Saturday, April 7, 2012

Road Scholar

Stopped for the moment at the traffic light at East 4th Street, Matty turned a little wistful as he gazed out the car window at the venerable old Bowery Bar across the way. “Do you think people will ever go back there?”

“In a year or so,” I mused, “When some promoter makes a new night there.” What followed can only be described as nonsense as Matty suggested that we could be those club promoters. I was aghast, not forgetting for a second my first failed foray into club promoting in 2001 (not coincidentally down the road from Bowery Bar) that we had just been talking about!  “I’m too old and too disconnected from this community to promote a club night.”  

“You are a pillar of this community!” Matty declared, the seriousness of the statement evaporating faster than the words themselves could leave the air. Sitting next to me in the back seat, ADD Jeff had a good laugh at that. Then Matty added triumphantly, “That’s your blog right there!”

Honestly, I hadn’t given a thought to writing anything tonight. Sometimes I go out just to go out, no matter how wanting my website might be. In fact, my only thought tonight was catching up with Ben Harvey at his Gumbo party at Deity in Brooklyn. And since I spent most of the evening fighting semantically about the show with ADD Jeff and grilling Martin about possible Supreme Court outcomes for the health care mandate, there didn’t seem to be much to write home about. But then Matty and Andrew showed up at Gumbo too and the subsequent ride to Grand Central Terminal delivered all the material I needed.

While Andrew white-knuckled it behind the wheel, stressed about all the late night traffic preventing me from catching my last train, Matty sourced tunes through his iPhone to personally DJ the ride back from Brooklyn. I so rarely get to see them both and I love them so much that it was nice to have this time together, however brief.

But then ADD Jeff was upset about something he heard on the show last weekend. Someone asked me recently what drugs people are doing these days and not being a young person or a drug person, I was at a complete loss. “We’ll ask ADD Jeff when he gets back from the Black Party,” I allegedly (but quite probably) said on the show. Even though I suggested it was the party and not him that was filled with drugs, Jeff feigned outrage, but then seconds later he was explaining what drugs he saw other people doing at the event. So I guess I wasn’t too far off.

“They’re still doing ecstasy.” It was all very clinical the way he said it. Still? That didn’t seem right. It can’t possibly still be 1992. I insisted that it must have left and come back, like cardigans or Madonna. Add Jeff rattled off a bunch of other drugs I had heard of but never done. Apparently GHB has become very hard to come by in New York City. That seems impossible, too. This is the kind of town where anytime of the day or night a governor can get a blow job from a woman who can get a record deal. That’s not the kind of town where they run out of anything, and certainly not moxie or a drug that comes in gallon jugs.Maybe Jeff wasn't anymore knowledgeable about this subject than I was. 

Like a really inappropriate episode of Sesame Street, our conversation was brought you by the letters E, G and K. For those of you who don’t remember the 90s, K (Ketamine) is an animal tranquilizer that was all the rage back when people still knew who Courtney Love was. ADD Jeff the science guy, then started explaining what he had heard about the various forms that Ketamine comes in. If it is liquid then it needs to be double baked. “Like potatoes,” Matty offered brightly from the passenger seat where he had been listening intently. “Like twice baked potatoes.”

Maybe it was the hunger talking but the twice baked potatoes sounded pretty good to me. Much better than the drug that took six steps before you couldn’t walk anymore. “Too much work!” I yelled, “If I wanted to cook, I would have made dinner.” I have no moral problem with people doing drugs. I would do them myself but the circumstances are never right. The only people I ever run into who offer me drugs, I know are also the kind of people that if I had a problem while high, would step over my body and keep going. And besides, all those stories of cooking and baking and sourcing and snorting all sound like a lot of extra work to me. I suppose drugs are for people who are highly motivated and not lazy like me.

This is why I live in the suburbs and I will not be promoting a new club night at Bowery Bar. The discussion about the drugs people do only reinforced for me that I really am too old and too disconnected from this community to get into club promoting, unless it is a club where people mainline twice baked potatoes. I will probably never need to pick E, G or K out of a line-up, but it’s still nice to know how much you can learn in the backseat of a car.


Read more of Derek's adventures in When Nightlife Falls and Colonnade: A Life In Columns. Both are available now On, and in digital form for The KindleThe Nook, and in the iBookstore.

1 comment:

LS said...

You always tell it like it is - or is that like it "Ought-a be?" - anyway it resonates with me and I luv your blog, your 2 books and listening to you on the Ray-Deee-O.... pls keep doin it all, DH