Monday, February 3, 2014


            I’ve been listening to a lot of Elton John lately.
Strange. I always resisted him for some reason. Maybe because my folks were really into him and like any spoiled brat, tried to resist his music. But it cannot be denied. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Rocket Man”.
So many soulful tunes—emotional, real and true.
Which is all you can ask from a song. 
             As most of you know, I’ve been lost in the dream of myself for the last couple of weeks (and ending in about 22 hours) down here in the now sleeting city of New Orleans, Paris, France’s punk rock stepchild. Yes, I said sleeting.
No more of those languid afternoons falling asleep on the porch with a straw hat on (that happened). This sleeting reminds me of a place like, hmmm, what’s that place called? You guys know what I’m talking about. Shitloads of people constantly around, usually hating on something, not smiling…right, New York City. This terrible weather reminds me of New York City. My home for the last 8 years. The place that has made me (and I’m sure countless millions) realize exactly who I am as a person, as a soul, as an artist. Because, putting it simply, New York is the place where the fat burns right off of your personality, shaping you into what you actually are.
As one of my customers (a native New Yorker) once told me: “You don’t move to New York to be something. You move to New York to become what you actually are.”
            There is no greater city in the world that relentlessly tests you and what you think you are. Yes, your flaws are readily handed to you on a silver platter. Conversely, your skill sets (already present or quickly learned) expose themselves as well. Before I moved to New York (and I sort of want to hug that guy, whoever the fuck he was), I had many ideas about what and who I was. Now I know exactly what I am. And the only things I’ve lost are my illusions.
Bye, illusions about life, I will miss you.
            This may sound like I’m the one hating now. But anyone who has ever lived in New York will tell you; it is taxing, and not just in the pocket book, but on your precious soul as well.   
            So as I watch the minutes count down before my grand (or humble I should say) return, I can't help but to think of the differences between these two very strange American Cities. 
            There are not as many differences as one would think. Both are rich in cultural history. Both have some lovely cuisine choices. Both attract very odd personalities. Both towns are certainly not short of drinkers.
            The one glaring difference brings me back to the whole Elton John thing. The people here in New Orleans are not afraid to bleed openly. To suffer in some open, public, and romantic way seems part and parcel round these parts. People wear their flaws on their sleeves, and whether they judge you quietly after the Southern Hospitality wears off, they just don’t care. There’s something so relieving about that experience, being around people who know all too well about life’s unfairness. Now I’m not saying suffering is unique to New Orleans, this whole goddamn life is suffering (just ask Buddha, one of his principle tenants). Yet, despite openly suffering, there’s a universal sense of humor, comedy, and straight forwardness about life’s less-than-gorgeous moments. It’s that fucking smile, my friends. Everybody’s got one here when they greet you. And it’s emotional, real, and true, just like those ballads of Mr. John (not to be confused with Dr. John, whose music is now playing at this bar as I write. “Right Place, Wrong Time”, for those keeping score).
            I love the wounds of this city. There’s not a crack in the sidewalk that needs to be filled. People here in New Orleans aren’t afraid to bleed openly. There’s a beauty in suffering down here, a poetic knowledge of the tragedy of life, and bravely approach that darkness with music, fun, and gaiety:
In spite of everything.
Now that’s what I call some American spirit. I am aware about now readers that you are probably thinking to yourself: “Hey Matthew, why don’t you just fucking move there already?” (said in New York accent). Yeah, I get it. I still owe New York just a little bit more blood.
I was thinking of the great philosophical question walking down a rainy Magazine Street this morning: “If a Matthew fell in a forest and there was no one to hear him, would he make a sound?” I thought. Not unless the birds and the creepy crawlies read blogs…

(NOTE: At the end of this sentence, I started talking to this young writer guy and we ended up in a dialogue about art, music, etc. It was wonderful, feeling this form of simpatico with any human. We were at the Rendezvous Tavern on Magazine Street, a small lovely dive with a nice bartender and unbelievable drinks deals.
However, as the dialogue increased in energy, I noticed someone behind me. A squat, fat, balding, sweating man leaned on the bar, in work boots and dirty jeans, just staring at me with anger and vehemence in his eyes. And it was just 530pm.
Now, I would never let some guy who looked like The Thing with death in his eyes ruin a dialogue filled with such glory and truth. So I ignored him. But if I had made once slanting look he would have struck first. New Orleans bars never close, so this guy could have been on the cocaine/booze/labor job train for the last 3 days. Or maybe just thought our talk of Oscar Wilde was worthy of a beat down. Who knows? Who cares? New Orleans is dangerous. Sometimes it’s not only the ghosts you might have to contend with.
Either way, I thought I erased this blog down, but it turns out, it’s alive and well. Here it is. Happy Drinking! Next we will discuss Married/Single life and the pros and cons of both. 
And if you're still not following me on Twitter, get on that shit @ADrinkPleaseBK)




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