Category Archives: From here to there

Cairo Drive

Cairo-Drive-MotorcycleCairo Drive was fantastic. Part of the Barbican’s fall 2014 season City Visions, I saw it as a double bill with Cairo as Seen by Chahine, and the filmmaker Sherief Elkatsha was present as well. This was a brilliant film exploring a city through one of its primary forms of transportation – driving. The official blurb fills in the background:

Cairo, Egypt. 20 million people. 23,600 miles of road. Two million cars. Taxis, buses, donkey carts, and swarms of people, all jockeying to move through the obstacle course that is their daily lives. Sitting at a cultural intersection, Cairo is a city unlike any other, where different faiths, races, and social classes all share a few clogged arteries of tarmac.

Cairo traffic is a chaotic experience where rules are constantly challenged: an elaborate dance of leading and following, flow and resistance, and impeccable, almost miraculous timing.

But it’s the following quote opening the film that fully captures the experience of traffic there:

Cairo is an essay in entropy…but order is nevertheless maintained, if barely.
— Maria Golia, Cairo: City of Sands

So different from London, where driving isn’t important. So different from L.A., where driving is all-important. I love thinking about the relationship between this and the city and how we live in it. The dialectical relationship between a culture as a whole and individuals and how they move through a city every day, their patterns of behaviour and feelings.

Cairo Drive is shot by Elkatsha himself, filming from the side of the road or sitting in a passenger seat as he is driven through traffic by taxi drivers, ambulance drivers, friends, and family all discussing, well, driving. But this daily activity, this act of traversing the city,  opens up multiple other avenues of discussion: patience and attitude, bribery and corruption, the nature of the city, what it means to be Egyptian, the experience of moving through urban spaces as mediated by culture and gender and background and class. I loved too that it was begun before the massive uprisings in Tahrir Square, documents the volunteers directing traffic in lieu of the police for a little while during the uprising itself, and then the return of traffic as normal. But not quite, because some of the fear had lifted. For a view of massive social upheaval, using the prism of traffic is a fascinating one.

As Elkatsha noted in the Q & A after the film, this is above all about communication; possibly my favourite set of conversations was on the elaborate language of horns. I hear a horn in this country and I just think ‘asshole’, but in a moving heaving roadway where there are as many lanes as you can make room for and every space must be filled, horns fulfill a much more nuanced function.

Cairo

I also loved the way that some drivers opened up conversations with other drivers, the way that others joined in the conversation being filmed in the car. There is no anonymity, a very different sense of space than we are accustomed to in the US or the UK. A very similar sense of space to what I have experienced in Mexico, El Salvador, Bangladesh — almost that old binary except really I think it may just be an Anglo reserve taken on by the USA wholesale. I quite love Q & A’s, loved hearing that many people told him to just focus on a few stories whereas there are many different people speaking in the film (good choice in my opinion); that he shot over 200 hours of footage and edited as he went along, but in the end raised money to hire an outside editor to help with the final cut; that his father wanted this film to be about solving the traffic problem. With the fear always present under the Mubarek regime, Elkatsha said that people were often very reluctant to be filmed, particularly discussing politics. But a film about driving, a discussion of driving they felt was inoffensive and safe, though without fail this came back to politics. The first thing you learn in planning school is just how political anything to do with traffic and parking and roads is, so that is hardly surprising.

A lot of the people in the audience clearly knew Cairo, asked about the geographies shown in the film. The centre did feature quite a bit simply because it was central to getting from here to there — much of this was simply filmed as part of daily life. But Elkatsha didn’t want it to be about certain neighbourhoods, rather for the built environment to be simply the backdrop to these flows of people. Really for him the film was about the people and the city, the city that is the people. This echoed Chahine, and I wish more planners and architects took this definition of the city a little more to heart. Instead they were trying to change behaviour after the fact — there were some amazing shots of children in school being taught traffic safety, role-playing correct behaviour both as drivers and as pedestrians, singing safety rhymes like ‘red means stop’ even if you’re in a hurry. But really, there is so much to critique about the role the State has played in this mess, the layout of the roads themselves, the immense danger caused by enormous roads cutting through populated neighbourhoods without adequate crossings or subways, and clearly there is a lack of public transportation. The entrepreneurial and unregistered vans making up for this lack have only intensified the traffic problems, stopping anywhere to pick people up and drop people off. I have some love for cars and driving through the American Southwest’s vast spaces, but this film made me want to scrap them all, both for the planet and for society.

