I was writing something about New York, but I was reminded by Chance Lord that I already wrote the following foreword for his book, Assorted Lunatics, that is being released tonight. So nice when you realize you caught up to yourself. Then the bell rings to go back to work.
Chance Lord is a real New Yorker. As an emigrant, I’m relieved to know that New York was built by generations of outsiders, but with all the security of an unmade man, I accept that New York is made by insiders.
Chance Lord is an insider. He’s seen it all, done most of it, stepped in some of it, written on all of it. His stories are better than mine, his memories shine a little brighter, his movie has a better soundtrack and a better cast of characters. This isn’t small town inferiority affecting my judgement, this is the rational detached honesty that one bite of the right pizza has bestowed upon me. New York, New York is still a helluva town. The Bronx is still up and Brooklyn is still down. Manhattan tho, is THE city, the one that keeps on making it. Chance Lord is part and party to it like George M. Cohan or Damon Runyon or Cam’ron or Broadway. He’s New York. That line about the streets being paved with gold? He’s the gold.
I dont want to hear any talk about Old New York or New New York, because there is only New York—a city that is a state of combustion, that’s clinical and in the right light, cynical. This is not a town of spectators, people are here to play. And so people lose and win, and there’s always a double header: Game 1: Between Dusk and dawn and Game 2: between dawn and dusk.
Chance Lord looks at the spread with the emphatic detachment of a native. It’s not personal, It’s business. He watches the action like Billy Walters and places his bets. Chance never cries about the losses and he never brags about the wins.
Chance Lord is a song made from the things that define New York City, like the fire in your loose, the 3am slice, David Bowie cutting the line at the Apollo, the crack of Reggie’s bat, the crack in Darryl’s pipe, hanging on the stoop, the hum drowning in the silence of the blackout, the call of sneakers squeaking on concrete and the response of wheels on street and the bass line rev of a V8 in pursuit. Above it all, loud and clear (if you catch it), is the slang that’s right off bat, right off the cuff. The song is called GUESS, best when blasting from the speakers at the Eldorado Bumper Cars on a hot day. Come through and listen up.
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