It's like a splitting of the self. First you're there, and now you're here, only not all of you is here, not yet. The body can cross the Atlantic in seven hours but the brain takes longer. And before it catches up to you, you're adrift. Tuesday evening. We've been here less than 24 hours. We've spent the day wandering through empty industrial alleyways in Brooklyn, standing by the water staring out at the cityscape, taking photos of the graffiti on walls and the abandoned domestic items--sinks, stuffed animals--in abandoned lots. We decide to have a beer, and they're playing the Spurs vs. Man Utd game on the television and it's almost like we haven't left home. Then we come out into the cold street and a woman on a pay phone is yelling, what TV, there is no fucking TV.
Then we head to Shabby Road studios so Ben can pick up a guitar. We sit on the sofa; a fat cat sits on her hind legs, places her paws together in prayer for a little nibble. There are guitars on the wall, magazines and cables on the floor. Four pianos, a drumset, a collection of derelict TV sets, a shiny red accordion. The room is lit only by candles; we stay too long, forget ourselves, and when we emerge it is dark and I am feeling dizzy.
We take a cab across Brooklyn. I am light-headed and ask Xander to talk to me in case I fade away completely. It's open mic night at the bar and we listen to some bad poetry and then a girl in black leggings gets up on the stage and places an enormous feathery hat upon her head and sings "O Mio Babbino Caro" as if she was in an opera house, spreading her hands, opening her mouth to let loose her voice. Then, hat still on, she stands at the microphone and belts out a pop song, gyrating her hips like an MTV superstar. My mind is somewhere else--half asleep, perhaps. I'm still waiting for it to find me. In the meantime, we have another drink.