Of course, Cairo Drive doesn’t show too much of this bigger critique of planning and etc, it focuses on the actual experience of driving in ways that are both thoughtful and hilarious for the most part. It is the most enjoyable documentary I’ve seen in ages, the football fans stuck in traffic on their way and holding their babies out of the car windows? That had me shocked but laughing out loud and is something I will never forget, as did the wonderful woman who was just like my aunt Ruth — or what she would be if she drove in Egypt. There is a brief look at the cost of this roadway anarchy where anything goes, all the dangers and risks caused by drivers pushing it as far as they can and I’m sure regularly dying in the attempt. But probably not enough. It all seems quite benign as portrayed here, yet I imagine the death toll is horrific. It leaves you to just imagine that for yourself, really, so on the whole this is a feel-good film that illuminates a city and a culture and a key aspect of daily life, that makes you think about traffic and movement and its relationship to society and the city itself. Go see it.

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Coverley’s View on Psychogeography

1003489There’s so much I love about the approach and all of the authors in here but damn, are they white, male and privileged. I think Rebecca Solnit is the only woman to grace these pages, apart from the prostitutes and the beautiful women the surrealists stalked through the city… The one Situationist who did seem to actually try to practice psychogeography and write about it was forced to desist after several prison stays–apparently the police didn’t appreciate a Black Algerian immigrant name of Abdelhafid Khatib experiencing aimlessly in public spaces, especially after immigrant curfew time. What the hell were his comrades doing about that? I’d like to know.

But still, back to the thing itself. An initial description of psychogeography’s main characteristics

‘For psychogeography may usefully be viewed less as the product of a particular time and place than as the meeting point of a number of ideas and traditions with interwoven histories’. [11]

amongst this melange of of ideas, events and identities, a number of predominant characteristics can be reconised. The first and most prominent of these is the activity of walking. The wanderer, the stroller, the flaneur and the stalker… psychogeography also demonstrates a playful sense of provocation and trickery…seeks to overcome the processes of ‘banalisation’ by which the everyday experience of our surroundings becomes one of drab monotony…a perception of the city as a site of mystery… [12-13]

Which leads to gothic representations, ‘a focus on crime, poverty and death…’ I love the gothic with a deep love, but I don’t think the city as a site of mystery had to go this way–it’s just slumming, innit? Nor must it stay here really. It fits in with the wealthy male voyeurism, but if poor women started engaging in it, poverty would hardly be mysterious. They’d have to look deeper. A working class gothic, new strands of mystery, and most exciting at all, a kind of desire that has nothing to do with exploitative johns…

The book opens with literature, those inspiring psychogeography as we know it today: Defoe, Blake, de Quincy, Poe, Machen, Stevenson. Watkins’s work on ley lines. Walter Benjamin, Louis Aragon and Andre Breton, poets Rimbaud and Baudelaire. Today of course, it has been brought into the present by Ballard, Iain Sinclair, Stewart Home, Peter Ackroyd, and the films of Patrick Keillor. Coverley writes:

‘the programmatic approach of social theorists and geographers is in this instance unable to accurately refect the imaginative reworking of the environment that has been conducted so successfully by those writers whose works celebrate contemporary London. [25]

For Machen it is a freeing of the self from all geographical and historical markers, an adventure through the unknown. But at times it becomes Sinclairs delving deep deep into history, or Ackroyd’s circular theories of geographical convergences. You have Poe’s creation of a new urban type in The Man of the Crowd as cited by Benjamin and Baudelaire – ‘an isolated and estranged figure who is both a man of the crowd and a detached observer of it and, as such, the avatar of the modern city’. [60]

I was rather disappointed by the schoolboy idiocies of Potlatch and the lettrists, but then it gets a little more interesting, from De Bord’s ‘Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography’, 1955:

The word psychogeography, suggested by an illiterate Kabyle as a general term for the phenomena a few of us were investigating around the summer of 1953, is not too inappropriate. It does not contradict the materialist perspective of the conditioning of life and thought by objective nature. Geography, for example, deals with the determinant action of general natural forces, such as soil composition or climatic conditions, on the economic structures of a society, and thus on the corresponding conception that such a society can have of the world. Psychogeography could set for itself the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals. The adjective psychogeographical, retaining a rather pleasing vagueness, can thus be applied to the findings arrived at by this type of investigation, to their influence on human feelings, and even more generally to any situation or conduct that seems to reflect the same spirit of discovery.

