April was not kind to me, babies.
I started off the month by getting a ticket from the police for drinking a beer on a subway platform on a post-rehearsal Friday night. Lest you think, dear reader, that your author is a sad old boozehound who can't forebear to drink for, like, the paltry hour and a fucking half it takes to get from the "practice hole" at St. Mary's down to Park Slope, well... that's mostly not true. I actually wasn't in the mood, per se, and so it was at Chris' urging ("Do it, f-----") that we bought our Miller High Life tall boys at Great Food and assumed our customary subway drinking position looking out towards the West Side Highway and the Hudson River from the dark and abandoned end of the downtown platform at 125th St. Except it wasn't abandoned that night -- there was a shifty-looking white guy with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled down over his head kind of weaving back and forth by the garbage enclosure. "Junkie," I thought, but when we opened our beers and started pulling from them, he stiffened up, walked over, and turned a flashlight on us. "Can I see some I.D., please?" he asked with a slightly Eastern European accent.
"Oh, shit," said Chris. "I'm sorry, Jules."
I didn't really mind. It was actually kind of exciting. The cops (about five of them swarmed up) could not have been nicer to us. They even let us finish our beers -- nay, insisted, like a father who'd caught his son smoking, maybe. ("You bought 'em, you might as well drink 'em. ...No, not in front of us. Go on, turn around and do it.") By the time I got home, though, I'd started to feel pretty embarrassed. "I'm a criminal!" I told Nina. In response she listed all the people we know who've been "busted" for the same infraction. Nonetheless, I wrote the City a check for my shameful $10 that same night and dropped it in the mail on Saturday.
Then there was the bout of food poisoning I picked up at Uncle Moe's of all places. One moment I'm enjoying my standard Watsonville burrito with spinach, pozole, and marinatesd mushroom (Moe's has the best in the biz) -- next thing I know I'm running a temperature of a hundren and two interleaved with some serious sweats; and, disgustingly, pulling a Spud (Trainspotting) the next morning.
And to top it all off, at the end of the month Nina and I came down with a... condition that Tom describes rather aptly as "apartment AIDS," and which I think I'm going to decline to discuss further just right now. I don't know. It's a real drag, to be sure.
That is not to say there were no bright spots.
The day I was stricken with the shits was the same day Bel Argosy had a meeting with a promoter who'd seen and liked the band at a show we played in Williamsburg. His name is Cenk, and he and his business partner have a little office in a funny building on 5th Ave. overlooking 27th St. that looks like it used to be full of fabric cutters and suspenders salesmen. He's got a lot of band friends in common with us, and has pledged to book us at all the hip juke joints the kids like to "hang out" at.
And Bel Argosy played three shows last month, all of which came off wonderfully. We did another well-attended set (my parents came!) at Otto's Shrunken Head, which has kind of become a relaxing Monday-night social thing for me instead of a stressful command performance: I leave work early, lugging whatever equipment I need down to 14th St., give a nod to the bartender (who does not nod back) and set stuff up in the abandoned back room. Beau eats dumplings and I read a book or mess around until Billy and Chris show up. We usually have time to talk about the set and do a sound check well in advance of the audience showing up. It's really nice, and this month's show was no exception.
On the 16th we played a show in Williamsburg with Beau's side band, Robot Princess, and a band called Majuscules we'd met through one of the Robot Princess guys. It was at a bar called K & M in Williamsburg that didn't have a stage but which turned over half the bar to us. It was pouring rain on and off that night, and we had to dash for cover as we lugged drum equipment from the car Dan was driving to and from the MiniBoone / Robot Princess practice space.
Majuscules plays these moody, psychedelic metal songs, and they've got a killer drummer (whose name is also Julian). They also happen to be super nice guys, and luckily for us they took a shine to Bel Argosy and invited us to play a slot on a bill with them at Lit Lounge on the 28th, which also went pretty well. There was a junkie outside Lit who was weaving up and down the block around groups of pedestrians, gesturing at no one in particular with what looked to be an umbrella with almost all of the ribs removed. "Rrrrnh. Rrrrnh!" Once inside and downstairs, Beau and I sat uneasily on a couple of Lit's scuzzy make-out couches while we waited for our bandmates and watched Majuscules set up and do their sound check. There was a separate bill that evening with another act, a heavy metal band called Brighter Than 1000 Suns, who were on a tour of some kind, and they had roadies (!) loading their stuff into the back room. They'd brought an insane amount of their own gear, and it was funny to compare their equipment -- custom light, custom PAs and drum heads with stencils of the band's logo -- with ours: Guitar amp with temporary I.D. stickers from Billy's college-summer temp jobs, rattly snare drum covered in electrical tape.
We finished our set (video here) and Beau and I headed out as Brighter Than 1000 Suns started theirs, complete with a lighting intro. Their lead singer, a husky-voiced metal chick, hollered, "Hey, New York City! Are you ready to hear some really loud music?!"