There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts

20 December 2016

The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-time

I've been searching for the Christmas spirit in earnest this season, which is a 180 degree shift for me. 

The quest for falling snow and single digit temperatures take me to the Windy City last weekend.
Here I find joy in the smile of the Pakistani man that brings me the best Mediterranean food I've ever had. The smile on my face from the baba ghanouj won't leave.

I walk in the dark under the comfort of great skyscrapers that rise up into the night. Random lights sparkle, Christmas trees faintly glow down onto the icy river. I catch a snowflake on my tongue.
The theatre district is glowing in a twinkling frenzy. I find the Oriental theatre and hand the nice lady my ticket.

The play is everything I hoped it would be, and takes me back to the day the girl gave me the book to read.

A happy memory.
 I leave and walk under the elevated train, watching the snow drifts get pulverized and cascade down onto the street walkers below.

I come to a bridge that crosses the Chicago river. I remember the scene from my favorite Holiday movie, 'It's a wonderful life', where George is contemplating suicide on a bridge by jumping into the icy water below.

He leaps, but is saved. I feel the same, saved that is, and revel in my White Christmas.

10 December 2012


I went to Chicago in hope of finding some Christmas spirit.
Looking for a glimmer in empty streets full of strangers.
A single light to show one the way home.

I find one man that sings heartbreaking truths
in the hope to connect with understanding.
On stage, Ray Lamontagne is awkwardly silent for long stretches,
before opening his soul on us.

03 January 2011

we are The Black Keys, and we are going to play some songs for you.

n., pl., bourgeois.
  1. A person belonging to the middle class.
  2. A person whose attitudes and behavior are marked by conformity to the standards and conventions of the middle class.
  3. In Marxist theory, a member of the property-owning class; a capitalist.
Think about how you put people in little boxes, trying to sum them up into your own little world. I usually do this as I walk past the various characters you find in the first class section of a plane. The suits, trying to pretend to be more than they are, fooling no one. You have the painted up women, with the air of too much perfume mixed with old money, looking like vultures as they wait impatiently for their cocktails. Laid back yuppies and even the occasional long haired, Lennon bespectacled gent, wafting with the smell arrogance and failure, a dangerous combination.

But, I confess, there was a part of me that wanted to sit there, to feel the comfort and luxury. And so I became a little box for others to pass by and sum up, to figure out how this person ended up where I was, in peaceful slumber on my way to unrivaled awesomeness. Sometimes one needs to do good things for themself. I went to Chicago on New Years Day 2011. 

This trip was all about the people, starting with the taxi driver and I talking about the history of his town, the weather, sports and other common daily chatter between two strangers. His accent is thick, sounds like his tongue is coated with smooth peanut butter. He is most helpful, and I like to tip big when I travel.

I meet more friendly strangers, new friends, if only for awhile. Walking the concrete jungle streets of the Mile, I get a windburn across my face. I laugh when I see my reflection. The city is vibrant yet calm, not surprising for the day after New Years Eve. You can still feel the pulse here, the rattling of the city's bones when walking underneath the elevated train, through the magnificent buildings and art found around every corner. I need to move to a place like this, a living breathing metropolis.

As night falls, I almost explode with anticipation of the night to come. From hearing their first album, there was always the dream that one day I would see them play live. I never would have imagined it would be in such a beautiful, historical place as the Aragon ballroom. From the moment I walked under the marquee and in the front door, to when I stumbled out the same door hours later, mobbed by a crowd overcome with energy,  It was a killer, amazing, fantastic night. I might become a groupee, leave my job, and follow them from gig to gig. Such would be the life.

As I climbed back into a cab in the wee morning hours to head back home, I collapsed from exhaustion on the seat. But the cabbie had other plans. I accommodated, listening politely as he asked me where I was from, and then the subsequent questions that follow when I tell him. He tells me that he came here from India fourteen years ago. I ask about his family and he gets melancholy as he says that he left his family home. It is a familiar and sad, but also an inspiring story to me. Family does come first. I hear about the violence in his homeland that drove him to come here in the first place. I ask him if he likes our country. He has many interesting opinions, but we both agree that nothing much will change. The bourgeois's agree and part ways.

(P.S. if you watch the clip below, I dubbed in my own songs during the live performances of the Black Keys. This had nothing to do with the band, but the sound on my camera was the worst, or maybe the recording acoustics in the Aragon were sub-par. But don't worry, it's still worth watching.)