Sunday, September 4, 2011

Using your ears.

Last night my wife and I took a walk through East Harlem to have a pizza at one of the few remaining Italian restaurants that have survived the neighborhood's transition from an Italian slum to a black and Hispanic slum. We headed up to Patsy's between 117th and 118th on 1st Avenue where, in our estimation, their coal-fired brick oven yields some of New York's best pizza.

We walked home as well through the crowded streets on a hot Saturday night. Around 114th I heard this bit of kibbitzing--a 30-something guy ragging a 30-something woman.

"Just because your head is shaped like a bullet don't mean you're a big shot."


And evidence once again that the language of real people is real language.

Which is why it makes sense to walk and listen, or take the train and eavesdrop, or talk to cabdrivers when you decide to cab it.

New York, if you listen well enough, has an electric, living language.

The language you don't get from briefs.


Riki said...

I'm totally with you on this.

I love sounds of the city. including snapshots of human conversation. pure gems.

that is why I really do not understand nowaday creatives walking around with iPods and mp3s.
how the hell do you do work for real people if you're totally disconnected?
(oh, you don't do work for real people - you work for festival juries.)

Sean Peake said...

So true. I keep a character book When I ride the bus and make up little bio sketches of the passengers' lives and jobs based on what they are wearing, where they get on, and where they get off (it seems to gets more professional the farther I travel downtown). I see the waiters and clerks, secretaries, social workers, bureaucrats, students, executives and the shoppers. Just regular people with interesting yet familiar lives. My target audience