April 29, 2010
New York. It’s up early every day before 8 a.m. and a brisk walk through the park before breakfast on the way to judo practice. A pale green washes the fields, daffodils pushing through the crusty earth. The joggers are out in force, young Jewish princesses struggling while getting in shape for serious Bloomingdale’s shopping in the afternoon. The U.S. nationals are this weekend and I’ve been behaving myself. I now get hammered only twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. The walk through Central Park is the calm before the storm, the respite before the hell I know I will have to go though upon arrival. And that’s when I notice nature the best. The knotty buds unfolding, the sound of robins, the clatter of hooves of hansom cabs. There is a camaraderie among early risers, like early Christians, I suppose, one I never felt before because throughout my life I’ve been a night owl.
One other thing I’ve noticed is the total absence of children. One never sees kids doing what kids used to do in my time. Things like playing marbles, or hopscotch, stickball or even throwing a ball around. TV and computers have moved the kiddies indoors, hence the age-old bonds of childhood have gone the ways of good manners. There’s no more fighting—as in the time-honored ritual of wrestling a bully to the ground, or punching him in the nose. Uptown, the black and Hispanic kids still do it, but they settle it either with guns or knives. Midtown, affluent white children stay glued to their electronic devices, laughter, teasing and spontaneous play utterly vanished.
Did you know that only one in seen Americans know the name of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, but two-thirds can name at least one judge of American Idol? My friend and first publisher, Tom Stacey, laments that traditional narrative history has all but vanished in British schools, supplanted by a diet of projects on slavery, the labour movement, and women’s subjects. Tom is doing something about it, however, which is more than I can say about American studies. PC teachings are all one gets in the Home of the Depraved, and then some.
Last week, after a late night, I went to a Broadway matinee on my own. It was Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, a hit show with tunes that slam one with waves of nostalgia and longing. One particular song almost knocked me out, “My Eyes Adored You.” Perhaps it was the hangover, but most likely it was Pam Wallin, a beautiful Palm Beach girl that once walked barefoot onto the plane when I was leaving the beach for the Bagel, just to say goodbye. Those were innocent days and a pretty girl could walk on and off a plane undisturbed. She had a boy’s haircut and the best legs in Florida. An older boy at Lawrenceville, my first prep school, was her beau, but he was at Lehman Brothers while I was in Palm Beach. He hated me in school and his hatred grew after graduation. “My Eyes Adored You” was our song, Pam’s and mine, and last week I listened to it and almost cried. Cried because I haven’t seen her in 55 years and she is now in her seventies. I have no idea what happened to him, and frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn.
Music can do things to romantics. It’s a collaborative adventure. The romantic brings emotion and feelings to the table, lust or sorrow, the music does the rest. Music is pegged to one’s heart, that’s why the modern cacophony that passes for music nowadays is so soulless and such utter crap. See Jersey Boys and relive your youth and think of Pam and Taki dancing at Taboo and at the Alibi. But let’s move on, as they say, to the modern horror that’s today.
Britain is going to the polls in ten days, and Clegg and Brown look good. This is proof that the English have to be the dumbest people in Europe. The north of England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland are all state financed, the south producing the moolah for the rest. Social disintegration no longer counts. It should be the major issue yet it’s not. Immigration, ditto. Britain’s broken and not working but the two clowns will most likely end up running the country for the next five miserable years. Clegg is a Fifth Columnist for Brussels, and Brown has doubled the national debt, yet there are still English people around who will vote for them. So go ahead, see if I care. The Lib- Dems want an amnesty for illegal immigrants, so law breakers can demand full benefits. Labour wants to hire every able-bodied man and woman to ensure Labour stays in power for ever. Brussels is having the time of her life. I’m going down to South Carolina, then coming to London to inspect the wreckage, and then I’m off on my boat for the duration. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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