The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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The Value of a Subculture

Yesterday I walked along Rose Creek again—which I can’t resist—and came back to the hotel by way of the Millennium Bridge. There I met two skateboarders. Both were in their late twenties and had narrow tufts of hair on their chins and wore baggy clothes. Neither was taller than my shoulder. Appropo of nothing, I said, “It never died.” The more dominant one looked back at me and said, “Of course, not. What else is a young person to do with his energy?” implying that skateboarding was better than joining a gang. Both had the same walk, hunched at the shoulders with a slouching gait. They were unmistakable. In dress and manner, they had adopted every manifestation of their subculture.

Today I’m going to head over to the Denver Skate Park and see if I can get a few choice pictures. Maybe those two hyper urban types will be there with their buddies.

Skate Park

November 6, 2009   Comments Off on The Value of a Subculture

Cement Trolls

Last night I got a sandwich at The Market, a deli and coffee shop on Larimer that I like. The coffee is superb and the barista is a gracious man of Spanish descent. I had never been to the deli counter before and was told that the sandwiches were on the left and hot food on the right. I stood and waited, but, of course, there were no servers on the left. I walked around to the right and enquired about the sandwiches and was told to go back to the left, which I did. Again, no one showed up. It was beginning to seem like my other experiences on Larimer Street. Like I was in a Paul Auster novel. Finally, I called across to the hot foods section and was told to wait. A few moments later, the server appeared and assembled a sandwich for me. It felt like conquering Everest.

While I was waiting to pay, a young men started a conversation with me out of the blue. He was a student at the University who had spent time on a farm in Minnesota. After exchanging a few sentences, I could tell he didn’t like me but seemed to want to continue the conversation. It seemed odd, but I didn’t mind. When I finally paid, he declared that I was “an angry Minnesotan—he could tell right from the start.”

I thought about his comment as I walked back to the hotel and decided he was right. It probably explained my experiences on Larimer Street of the previous evening. My ideal version of how the world works is totally my own. I’ve been an anachronism since I was that student’s age, I decided, when some English friends I met in Coventry declared that my anger was passé, that the attitudes expressed in “Look Back in Anger” were no longer popular. Of course, they were theater people and had to know what was in vogue.

A few years ago my son created a series of cement trolls which he placed in various spots around the city. It was a case of an anonymous artist creating anonymous art. Kind of cool in a way. I knew exactly what my son was doing. I sometimes feel like one of those cement trolls myself.

November 6, 2009   Comments Off on Cement Trolls