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I've just finished On The Road and loved it. Are any of his other books worth checking out?
A car horn screeches irritably, the wind whistles through the acres of willows in Central Park: New York, the most offbeat and eccentric city in America, is my new home.
I love it here. I live with my husband, Max, in Williamsburg, home of the plaid shirt and vintage Mecca Beacon’s Closet.
America is a strange place, a place of contradictions, but a place that never fails to change one’s world view. I am constantly surprised by this huge country—each state tells a different tale: It’s like a never-ending novel with each page more exciting and bizarre than the last.
Max and I settled on New York because I go to University here now, and of course work for my favourite fashion magazine, NYLON. Marvin, my great friend and the editor here, introduced me to the girl who would soon become one of my closest friends, Cory Kennedy. We present NYLON TV together, and it is the most irreverent, off-the-wall, and creative show I have ever had the pleasure of presenting. And I’ve presented a lot of television in my time. Cory (who splits her time between the East and the West Coasts) is at once shy, outgoing, and hilarious—a patchwork quilt of a girl, with the best sense of style out there.
My days here are spent working on interviews for NYLON TV, writing articles, and listening to Cory regale me with tales of her life in L.A., which are always ludicrous and funny, her high-pitched hyena laugh filling the office as Marvin strums his guitar and dreams up ideas for the next issue. I feel like I’m part of a movement—a magazine that encapsulates everything cool and strange and interesting.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved London, it’s a city where being unusual is accepted-the norm, even. The music scene is so strong that you can’t walk through certain areas without being compelled to duck into some dive bar to see a band playing music unlike anything you’ve heard before. I grew up there, walked its cobbled streets a thousand times, and frequented its infamous haunts. The skies are always gray and the weather is freezing, but the place is alive, an epicentre of art, and vibrant with culture. The decision to leave my homeland was difficult, but I’m happy I made it.
I traveled across America in a cramped, packed U-Haul and experienced parts of the U.S. not many people see unless they go off the beaten path. The days passed by in a haze of truck stops, fast food restaurants, and palm trees. Highlights included buying a sequined flannel shirt in Colorado for a dollar off an old Mexican woman, who told me it was a family heirloom; Max purchasing a James Dean printed metal lunchbox and using it as a makeshift handbag; being chased by a homeless man wearing a Slipknot T-shirt in Iowa; and going vintage shopping in a Pittsburgh store where a 10-year-old kid in a 1970s flared pantsuit and fedora sold us the entire stock of clothes for fifty bucks. (Max loved this store and later changed into an ‘80s red silk evening dress to present the American Eagle music festival in Pittsburgh, to my amusement and his Chester French bandmate’s confusion.) In Indiana I joined some locals in a chewing tobacco competition. My Jack Kerouac adventure led me to New York, where I fell in love with the place all over again.
It’s a city where there is always something exciting to do. Girls here look like they just stepped off the catwalk: the Upper East Side society queens are dressed to the nines in McQueen and Prada, and the East Village hipsters look like extras from The Virgin Suicides or Desperately Seeking Susan.
My best friend here is a boy named Bunny. We spend our days traipsing around Manhattan—him in skin-tight plaid trousers, huge geek glasses, and a mass of red hair sticking out haphazardly from beneath an Amish-style hat. We buy pizza from street vendors, run through Times Square marvelling at its energy, and source new vintage boutiques. Nights involve dancing at Beatrice Inn or Lit, watching the Misshapes spin some tunes, or catching one of the amazing bands Brooklyn has to offer.
New York is a place where I finally feel at home. Driving over the Brooklyn Bridge at night in a yellow cab (the novelty still hasn’t worn off!) and gazing out over the tops of the skyscrapers-their peaks reaching ever upward, lights twinkling out of the endless windows like fireflies, their glow reflected in the water of the Hudson River—there’s no place I’d rather be.
and go see the scroll!
i think it's in birmingham at the mo' but i'm seeing it in dublin when i return home to ireland's fair shores
The Dharma Bums is amazing
The Subterraneans, Bug Sur and Desolation Angels are also good.
just don't read them out load along to jazz
my brain is fried again
Once I've got through my Murakami backlog I'll give Dharma Bums a shot.