Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Please, Please, Please Do Not Go-oooh..."--An Open Letter To David Byrne On This, The Eve Of His Departure From New York City

Dave, Dave, Dave.

Early in this blog's life, when I was still anonymous and it was still funny, I went to an event under the auspices of The New Yorker Festival called "David Byrne Presents: How New Yorkers Ride Bikes:"


I never thought about David Byrne very much before starting this blog.  Having assumed my cultural identity in the 1980s I was of course well aware of his music because by then it was everywhere: the radio, MTV, movies like "Down and Out In Beverly Hills" (still one of my favorites), and so on.  At the same time, I was too young to have been aware of those vital early days when Talking Heads and Blondie and Television and Patti Smith and whoever else were all underground and playing at CBGB.  By the time I was old enough to seek out music by myself (you had to travel to an actual record store back then) those days were long gone.  I do remember going to the Tower Records on Broadway in the Village when I was still trying to get a handle on my musical tastes and buying both "True Stories" and "Jealous Again" by Black Flag.  While the Black Flag album was already old at that point it spoke to the kid I was very plainly and in a way that "True Stories" simply did not.  (I still have the Black Flag record, though I have no idea where "True Stories" went.  I'm sure I jettisoned it at some point because it wasn't a "hardcore" record.)  Certainly as I got older I became more sophisticated and gained more of an appreciation for David Byrne's place in underground rock music, but I was never, like, deeply into his stuff or anything, mostly because by that point in my life I was way too busy with bikes and work to spend lots and lots of time geeking out over music.

And that might have been that, but then I started a bike blog, and suddenly David Byrne was omnipresent.  It was 2007.  Bike lanes were appearing everywhere.  People were gentrifying the fuck out of Brooklyn.  It seemed like anyplace the advocates and bike boosters were gathering they were trotting out David Byrne as their celebrity spokesperson.  His bike racks began to appear.  I'd be riding home from my (then) job in Manhattan to my (then) home in Brooklyn only to encounter mobs of people in Prospect Park taking advantage of the bike valet parking for the David Byrne show at the Bandshell.

In my little private world, within the space of about a year, David Byrne had gone from the guy on an LP I discarded in middle school to the very bellwether of New York City cycling and gentrification.

And now he wants to leave!?!  Nooo!!!


At first I worried that it was something I said, and I felt terrible.  I realize I've been kind of hard on the guy, but it was all in good fun.  Anyway, I can't help it.  I've been "bridge and tunnel" (at least until Brooklyn became cool and the phrase lost all meaning) my entire life, so even though I agree with most of his modern urbanist livable streets sentiments I also can't help find his Manhattan-centric lofty loft liberalism amusing from time to time.

I mean, I know he doesn't own a car, but has he ever had to schlep the whole family from some transit-starved corner of Queens to visit grandma on Staten Island?

Look, I know cars are hopelessly suburban and the suburbs are depressingly American, but what do you expect from me, Dave?  I'm a lowbrow.  While you were experimenting with "Afro-Cuban, Afro-Hispanic, and Brazilian song styles" I was scrounging rides out to Bay Shore to see Sepultura at Frank Cariola's Sundance.

Fortunately though, I don't think I had anything to do with David Byrne's decision, and the immediate cause for his possible departure seems to be that tourists aren't waving to him:

Venice is now a case study in the complete transformation of a city (there's public transportation, but no cars). Is it a living city? Is it a fossil? The mayor of Venice recently wrote a letter to the New York Review of Books, arguing that his city is, indeed, a place to live, not simply a theme park for tourists (he would like very much if the big cruise ships steered clear). I guess it's a living place if you count tourism as an industry, which I suppose it is. New York has its share of tourists, too. I wave to the doubledecker buses from my bike, but the passengers never wave back. Why? Am I not an attraction?

Oh, Dave, of course you're an attraction!  It's just that these pathetic Midwestern rubes don't recognize you now and thus have no idea they're having an encounter with a real live celebrity.  If only you'd ride around in that giant suit they'd probably fall out of the bus trying to get your autograph:


("Hey, it's big suit guy from the '80s!")

As it happens, I attended a lot of Bar Mitzvahs back in those days dressed pretty much exactly like that.

