Tuesday, June 13, 2017

9633. TAKE MY HANGING BASKET - pt. three

-the Jazz Loft, 1967, pt. three -
I've always lived a life on varying levels,
or multiple levels, I guess -  however you'd
want that phrased. It wouldn't matter to me
except to say there were always varied things
going on at one time, sometimes even things
you think would be at variance with each
other, or with me. But they meshed. For
example, as much as I was enamored of
this jazz loft environment  -  really,
wildly crazy over it  -  so too did I
seek shelter and comfort and calm. I
always wanted a house to be able to just
hide in, temperature controlled, cooled,
away from heat and people of the outdoors,
a place to read and work in, and maybe never
have to go outside again. really. In 1972 or
whenever it was, I was enamored of the
chess championship going on between
Bobby Fisher and Boris Spassky, the
Russian guy. Bobby Fisher, much like
Glenn Gould, the pianist, by whom also
I was completely engulfed, was flat-out
crazy. Hermetic. Sealed up. Eccentric.
Couldn't deal with people. A strange New
York type. He played chess to kill with.
He was reclusive and unapproachable.
Never stepping out. (His only drawback,
as I saw it was is taste in music  -  he had
rock music, Led Zeppelin and the rest,
blaring at all times and enjoyed high
volume. Loud stuff.) - But anyway, for
me that was prime : holing up in an
air-conditioned comfort, doing exactly
whatever I pleased, and never coming
out again. Funny. I've reached that point
now, at the tail-end of life; but that's
another story.
The loft-life, it should have had books
written about it, color-books, tales and
fantasy books, whatever sort you'd like.
'To live outside the law you must be honest,'
yeah that summed it up real well. This was
illegal stuff : All of Soho, and any of these
industrial places, without proper plumbing,
heat, light, cooking space, all that. If you
threw a mattress down on the floor, you
were suddenly vulnerable for infraction,
if anyone checked or if the 'checkers'
couldn't be paid off. $30 a month was
about it, back then. One of the things that
often screwed it up for others, if you can
believe this, was death. Suicide. Overdose.
Whatever it was, if it brought the authorities
in, people with a body bag, taking reports, a
coroner, police inspector, that could cause
all sorts of problems. The cat was out of the
bag, so to speak  -  not that they didn't already
'know' about this sort of stuff, but once the
official wheels got turning, they had to
follow-through. It could get ugly. People in
trouble, even the inspectors taking payoffs
then were vulnerable. So that was a no-no
or to be kept hushed up and quest. Take the
dead-guy somehow to his sister Nellie's,
say he died there. Car trip, whatever. It
was pretty horrendous sometimes, but a
lot hinged on it and  -  face it  -  there
really were no laws. Still aren't. Everything's
negotiable even though with more difficulty
now  -  all the careerist and bureaucratic
types who feed off their government livings
and positions. 'By the book' Janes and Johnnies.
People get so boring.
The other thing, of course, was the music.
It was pretty difficult, running a jazz loft
operation, to keep it quiet, obviously; it's an
impossible task. So, they had to know what
they were doing, do a lot of it in the night
(the industrial streets were just, plainly,
emptied out at night. Not any more, of
of course, because all this vacant space
has been turned into legal condos and
expensive lofts and apartments with
night-life, clubs, coffee shops and
dining), and otherwise just hope for
the best. It was an easy set-up; as I've 
mentioned a lot, the world then was a
different place and certainly New York City
back then had none of the amusement park
kind of atmosphere of the sort they push now -
plazas and lounge chairs for people to gather,
plazas, col drinks, kiddie-junk, costumed idiots
running about, main thoroughfares closed to
vehicle traffic (the craziest thing I ever heard 
of in a closed-island place like Manhattan. 
It's nuts. Everyone's always afraid to offend, 
even those in authority, so they just have 
turned everything over to a basic sort of
least-common-denominator status they can 
get away with. Maybe it's all sixth-grade 
level at most. The streets are junk-heaps.
And the other thing that drops my jaw, 
each time, is when some costumed beggar
idiot takes their Disney character mask off; it's
always, underneath it, some low-grade Mexican
or third-worlder doing this crap. The people
putting all hose in-you-face tourist open-air
buses and sightseeing (and they're all over 
the place too) flyers in your face, they're all
Africans, Ibos or Nigerians and that. No regard
for anything at all. Indians selling jewelry,
The whole damn place has been turned over 
to ignorance and career opportunities for 
people with, otherwise, nothing. No one 
wants to step in swat then  -  because we've
given the country away, and we're probably, 
no less, supporting these jerks too. No sense
of American legacy or lineage or propriety.
Everything's just down the tubes. I can say
with confidence that is any of these jazz guys
of whom I write had ever come face to face 
with that, had to deal with such childishness, 
there'd have been some brains in the toilet and
a heap or two ripped off. They wouldn't have put
up with this crap. I'll take crowd that any day.

No comments: