Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why We Fled: The Story of America (A Rant)

Diane, today I am in Cologne, Germany on the 5th floor of a more than acceptable hotel. I'm listening to Scott Walker sing "Johanna" at this exact moment, it is raining outside, and I am beginning the selection process of footage and stills for a music video I am directing for Mando Diao and their UK single on Island Records called Mean Street. The last video we did, which was for the first single, ended up being a bang up success and they have decided to give me another shake which is nice being that I'm a Yankee and they could be working with any one of 23 other European directors.

I'm here after 5 days in London where I have turned into a nervous wreck by the tranportative state of affairs. As it happens I'm not alone here. All the guys in the band and my assistant Karl are all shell shocked and confused. I'm of course talking about driving on the wrong side of the street which has lead to my friends and I almost being killed several times a day. But it is not only that, the British are kind of surly, they have not become part of the rest of Europe, they are still weighing things in stones which I'm sure dates back to cave man times, people on the street at night are drunk all over and mouthing off at passers by. I expect this from the Scottish, but London? So the cars here, driving on the wrong side of the street, take on their own English personality, they are the moving version of Gordon Ramsy's tongue lashing out at every other nation in the world. Being that I gravitate towards elitism, complaining, and general discomfort, deep within my British DNA I can find resonance with this kind of contrary behaviour, but I am at least a 10 generation American and I now understand something more about my roots. The founding fathers left and did outright every last thing opposite of England. They were contrary to the contrarians and perhaps more stubborn and bitter than them all. They sailed across the sea, built a shack, killed a bear and wore its pelt, and then put cars on the correct side of the road. How do I know we have the correct side of the road? Because I am in Germany right now looking out my 5th story window and everyone is driving the way we do in America. If I was in France this would not mean shit, but here in Germany, where people are rigid, and linear, and logical, and vehicular masterminds, they have chosen the right side, and when it comes to engineering I'm siding with the Germans every time. To England: your stone measurements suck, your tube system is cramped, your food is greasy, you drive on the wrong side, you shut down at 11pm at night, and your taxes and unemployment rates are a joke. That said, Brighton has got to be one of my favorite places in all of Europe. As for London, I should introduce you to New York some time so you can see how its done.