Two songs ran through my head today. Got up with KT Tunstall's "Suddenly I See" running through my head - a relic, one expects, from watching the guilty pleasure that is "So You Think You Can Dance" on Monday. (Yes, I know, I could troll the Net for spoilers, but hell, I'll let the show unfold on my own time.) "Everything around her is a silver pool of light" is a lyric that's wormed its way into my unconscious, and in any case I'm pleased with any exposure Tunstall got in 2006, given how good "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" was. And "Suddenly I See" comes on as a song of empowerment, with all its chords building up into epiphany.
That was my song about bursting into the future.
The other tune in my head was Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" - the jangle of that opening guitar alone puts a smile to my face. And it evokes a lot of New York memories for me, for some reason: the heat of New York in the summer, Latin festivals (and sugar cane) in Corona Park, Tompkins Square Park.
"I wanted you to show me a copy of the guidebook you wrote", said my friend visiting from New York at a party last week. "So much has changed - half the places you wrote about are gone". And so we reminisced about the "good ol' days" - late 1990s, really, but I suppose even nostalgia can be accelerated. We talked about catching burlesques in Galapagos in Williamsburg, back in the days when the hipsters had only just made their first forays into the place, back before condos, when North Sixth Street seemed half derelict and where I picked up an ancient copy of Fowler's. And we spoke of what was still there and what had left in the East Village, now apparently the site of the discreet charms of the bourgeoisie: Frank, Decibel, Veselka, Veniero (still there); the Second Avenue Deli, now closed for over a year, and countless bars that didn't make it.
Another old friend contacted me today - we had spent countless college hours discussing film, and, come to think of it, when he was in NY we had explored Queens, walking through Jackson Heights and Corona Park. More reason for nostalgia, I guess.
Sometimes I feel that there are all these versions of myself: the person I was in 2001, writing about New York; the person I am now; the person I'm about to become in 2007. And how should I move forward without losing the best of my past? (And how should I presume? says the T.S. Eliot fan in me - thou shalt not be grandiose.) Ah, new years - they always seem to put you at the rim of history and on the cusp of the future at the same time.
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm