R. Hell Site Forum Message
Re: Wander... (Hell about NYC), pt. 1
|Posted by:||Roy Suggs (email@example.com)|
|Posted on:|| 15 Oct 1999|| |
Hell told me he might lose nerve and make me take this down because he wrote it in an hour for an audience 10,000 miles away, but I couldn't read Alien's post without thinking of this thing RH did for the Tower Records house magazine in Japan (where it was published earlier this year). They'd asked him for a couple hundred words about NYC for musicians:
I grew up in the suburbs of a town of 150,000 or so people (Lexington, Kentucky) far from any major metropolis, but I have since traveled to all the burgs of any size in this country. Some of them have their appeal (New Orleans, Memphis, Portland, even Los Angeles), but compared to New York they are all embarrassed. New York is the only city in the United States.
The thing that sets the place apart is that in New York you can depend on finding the best of anything, anything people do or make, whether it’s shower curtains or heroin or sonnets or brain-surgery. There are other cities that do some things just as well—New Orleans food and music, say, or L.A for deception, this place or that for glass-blowing or cow-punching, but New York is the only place where you can be sure of finding world-class examples of anything you can think of. It’s the definition of stimulation. That’s why people who want to do something well tend to move here.
New York isn’t easy though—you’ve got to really want it. When I first got off the bus I didn’t know anybody here, and I didn’t know anybody I really wanted to know for a long time. I had just turned 17, dropped out of high school, and come to be a poet. I had $100 but spent it all the first weekend. I went looking for a job and all I could think of was Macy’s (Famous), where I ended up as a stockboy asking everyone in my department (tableware) if I could be their roommate. The guy who agreed lived in a single furnished room, toilet in the hall, on E. 14th Street. I had to share the bed with him and he was a heavy drinker who used to come in late at night and vomit all over it. We’d eat by shoplifting from the store’s gourmet department and scavenging leftovers from abandoned trays at the automat next to our building. I was pretty happy. It’s true everyone is a stranger here, but that’s what makes it possible to be what you want to be.
[cont. in next email at www.richardhell.com/cgi-bin/forum/showmessage.asp?messageID=95]
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