As esteemed individuals point out, today is the festival of Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year. It’s a time for reflection on the year gone by, a time for celebration of a brand new year, but also preparing for repentance for our sins in the last twelve months. I was sitting in synagogue this morning, amidst all the ritual pomp and tradition of the ceremony, when it was time for the rabbi to give his sermon. Like Derek, I don’t claim to be the most devout Jew in the world, but it’s hard not to feel something when you’re absorbed in a sense of family and community, sharing in the feeling of the day. The rabbi spoke about the implications of the human genome project, and cloning, and the fragility of life, but what struck home the most was that the greatest gift we have is our individuality. Like so many things in life, it’s a beautiful thing when you can rejoice in your uniqueness and the defining traits that make you you, but it’s even better when such varied and different peoples, ideas and styles can find some common bond which unites them in a community. Whether it be something you do in a place of worship, a sport you play as a team, something you share on the internet or practically anything that links you with another person, it’s special. I know this is neither kitschy not bitchy, but on a day of introspection it just felt right. L’shanah Tovah: a sweet new year for you all!
Archives - September 2000
It’s been the longest three weeks, and yet it’s been the shortest – either way, it’s been one hell of a three weeks. There’s nothing quite like travel, and the unfortunate thing about having a great time is that it gives you the urge to do it all over again. Three weeks, four states, four flights, three time zones, over 100 photos, a thousand memories….
- walking the overwhelming journey of the Holocaust victims at the memorial museum in DC
- observing the manic ravings of a Republican senator whilst sitting in the gallery in the Senate chamber
- being scared out of our very soul by the wicked glee with which an FBI agent demonstrated an automatic sub-machine gun at the end of the FBI tour
- taking in the vibrant atmosphere of Dupont Circle
- resolutions made whilst delayed at Cleveland airport to find out where the hell Cleveland actually was
- luxuriating in floors and floors and aisles and aisles of books in huge superstore-esque bookshops
- pursuing a policy of ‘blendage’, whereby we would do our utmost to avoid looking like tourists: however the inevitable backpacks and occasional picture snapping, or the odd surreptitious peek at a map or guidebook are all sadly tantamount to walking around with a giant flashing neon sign bearing the words ‘non-native moronic tourist, probably lost’
- dying a death at every meal as we collapsed under the weight of American portions
- astonishment at every occasion how inexpensive everything is in comparison to British prices – and subsequently seriously supplementing our book and CD collections
- falling in love with NYC
- lazy Saturday in Central Park
- lazy Sunday sipping coffee in sidewalk cafes in Greenwich Village
- marvelling at the wall-to-wall capitalism of Times Square
- being accosted by a disgustingly perky-looking MTV casting gal who tried to coax us into making up the screaming hordes of hormone-ridden teens on TRL
- movies, movies, movies, movies
- watching angry New Yorkers with no teeth skate around a rink at breakneck speeds, beating the shit out of a defenceless puck (and each other) at a Rangers training session
- geeking out with Andy
- feeling about three inches tall if ever the urge to have a beer/long drink struck, as we debated whether to risk the humiliation of being carded for the first time since we
- being all bagelled out after gorging on a diet of NY Times, bagels and cream cheese for a week
- giving into our inner kitschiness and watching episodes of Fraggle Rock and The Muppet Show whilst at the Museum of TV and Radio
- thinking how surreally like parts of Britain Boston is, yet so quintessentially American
- watching a man juggle six basketballs whilst balancing a metal shopping trolley on his chin in outside Faneuil Hall
- being handed a three-kilo tray of strawberries for free at Haymarket when we tried to buy a small punnet, and consequently being stalked for half a mile by an eccentric Italian bloke who kept insisting we accept a bite of his half eaten piece of pizza (and off loading the rather cumbersome load of fruit onto an unsuspecting chef sat outside a trattoria in the North End, who probably had a special of fresh berries at $5 a pop that evening courtesy of two nutty English girls)
- being walking cliches as we swooned at the US naval officers (in full spiffy white Uniform) giving tours of the USS Constitution
- enjoying dinner and (quite a) few beers with the wonderful Billy and his friend Paul, being regaled with hilarious band tales of yore
- acquiescing to the acceptance that we were tourists and therefore avoidance of the aforementioned duck tours on the basis of not wanting to do something so obscenely touristy was just daft – and actually boarding Beacon Hilda for a tour of Bah-stun
- choosing the one day of torrential rain to take a trip out to Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod
- filling our rucksacks with approximately one kilo of clothing, about seven kilos of books and CDs, and managing to lug it all (plus assorted other bags) from the Y to the Station, on the T to the airport, from Gatwick airport to Victoria station, from Victoria to Euston, from Euston to Manchester, and then home, without toppling over even once. Yee haw!
Photos and the full account being prepared as we speak, so watch this space…
So this is it. Katy is back from the land of kitsch and ready to take over the reins once more.
I sincerely hope she’s brought back a whole stack of I [heart] NY t-shirts, dodgy doggy fashion items, velvet elvis paintings, tschochkes (or however you spell it) for the mantelpiece and hula skirts. Maybe a novelty ashtray or two, too. I’ll be insanelydisappointed if she hasn’t.
Well, a girl can always live in hope.
So our work here is done. We’re packing up our snide comments and cynical attitudes into our labrador-shaped bags, and mozeying off into the sunset, in the most bowlegged and cliched way you can imagine. Well, how else could we possibly leave? There was a suggestion of swinging out on a trapeze (the circus is pretty darned kitschy, dontcha know?), but Luke refused to get on, and then all hell broke loose and …well, you can picture the rest.
Anyway, it’s been fun. There are so many kitschy things we didn’t have time to mention, including
- Morning TV Hosts
- Russ Meyer
- The Pope
- British Coastal Resorts
- Franklin Mint
- Wicker Furniture
- Anything which involves Optic Fibres
- Gold Taps
- Turtlenecks in pastel colours
- Jewellery involving coinage
- Those hideous “art” works involving copper wire wrapped around nails hammered into a bit of chipboard
- Meat that comes in a can (especially if you need to open it with a key)
- Dogs in spacecraft
- Three wheeled cars
- Chicken in a basket and
- The space age.
Damn Katy, can we come back next year and polish them off?
The wanderer returns! Bloody knackered, not having slept in 24 hours, and in dire need of a long hot soak in the tub, but I’m absolutely exhilarated from a fantastic three weeks – once I’m clean and human again, the online account will be up shortly. Props to Meg, Luke and Nick for their splendiferous guest-blogging: service will be intermittent as I’m off to university in just three days time (eek!) but I look forward to returning to a full level of kitschy bitchy goodness…