old new york.

I was reading somewhere yesterday, god knows where, that waxing nostalgic about previous eras in new york history is all the rage. I can understand that. I feel like I left new york when maybe it needed me, or maybe I couldn’t have changed a thing. I’ve been living in london since 2003, and I really miss those old new york venues where we used to have chickfactor parties. in the early days it was under acme, a nice chilled-out room with blue xmas lights and a party vibe, where we had our little things. I think we had to pay a $150 deposit, and in the end we had a falling out with a certain soundman who thought he would ruin one of our parties by “losing” our special party music and putting on tori amos instead. later the venues of choice were mostly fez under time café and tonic, two very different rooms. we always had shows at fez because they let us have all ages shows there, but the gold lamé/red velvet vibe was parfait for our events. it was easy having events there, despite the bossy hosts and hostesses, the two-drink minimum (pretty funny when you realize that your waiter is never coming back to take a second drink order) and the strict, giuliani-era no-dancing laws. still, what could be better than a venue that serves chocolate cake until midnight? tonic came later, and had none of the velvet-rope baloney that fez occasionally had (time café was a very busy venue on weekends, so we can understand its need to herd its clientele), good sound and good vibes. our shows were usually on sunday night, because tonic usually only had jazz, klezmer and other non-pop music on the menu. the loss of these two places is a real shame. I walked by the chinese something or other café that now occupies the old time/fez space a few weeks ago and all the well-heeled yuppies brunching outside made me feel melancholy. where was brian? where was ellen? the nice bookers I used to be able to call and book a weekend from without even knowing who was playing. that would never happen in london (where I need £700 deposit for a weekend cf event at my venue of choice). I was so distracted that I even forgot to look at acme to see if it even still exists (does it?).

ps. did you know that the cover of get lost was photographed inside the time café?

go see pipas.

pipas are currently on tour of the two coasts in the usa. see them in los angeles on 24 may (knitting factory with the clientele); brooklyn on 27 may (luna lounge at the pop fest); and manhattan on 8 june (bowery ballroom with the clientele). it is only a matter of time before they are filling stadiums and you will be hearing their music in tv commercials.

photograph: gail o’hara

eurovision 2007.

I returned to london from new york on thursday morning and the whole town was talking about eurovision. (well, at least the trio of people I saw on saturday night were). here are some scintillating images for those of us who missed the actual event. sadly our old eurovision reporter roger, who used to actually go to the damn thing every year, moved to san francisco and doesn’t go anymore.