Anyway, yeah, you can't expect these hicks to know that you've aged and have become all grey and distinguished.  At best, now they just think you're Ted Danson:


("Fuck 'Cheers.'"--David Byrne)

So yeah, naturally they're not going to wave to Sam Malone, since he has very little currency outside of Boston.

But it's not just the waving.  David Byrne also wants to move because New York's for rich people now and you can't be artsy or middle class here anymore, and so he proceeds to examine why this is and what it means and why people want to live in New York in the first place:

Work aside, we come to New York for the possibility of interaction and inspiration. Sometimes, that possibility of serendipitous encounters – and I don't mean in the meat market – is the principal lure. If one were to vote based on criteria like comfort or economic security, then one wonders why anyone would ever vote for New York at all over Copenhagen, Stockholm or some other less antagonistic city that offers practical amenities like affordable healthcare, free universities, free museums, common spaces and, yes, bike lanes. But why can't one have both – the invigorating energy and the civic, intelligent humanism?

I had a little bit of trouble following this, since Copenhagen and Denmark each have less than a tenth of the population of New York City.  In fact, the New York City metropolitan area has something like eight million more people than Denmark and Sweden combined.  This is why it would make more sense for him to compare New York to places like London, Paris, and Tokyo, which are also huge global culture and business centers that attract scads of gajillionaires.

By the way, it's also probably why New York City smells like sex:

Maybe those Scandinavian cities do, in fact, have both, but New York has something else to offer, thanks to successive waves of immigrants that have shaped the city. Arriving from overseas, one is immediately struck by the multi-ethnic makeup of New York. Other cities might be cleaner, more efficient or comfortable, but New York is funky, in the original sense of the word – New York smells like sex.

I don't know what kind of sex David Byrne is having, but it must smell like honey roasted peanuts and urine.

Where Dave does start making sense (Get it?  I'm the first person ever to make that joke!) though is when he talks about what brought him here in the 1970s:

I moved to New York in the mid 1970s because it was a center of cultural ferment – especially in the visual arts (my dream trajectory, until I made a detour), though there was a musical draw, too, even before the downtown scene exploded. New York was legendary. It was where things happened, on the east coast, anyway. One knew in advance that life in New York would not be easy, but there were cheap rents in cold-water lofts without heat, and the excitement of being here made up for those hardships. I didn't move to New York to make a fortune. Survival, at that time, and at my age then, was enough. Hardship was the price one paid for being in the thick of it.

This I find very interesting.  So David Byrne came here when a lot was happening culturally, and he was young, and so he and his peers were willing to deal with some temporary and (to a certain extent) voluntary squalor, which provided them the freedom and inspiration to create art that to this day exerts a tremendous influence on the popular culture and ultimately made them lots of money.  This is great, seriously.  High fives all around.

But what about the people who were a little older than David Byrne, like my parents?  This was not a viable lifestyle for them by this point, so the post-Robert Moses landscape that inadvertently fostered David Byrne also drove us to the outskirts.  And what about the people who are younger than David Byrne, like me?  20 years after Byrne's vital period of "cultural ferment" I was ready to establish my own foothold in New York City and, as someone working in a sort-of "creative" field, most of Manhattan was already out of the question for me financially.  Sure, part of the reason was the drop in crime, but it was also because of the cultural influence of David Byrne and his fellow fermentors who had made all of downtown terminally cool and hopelessly expensive.  So instead I lived in Brooklyn, where a young person could actually survive on an entry-level salary while still being able to take part in Manhattan culture via subway or bike, but then came the bike lanes and David Byrne and his bike racks at BAM and his concerts in Prospect Park and all the rest of it and now Martin Amis is moving there because of the spondee.

Like David Byrne, I too was bitter, but also like David Byrne it was mostly because I was old and out of touch:

This real estate situation – a topic New Yorkers love to complain about over dinner – doesn't help the future health of the city. If young, emerging talent of all types can't find a foothold in this city, then it will be a city closer to Hong Kong or Abu Dhabi than to the rich fertile place it has historically been. Those places might have museums, but they don't have culture. Ugh. If New York goes there – more than it already has – I'm leaving.

No!  Don't leave, Dave!  You did this to us in the first place!  This is all your fault!  Can't you at least see it through by staying here and comforting us with your music and your whimsical bike racks as we drown in glass condo buildings and chain stores?  Anyway, there are actually still places where "emerging talent of all types" can "find a foothold in this city"--it's just that they're not cool and you've never, ever been to them.

