I got accepted to the Social Problems conference in New York this coming August. Many will tell you that this isn’t really a big deal, as this conference will try and make room for everyone. Yet, because this is my first “big” American conference, and that it is in New York, this is a big deal for me. A huge deal.

I have never been to New York, a city that retains mythical status in my mind. I am reminded of my favourite story from the rise of Guided By Voices. Robert Pollard and crew had been releasing limited run LP’s in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, and people pretty much hated them there. So they lingered in obscurity, before finally someone starts mailing out their LP’s to magazines and weird record stores (against Robert Pollard’s wishes, as he was convinced that everyone hated them). Eventually, the records get into the right hands, and they get invited to play in New York. Their attitude was, at that time, “if they don’t get us here in Dayton, what are they going to think about us in New York?” So they play, and the rest, as they say, is rock history.

Now, I am not naive enough to think that I am going to gain any kind of “legendary” status; far from. I know enough about this game to understand that this is not how it works. Yet, as a personal milestone, I am drawing parallels.

There are cynics who always try and downplay this stuff as “passe,” but as far as I am concerned, they can go eat a hat. I hate cynicism, nothing more than someone trying to drag me down. Also, mostly because of seductive I find it. I am in an ongoing battle with my own cynicism; I don’t need to battle yours too…

My favourite quote, one that I repeat often (in my own mind):

Billy Bragg: “You can’t argue with a cynic; they already have all the fucking answers.”


10 thoughts on “NYC

  1. I love New York and wanted to share one of my stories of being there. I first went to NY in grade 11 on a trip with the theatre kids from my school. We saw a play every night, including Blue Man Group, Chicago, Rent, Lord of the Dance (in Radio City Music Hall on St. Paddy’s Day), etc. Now, before heading to NY, all of our parents were freaked out about the crime and had pictures of us getting attacked/murdered/etc. So, before the trip, our teachers continually told us about how the crime’s not that bad and that as long as we’re safe, we’ll be OK. We all headed to NY with our little wallets that go under your clothes, with our cameras hidden from sight. We arrived in NY at about 9:30pm and we were staying right in Times Square (just down from the Coke sign). Although it was late-ish, our teacher decided that we should head out and check out our surroundings (and, of course, unlike Calgary, there’s still a LOT of action at that time). We all packed our stuff up and 16 little white kids headed out into the Big Apple. Well, within half a block from our hotel, 2 minutes after heading out the door, we see a guy being arrested, slammed up against the side of the Olive Garden. They had the cuffs out and were yelling at him to “SHUT UP!!!” and “BE STILL!!!!” Of course, while nothing ended up happening to any of us in NY, it was just funny to see how quickly that one little moment undid all those feelings of safety our teachers had tried so hard to instill in us. But since then I’ve had some really amazing memories in NY and it’s one of my favourite cities. It’s no Calgary, that’s for sure. I’m sure you’ll love it.

  2. What a HUGE, FANTASTIC, LARGE, HUMONGUS Deal!!! Congratulations. A phone call to brag to your parents might have been nice, but glad this Blog is here to keep track of you. Is this what you mean by an internet community? (You may get a “get out of jail card” for not calling as it seems our phone has been down all day and we just noticed, but there’s still the cells)

    : – ) : – ( (we’re torn)

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