Changes to my travel plans has enabled me the opportunity to once again go to, what could probably be the worlds most sought after travel destination. A place where many movies are filmed, songs are sung and in case you were wondering, a place where it’s perfectly legal to walk around topless. To help get that image of my chubby body topless, skin tags and everything, I will confirm I am referring to the Big Apple itself, New York, New York.

Before I rabbit on, here are two interesting facts I learned thru chatting to some local Yorkers.

> The performers you hear on the subway have to audition each year if they want to be officially recognized by the MTA.

> Back in 1907, a car salesman suggested yellow was the easiest colour to spot from a distance, hence why Taxi’s are yellow.

I was getting in late on Wednesday night, mainly cos the Amtrack was late yet again, 2 hours this time, I only needed a gaff where I could lay my head. I also had the added condition of needing something close to Brooklyn, where I would not only be record store hunting, but visiting the Brooklyn Museum to hopefully pull a few heart strings, fill my mind with wonderful songs and while away a couple of hours. That’s no excuse for the £37 a night shithole I did book, called the Bowery Grand Hotel. Let me tell you, there was nothing Grand about the place. My review on booking dot com was ‘If you had the choice between this hotel and a hostel, choose the hostel.’

I’m up sharpish and out for some brekkie, to get a better wifi. Just as well as it’s raining today, but i’m well prepared, I still have the brolly I bought way back in Guangzhou visiting the fish market. I have my route planed. There’s a subway roond the corner that takes me to Atlantic. From there I can walk a couple of km, taking in hopefully two vinyl stores on the way to get to my desired destination. First one was decent, not over priced like many are, but I just have a donder around and head to 595 Washington Avenue. A fellow fan of the old Vinyl music playing has asked me to source out this gaff, before he hits the town in September. Bad news bears for the chap however, it’s now an Indian Restaurant. The only vinyl on the go are the Bollywood tunes playing in the place.

I would stop for some lunch, but I spotted a place up the road called Tom’s Restaurant, which reminds me of some plumber boy, so I head up there, I need to fill masel up for my next museum visit. At this point I will say I have been having troubles with my mobile. When I type a comment on facebook and post it, sometimes, what I post makes its way onto a messenger contact. I can’t explain it and if you have had one from me, this is the reason why. I met a lass a few years ago at Rewind and occasionally we have chatted on FB. The last time was last year until I sent a thumbs up and a message of ‘Just dad to’. What followed was like a scene from a movie as I tried to explain the mix up, asking her to look at the exact same post about the café I was in, but clumsily and genuinely saying I was glad it happened. Were back chatting.

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I’m at the Brooklyn museum to see ‘David Bowie Is’, but as they have timed showings I have an hour to kill. As you get museum access and Bowie exhibit access in the one price, I decide to work my way up the 5 floors to kill some time. If you have not been to the Brooklyn Museum, it’s certainly worth a visit. If I stayed anywhere in the US, I would get an annual membership and visit regularly, mainly as it only costs $75. It’s massive, with many differing exhibitions on the go at one time. Also it has movie showings (art-house) and get together’s, so well worth the money. Arts of Korea, Ancient Egyptian Art, American Art, European Art and collections are the halls I donder through, choosing snapshots that interest me. Collections is the most interesting exhibit, it’s full of modern day (80’s, 90’s and 2000’s), furniture, paintings, toys, stamps and even cutlery we used to have years ago.

There are no photo’s allowed to be taken in the David Bowie exhibit, which is understandable and did not stop one or two sneaking a piccy. Disappointing tho, as I would of liked to post photo’s of the tons and tons of interesting song writing notes, drawings, set designs, outfits and the likes on show. Headphones are the order of the day, its an audio visual exhibition, multiple rooms and the fancy wee box attached to the headphones, pick up where you are and tell that part of the story.

Fascinating, enlightening, but emotional and brings a tear to your eye. If your a fan of Bowie and if you have the money and the time. Take a Friday/Monday off, get a cheap flight over and back with 2 days of clothes and go to this b4 it closes on 15 July. A lot has been donated from private collections of Terry O’Neil and Kevin Cummings and the David Bowie archive. It tracks his career from his early days at home, the various bands he was lead singer for and his, at times desperate desire to be famous and be a style Icon. It’s funny, but it made me think that David Bowie was the original X Factor wannabe, before this was ever a thing, so desperate he was to be successful, to be recognised for his singing/ song writing and as a style icon. This is not my opinion, he says it himself, the X factor I added.

From the ludicrous and spectacular outfits created by Yamomoto that he wore on stage. His movie and stage career, playing the Elephant Man on Broadway, his continual re-invention and elaborate stage designs for his tours like Serious Moonlight to the cocaine spoon he, by the looks of it, worn out in the 70’s. Rob Sheffield wrote in Rolling Stone – “It’s not just a collection of his artefact’s – its a collection of all the different people he was.” The most interesting time it seemed when he travelled from Tokyo via the Trans Siberian and ended up in Berlin, with Iggy Pop of all people, who said of Bowie “I think I functioned as an outlet for his overflow – He resurrected me.”

It might sound cheesy, but around every turn, just when I thought I had seen everything, there was another hall, with more interesting Bowie stuff. It truly felt like a Labryinth of sorts. If I find myself with a spare £500 in my pocket between now and 15 July, I would jump on a very cheap, no frills flight over, stage 2 nights in basic accommodation just to go once again, truly magnificent.











One thought on “Labyrinth

  1. Great stuff Alan and thank you again for making that fruitless pilgrimage on my behalf to the former site of Norton Records. There’s a rumour I read somewhere, or maybe dreamt, that they’re opening a new shop nearby, selling only 7″ singles – their thing has always been classic and less well-known and actually totally obscure rock and roll and gospel and bonkers stuff from the 50s and 60s that nobody else cares about (except me and you maybe). Brooklyn Museum looks great and Bowie sounds great. Shame about your Bowery Grand Hotel – and you’ve got a photo of the Bowery Bank as well. It’s the Bowery Ballroom me and Mrs H are going to in September, so I expect it to be… interesting! Cheerie! GH


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