I’m sitting in the upstairs booth of a nightclub over looking a rave. Florescent crop tops, sequin dresses, strobe lights and patterned body suits. A giant hammock full of balloons is bouncing over the crowd, and there’s this overwhelming feeling that at any moment there could be confetti.
Have you tried the granola? It’s amazing.
I make a noise of agreement through a mouthful of yoghurt and chia seeds, and move along my booth to make room for the newcomers.
It’s 9am. Instead of taking drugs and getting drunk, this bunch of maniacs party off of their exercise high. I can hear you scoffing as you’re sat in your bathtub still in your work uniform, drinking red wine and smoking a cigarette. I hear you; the concept of being high on life is super annoying because the people who are high on life are condescending and think they’re better than everyone else. Except it’s probably the other way around. Being high on life isn’t easy. You have to delay gratification and reject an awful lot of short term rewards. For example, I didn’t drink on a Friday night in NYC for this shit. I laid in my bed at a reasonable hour, cranky, wondering why the fuck I had signed up for this.
But, jump cut to me in the middle of a crowd of glitter covered fluorescent wearing ravers jacked up on post-workout neurotransmitters and I have to say, that shit was enjoyable. I actually totally forgot that I was sober until I heard someone scream out “good morning” as he gave me a sweaty hug. Claire’s husband’s brother had invited me, he was playing in the band, and it was also his birthday. He reminded me of Oz, in that Oz will jump off a bungee while playing his guitar, and Caleb will crowd surf playing his Djembe. Impressive, but really boys, invest in a kazoo.
So Game of Thrones taught us that any king who says “I am the king” is no true king. I’m gonna stretch that metaphor, probably beyond its limits, but here we go. It might be my English background but I’m a total fan of not verbalising directly that an experience is enjoyable. Like the problem I had with the drunken lecture, the sober rave got a bit preachy. “Feel that? Do you feel that? That’s life man. We’re living LIFE”. I used up all the energy I had to go with it and not be a judgemental prick but my god tone it down a notch. “If this is your first Daybreaker, wait til your third, then you’ll truly know”. Aaaand there’s that classic American cult vibe. Suddenly the minimalistic flat design daybreaker logo hovering above the stage started looking really creepy. Despite this, I totally approve of daybreaker and think Australia should take it on.
After the rave I went to the Whitney gallery, laid on bean bags, and watched cinema art installations for 6 hours. I felt like I had just smoked a fat blunt, except I probably could’ve held a conversation and I didn’t have the munchies. One room was filled a foot high with old reel clippings that crunched as people walked through them and picked them up to hold them to the light. In another room I looked at a sculpture and someone who had been at daybreaker came into focus on the other side. A few hours earlier we had given each other sweaty hugs while jumping to the rhythm of some absolute tune. We gave each other a small smile and a nod, and walked to different exhibitions.
That night I went to a Jazz bar and got my favourite cocktail, which I can’t get in Australia. I liked the jazz, but the place felt too posh for me, so I left to go to a rock & roll bar I had seen on the way. While there I made friends with a physicist who began his conversation by asking me if his position for an air guitar solo looked awkward (it did) and ended with him second guessing his choice to go for a hug and instead awkwardly placing his hand on top of my head.
I made another friend who was a doctor in radiology. He approached me and said “So, who are you running away from?”.
These kind of meaningful and intruding questions have come up a lot on this trip. I don’t know whether it’s New York or my luck. I enjoy them to some extent, and I’ve started answering completely honestly. He asked me a string of these questions and concluded that I was a total bummer. I decided to retaliate.
“So what did your father do to you?”
“Oh he just ignored me a lot… didn’t support my talents, died when I was 19, gambled a bit”.