But where will I go? Join the expat hipsters upstate in Hudson?

Hey, you can live anywhere you want, consider yourself lucky.  Plus, if you really wanted to save the city you would have left for Beverly Hills decades ago when you first made it big.  Instead, you and your friends stayed in your big lofts and hung around making the scene and other people wanted to hang out and make the scene with you and now look.

Can New York change its trajectory a little bit, become more inclusive and financially egalitarian? Is that possible? I think it is. It's still the most stimulating and exciting place in the world to live and work, but it's in danger of walking away from its greatest strengths. The physical improvements are happening – though much of the crumbling infrastructure still needs fixing. If the social and economic situation can be addressed, we're halfway there. It really could be a model of how to make a large, economically sustainable and creatively energetic city. I want to live in that city.

Yeah, the writing's on the wall, Dave.  You're moving to Brooklyn.  Bike lanes, independent businesses, affordable (for you) real estate, and at your age you'll still think it's still got cultural vitality.  Plus, at least instead of living next to billionaires who are never home you'll live next to other millionaires who are not only home all the time "creating" but also leaving annoying notes about how your cat's too mean.

Face it Dave, you're stuck here.  I feel like I know you, and you'd be miserable anyplace else.  Your only other option (without leaving America) is Portland, and I don't think even you could deal with that.

Come by anytime.

Your neighbor,


--Wildcat Rock machine

123 comments:

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I do own a car.

CommentatorBot9000 said...

Anyway, Water Freds have been around since before 1900:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrocycle
And a lot of them go a lot faster than the publicity seeking Pontoon Boy:
http://www.human-powered-hydrofoils.com/
https://www.google.com/search?q=hydrofoil+bicycle&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=FjVUUrrKC4T_4AOet4BQ&ved=0CC8QsAQ&biw=955&bih=479&dpr=1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human-powered_hydrofoil

babble on said...

Still funny, not so anon.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

podio

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...nottttt

Anonymous said...

Own one

Spokey said...

wahoo! top 10!

Finally getting my cadence back.

JB said...

You may ask yourself...

Dale said...

Top ten!!

Freddy Murcks said...

A bunch of RSS feed dopers on the podio today. Dammit. I will take comfort in the fact that my robot captcha words are zamazing.

1 zamazec

Flyover BC said...

top ten again?

Chris said...

Transportation geekdom applauds your Moses reference:

"post-Robert Moses landscape"

3G said...

yay beiks!

Anonymous said...

Very nice blog post BS, & I forgive you..

DB

Jethro Walrus Titty said...

David Byrne I think the "sound of your own wheels has made you crazy"

babble on said...

Ooooooh...
"scads of gajillionaires" takes me to Gilligan's Island. Very Thurston Howell of you, Snobbers.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Wake up and smell the sex.

Mr Plow said...

That's it. I'm moving to Copenhagen. I'll show all of you.

JamMasterCray said...

Top 20 two days running. The timing is hot. Helps I read the Byrne thing yesterday anyway....kind of felt like some urbanist rehash today.

Hudson it is.

371 PIRABU

babble on said...

Freddy - Guilty. Dope is for dopes, anyway.

It suits me.

Yeah Cleveland! said...

Got tired of waiting so no tep twonty.

Anonymous said...

who appointed david fucking byrne the NYC minister of culture? He is about as culturally relevant to NYC as the naked cowboy (is that buy still around?). Please leave, no one will care or notice. I wonder if he will complain when he is able to easily sell his loft for mult-millions to one of these evil supplanters.

Anonymous said...

¡Podio!?

limeymunchkin said...

same as it ever was

Spokey said...

Anonymous @ 1:22 PM

calm down. Far better for us if byrne stays in ny. we don't want him out here in 'burbia.

balls™ said...

And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

Maybe this explains why he doesn't own a car?

Yeah Cleveland! said...

You mean he stopped making sense!

Square Tapir said...

Maybe it's a try for other cities to engage in a bidding war to offer incentives for him to relocate, kind of like a football team or food product corporation. Instead of a stadium or tax break, cities like Charlotte or Boise could offer him giant bike rack zones or something. NYC mayoral candidates would then vie to offer better incentives to keep him.

Giertz said...

