Travelpogue, or Memories to Anticipation

Publication: Travelpogue on

Derelict81, a regular contributor to this web site’s fora, has kindly agreed to document his travels as he and his wife make their way to The Pogues’ 2006 shows in Manhattan, New York.

Preamble: Reflections, Old Records, and the Future

Well, here we go. Just who are The Derelicts? Dave, age 47, and my dear Jana, age (ahem) from St Petersburg, Florida, soon to be temporary residents of the Manhattan skyline.

This whole odyssey started around the 1st of August 2005, amid one of the wildest hurricane seasons on record in Florida. Speaking of records, I had finally decided that the boxes and boxes of them in the closet had to be sorted out. They were taking up too much space, and I knew that many were used and abused and had to go. The boxes were labeled in semi-alphabetical order, and the first box I picked was “L-P.”

I opened Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti,” to laugh at remnants of a green, leafy-looking substance permanently adhered to the middle fold. The mood turned somber when I looked at “Ghost In The Machine,” by The Police. This record belonged to a good friend of mine who is no longer with us. The glossy, black backside of the album ravaged and scarred by a razor blade laying out lines of the shit that eventually took his life. Hey, we all have “ghosts,” and I consider myself pretty lucky to have walked away from all that many years ago.

I continued through this box, with a good portion of its contents headed to the trash dumpster. I paused when I pulled out an album by a band that I truly admired yet never had the opportunity to see live....The Pogues.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard them in the mid 1980s or seeing the Saturday Night Live performance a few years later. You have to take that time, we didn’t have the luxury of clicking a few buttons on our home computers to learn of band activities. As odd as this may seem, home computers didn’t exist. The only concert news was print media, radio, or word-of-mouth. I never read or heard anything about The Pogues, so I figured the band had faded into oblivion like so many other bands I once regarded as “excellent.” I was wrong.....

All these years later curiosity got the best of me. I did a search on the “magic machine” and discovered “The Pogues: In The Wake of Medusa.” Not only did I find a virtual goldmine of info on the band, but when I ventured into the “Forum” I soon realized that I was a real rookie regarding affection for this band. There were some serious, and sometimes not too serious fans here. As this was my first foray into a fora, a smile came across my face when I saw band members were posting. An even wider smile resulted from the news that the original band had been playing some gigs, and that a collection of Christmas shows in the United Kingdom and Ireland had been scheduled. I actually made some inquiries about traveling to Europe to catch one of these shows....until reality knocked me on my ass again.

Jana, my real inspiration, has had serious health issues, and what we thought were past problems had returned.

When I saw the announcement a couple months later that The Pogues were going to play in the U.S., there was no second guessing. Problems be damned, this may be our only chance to see the band. The initial plan was to fly up to D.C. for a day, catch the show, and fly home the next day. Then the hamsters in the damaged wheel of my brain convinced me that a few days in Atlantic City might be a better option. I even made reservations at the Borgata, which were luckily refundable. Ultimately the thought of concerts surrounding, and including St. Paddy’s Day just couldn’t be resisted. What the hell, roll the bones and go for the gusto! You only live once! Bought tickets for all four nights at the Nokia, made reservations at a nice hotel in the Times Square area, and then.....more poor news from Jana’s doctor.

There’s 25 days of radiation treatment to ensure the “C” (still don’t like to mention that word, as it literally makes me sick to my stomach,) stays in remission. Current treatment will end the first week in March. Weeks into the treatment now and she’s doing extremely well!!!! No problems. We’re going to New York!

We’re looking forward to upholding the dignity of Travelpogue, and hopefully provide an enjoyable read as others have done in the past.

Pfff.....I made myself laugh at that one.........WE’RE GOING TO NEW YORK CITY TO SEE THE FUCKIN’ POGUES FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And maybe even have some fun for a change, and raise a little Hell in the process. We need it!

Please fasten your seatbelt, return your seat to the upright position, and enjoy the ride....I know we will!

Day 1
White-Knuckle Rides

After tossing and turning through much of the night, unable to shut down the“what if...” questions I continued to ask myself, the 30 minute commute from St Petersburg to Tampa to catch a plane was not very pleasant. I’ve driven this stretch of highway/causeway/bridge spanning Tampa Bay countless times, and have become accustomed to the high-speed crazy drivers one encounters on any given day. For no apparent reason, today’s jaunt turned into a white-knuckle ride. Perhaps I was a bit over-cautious, not wanting to join Firehazard in the“trips gone bad” club. The credible explanation, was that I was nervous as hell. To raise my blood pressure even more, the four lanes of traffic suddenly slowed to a snails pace. My wristwatch soon became the enemy, and the cursing commenced.

