Notes From The Bar.

Transcribing journal notes can be entertaining, especially as I prefer to write in bars. I do this for various reasons—my current living situation doesn’t allow for undistracted periods of writing, my subconscious prefers pen-on-paper to pixels-and-wires, and since I can generally handle my liquor I usually get a good 3-4 hours in. Not a lot of time—but enough to get thoughts down and clear the head for new experiences.

These days people seem to be less tolerant of someone writing quietly in the corner or at the end of the bar, and I’m not sure why. Has the relatively recent concept of bar as “meat market/pickup joint” eclipsed the centuries-old idea of bar as “public-living room” (or indeed, pub as “public house”)? Can’t people imagine any other reason to go out for a pint or two besides finding someone to fuck? This perhaps speaks of a larger issue: lack of imagination.

Which is somewhat ironic, as the folks who consistently annoy me of late with “WATCHA WRITING/WHY DON’T YOU DO THAT ON AN IPHONE/ARE YOU WRITING THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL HA HA” have no chance of getting my phone number (or is it Twitter handle these days?) if they have no imaginative faculties—and clearly they don’t, since if they did they wouldn’t be interrupting me in the first place!

But I’m not here to complain; my intention is merely to post a few of the more thoughtful musings and scribblings on a recent evening out:

– Perhaps this is the night I put away childish things. We’re in the 21st Century; yes, I grew up here but the LES/Alphabet City/East Village of my youth is long gone. It’s dead and will not return. Downtown Manhattan is becoming as useless as Venice—if nowhere near as picturesque, due to the hideous concrete & glass monstrosities that keep getting built up in the area. Something to visit, nowhere to live: deep inside I still resist this notion. But I must free up the energy used by holding on to memories and direct it towards finding somewhere I can actually thrive in at the present moment. The past is gone; time to immerse myself in the now.

– Went to Quest Books yesterday—it was empty. There was nothing there that I needed, or didn’t already have. Yet it was heartening to see that the other two customers in the store were quite young: a black woman with voluminous braids who inquired about singing bowls, and a Latino seeking information on a specific type of stone to use as part of a necklace he was making. There’s hope for the future!

– What is it with these British/European women in their 40’s pretending to be Irish dating young white American boys in their early 20s? I saw this happen a month or so ago at Pacific Standard and now here, with a different couple; in both cases the pseudo-Irish woman is clearly hustling/bamboozling her idiotic young swain. Obviously a sister’s gotta do what a sister’s gotta do; it’s the fake Irish bit more than the fleecing-the-ignorant bit that I find distasteful. I’m deeply embarrassed for the “New Yorkers” of today who can’t recognize a genuine Irish accent.

Spiritual Beggars: early Rainbow with Stormbringer-era Coverdale on vocals. That should be atrocious, but (with enough ale!) it’s completely awesome. Fave album of 2013, with the teeth of Velcro Lewis and Vart Solsystem providing stiff competition.



  1. I always think of you sitting at a bar, diligently writing in your journal! That’s just part of the mental picture I have of you. So enjoy reading about your hitting our old – and finding cool, new – haunts about town. Perhaps a fake Irish accent is something to aspire to?? ha ha!

    • Makes me wonder if there are middle-aged Midwesterners in Dublin affecting fake Noo Yawk accents and trying to pull one over on the locals!

      I’m hoping to attend some readings this week in our old Gowanus ‘hood, but the severe weather may put the kibosh on that. If I make it out, I’ll be sure to post about it later.

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