Was that a love-lorn-laden-love-letter addressed to David "I don't own a car muthafucka" Byrne? I think it was. Just two crusty-crotch man-cyclerists just pining for the olde dayes. Makes me cry in my red beans n' rice down here in the Big Sleazy where culture, poverty and creatives just dress up how they want and drink themselves into oblivion thanking the lawd we're not Neue Yorke City. If you feel the urge to drown your sorrows Wilde Catte just come down. We'll make you feel better.

babble on said...

Yeah. anon. It was soo worth its wait in snobberdoodlegold.

DB said...

I read today that hipsters are more popular than Congress 42/33.
I also read that Leonard Zinn has details on electric shifting for cyclocross in this weeks' Velosnooze.
Oh! Huffington Post has an interview with a plus-size swimsuit model.
I own two cars.
Sorry.

unDavid Byrne said...

Hey now, you lead a wild, wild life. People like us, actually, who will answer the telephone, sleeping on the interstate...

Thank you, as an aside, for properly citing my former band.

McFly said...

I was waiting and waiting for the Portland reference and it was at the end.

ge said...

True Stories? Ugh. That's almost as bad as buying a Sting album because you heard The Police used to be good. Don't blame you for losing that one.

Mr Plow said...

Snobs
You made me so nostalgic for the mighty Black Flag that I listened for free to a bunch of their albums on spotify. They were awesome and owned a van. Which they got in.

DB said...

My favorite Talking Heads memory is from the Gerry Todd Show on SCTV.

Anonymous said...

How did I get here?

Anonymous said...

This was the first BSNYC I couldn't finish reading. I'm still a fan, but holy shit that was pointless.

Anonymous said...

Everything is pointless.

Etherhuffer said...

Don't be too hard on Byrne. Those of us who watched Seattle gentrify, and then push blue collar folks to the burbs, we understand his lament. The only cure is to accept that every place changes, not just NYC. Even the quietess of E. Washington state small towns is now disturbed by meth heads riding little bikes down the alleys looking for something to steal. Go play the Prenders and listen to "I went back to Ohio...." and that was 30 odd years ago that song.

McFly said...

Where does Confusion of Conformitys Long Whip/Big America place on your list of hard core punk we got long hair and tatoo's chart?

dnk said...

True Stories is abominable piece of smugness. I remember a song called "People Like Us" which mocked midwestern rubes ("people like us...growing big as a house: we don't want freedom, we don't want justice, we just want someone to love..." -- or something like that. It's been almost 30 years and I haven't yet gotten that horrible song entirely out of my brain).

So throwing that album away in favor of a Black Flag record (yech!) is entirely understandable.

It's too bad though that Fear of Music was not the Talking Heads record that you picked up as a kid. That was and is mind-blowing great music.....

piskian said...

You,re all fucking middleclarse saddoes.At least David,s honest,& coming from outside the city,he has a slightly objective perspective.
Get a clue,New Yoikers.He,s a bloke tbat people listen to,get on his side & you,ll help stop silly NYC shite like that poor lady losing her leg and the fuckwit taxidriver back at work within weeks.Jesus Christ on a moped,who do you think you are?! English?

Anonymous said...

"I've changed my hairstyle soooo many times, I don't know what I look like!"

I always liked David Byrne, still do. Heard some of his new stuff the other day, I was impressed.

Mr Plow said...

Ge
Exactly!
Or buying a Rollins spoken word album because you heard black flag was good back in the day.

Anonymous said...

hahahahaha...

He wouldn't pick Portland. Cultural diversity here is Oregon born or California transplant.

Yep that's about it. not much of anything else. Sure we got festivals, put they're usually just another excuse to drink beer...speaking of which it's 11:21 time for another.

ChamoisJuice said...

That was a good one.
Black Flag and David Byrne's best songs provide insight into how the place shapes the mind:

Apple salesman:
I'm about to have a nervous breakdown
My head really hurts
If I don't find a way out of here
I'm gonna go berserk cause
I'm crazy and I'm hurt
Head on my shoulders
It's going... Berserk!


Bike rack designer:
Home is where i want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb - burn with a weak heart
(so i) guess i must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's ok i know nothing's wrong . . nothing


Conclusion: NYC amplifies humanity. The good and the bad.

Roille Figners said...

Sepultura!

Roille Figners said...

NYC gentrification must be well-advanced. Sex USED to smell like burnt preztels and diesel exhaust.