I thought of journeys to concerts back in the day when you would pass carloads of people on the road, and you knew you were headed to the same destination, as crazy phrases painted on the back window of their cars would identify them.“The Stones...Rock N Roll,” or“The Who...Party!!!” Somehow, two 40-something adults chugging along at 10 m.p.h. with“The Pogues or Bust” on the window just didn’t seem cool enough to fit the bill, and would have probably just resulted in strange looks from passers-by.

Luckily, we left home a little early anticipating any potential problems, and arrived at the airport with some time to spare. In the parking garage, I decided to have one last pre-flight smoke, and complied with the mental note to self....“lighters are not permitted on planes, so leave this one in the car.” I had my allowed two packs of matches to make it through inspection. Neither of us have flown in many years, but we were aware of the heightened security procedures and nervously got in line and followed all directions. Take off your shoes and put them in the tray, empty all pockets and put this in the tray, anything with metal in the tray. We walked through the metal detector with no problems, and waited on the other side for our possessions to come through the x-ray when we heard,“WHO’S TRAY IS THIS?!?!” All heads in line snapped to my direction, and here comes an unhappy-looking TSA officer with my tray in one hand, and my red disposable lighter in the other hand! “Oh shit!!!!” In retrospect, this would have been the opportune moment to use“My name is MacRua.....,” but I’d probably still be in jail as this dude was all business. After a minute or so of questions and scolding, the angry man let us go on our way. He even made a joking comment and smiled as we left, possibly seeing that I may be going into cardiac arrest.

The relatively short 2 hour 30 minute flight to New York wasn’t bad at all. Flight was a little late, but at least our luggage arrived at the same airport we did. We had reservations with a car service, and requested a luxury car which was surprisingly cheaper than a taxi, so all we had to do was get our bags and call for a pick-up. Opened the doors to go outside and wait when it hit us. Frigid air and wind that would cut you in half. A pitiful sight....two warm-blooded Floridians standing there with our backs to the wind freezing our asses off. Our Lincoln Town car arrived, and my thoughts of a scenic, comfortable ride into Manhattan were quickly thwarted. First, I couldn’t understand a word our driver said, and second, I had no idea we were entered in The Grand Prix of New York as this guy was driving like a fuckin’ lunatic, weaving in and out of traffic at breakneck speeds. I made the mistake of initiating a conversation with our driver as we approached Manhattan. “Is this the East River?” “Jes, Ees Rived.” Through the Midtown Tunnel and into the skyscrapers when Mr. Indecipherable started pointing through the windshield....“Em Peter Stat.” I had no clue as to what he said. I looked at Jana and she shrugged her shoulders. It was then that we saw the Empire State Building.

Through the packed streets of Manhattan, I couldn’t even look through the windshield as it now appeared to be demolition derby time. Finally, at our hotel on Broadway, I was able to pry my clenched fingers from the armrest.

No problems at our hotel... unpack, relax, and confirm an invite on the town. Our host, and temporary tour guide met us in front of our hotel. We followed his suggestion, and off to Connolly’s we strolled. Pictures or television just don’t capture the excitement of Times Square, and it seemed a bit surreal walking along Broadway amidst the neon and big screens advertising everything imaginable. This night evolved into an enjoyable evening of conversation and drinks with DzM. It was especially nice for me to see Jana having a good time for a change, and she even got a little tipsy for the first time in many months. I love New York!!!

Day 2
“Put On Your Walkin’ Shoes,” to “The Gang’s All Here”

It was pretty amazing to get out of bed and look out the window from the 43rd floor of our hotel. I stood there for quite some time sipping coffee, when I realized that I could be the winner of the office pool in the adjacent high-rise buildings for being the“first tourist of the day in underwear at the window.” We bundled up as best we could, had breakfast, and hit the streets. First stop, Grand Central Station. This proved to be a pretty good hike, and we quickly became acclimated to Manhattan sidewalk etiquette....“move it or fuckin’ lose it.” We pretty much followed the herd and crossed streets when the lights advised, but after a while we threw caution to the freezing wind and did the jay-walking thing when it was clear. Grand Central is certainly a beautiful building inside and out, and it’s stonework seems out of place in this metropolis of concrete and steel. We wandered around for a bit and then it was time for another hike. Next stop....across town to the Hudson River.

Pier 83 is home to The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. It’s centerpiece being The U.S.S Intrepid, an aircraft carrier nearly 900 feet long and rich with history. During the Pacific Campaign of World War II, she suffered seven bomb attacks, five kamikaze strikes and one torpedo hit; yet the ship continually returned after repairs, earning her the reputation among the enemy as“The Ghost Ship.” During the 1960’s the Intrepid served as primary recovery vessel for NASA, picking up both Mercury and Gemini capsules. After three tours of duty in Vietnam, the ship was officially retired in 1974 and has been a museum since 1982.

Everything has been kept as original as possible, and you can basically go anywhere. We went up to the top level of the bridge to the main wheelhouse, and to look across the flight deck towards the bow you wonder how something this enormous can be navigated. Down on the deck itself, fighter planes from many eras and countries are on display. We were hoping to tour The U.S.S. Growler, the only intact nuclear missile submarine open to the public anywhere in the world, but of course it was“temporarily offsite.” Another exhibit was a Concorde jet that you are allowed to walk through. This particular jet made the fastest Atlantic crossing of a Concorde, taking just 2 hours 53 minutes. Seating only allowed 75-100 passengers, and at four to six thousand dollars for a one-way flight it’s really no surprise they didn’t last long. Exiting the jet, I noticed a couple guys sporting“Dublin Fire Brigade” jackets which I asked them about. They were in New York for the parade and when told that we came up from Florida to see The Pogues, they had no idea the band was in town, but became very excited nonetheless. “Is it sold out?” “Is Shane with ‘em?” We ran into these guys a few times throughout the museum, exchanged pleasantries, and were assured“ you’re gonna have a great time.”

Back to the hotel, a famous monster NY deli sandwich, shower, and we were off to the pre-show meet-up at Connolly’s. As soon as we walked through the door , I recognized faces of“the gang.” The U.S. was pretty well represented here. Neil from Seattle, Georgecat, Carmen and DzM from California, the Orrocks from NY, Sheva from Philly. A great bunch of people, and thank god no group hugs. We all traveled quite a distance with one common denominator, and after gab and much needed drink it was off to the show. Just a few blocks to the Nokia, and although we were told“it ain’t too bad tonight,” we felt like the only things we were lacking were a pack of sled dogs and Admiral Byrd as our guide.

The Nokia theater is a pretty impressive venue. It’s essentially underground. Through the front doors and down an escalator just to the lobby. Into the concert hall at the middle of three levels. “The pit below” down a flight of stairs at stage level, is guesstimated about 50 feet below street level. Opening act was already playing, and we walked down to the floor to survey the situation. As Jana is vertically challenged, and it was already about 25 people deep in front of the stage, there is no way she would have been able to see anything so it was retreat to the mid-level where we had a nice spot staked out right below the VIP enclave. It was a little surprising to see how young the crowd was but then figured, fuck it, at age 47, everybody looks young to me at concerts anymore. W.E.W. finished his unique set and this is when the week’s weird shit started happening. Just standing there listening to D.J. Scratchy when a few ladies came up the stairs from the lower floor. It only took one glance at the red flower in her hair and I knew who it was, but no one else seemed to know, as she filed through the crowd unscathed. I couldn’t resist, and as she passed I said, “Excuse me but aren’t you Ella Finer?” A surprised big smile and, “why yes I am.” My return, “.............” Obviously sensing my dumbfounded ness, she grabbed my wrist and said,“very nice to meet you.” And away she went. That was our brush with the band. At this point we could see that the crowd down on the floor was already starting to get a little crazy, and the overflow had soon made it’s way to the middle level of the hall. Our nice view was soon gone so it was time for a drink, which turned into a few. We decided to join the rest of the“seasoned” fans up in the seats, and sat down just in time to see the stage lights dim to the mesmerizing voice of Mr. Strummer. I gave the missus a smooch and said“this is going to be awesome,” and soon enough, the band strolled out and took us on a two hour ride that I could only describe as fuckin’ mind-blowing. I’m really at a loss for words in trying to describe this experience, other than to say that this is going to be a fun time in The Big Apple.

Filed out of the Nokia and into the bone-chilling wind back to the hotel. A few blocks up Broadway and we decided to stop at Connolly’s Pub for a night-cap. Through the front door we heard a hell of a ruckus from inside sounding like a bunch of drunk revelers, and once inside we found just that. A group of about 15 people, ladies at one table and men at the next belting out songs at the top of their lungs. As soon as one song ended, they flew into the next one. They were the center of attention, and having a hell of a good time. I didn’t recognize any of the songs but figured they were traditional Irish songs from what I could barely decipher. I braved my way past them to the bar for one more night-cap, and on my return to Jana someone from the rowdy singing gang yanked my shoulder around. “I KNOW YOU,” and lo and be-fuckin’ hold it was one of the Dublin boys we met across town at the Intrepid earlier in the day. He quickly spotted Jana across the room, and our new friend from Ireland, Nick, was a great guy. We discussed everything from the concert to the recent riots in Dublin. Had to decline his bid to join the troupe as I was now having a hard time reading my watch. And a singing they continued. When we finally put our coats on to leave, here comes Nick through the crowd, and hands me an embroidered Dublin Fire Brigade patch ... “You’re one of us now.” Nearly teared me up as we said goodbye.