Taken up with the situationists, there is no mention of Lefebvre where I thought there would be. They define psychogeography as ‘The study of the specific effects of the geographical environment, conspicuously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals. [93] The invented the derive: A mode of experimental behaviour linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of transient passage through varied ambiences. Also used to designate a specific period of continuous deriving’ [93] And the detournement: The integration of present or past artistic production into a superior construction of a milieu.

Here the theoretical grounding, carried on by Vaneigem and de Certeau. And the final chapter on rehashing some of the awesomeness being produced about London. And it is awesome. But still, so white, so male, and what is a movement if it is only produced in two cities? Surely it must lie beyond, surely there are walkers and writers around the globe. I have a lot of questions, but for my first foray into what psychogeography actually is after hearing the term kicked about, this is quite all right.

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Colour and Invisibility

A man came up to me today while I was waiting for the blue train, leaning against my bike and reading. He nodded towards the handful of people who shunned the shade, and launched into friendly conversation – some people just really love the sun, huh? They’re crazy, the sun makes you blind, they’re going to go blind…I thought about skin cancer and freckles and wrinkles and the way I love the Arizona summer where the world is all white light and heat that wraps around you so heavy on the air you can feel its comforting weight. Of course, the only thing I like to do through the Arizona summer is read while drinking long cool glasses of anything with ice, it’s been a hell of a long time since I was able to do that. Amazing how much can go through your mind in a split second. I love the sun.

I was lucky. He required no response to continue: the sun makes you disappear. My mom was upset when I moved out here, I’m from the East coast and when I went home they thought I was ugly, I was light skinned there but here you stand in the sun and you turn the colour of charcoal, no one can see you at night, you become invisible. He lifted his arms and they were a dark dark brown, and the wiry hair on them a very bright white.

I thought about this means of becoming invisible. You become the colour of darkness, you walk along unperceived and hidden against the backdrop of night, I thought about what it means to disappear. An arcane power of sorts, the ability to become one with the dark, to travel unseen…who has never dreamed of that? With the power of flight, invisibility is pretty high on my list of unfulfilled desires. The train came then and I shall probably never see him again. I wanted to ask him if he had read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, I wanted to ask him if invisibility were really a function of colour and camouflage, or of politics. I wanted to ask him about the invisibility of South Central and all the people in it, the invisibility of the poor to those with wealth, the invisibility that comes with a skin colour approaching the night. The invisibility you endure when you wear an apron or a janitor’s uniform or a name tag proclaiming your willingness to serve. The way that so many people I have known and loved have disappeared. It was not the sun that disappeared them, and I rage that they could have left this world with so small of a ripple. I wanted to reconcile the challenge, and the promise, of the gulf between invisibility in the world of my imagination, and invisibility in the imagination of the world.

I have lost much of my substance behind the name tag and pinned smile of the service employee, the painfully unfashionable clothes and bad haircut of that embarassingly poor kid who really wants nothing more than to disappear (luckily I’ve grown and fought my way out of both for the most part)…but my experience is limited as someone who will only find camouflage if the night becomes the colour of pale sand. I yet sit uncomfortably poised between several worlds none of which seem to be visible to the others, and I could not imagine myself anywhere else…and so this problem of how and what people can see seems to be one of the keys to resolving the injustices that have pushed these worlds apart. And so a blessing on the old charcoal gentleman who disturbed my reading today and set my mind spinning, may he find beauty in his skin…

The Los Angeles Blue Line

I love them I know, and I also know I write about them a lot. I don’t know why the rest of my day doesn’t inspire me the way the ride home does.

I had a lovely evening, spent with friends that I haven’t seen in ages and haven’t really talked to for years, we met up at Masa in Echo Park and then they kicked us out for a hipster wedding party and I damned gentrification and we walked a couple of blocks to Barragan’s. Masa’s used to be called Carmelos, it was a brilliant cuban place that had been there for decades with pink booths and a counter the old men used to sit at and drink their cafe con leche, and they sold magical pasteles de guayava y queso, and platanos and all things nice. Now it’s dark and candlelit with brown booths and tatooed waitstaff and really good microbrews on tap and the food is nice too…it’s just all twice as expensive.

