We’ve not even taken off and people are looking nervous. Not because the crew are running through the safety demonstration but because there are things missing that are taken for granted in the age of Netflix and 24/7 on-tap entertainment. There are no screens and no usb sockets. Some people are staring uncomprehendingly at the back of seat in front of them and others are fumbling around their armrests and whimpering. It must be here somewhere…it must be!?!
Norwegian air. Eight and a half hours with no films and no food. I like Scandinavian minimalism but I feel that if Ikea had an airline they’d at least serve meatballs and show thrillers where pony tailed detectives drink endless coffee and drive through forests.
But they did get me here and that should be applauded. I hit New York late last night and snaked my way through immigration. I even got a jovial border guard who looked at my Harlem address and said
“I grew up in that neighbourhood in the 80s. Never used to set foot outside without an armoured bear.”
Some baggage handler had deposited my guitar case in the middle of the luggage hall. It was sitting all alone looking nervous. My Indian taxi driver made his way towards Manhattan using only the accelerator and the brake, often at the same time. The rocking motion and the Bollywood style radio drama he was listening to sent me to sleep and I woke up with the Hudson off to my right and night-time Harlem glowing in neon tones.
It’s the next day and I’ve made my way to Brooklyn where everything is craft; the clothes, the beer, the bikes. I think even the dogs are craft; made somewhere off Bedford Avenue according to the seasons fashionable size and colour. Silky terriers are in it would seem. You can walk around with one in your backpack and they stick out like Gremlins. It’s all about accessories.
I’ve just picked up my festival artists badge from the Williamsburg hotel and managed to avoid entering the mythical Rough Trade Records in the next street, remembering that I’m here to sell records rather than buy them.
Back here tomorrow to meet and greet before heading deep into Long Island for a radio show…
French version published daily on the ROCK MADE IN FRANCE website: