The Brothers’ Gonna Work It Out

Last night the Chemical Brothers played McCarren Pool, and since the torrential rain had stopped I wandered down to check them out. After a brief circuit outside I found a great place to watch from the kiddies playground, where the sound was amazing and I could see everything from standing atop a small wall. Splendid! They played all the classics, old and new, and had some great visuals going on behind them as always. Haven’t seen them play since Glastonbury many years ago, so it was great to get a chance to dance to them outside again. Thanks brothers!

Oh, and not only did the Chemical Brothers come to play in the ‘hood – but apparently the Vice President of Poland came to visit Greenpoint. The local church was cordoned off and surrounded by adoring throngs of local Poles which was highly surreal indeed.

The Blob Attacks Greenpoint

Apparently Greenpoint, and increasing areas of hipster gentrified Brooklyn, is sitting on top of a huge bubble of toxic oil spill that’s been known about since the 70s! Hmm… I guess since this is pretty much exactly underneath my Brooklyn apartment I should be worried, but then maybe my landlord is using the oil to provide cheap heating. Another fine mess from Exxon Mobile (allegedly).

Healthy Hipsterdom: Toxic Williamsburg

Vice have put together a video series discussing the pollution issues that abound in Williamsburg & Greenpoint. In it they ask whether people would want to spend so much money to move into the new condos that are being built, if they knew how polluted the air and ground around them will be. Well I live in a cheap apartment out near the sewage reclamation plant & oil polluted waterways that they film, and its certainly got me worried. Now spring is back and the familiar background smell of half-processed sewage is returning – it’s never over bearing, but after a heavy rain storm I always find myself wondering if I’ve forgotten to flush the toilet…

Watch it now but probably not while you eat your locally made pierogi.

The Skinny on the New Gap Jeans

Proof positive that Williamsburg rents are about to go truely ballistic… Gap has renamed their new range of skinny jeans as ‘Williamsburg’. I’m pretty certain I won’t be getting a pair myself (even though I have been known to whore myself out to Brooklyn Industries on a regular basis) as a) I don’t want to encourage Gap and b) not sure I’d fit into them. Yep, it’s gym time again.

Who knows what the marketing folks at Gap were thinking with this one. Maybe they’re hoping that hipsters will think it’s so ironically un-ironic that it comes back all the way round into irony? Or maybe they’d just drunk to much PBR.

Gentrification Wars Continue

The Washington Post has a piece on the rapid gentrification of Williamsburg, the part of Brooklyn I’ve called home for most of the last six years. It’s an interesting backgrounder for those of you who haven’t seen the effects on the neighbourhood, and a warning to other neighbourhoods that might soon fall prey to the war between those with artistic aspirations (trans. drinking all day) and people with more money than dress sense. Obviously nothing the artistic members of Williamsburg society say will have any affect on the incoming folks, but it’s sad to think that someday this area will be as devoid of real spirit as SoHo and NoLiTa.

New York Love: IdiotARod 2007

Today was the IdiotARod. A rag tag fugitive fleet of… oh wait. That’s Battlestar Galactica. Sorry. It’s basically just a group of folks who get a shopping cart (that’s trolley to us Brits), dress up funny and then ‘race’ to the finish in a treasure hunt of location finding.

IdiotARod is one of the reasons I love New York: people come together in ‘spontaneous’ gatherings such as this just for the hell of it. They brave possible police action, just to remind us all we’re here, we’re alive and we should cherish the fun and freedoms we have. Especially at a time when so many freedoms are being carefully eroded in the name of ‘safety’.

Next year come along. Or check out Chenguin. Or dress as a zombie. Or santa. Or start your own. I’ll be there.

BTW: In a fit of uncharacteristic timeliness I’ve uploaded all of my IdiotARod photos from today. Go check them out here.


Had a wonderful night out last night in Williamsburg with Laureano down in Iona where I made lots of new chums who ended up asking me to help them set up a refuge for technologically challenged arty-type folks… This was all in-between discussing the usability of various forms of weapon for death-type activities. Oh, and there were cats too.

Apparently in the Iran/Iraq conflict the Americans had helicopters with automatic gun turrets. The gunner would watch a video screen and ‘point and click’ to select the ground targets he wanted attacked. Then, once this sequence of violence was programmed, he simply presses a button and off the gun goes spewing destruction where it was told. Problem was that, on at least one occasion, someone targeted US troops – they spotted this once they’d triggered off the actual firing sequence but were unable to prevent it carrying through its ‘orders’, with consequent ramifications. This design arose from the emotional and psychological issues that many soldiers went through when asked to actually, physically point a gun at someone and shoot to kill, something that is hard to do even for soldiers.

A splendidly bizarre and un-expected evening session, much like the mango chutney and brie sandwich I made earlier which was simply delicious.

You can’t get beta than a quick fit fitta

Went out to see the Beta Band last night. They played at the Supper Club, which is generally a swing club with the most amazing ceiling (blue, with scalloped gold shells and lots of recessed lights). Me and the Andy had a laff whilst trying to avoid consuming too many of the weak, overpriced drinks that were on sale. Bless. The set tended to veer more towards the 3 EPs than the other two albums which was fine by me, backed up with bizarro home videos and the occasional live camera angle of them on-stage from the side (which was quite disorientating). Crowd was the usual mix of static New Yorkers in black and Brits who were moving about a lot more.

Meanwhile the subway, specifically the L line, seems to be moving towards an ever less regular service with consequent increase in chock a block full trains. What’s up with that? Having said that I always love the days when they decide, normally at my stop, that this train will be an express to Union Square… sweet. And, having said that, it’s always infinitely better than the London Tube – which, amongst its flaws, closes at midnight, costs around 3 times as much, is slower (no real express/local lines), more claustrophobic and has no air conditioning. Gotta love them patatas…