And we drank and told stories of course, and it was just what my heart needed…such evenings are rare in L.A. because they require so much coordination…Almost everyone I love most is here and I feel like I never see them enough. The people I see are on the train. I wanted to write a novel once about the train, how it was a portal to some other place, to some much better place where everything was flipped around and the poor were rich and the sad happy, and the crazy were sane…that the woman in the floor-length faux-fur leopard skin coat was the key, or the old guy passed out in his seat. I never wrote it, the raw reality of the train itself defeated me, this world we have created…

There was a crazy guy playing porter today along the blue line, he was frighteningly crazy, with his lips pulled back and jagged teeth and no touch of awareness in his gaze, he could not speak only yell words barely recognizeable. At each stop he got out and held the door and shouted what might have been all aboard, and ushered the people in who were brave enough to choose his door…we lost him at firestone station as the people poured in and filled the car completely, he continued to hold the door as the warning bells chimed again and again and sacraficed his place so the last family could jump on. It was his moment, and as he watched the train leave he was shining.

My friend with the glasses bearing white 50 cent flags stuck on each side and selling candy with a smooth fast sales pitch that makes everyone smile was on the train today, he had almost sold everything.

A man younger then me sat quietly on the bottom of the steps leading up to the green line, he held a forty in a brown paper bag and threw up to one side casually as though he were just spitting. Once, and again, and once again. The smell of it was sickly, and it mingled with the sour stink of beer to fill the air.

An old guy told me he loved me. He was too drunk to really speak and drink had marked his face as it’s own and I was too sad to do more then smile. He might have meant to say something else, maybe he didn’t love me after all. But his eyes never left my face and when he followed me onto the green line I realized he walked only with great difficulty and a congenital limp…and the fact remained he was frighteningly drunk and therefore unpredictable and I hate to be stared at and I was glad when he got off at the first stop.

My friend from a few weeks ago was on the train as well, the one who had a crush on Hillary Clinton…he had lost the one sock he had, but had acquired shoes that did not fit his swollen feet. He had a large black book with a red logo, and on it he beat an irregular rhythm and sang a song to himself in a language that probably only he could understand. The smell of him was terrible, and his clothes were falling off of him and he was doing far worse then when I saw him last.

I saw everyone with ghetto hard faces, the kind that say don’t fuck with me, I could hurt you. You have to wear it to wall out the overpowering need of others, to protect yourself, to create your own distance from what is around you. If you don’t live here you never see those faces transformed, masks melted away where it is safe, and people return to the way they ought to be. I lost my mask in Scotland, but I feel it creeping into the set of my lips sometimes…when I think about it I do not want it back, but there is a price to pay for that. Unconsciously your face hardens.

I biked home through the darkness and the smell of flowers, and laid out on the grass for a while to search for stars. If I could have any power at all, any gift, I do believe I would sacrifice my lifelong dream of flying for the ability to heal people. There are layers upon layers of what is broken and I know the scale of it…but it is the brokenness of my people on the train one by one that breaks my heart.

The next blog shall be funny, I solemnly swear.

Biking tipsy through the darkness

Last night my friend Jose and I repeated the famous downtown L.A. bar tour on bikes…cycling from bar to bar is invigorating, the wind blows cool against your face and the night wraps around you. The night is yours in fact, it belongs to rebels and dreamers and tipsy joyful adventurers on bikes; the L.A. streets were almost completely deserted as we frolicked along them. Hard to explain the freedom and happiness to be found playing speed racer down a long slow hill in the darkness…

