That George Gurley piece that ran a few weeks ago in The Observer, resurrected from 2001 when Rudy Giuliani was fixin’ to leave office, reminded me of when Mr. Giuliani first was mayor, and, although the man certainly cleaned up the city real good, all it meant to most of us indie rockers on the LES in ’94 was that we could no longer drink cheap beer from the bodega by CBGB’s out on the sidewalk before and between band sets.
CB’s prices were outrageous! I mean, really, those of us who weren’t squatting in Alphabet City were renting windowless converted storage spaces underneath tenements on 13th Street, and “dinner out” consisted of attending art gallery openings for the free grapes and cheese. So, like, $8 a bottle? For domestic? On the Bowery? Bite me, Hilly Kristal.
Also, during what we affectionately called Giuliani time, all the entrepreneurial blankets laid up and down Avenue A sidewalks disappeared. Oh, the treasures scored off those blankets. One time, I got an actual rat poop-less antique Hoosier cabinet for $10! And I still have the copy of Unrest’s first album that I bought for a drunken song off a blanket during one of many summertime 4 a.m. walks home. “Tink of SE” is the one where all the record covers were reappropriated from other record covers—mine is “Nixon in China,” the title crossed out in black magic marker.
Mark Robinson from Unrest, who has been running Teenbeat Records for at least 20 years, still makes music, nowadays with his wife, Evelyn Hurley, (formerly of Blast Off Country Style) as Cotton Candy. They mostly perform tunefully wacky, adorable renditions of commercial jingles, both real and made up, like at their recent gig for Crash Safely to benefit the National MS Society. But sorry, NYC. You have to drive to Boston to see ’em, because, to paraphrase Stephen Wright: You can’t have everything. Where would you put it? Your apartments are too small.