Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The first song of 2008

It’s all Gerry’s fault. Two New Year’s Eves ago, we gathered for a soiree at our pal’s pad in the city-centre. At midnight, everyone went around the corner to Christ Church for the traditional bell-ringing and hugging and avoiding the …

Wed, Jan 2, 2008, 08:49

   

It’s all Gerry’s fault. Two New Year’s Eves ago, we gathered for a soiree at our pal’s pad in the city-centre. At midnight, everyone went around the corner to Christ Church for the traditional bell-ringing and hugging and avoiding the junkies from Thomas Street that sums up waving goodbye to one year and saying hello to another year in this dirty old town.

Later, back at base, Gerry went looking for the song. He had been adamant that the first song of the year had to be a special one, a tune which would capture all the hopes and expectations of a brand new year and put everyone on the good foot for the 12 months ahead. There may also have been something in there about “interrogating the arts”, but I could be making that up.

As Gerry searched through the CDs on the wall, with all those variables running through his mind, someone else stuck on Prince. It did the trick. Prince always works on these occasions. Actually, Prince usually works on most occasions.

Last New Year’s Eve, myself and herself were in New York. For the most part, New Year’s Eve has always been the most over-rated night of the year, a cheap champagne bottle of a night, all sparkling bubbles and fizz and a bit of a letdown the morning after. Regardless, people do it bigger and brasher and louder in New York as they wobble towards the drunk tank.

As we wandered around the city, we heard all kinds of sounds. There was Cuban rumpy-pumpy at the Florent diner where a bevy of drag queens and burlesque dancers were preparing to give 2007 a fabulous greeting. There was the muted boom of various bangers from beyond the velvet ropes and suited hard-chaws guarding dressed-up midtown bars and clubs. And there were plenty of eejits with plastic kazoos and horns on Brooklyn Bridge wearing novelty kick-me-quick hats. No songs, though.

Back in the apartment we were staying in, I went through the iPod trying to find a tune to fit the night. I mean, there must be something which matches the night that’s in it with the city we’re in. Johnny Thunders? The Ramones? Jesse Malin? Talking Heads? The Strokes? Jay-Z?

Then my wife made the call. Bruce Springsteen, she said, “New York City Serenade”. I did as I was told. The pianos started and Springsteen’s Billy and Diamond Jackie begin to boogaloo down Broadway. And you know something? It was perfect.

This year, we were back with Gerry and his gang of revellers again. This time, no-one would beat our host to the punch after midnight. This time, we were just back in the door from Christ Church and he’d already made his choice. We were going to begin 2008 with The Isley Brothers and “Love The One You’re With”. As with Prince and Bruce before, it made perfect sense.

It has begun. Happy New Year.