[regarding the previous day]
I sat for awhile on the steps of the Fogg, checking my e-mail on the blackberry. Classes were changing, and it was around 4-5:00 p.m. So many students were walking on the street and across the street in the Yard, probably getting ready for the dinner hour. It was fun to watch them and remember doing that myself.
Went back toward Mass. Ave. and hit the Grolier Poetry Bookshop. Talked a while with the owner, searched for some good contemporary poetry volumes to get for B. The owner introduced me to a few new writers whose work was very prose-like, ironic, humorous and dark. I like quite a bit of it, especially surprising as I’m not a big poetry buff. This kind of work I could really sink my teeth into. [Two of the books were by Noah Eli Gordon, who I previously mentioned here.] I bought four volumes, plus a book of poems by Jack Kerouac, who I never thought of as a “poet,” though it makes perfect sense.
I had only had a cup of Starbucks coffee and a muffin at the Memphis airport, so I was ready to eat! I’d been wanting that incredible steak sub made with sirloin tip that I used to treat myself to occasionally at Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage, so I went around the corner for that. Once there, I found out that…THEY NO LONGER HAVE IT ON THE MENU!! I was crestfallen. I settled on the Tom Brady (a burger with cheddar and guacamole) with onion rings and a lime rickey. The menu was hilarious: the Ted Kennedy is “a plump, liberal amount of burger with cheddar cheese, mushrooms and french fries,” the Arnold Schwarzenegger is described as “(this is no girly burger) a double swiss burger with french fries.”
Read through the Boston Phoenix, and there was a review of a new book about the Boston rock scene called The Sound of Our Town. The title is a reference to a Del Fuegos song. I stopped in the Harvard Book Store to get a copy, and it doesn’t come out until next week. Bummer.
I don’t think I bothered to eat dinner.
Came back to the hotel and showered. I crashed on the bed for about an hour. Then I walked up the street to see Pierrot le Fou at the Brattle Theatre.
It was good to go there. It was exactly as it used to be. Nerdy guy reading Kant across the aisle from me. Annoying gay couple bickering at one another in front of me. Puzzling, yet provocative, hence rewarding film on the screen.
I hadn’t seen a Godard film before, and if this is any indication of the body of his work, it will be tough slogging through the rest. It was entertaining, though, and had some interesting things to imply about the effect of pop culture on society/the individual. Funny line that I don’t understand: “Poetry is a case of loser-takes-all.” And a character near the end of the film said something like “my own private case of mass hysteria.” I laughed out loud at that.
Went by Herrell’s and got a small malted vanilla cone. A Thursday night and the drunk, homeless people were out en masse. I came back to the hotel.
This a.m. I got a wake-up call at 7:30 that I hadn’t asked for, and then I couldn’t go back to sleep. Took my time getting ready to go out. Then went downstairs to Henrietta’s Table – a farm-to-table restaurant in the hotel – for breakfast. It was wonderful. The coffee was strong, fresh and “sharp.” Fresh “squoze” orange juice. Two scrambled eggs, sausage (links), raisin toast and the most wonderful hash browns I believe I have ever eaten. The room was very “musical” – low ceilings, browns and greens and whites in several differing hues. A skylight right in the middle of the room that played off the windows of the surrounding buildings, and as the restaurant sits in the plaza of the hotel courtyard, the surrounding windows were plentiful. If I was Glenn Gould, I could have been inspired to write a string quartet by the sound and vision of that room – the time was 9:30ish, in case you ever want to re-create that experience, and I was sitting on the outside of the room with my back to the window.
When I was first seated, a man at the table next to me was speaking rapid-fire with barely a breath between sentences about how much money he’d been making (I heard the words “million” and “billion” a few times) at a company called Apax (sp?). He was obviously trying to impress the woman across from him. He was in a finely tailored suit with dreaded yellow tie – she was in a familiar denim jacket. Turns out he is looking for further employment, she works for a firm he is interested in. She had to interrupt him at one eventual point to tell him that she was going to have to leave. She had hardly said a word – she couldn’t! – the whole time. I don’t think he’ll be getting a job with that company.
After breakfast, I came out to the Charles Square veranda and wrote this. Now, more exploring!