Wednesday, 7 August 2019


New York (where I have never been). Standing, unsure, at the start of a bridge that arches high over the water. My friend Cee Cee is accompanying me. The central body of the bridge is painted gloss black steel, with ribbed footholds on the surface, and two adjacent pedestrian walkways, one to either side. These have white upright circular hollow steel handrails with a macadam footpath running at a less sharp, more steady angle. I am put off from taking this route, unsettled by the sight of the dark, restless water beyond, and acutely aware of a gap in the railing. I feel exposed to the elements, and this gives way to a perpetual sense of instability, as if I am standing at a great height and may be swept off my feet at any second. Suddenly I looked to my left, aware of a feeling of evening sky, which obscures the two distant geometric buildings. I realise this reddish effect is in fact balloons, and advance on to the bridge, my camera pointed at the sky, my feet tracing the surface of the ribs for a stable foothold. The balloons then subsequently descend amongst the gathered crowd and I sense that the bridge sits up on high, an opening in a vertical wall of the cityscape. I look up to see a seabird circling in the sky above. Beyond this I can see a myriad of balloons that have become trapped on their ascent, huddled beneath the darkening arch of what I take to be yet another bridge much higher above. The bird veers suddenly and, to my shock, crashes almost right at my feet. It then reveals itself to be a small model plane, made of balsa wood and paper. Together with an American youth, in casual gear: shorts, colourful socks bunched around his ankles, we examine the broken fragments. We each then chose a wing, covered in a sweet pink sugar coating with yellow writing, to eat. Cee Cee, knowing we only have the rest of today and tomorrow morning to holiday, advises me we still have time to see Manhattan-

We cross the bridge. The first building I see, directly in front of me but facing off to the right, is a large Arabasque construct, with an opening arch turning to a point at the apex and discreet lighting down either side. The surrounding buidings and streets are more modest in size, but they make up for any inferiority with an abundance of strip and neon lighting advertising the goods on sale therein. I have a sense of discussing this area with my friend Pee EmmCee, but I am definitely now talking with an American girl, with whom I have struck up a warm and instant friendship. We 'surf' the shops as indescriminately as one would the internet. One store, selling African goods, has a variety of small, flexible, beaded plates on offer, in a mixture of cyans and blacks and reds. There are four different coloured dogs behind the counter, each dressed in a tight woollen costume, complete with stitched noses, mouths, and old fashioned button eyes. On closer inspection they seem to me like aged jacket buttons, browning leather with stitching across in an 'X' or '+' pattern. My companion urges me to leave the second the dog nearest us begins to stir and take notice-

We are now in some sort of record bazaar, a 'U' shaped market space comprising a series of small shop units with their own roll-down black shutters. This occupies the Arabesque building. I spot a copy of RIDE's 'Today Forever:expanded', which I see contains 8 songs that I don't know, together with a further 8, equally split between 2 other artists. My companion is amused by my wanting to leave before I am continually drawn to the site of yet another Traffic rarity, inhabiting a Pommes Fritz-era Orb cover. We walk through more shops / units and I see books both old and new, and I remark that I have been here before. I feel it is the books that are familiar, if not the place. I look again at the same African dishes, but in a different shop, conscious of another stitched, woollen dog. This turns out to be a friendly Golden Labrador, but my companion urges me not to touch it as it sweeps the display with its massive head. As we reach the turn of the 'U' some units are beginning to close, rolling down their shutters, and I start to talk about how the record shops in Glasgow are closing down, lost, and that the feeling of this market is precisely what has vanished. At this moment my companion has become Kay Ess, but she still speaks in an American accent-

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