The Banana millennium
Before I forget: Nurri and I got ourselves over to the NY Art Book Fair yesterday, which was as totally great as you’d imagine it would be. I picked up obvious jouissance-bait like Topologies: The Urban Utopia in France, 1960-1970, a Sarai reader on The Cities of Everyday Life and – surprise surprise, given my recent fascination with all things A’dam – a slim, elegant and entirely inspiring volume called Provo: Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt.
But what I really wanted to buy, and just couldn’t justify, was a limited edition art book of photos of the Velvet Underground, featuring bespoke essays by Jonathan Richman, William Gibson, Jack Womack (!) and others. The Gibson and Womack essays, particularly, explain everything. Everything.
Gibson’s piece has a gorgeous passage in which he describes hearing The Velvet Underground and Nico for the first time in the same summer that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came out, and in which it was not yet at all clear that “Sgt. Pepper would become, well, Sgt. Pepper.” The man goes on to drop one of those trademark density bombs, this one with a yield of galactic-level whoah, at least for me: imagine a world in which The Velvet Underground and Nico had been the one that broke big. (That Gibson goes on to imply that our own 2007 is in fact indistinguishable from such a world’s, us simply having taken the long, slow way here, did nothing to lessen the Keanu-grade impact.)
And so that’s how I thought of us on waking up this morning: as happy citizens of the Banana millennium; as celebrants, truly, of all tomorrow’s parties. Happy October. : . )