Anonymous said...

I named my boat, "REMAIN IN LIGHT", but DB is a bit of a pain.

All The Black People On David Byrne's Payroll said...

See ya' schmuck!

Anonymous said...

Jealous Again is hands down the best Black Flag album of all time.

All The Black People On David Byrne's Payroll said...

See ya' schmuck!

And fuck Abu Dhabi and the sanctimonious rich white whores who try to rationalize it too.

Best,

ATBPODBP

Dooth said...

He will find a city
Find himself a city
To live in

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:51pm,

It may have been the first but I promise it won't be the last.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

Even Texas...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/texas-legalize-marijuana_n_4064808.html

Yeehaa

FR8 said...

If you want to see what's going to happen in NY, look at London. As the center becomes exclusively the playground of foreigners and expat bankers on living allowances, people move further out and colonize areas previously considered beyond the pale. In Manhattan centric NY that means the Bronx, Queens,outer Brooklyn and maybe even staten Island. In London the outer areas are all part of the city; somehow in NY people have convinced themselves that the city is only the island of Manhattan and now the shoreline of Brooklyn. Myopic.

Mr Plow said...

Anonymous 2:33
Jealous again was a five (5) song ep. Damaged and the first four years are better albums IMO.
BLAK FLAG

4:20 said...

Texas, too?

Willie Nelson for Governor!

Mr Plow said...

And CJ. Black flag isn't from NYC. So what's your point

Vernal Magina said...

cultural ferment

Regular guy said...

Mean Streets, the cat version. It is, after all Bullying Prevention Month, and that should extend to cats as well. I remember being a little frightened when I first went to NYC at 19. Jeesh, if I'd known how mean the cats were, I never would have returned.

mikeweb said...

Since the era of Robert Moses and financial armageddon, New York has slowly and inexorably climbed back to its rightful place as the capitol of the world. The phenomenon that Byrne describes is playing out in pretty much every city all around the world, not just here in 'Murica.

About 5 years ago out little planet passed a major milestone that went largely unnoticed: the ratio of people who live in cities vs. suburbs or rural areas rose above 50% for the first time in, like, forever.

Yes, the cost of a lot of stuff in New York and most other cities is higher, but some stuff is cheaper. Real estate? yeah, WAY more expensive.

On the other hand, the average salary in New York is also way higher, but that's the average salary. As long as you're in the business of making money from other people's money, figuring out how to sell crap to the masses or basically anything else that doesn't involve actual real work, you will be handsomely rewarded. However, being paid to do things like teaching our future generations, creating things of beauty just for the hell of it, or in any way providing help to those who actually need it, will make it increasingly difficult to reside in New York and most other cities.

RoadQueen said...

The cat's tail got infected?

Cat Scratch Fever?

mikeweb said...

BTW, I get paid to install and fix the technologies that help the people who make money from other people's money do just that.

Roille Figners said...

Who's your favorite: Dez, Keith, or Henry?

Roille Figners said...

Or is that apples to smart-assed oranges to macho prickly-pears?

CommieCanuck said...

What kind of fucked up sex is David Byrne having?

NYC smells like vomit and urine.

the Jimboner said...

I saw both the Talking Heads and the Black Flag in the early 80's. At the Talking Heads I mostly stood in back and got high in the bathroom. At Black Flag I got all boozed up, jumped on the stage and got punched in the face by Rollins. How's that for amplifying the humanity?

the Jimboner said...

Byrne's sex TASTES like vomit and urine.

le Correcteur said...

Did David Byrne write that somewhere between 10 and 15 years ago? Isn't it kind of late in the game for such retrospective navel gazing?

CommieCanuck said...

CJ...the Miley Cyrus of the blog commenting world.

Ron Reyes said...

Fuck you Rolly Fingers.

CommieCanuck said...

Talking Heads and Black Flag...proof that everyone peaks and descends eventually into lameness. With Rollins, it was his spoken word stand up comedy routine that didn't work because it is not funny to watch creepy people tell jokes.
However, I have yet to hear "six-pack" on an elevator.

Time Marches On said...

1:01, 1:02, 1:02, 1:02, 1:03, 1:03, 1:03, 1:03 The competition for the podium is savage, absolutely savage.

Roille Figners said...

Shit, forgot Chavo

McFly said...

