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Dylan, Tupac und NYC: Marc Spitz sends Letters from New York

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Things I did in 2001 (the last time Bob Dylan released a studio album) that I no longer do: snort cocaine, smoke marijuana, smoke cigarettes indoors, or during the day, or more than like, three a day, and some days never, sleep around, and... you get the idea. I was just thinking, or wondering really, whether I was the only one who marked time by albums. Or marked where I am in my life by where rock stars were when they released those albums.

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„Meist schweißt es die Partner eher zusammen, wenn sie gemeinsam die Depression überstehen”, sagt Dr. Gabriele Pitschel-Walz.

Illustration: Julia Schubert

I was listening to "Modern Love" by David Bowie on my i-Pod today as I walked up 4th Avenue, here in the city, and I realized that I am the same age that he was when he recorded that song. If you haven't listened to it in a while, you should again. If I were still a rock writer, I woul call it "perfectly realized" or something like that (I would never refer to it as "galvinizing" or "epochal" though). Just a wonderful new wave song with a great hooky chorus and really underrated DB vocal performance (who ever talks about how rad his singing was on Let's Dance, the album... ever? They only ever deconstruct it as some kind of turning point sell out thing, but really, it was the first Bowie album I ever bought and I immediately went out and bought everything he ever recorded before it BECAUSE it was so swell... oh, and apparently I dyed my hair orange with a product called Sun In in effort to mimic his big old chickenheaded pompadour of the time... my mom tells that story anyway).

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„Meist schweißt es die Partner eher zusammen, wenn sie gemeinsam die Depression überstehen”, sagt Dr. Gabriele Pitschel-Walz.

Illustration: Julia Schubert

When John Lennon was 36, he was in his bread baking, raising Sean, staring at the wall, smoking weed phase... which doesn't sound so bad. When Madonna was 36, she released a ballads compliation called Something to remember. When she released Ray of Light three years later, I'd just been hired at Spin Magazine. When she released her first single, I danced to it on the Bar Mitzvah circuit, all through the Five Towns. Danced. Sang. Got up and did my thing. I've got a weird, encyclopedic thing for pop cultural dates. It's just a nervous tick. It works for films and books too. I can scroll through the tv guide channel and see a scheduled movie, and say the date out loud, then press the "more info" button to confirm that I was right. And I'm always right. My girlfriend, who works at Rolling Stone thinks I'm a freak, and sometimes used me instead of Wikipedia or Google. I'd like to unload all this information one day, just to see what kind of brain power I would have without all the pop soaked gray matter I say this all the time anyway. Really, I'm not unproud of it. Although I'm sure I would be able to shoot lasers out of my eyes or never have to take vitamins again if I had that free space. I walked through Union Square today and realized that I no longer NEED drugs to feel stoned in this city. If you live long enough, and or don't die from them, you can almost dial up drug-vision or drug-perception when necessary here. Like if you're walking through the Green Market and it's full of weirdo farmers and tourists and non-tourists and you happen to have a dub playlist on your ipod going (Death Disco, Croaking Lizard, Stigmata Martyr, Congoman, Blackboard Jungle, War in A Babylon, Two Sevens Clash, Sandinista, and such) you ARE high. Even if you're not. If you ever were, then you are again. I think I've done the perfect amount of drugs in my life. Just enough. I simply don't need them anymore. I don't really need live, loud rock either, i've decided. The "Yeah Yeah Yeahs" are playing tonight at the McCarren Pool, a drained... um... pool, over in Williamsburg, and I am not there. I recently saw both those bands in very small places, the former at Maxwells in Hoboken, and the latter at CBGB, which is closing in about a month (more on that... never). Do you know those people, perhaps you have then in your city as well, who HAVE to be at every show. Every event. Every everything. I think they're called... bloggers. But seriously, it's a compulsion among hipsters i never got. Rock isn't supposed to be checked off a clipboard or micromanaged and cataloged and fire proofed. It's the must see show and i am almost deliberately or perversely missing it. I DID go out a few days ago and had some cocktails with a friend of mine who is a famous writer. We were talking about why people still write, like why write anymore. I'm sure people of a certain age and a certain level of success (he is more famous than me and not just by amazon.com rankings, which i never understand anyway) wonder that. I never did. It's the only thing that has always been natural and sensible. It hurts me that people whose work I respect a lot ask themselves that. I dispensed some bad advice, unsolicited too, i think. I told this famous writer to get a dog. Once you don't need drugs, don't write for the same reasons anymore (to make money, to delineate yourself from every other upstart in the big city you live in), meet hot chicks, think youself special, it's good to pull your head out of your own ass, unplug yourself from the matrix as it were, and nothing does that more than picking up the doggie doo. I should probably mention that the heat wave has broken and that the dude from the disco band Heatwave (who did "The Groove Line" and "Always And Forever" who fondly remembered roller disco jams from my "Hot Skates" frequenting youth... first couple skate, 1980, to "Shining Star" by The Manhattans with someone who is now a publicist for heavy metal bands) is dead (i read that in Mojo, after reading like 43 articles about the impending Dylan record). If Bob Dylan takes another five years between records, i wonder where i'll be in 2011. What i won't be doing. Maybe i won't be living. Maybe Bob Dylan won't be living and it'll be a Tupac style album of looped rhymes and duets with Mortimer Snerd. If we're both alive, i'll be 41 and Bob will be 70. When he released Blonde On Blonde in 1966, i was negative four. How rock is math? I could do this all night and never regret having not gone out to Brooklyn. I think.

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