that I like for weeks, and there really is nothing I can do about it, save continue to try and remain as small and non-consumptury (is that a word? Certainly if it is it is misspelt. But you catch my drift, non?) a thing as I can. So I’m sorry, people past, present, future, whose hospitality I have enjoyed, whose toothpaste, towels, bread, whose water and space… who, for some reason, feel underappreciated, put upon, or whatever. I never meant any harm. And to those that know I am grateful, was, and always will be, thank you again, from the very pit of my tired old heart. You all saved my life.

— Monday, July 26th, 2004

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

So what it’s the same photo? It’s good.

So, I rise late in the country again, and find an empty house. What is it with this place? In New York, I get up at a decent time and get things done. Here, I awake, hear enraged high pitched shreiks downstairs, cover ears, back to sleep… and finallly rise to silence in the late afternoon, where, usually, I find the house is empty

No one wakes me. No one comes in and goes, “hey, Adam, we’re going for a walk/drive/picnick/swim, wanna come?”

What’ll happen is, they’ll turn up later, giggling and what have you, be like, “oh, hey.” Cook themselves some food. Talk amongst themselves. Whatever. I got ten bucks and the ticket back to New York is twenty nine or something. I don’t know what work I can do for two days. Evenings is out of the question, as there are no buses to Woodstock after 6, it’s, like, a four hour walk, and I’m not hitching after midnight. You might have caught me doing that shit as a teenager, but I am too old for possible rape now. Sorry. I’ll hitch in the daytime. Sure. But post midnight is a no no.

Call me a pussy.

No, go on.

So some fucking half inch ant just tried to crawl up muy leg. Normally I’d kill the thing. I couldn’t be bothered. Like, so what? It’s an ant.

“Don’t tread on an ant, he’s done nothing to you…”

Did I mention Arnie callled Democrats “girlie men”? And Bill O’Reilly was on the tellebox questioning The Two Johns’ sexuality? Republicans are hilarious. And why hasn’t anyone said anything about Edwards looking like Michael J Fox yet?

— Sunday, July 25th, 2004

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

So, I got some (ha!) sleep, and I listened to the noises Birddogg was making up here while I was down in New York, doing whatever it was I was doing in New York. Like, there’s some ill stuff. But one in particular is just tremendous. it is mighty. It fills my heart. And prefectly fits so many of the raps I was writing in New York, tempom flow, everything. So, what I’ve done, is draw various raps, and bits of raps, together, to create this New York song that’s been brewing all the time I’ve been here. It is best I get it out now, before I FORGET.

Annoyingly, the necassary component is missing. So piss.

Bad: All the stuff I bought last week – food, drink, socks, weed – is gone. Mostly. I got a lot of Ritz crackers, peanut butter and macaroni.
Good: There’s a Death’s Head Moth on my window. (See right)
Bad: There is animal shit by my window.
Good: The air outside is fresh and envigorating.
Bad: The air in the top level of the house, in which I am supposed to be dwelling, is thick with the stink of animal and of animal excrement.

I went to turn on the sauna earlier, and nearly trod in cat shit. Or dog shit. It could be both. Whatever. It’s like, wow, sauna! Oh, catshit. Wow! Oh. Wow! Oh.
Etc. So, I wanted to go into town and get a job today, to pay for my ticket back to New York, but waited about for people to come with me rather than just doing it, and the end result is it’s super late now, too late to get a job anywhere, and everyone’s going into town to go out, save me, who must stay at home cos he has no ID (this is a worry), and it’s too far to chance not being allowed in anywhere.

A ha!

So I should write more now. I wrote a bunch earlier. Phil is worrying that Amy has forotten his ass, as she went in her tiny car to take Cecelia and James over an hour ago. But she hasn’t forgotten him. It’s just miles from ShanGayKen to Woodstoock! A HA!

I just asked Spiky if he has a message for the world. He said, “spitroast!” So there you go.

— Saturday, July 24th, 2004

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

So, I am in Woodstock today, and it is practically monsooning outside. I am in a wee library, with four old PCs hooked up to a cable connection that is slower than the first 56k I ever experienced. I am feeling kind of mental, as I have not slept, for I stayed up watching Dave Chappelle on Jeff’s Olympian television and was out of the apartment at five thirty am to walk from Bleecker on the Lower East Side to 42nd Street on the upper West Side, to get the seven o clock Greyhound to Woodstock. The bus left from Port Authority, a place as grim and poor as Digbeth Coach Station in Birmingham was last time I was there.

Which was 1998.

The journey was pleasant. I read Don Diva, a terribly spelt and almost awesome super real rap rag, which educated me on a bunch of stuff, like how felons have no rights at all, like they can’t vote and they can’t rent places and they can’t get loans or have jobs that requite lincences, like lawyers or fishermen.

It also ran an outraged article rightly warnign women about the huge and increasing numbers of “homo thugs” getting AIDS in prison and bringing it back for wifey when they get home, where “what goes on ion jail stays in jail”, but failing completely to wonder what an intensely regimented idea of masculinity might have to do with the fact that so many of these terrified, repressed, fucked upon Thugs are having love affairs, not just banging sessions, inside.

I met a safe as fuck war torn bike casualty, who shared with me sleep deprived banter and weed. I smoked some underneath the awning of a little shop in Woodstock an hour ago, shelteruing from the rain, and nearly passed out. I haven’t had any for ages. I am cutting down, with a mind to cease.

But I do see a drink on ther horizon.

Perhaps.

It has been 14 months.

That is ages.

I am a different animal.

So the other night was awesome. Jeff took me to see The Hives, via Asif Yeah Yeah Yeahs McLaren’s birthday, where I bumped into people from London, like Steve McQueen’s mate Jason and that bloody Rory. Met a very dear Blue Nose and Adam And The Ants and Shm 69 fan also, who had an even more elaborate BCFC tatto than I. And some freaky twins. And a nice and lengthy man called Jim. And many other nice people.

It is nice mate.

The Hives’ songs are all two minutes long and comprised of the same chords, and quite amazing. Their frontman is Malcom MacDowel in a Clockwork Orange spliced with Andrew WK and both of that Sasha Barron Cohen’s characters that aren’t Ali G. And Mick Jagger obviously. The gayest bits. He is also very Swedish, obviously.

Incidentally I have somehow sen the most recent Ali G in the US Aii or whatever it is three times. Half of it is mildly amusing, a quater not so, the rest quite incredible. The Gay Converter, this crazy hick reverned guy who goes on and on about Jobe not wanting any virgins and Will And Grace being a pathway to sin and the watching of it an ungodly act. I saw Bill O’Reilly ranting about how crazy “those Islamic people” are for thinking they’re going to get seventy virgins or whatever. It’s like Ben Stiller’s Daredevil calling Halle Berry’s Catwoman obscenely idiotic ill advised intensely embarasing super gay cock.

— Friday, July 23rd, 2004