We started at Jose and Bev’s, watching some episodes of a brilliantly bizarre manga show called CLFL, and drinking a cold beer. I had to recover from the grueling bike ride from work to the house carrying a heavy backpack complete with laptop, books, clothes and necessaries for three days since I am off to Santa Barbara bright and early this morning…When the dvd proved unplayable at a key point in the tangled story we decided it was time to leave. We headed the Gold Room, on the cusp of gentrification, the Lakers were playing so it was mostly the regulars. It’s a tiny divey place on sunset, half the bar is palm trees lit up in an ever changing rainbow of color; over the single line of booths is darkness fretted with tiny golden lights like stars. The waitresses wear tight white shirts almost completely unbuttoned, but they’re very nice and they give you bowls of free peanuts in the shell, which I appreciate much more than their cleavage. We left before the lakers lost, and went down the street for dinner at Thuvia’s – pupusas de queso con loroco and platanos fritos, god damn they were good! Even if the place had a C rating and the waitress asked us if we wanted the salsa even though there was a chance of salmonella as it wasn’t cooked. That’s certainly enough to make you pause, but adventure called and we answered and had the salsa anyway.

We went to the standard, and shall we say that the standard is not for rebels and dreamers and tipsy joyful people on bikes? That would be the nicest thing I could say, we weren’t so much turned away as ignored and put off, we weren’t the only ones, so a rooftop poolside bar with white pod waterbed chairs was not to be ours…I suppose the price of admission is the L.A. look, and what a price to pay! I’m not willing of course, and I don’t enjoy looking at it at all, and even standing in the line was painful, but I did want to take pictures from the roof! So I cursed on principle, hating the thought that there’s somewhere I cannot go even though I don’t really want to, Jose successfully blew it off, and we went around the corner to the Library Bar. Small and cosy with an old-fashioned bar and lights shining through glasses and on the opposite side a wall of books and an old stove full of candles and even a globe! I am fascinated by globes. Needless to say I liked it, though it started filling up with Celtic fans (god only knows where they came from or if they made it home in safety!) and so we left…headed over to La Cita only to find a line of hipsters and a cover charge, I spit upon covers, and upon hipsters. It’s a metaphorical spitting of course, but psychologically very real.

So the third stop was Bordellos, lush with black chandeliers and mirrors and painted gothicness…no cover and Go Betty Go in its new incarnation was playing and they were really fucking good! We met up with Evelin and Ludin and America and had a couple more beers, and after Go Betty Go came the Fresas and they weren’t quite as good but still excellent, with tight harmonies and an electrified violin…I love all girl, well, almost all girl, pop punk bands. Everytime I see bands like that I still want to play the guitar and whisper, croon and yell into a microphone…i suppose my day has passed for that. But the company was brilliant, and the music was rocking until the last band came on. They should be happy I’ve forgotten their name cos the music was ok but the lead singer was a bouncy blond in a cutsy tube top dress who jiggled rather than rocked, and whined rather than raged and we fled precipitately. We sped homewards in the darkness, struggling up hills and reveling in the way we went spinning back down them. We past alongside Echo Park, beautiful and silent and solitary, the big fountains in the middle an arching misty silver…and came full circle back to the Gold room for a final libation. We closed the place out, headed home for some quesadillas de queso fresco, and I feel asleep for a few hours before getting up to catch my train North…

Economic Bubbles and the Blue Line

I rode the train home late last night, the blue line down through South Central and Watts; L.A. makes me sad sometimes. There is so much speculation on the state of the economy, you can read it in the papers. Taking the blue train late at any time through South Central and Watts, most of that speculation seems rather out of touch. There haven’t been any good times here for a very long time, and when the economy turns, it hits here hardest. And it keeps on hitting. The contrast is stark between this world inhabited by tens of thousands of people, and the world of financial speculation. From here the bubble is very clear, and entirely maddening. Most maddening is that the bubble requires the world of poverty to exist, it is built upon it, immense wealth cannot be held by everyone. It depends on millions of poor in this country, many millions more around the world…

I was talking to an older guy who was only wearing one shoe last night, and white tube socks pulled up high. He was riding the green line train up and down, having nowhere else to go. His legs were swollen the way my gran’s legs became swollen with her diabetes and lack of exercise, the way my friend Mark’s legs became swollen when he was turned out into the streets. Like age and diabetes, the streets swell you up, make you sick, kill you. He was voting for Hillary Clinton, he said he had a crush on her. I laughed at that. He asked me if I was a model and I laughed at that too. He told me I could be anything I wanted to be, this was America, told he was working on his own modeling career. I can forgive this man his bubble, I can forgive him almost anything he needs to survive.

