When Would You Go?
This is, I believe, the 25th blog post since Deonandia (version 3.0) moved to its new location. I still haven’t found a way to reconstitute the old comments into the new site. But fret not; it is a priority.
It’s Wednesday night and I’m in Toronto. There was a significant earthquake today, with its epicentre quite near to my home in Ottawa. Relatives in the USA have been emailing me to make sure I’m alive (’cause, you know, maybe they want my stuff). I’m told that the power is out in my neighbourhood, and was warned that the food in my fridge might go bad in my absence. My response: food? There’s food in my fridge?
In truth, my only concern is that when I get back, all the clocks in my condo will be flashing midnight. I hate when that happens.
Speaking of condos, today I attended a meeting of the Board of Directors of the arts organization of which I’m a member. Due to the G20 meeting in downtown Toronto, the meeting was moved to the home of our Board’s current President, a well known Canadian actress. Her home is quite magnificent, and at one point I realized that my entire condo would fit into her kitchen. Now, that says equal amounts about the grandeur of her home and about the miniscularity of mine. (Yes, I just made up the word “miniscularity”. Deal with it.) Still, I do miss my little box in the sky, especially now that I’m sweating in the open-air ocean that is humid Toronto, and not in the over-cooled, climate controlled cube that is my condo.
I’m up late right now still trying to get my 2009 taxes done. Arrrgh! And so I am procrastinating by writing nonsense on my blog. Not the best of ideas, since in the morning I must off to Vancouver to attend this.
So, today’s forgettable topic is…. wait for it…. time travel.
Remember Deep Space 9? Only the greatest American TV show to ever star a bald Black man! In its final season, there was a recurring character named Vic Fontaine, who was actually a self-aware hologram set in a 1950s Las Vegas casino environment. The regulars would occasionally find filler adventures in that environment… usually because (I think) the budget required them to have a few episodes set on contemporary Earth, which doesn’t require a lot of expensive special effects.
Anyway, at one point our hero’s girlfriend asks him why he’s never been to “Vic’s”. Our hero (the bald Black man, remember?) replies that in 1950s American casinos, his kind was only ever welcome as entertainment or janitors. It was a very sobering and realistic comment coming from a Star Trek character, and I was so very glad that he said it.
See, people have often asked me what period in history I would like to visit, as if the question were so simple. The problem is that to answer the question honestly, one must apply many qualifiers. Do I go as the person I am? Are my gender, race, age, language abilities and relatively high social status to remain intact.
People often say they’d like to visit the court of a Tudor monarch, for example. But, if any one of us plebes were to show up at the court of Henry VIII, we’d be shackled and beaten for our low impudence. The appropriate qualifier is that they’d like to pose as an accepted nobleperson of that era.
So the question I posed to myself is, what time in history would I like to visit as me. I get to keep my age, race, gender, accent, everything. I don’ t really have a lot of answers. I’ve narrowed it down to a few possibilities. But I’m only going to share one with you: early 1970s New York.
Pretty anti-climactic, eh? The ironic part is that I was in New York in the late 60s and early 70s. But I was a toddler, so that doesn’t really help me.
Why such a drab, dismal time and place? You young’uns should realize that New York in those days was depressed, ugly and crime-ridden. But it was also an exciting time philosophically and artistically. And I’m a big fan of punk rock and post-punk. I would have loved to have witnessed the birth of both movements firsthand.
On August 16, 1974, The Ramones played CBGB for the first time, and punk was officially born. Andy Warhol was kicking around, as well, as were Basquiat and occasionally David Bowie. I think John Lennon had recently arrived in the neighbourhood, and Sid Vicious would, a few years later, self-destruct just a few blocks away.
Of course, ask me tomorrow and I’ll tell you I want to visit Mathura or Patna during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. That’s the way I roll.
So where/when would you visit? Add it to the comment section below.