Sorry to inform you Wildcat but the Lady Gag(a) hermself is your new and reigning cultural barometer.

David Byrne said...

We built this city
We built this city on rock and roll

Devoid Burn said...

Yo mama built this city on sex odors...Byrne, baby Byrne.

Anonymous said...

ya know how in nyc they bolt 20 square foot metal plates over holes in the street when they are too lazy to fix them and then when it rains like yesterday if you try to brake or turn with any speed you eat shit?...anyone else notice the oaken planks they are now using instead.... e.g. 9th ave., Hells Kitchen area...wow.....wood sure is slippery....who knew?
-WOOD-

Etherhuffer said...

Rollins was looking really good on Breaking Bad. If there is a stereotype Neo-Nazi look, that was it. The guy makes a paycheck still, which is more than most ex-rock/punk stars can claim. But between Black Flag and Talking heads, I'll take Dead Kennedys any day.

leroy said...

Whenever I leave Brooklyn, I wonder why I live here because life elsewhere is easier.

Whenever I'm home, however, I wonder how I could live anywhere else and be happy.

And that's why I'll probably never leave. Lack of imagination.

But Brooklyn doesn't smell like sex.

It Smells Like Teen Spirit. (Here we are now, entertain us.)

Kurt Cobain said...

Smells like cordite

leroy said...

Note to Mr. Byrne --

I'd wave at you, but my dog says I'd look like a tourist.

NYers are supposed to be blase about celebrities.

But if you wave at me first, I can certainly wave back. It'd be rude not to.

(And try waving at the tour buses, I bet they'll wave back too.)

Dooth said...

http://wnyu.org/archives?c=crucial-chaoshttp://wnyu.org/archives?c=crucial-chaos
Mr. Biafra approved.

Mike in Dallas said...

Touching, really, WCRM. Your softest post I can remember. David Byrne never had a more apologetic response from NY...

ce said...

The first albums I bought for myself were Roxette Joyride and the Top Gun soundtrack. I have nothing of value to add to this discussion. Good day.

Flyover BC said...

I'm too square to care about anything a Talking Head says.

ce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ce said...

On second thought, I've never had anything of value to add to the discussion and I didn't let it stop me, so why change now?

So, did I get this right? David Byrne is saying he must return to his home planet to be with his people

Anonymous said...

Great response to Mr. Byrne's whiney, pathetic and hypocritical critique of nyc. What is it with liberal girly-men like byrne and their obsequious cow-towing to the so-called wonders of the socialist scandinavian countries? What a dick.

Anonymous said...

One day you may find yourself riding a bike down a New York City street and you may ask yourself, "Well, How did I get here?"

Mr Plow said...

Continuing the fascinating black flag related talk. ... Rollins did guest vocals with the flaming lips on a pink Floyd cover album recently. It is fairly entertaining.

Jew Jork sugs said...

Yaaaawwwwn...

Freddy Murcks said...

Etherhuffer - not to split hairs, but Rollins played a neo-Nazi in Sons of Anarchy not Breaking Bad. However, those shows supposedly exist in the same television universe, so the distinction may be largely meaningless.

iNewome 42

leroy said...

Is obsequious cow-towing like overspending on cow-tipping?

Why would you tip a cow anyway?

And if you did want to tip a cow, how much are you supposed to tip? 15%? 20%?

These are questions you just don't have to wrestle with in NYC.

etherhuffer said...

Murcks, my bad, you are correct

Dave said...

Mr. Byrne should chill with the music of a simpler, gentler time:

I don't like Jesus freaks
I don't like circus geeks
I don't like summer and spring
I don't like anything
I don't like sex and drugs
I don't like water bugs
I don't care about poverty
All I care about is me
And I'm against...
I don't like playing ping pong
I don't like the Viet Cong
I don't like Burger King
I don't like anything
And I'm against...
Well I'm against it
I'M AGAINST IT!

Gabba Gabba Hey! Is it really so awful being rich and famous in New York?

H Rollins lead out guy said...

I’ll lead you out!!

H Rollins said...

Hey I may not be able to get a top ten but I can get a 100!!!

Angie Kritenbrink said...

