FoHDiary Day 7: Wide Open Space
Travelling day. Up at 5am to get to Chicago from Newark. I feel like I saw the best of New York this morning. Sunday 5am. The place was quiet, almost deserted. It's the calmest it's been for a week. Racing down empty streets was very filmic. Williams would have been proud of some seriously lovely aestheticisation happening in conjunction to I Break Horses' Winter Beats.
Landed in Chicago and grabbed an uber into the city. It certainly feels different here. It's more spaced out, less confined, newer, cleaner, more sterile if I'm being completely honest. Almost every single high-rise looks like it was built in the last 20 years. It also seems incredibly gentrified in the downtown area where I am. It's full of families and couples out for a sunday stroll down to the pier or eating the biggest eggs benedict I've ever seen. I couldn't deal with any of it, running a fine line between exhaustion and confused angry man. Instead I went feral on a footlong subway before I had my first interview in this city (Suzanne Palmer).
One thing was particularly noticeable on my drive into the city. I found the wide open highway, and lack of towering buildings surrounding me a little disconcerting. There was a quick flash of agoraphobia to the whole business, and felt a lot better once we'd hit the city proper and I was once again hemmed in on all sides by glass and concrete. I completely now understand those stories of New Yorkers who never leave Manhattan. When you've been surrounded by giant sentinels guarding your every flank I can understand how the appeal of the Hamptons or Fire Island is somewhat lessened.
I met Suzanne Palmer for an interview yesterday. She kindly came to the hotel to meet me and we chatted for 2 hours. That's going to be a LOT of transcription. But we did get into some really interesting material. She can certainly spin a yarn, but is incredibly fluent at connecting disparate dots into something more cohesive that tells you something more about what you're exploring than just a simple straight "yes or no" answer. And I did the thing I was dreading in the interview; I opened up the pandora's box of race. Speaking to a White vocalist working ostensibly in a Black or African American form of music (house) it's certainly a consideration worth exploring. And Suzanne offered some interesting insight into the way her voice has often been perceived by some of the powers that be as "too Black" (as a negative). We also got into the queer theory stuff, threw in some spirituality and Simon Reynolds for good measure. All in all a very successful interview. OH! And we talked at length about the work she did with Mark Picchiotti and (drum roll) there's some new material coming out from The Absolute. Very exciting as far as this project is concerned.
Monday is Vince Lawrence, a bit of sight seeing, and some record shopping. The whole time in Chicago should be much more relaxed. Less walking, More interviews and chatting. This is the point where I gather a lot of really solid qualitative data from various people.