FoHDiary Day 2: One Nation Under God
I HAVE MY BAG! I now have access to my laptop, hard drive, recorder, camera, and… oh yeah… my PASSPORT! Spent 5 hours getting it back. Had to get out to Astoria in Queens to some office in a basement of a hotel to wait for my driver to drop off my bag. Met a mad deaf old Irish lady who was very proud of her half price bus ticket for being a senior, and generally had an excellent explore of Astoria. Actually quite a cool place. Queens gets a hard time, but I really liked it. Quirky but honest, and reminded me of NQ.
Losing my bag for 24 hours has set me back. I’d expected to be a day ahead, and would have already done the sights I'd wanted to AND mapped out my venues. Luckily I had a day later in the week I’d kept as a contingency so that’s being slightly rearranged.
I did get to see a few things tonight. Stumbled across Electric Lady Studios, Stonewall, and some cool places (Amelie was a lovely place to have a drink and get into the new Reynolds book). I also went one block uptown from my hotel and saw a huge pit filled with fountains. The 9/11 memorial is a very strange place. And strikingly un-american. I expect statues, and lasers, and all manner of bombast when it comes to how the west memorialises such a traumatic experience. Instead; a giant hole sucking water down into black infinite depths. It doesn’t really resonate with me in the same way something like Fanfare For The Common Man does. It’s dark, it’s depressing, and there’s no hope in it. Yes ,it was an horrific and epoch defining event, and I don’t know how to mark it either. But I know that there must be a better way to do it than with that as a metaphor. Someone doesn’t understand symbolism I think.
While I was out in Queens I saw a few things that really surprised me. Not surprised actually. Erm… changed my opinions anyway. Walking through the suburbs, killing time, waiting for my driver, there was literally a church every 2 blocks. Some big, some smaller affairs. All well kept and obviously used. As I walked further I saw a weird little doorway that offered some Santeria style voodoo stuff and fortune telling. Houses near the drivers office had stickers that said “GOD” with “One Nation” written under it (One Nation Under God. Not particularly inspired that sticker). And while waiting at the bus stop a little hispanic lady in a bubble jacket who was also waiting spied a dead blue jay in the gutter. I heard her mumbling, and realised she was saying a prayer for this little creature no one had noticed.
Religion here isn’t like the way we treat religion back in the UK. It’s not “something private”, it’s something to be celebrated and espoused to all that will listen. Religion permeates the place. It’s literally in the walls. I walked past the bar I was drinking at last night (thanks Bernado) earlier today. It’s inside a converted church from 1812 and I never even noticed. Religion is everywhere, for all to see, and it’s not shameful or taboo. Maybe that’s why these ideas of religiosity and christianity in house music seem so strange to us across the pond, we’re not proud of religion in the same way. In the UK God is something that happens on Sunday morning or in dark moments. It’s not something that follows you throughout your day (I can hear a million roman catholics screaming at me when I say that). Is it odd to have god in your music if god is everywhere else? Not really. It stands to reason he’ll get a look in in every area of life. That being said, I’m in no way convinced that's why house contains so much gospel. That’s too easy a connection to make, and doesn’t really play out when you consider the subversion and subtext with which so much house in the 80s and 90s is filled.
Tomorrow I’m photographing my venue sites (what was supposed to happen today). I also got a confirmation from David Depino to see him on Friday. Still a few left to confirm.
I’ve promised myself that tomorrow my dinner will be eaten with a knife and fork like a normal human. No more pizza from trucks or drinking wine instead of eating.