Sunday, 16 September 2012

Flashback: 2002

I'm borrowing another great blogging idea from Marceline, which is particularly timely as I have just had to rearrange my collection of photos from the extension to the store craft room to keep them safe from sticky toddler fingers.

Marceline talked about what she was doing ten years ago, so I thought I'd join in, as 2002 was a pretty big year for me.  In October of this year, I bought this flat, my first home purchase.  We just sold it last month after two and a half years on the market, and at a considerable loss, so reflecting on the good times, and the excitement and buzz of having somewhere to call my own is a good thing to do right now.   Although I can't resist a quick whinge about that brand new (albeit basic) kitchen and bathroom that we installed to try to entice a buyer and never recouped the money for...

Me in the lounge/dining room of my flat in Parkhead
The flat purchase was a bit of a spur of the moment thing (I found it, I could afford it, I could even walk all the way to work at the Dental Hospital in Glasgow if I felt like it), and I had already booked a 3 week holiday to New York for the month after I moved in.  Ouch!  Luckily at that time the flat didn't need anything major doing to it, so I managed.  I had changed career that year, taking a huge drop in salary, but was still living a little bit like I was managing a supermarket with a multimillion pound budget instead of organising training schemes in the NHS, pre-Agenda for Change.

Niagara Falls - spot the folk in yellow ponchos enjoying the spray
As part of the trip to NY I also went to Niagara Falls for the first time, which was just enough tacky and just enough awe-inspiring to make me happy.  The hotel room had a jacuzzi with a falls view and was super-cheap back in the day thanks to the exchange rate £1 = $2 US = $3 CAN, which meant it worked out about about £58 a night.
The Horseshoe Falls, taken with my old manual camera
My cousin was away for Thanksgiving for some of the time I was over, so I was able to borrow his apartment in Queens for a few days.  I also had a rowdy night out in the East Village with my pal Colin and ended up crashing at his girlfriend's place overlooking Tompkins Square Park.  Happy days.  The rest of the time I stayed in my favourite hotel, which I've been staying at since I was a kid, The Pennsylvania, which still owns its original 65000 phone number.  Since I can't afford the Four Seasons or the Pierre, I tend to use the Pennsylvania because it's clean, central, takes a very hard line on security and it's definitely good value for money.  If I can get a deal on, I'll stay at the Millennium UN Plaza, which is very very nice indeed.

2002's parade theme was Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are, photo taken between the DMV and ESB, looking up towards TSQ
The most striking thing about that visit was the absence of the WTC, which I hadn't realised I used constantly as a landmark in Lower Manhattan.  Being lost in the heart of Chinatown and not able to look up and instantly know how to get to South Street Seaport, for example, or being at the wrong end of Wall and trying to get to Century 21 was not the same any more.  The site was still being cleared at the time so there was no way I was going to go and be a looky loo, but there was a lovely memorial outside my old apartment building (the towers were the main view from our dining room window in the flat I shared with 5 other interns).

Atlas Sculpture, rescued from WTC Plaza and relocated to Battery Park
While I was in New York, I caught the Strokes on the last night of their first ever full US tour, at the Roseland Ballroom.  I hadn't heard who the support band was going to be but it turned out to be a guy from Saturday Night Live, called Jimmy Fallon.  He sang some funny cover versions, which everyone around us found a lot more hilarious than we did.  UNTIL... it was time for the encore, the auditorium went quiet, and a small, dark haired guy walked out on stage.  The opening bars of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' played out across the venue, and the spotlight went on to the sound of the whole, sold out, audience saying 'Oh my God, it's Jack Black'.  Who then went on to sing every line of the Band Aid song in a perfect impersonation of the original.  Not the Stock Aitken Waterman one.  That would have been funnier, mind you.

Badges and Zine by John Blain Hunt, National Pop League

Anyway, aside from all that, I wasn't really doing anything crafty or creative.  I was still really into music but hadn't done any music journalism or writing at all, really, for a while.  I was more focused on getting out and enjoying being young in a city I'd only moved to the previous summer, and spent a lot of time at a club called the National Pop League, enjoying the free monthly zine but never so much thinking 'oh I could do that'.  I don't even think I was knitting at that time, I gave it up for about an 8 year period when people were telling me how uncool it was, and unfortunately, I was listening.  I was still customising my clothes, though, a habit I picked up at university where every black top was made instantly more interesting with the addition of black fake fur around the cuffs, so I guess I was being a bit creative.

From 2001 to 2003 I visited Munich, Paris, New York, the Canadian Border, Amsterdam, Dublin and lots of UK cities, mainly London, so I guess travelling was my thing at the time.  It certainly was the golden age of cheap airfare, and I'm glad I took advantage.

Anish Kapoor's Installation at the Tate Modern, Nov 2002

The most striking thing about this little jaunt down memory land?  I still have the same hairstyle (although it's changed a bit inbetween!)

Taken in West Ealing, December 2002