I have quite a few thoughts about this post.
1.) Henry Rollins is hot.
2.) Anonymous 1:51pm is so right, and I'd like to add, in the future this blog needs tits in every installment or I am going to boycott.
3.)Just kidding, I thought it was kind of interesting and made me wonder what kind of world it would be if people stopped using other people's homes, jobs, basic needs, education and healthcare as a way to turn a profit.
4.) The 2007 post is very cute, sounds like an English major wrote it.

Anonymous said...

Byrne actually makes a pretty good point. I'm from the States and live in a European country, and can confirm that what he says about Venice is true in most large cities here. They are more "financially egalitarian." Also, the idea that celebrities are largely responsible for the housing prices in NYC is pretty laughable. Housing in any decent parts of most large American cities are unaffordable for all but the rich.

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Anonymous said...

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/sep/24/sweden-immigration-far-right-asylum

What do you suppose would happen if, following Mr. Byrne's polly-annish suggestion that life is rosy, cool and free in Scandinavia, one million hipsters descended on those countries to take advantage of their social programs and excellent bike lanes?

McFly said...

Angie,
THere are 2 things you should never kid about......and that's titties and doughnuts....OK maybe that's 3 things.

mikeweb said...

And then there's always this.

Krakow said...

"Byrne actually makes a pretty good point. I'm from the States and live in a European country, and can confirm that what he says about Venice is true in most large cities here. They are more "financially egalitarian."

You're crazy. London, Paris, Greater Germania....they are not financially egalitarian, not even slightly. Of course, Italy is a stinking cesspool (though good food). Spain...c'mon! Greece?! If you compare like to like, this idea is completely wrong.

Krakow said...

"Byrne actually makes a pretty good point. I'm from the States and live in a European country, and can confirm that what he says about Venice is true in most large cities here. They are more "financially egalitarian."

You're crazy. London, Paris, Greater Germania....they are not financially egalitarian, not even slightly. Of course, Italy is a stinking cesspool (though good food). Spain...c'mon! Greece?! If you compare like to like, this idea is completely wrong.

mikeweb said...

Also, I don't believe that the Violent Femmes were mentioned yet. They're referenced in the post's title.

"Why can't I get just one ****?
Guess it's got something to do with luck."

Chuck Biscuits said...

DEZ RULES!

Mammal Hammer said...

Krispy Kreamer

balls™ said...

"If traveling from the Village to Houston Street (which is in the Village, mind you) warrants a car, then he must only ride his bike from the bedroom to the kitchen."

Wow. This blog was even funny way back in 2007. Was that while SNOB still had a day job?

babble on said...

anon@ 3:46 - of course it's laughable! Satire satire satire... that's what snobbums does.

the Economist said...

Mr. Byrne believes restoring NYC as an incubator of creativity and artistic talent requires cheap rents. Well, a catastrophic economic collapse or an environmental disaster. which are possible, is sure to bring back his beloved Funky Town.

Prince Punk said...

Oh for crying out loud. Babble. Your hero worshipping is grating.

babble on said...

The pink canoe?

Lick it, asshole.

You don't like it here? Leave.

JB said...

Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick!

Prince Punk said...

Oh, I touched a chord...the funky G-string:
"Ooooh Snobbykins, you make me moist with laughter."

McFly said...

Babble did you mean to put that comma in front of asshole?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Yeah I'm with Angie. More tits. Not kidding.

Anonymous said...




"You're crazy. London, Paris, Greater Germania....they are not financially egalitarian, not even slightly. Of course, Italy is a stinking cesspool (though good food). Spain...c'mon! Greece?! If you compare like to like, this idea is completely wrong."

---------------------------------------

LOL. You have no idea. Your 2 week vacation to Italy taught you everything, right?

artie merschat said...

I don't know much about new york, but what byrne's article seem to neglect to acknowledge is that the downtown of byrne's time is the same as the outer reaches of brooklyn/queens today. in every city there's always going to be space for emerging poor artists. downtown wasn't cool when byrne first moved there and now there are enclaves of artists in shitty areas of queens. i have friends who are part of an emerging writer's group in a part of queens that no one gives a shit about. it's all about perspective, just because the neighborhood you came up in is full of investment bankers now doesn't mean that there aren't other areas of the city where arts are emerging.

Anonymous said...

Jeezus, this is a stupid blog. What exactly is your point, that David Byrne is annoying? Is that all you got, some ad hominem shit slanging? The man's article talks about the future of NYC. WTF are you talking about?