I can’t forgive the people who speculate on the economy night after night on the news, and I can’t figure out who they’re talking about. I don’t know the world they’re talking about either. None of them address the growing gap between rich and poor, growing numbers of people in the streets, growing poverty, growing legions of police to control the poor and protect the wealthy. The only things shrinking are the job pool, the supply of affordable housing, the access to health care, the number of teachers, support for veterans and the elderly, the water table, the ice in the arctic…

Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock

Ahh, beatles reference, nothing beats it! It is of course late afternoon and I am sitting in my uncle’s office with a torrent of water pouring down the little waterfall, it is quite incredible what some rain will do. Today on the train back from Glasgow I saw a rainbow between Paisley Gilmour Station and Johnstone and it made me extraordinarily happy. I do not believe that rainbows represent God’s promise to Abraham never again to destroy the world by flood…even if they are nothing but a refraction of light and water they are miraculous, but I like to believe they are promises of something, pure beauty flung across the sky, living colour against the darkness, a call to remember that life is fucking marvelous and to be lived as deeply as possible. My ipod was presenting a classic rock moment as I watched, a little Marshall Tucker band and led zepplin, it was perfect.

I have this ring I wear all the time, silver with amber set into it. I was sitting on the rapid bus down Wilshire in L.A.next to this guy who was tatted and pierced and covered with jewelry and scarily thin. He liked my amber earrings so we started talking and I was telling him about all of the wonder and magic of the Tucson gem and mineral show, and as we approached La Brea his friend sitting across from us pulled out a rubber tourniquet and wrapped it around his arm, then a little vial and shook some heroin into a spoon and held his lighter under it and then he pulled out a syringe and filled it up and I know my face changed. The pain of his addiction hit me like a hammer for some reason even as I pretended not to see not to know not to feel, I raged at the sadness of the human life before me because every human life is beautiful and I wished there was something inside of me strong enough to stop him, to make him choose life, to give him hope as a gift without judgement…I wished I were more like a rainbow than a girl. He sat there, hand with syringe in pocket, veins bulging beneath the rubber, leg nervously bouncing up and down from the balls of his feet, waiting for the bus to stop so he could shoot up. The guy I was talking to leaned over and said it’s alright, there’s nothing anyone can do but him, but us. And then he pulled this ring off of his pinky finger as he stood to go and gave it to me and it was so unexpected I took it without thinking and then protested but he was already on his way out the door…it’s a prized possession though I don’t know why looking at it makes me happy…

Apple Valley

Just got back from a little staff retreat at Highland Springs in Apple Valley…how much do I love the people I work with??  Thursday late morning we drove up and did a lot of work, then we swam, lay by the pool, relaxed in the sauna, ate a dinner we didn’t have to cook, played a little soccer, drank beers and margaritas and told a lot of very funny and very innapropriate stories (which I cannot relate here in mixed company) until really late.

I got up early in spite of the late night, the fact that I was still a little drunk probably helped with that, and went for a hike, it is such a beautiful place!  The path initially went straight up…here is one of the views:

And I believe this is what I would look like if I could ever find the courage to get up onto a pair of stilts…

Walked and ran back down, had breakfast, did some more work, swam, laid by the pool, relaxed in the sauna…mmm….lovely.

We had seen the signs for a cherry festival in Beaumont, so we decided to stop on the way back home and pick up some cherries, and some pies, and some funnel cake and who knew what else?  There was a little carnival but the first thing that met our eyes was this shining example of carnie culture…

And guess who else was there?

Yep…God.  We were pretty excited until we found out that not only was it $5 to get in, but that with all of our crazy weather, and possibly global warming, there were in fact no cherries.  Although tempted to pay $5 just to ask God how he could allow a tragedy like this to happen and possibly hit him in the eye, I sadly piled back into the car and Bev drove off.  At the edge of Beaumont we passed El Rancho restaurant and cocktails,

But  no one else was feeling the same uncontrollable urge to stop there and fill up on MGD so we continued on, back to home sweet home…

Disgusting que no?  Just imagine what the inside of my lungs looks like breathing in all of this crap!  Everytime I come back to LA I ask myself, why oh why do I live here?  Soon, soon I’ll be gone.  That little white flash of light middle left is Gehry’s Disney Hall by the way, isn’t it shiny?  I live about 10 blocks from there, in the heart of the smoggy darkness…

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