Still heard them singing a few doors away. Feeling no pain or cold now, it was a stumble up Broadway to the hotel. After all, tomorrow is Paddy’s Day.

Day 3
“Pardon Me, Mrs. Trump”

The very nice thing about being on vacation away from home is that there are few responsibilities and obligations. No mailboxes full of bills, no mandatory phone calls, and no alarm clocks which was especially nice. I’m usually up at around 5 A.M., and to sleep in until 9 or 10 is one of life’s little luxuries. It’s St. Patrick’s Day in New York City and this is a pretty big deal. Turned on the local news, and the reporters on the street were already surrounded by swarms of the clover-clad awaiting the 245th annual parade. We had already decided on going up to Central Park to try to find a spot on the parade route, so following breakfast we were off to the races again. Another very cold day with the same unrelenting wind whipping through the buildings. Street vendors were hawking every Irish-themed ware imaginable, most of it being some really tacky crap. Stopped at 5th Avenue and Central Park South to enjoy the occasional ray of sunshine and noticed something we’ve yet to see in Manhattan... grass on the ground.

Streets along the parade route were railed off so we took up a spot behind a woman with a toddler and an elderly woman, all of whom appeared to be suffering from hypothermia and didn’t look like they’d be there long. Sure enough, they made their exit and we had front row on 5th Ave. And before long it was the distant sound of bagpipes and snapping drums. First up the street were a contingent of the rich and powerful including Rudy Giuliani, NY Mayor Bloomberg, and a bunch of other unknown coattail followers. Next were a real special group... The Fighting 69th NY Army National Guard, recently home from Iraq. No shiny shoes and dress garb with this outfit... well-worn battle fatigues and proud marching unison. And no smiles and waves... they lost 19 of their comrades.

Endless streams of pipe and marching bands, and the funniest moment with the loudest cheers were for three guys carrying shovels and pushing barrels, taking care of the remnants of a pack of mounted horses just passed. Unsung heroes. After nearly three hours and now frozen numb feet we decided to bow out too. We turned to leave and nearly got run over by a woman pushing a kid in a stroller, followed by her wimp husband. I didn’t really pay any attention until we were out of the crowd and Jana asked me if I heard “the bitch.” Apparently, throughout the parade she was voicing comments to her man about how we were rude and inconsiderate, in not letting them step in front of us to have the prime view because they had a child. I’m just glad I didn’t hear the remarks, as I’d have told the Uptown girl to go shit in her Sak’s hat. The kicker, was that we looked back and our former spot at the rail was now occupied by the couple that was next to us, and Mr. & Mrs. Society were unfortunately still not front and center. A damn shame. An abbreviated walk through Central Park, a stop for some warming coffee and it was back to the hotel where we watched the end of the parade on television. Can’t run with the big dogs anymore, so it was nap time for the Derelicts.

Fully refreshed and ready to roll, but too late for the pre-show meet-up, we took a quick walk around the corner to The Pig n’ Whistle on 47th. En route we paused to laugh at one of the street artists sketching a couple of young guys who obviously had a long day of indulgence. Another cold night, and these guys had shorts and sneakers on and that’s it. They were painted green head to foot, sitting on the sidewalk for a portrait to remember. Some good food, drinks, and it was a late hustle to the Nokia.

Arrived at 9:30, just in time to grab a brew to the sounds of, “it’s not’s rice,” or Guinness in my case. Up to the seats which was a very comfortable place. Excellent sound, unobstructed access to the beverage center, and no hassles with my occasional smoke. Sure, it would have been nice to see the band up-close, but after seeing the “casualties of war” emerging from the pit the night before, I was sure we made the right choice again. Another stellar performance by the band with much of the same as the previous night... an amusing stroll around the stage for Shane during “White City,” the wisenheimer remarks between songs by Spider... followed by his obvious loving dedication to his wife. The lump in the throat throughout several songs, with Jana repeating “what a beautiful voice” mid “Thousands Are Sailing.” James thrashing around the stage, and through several instruments, Andrew out front with Darryl on the skins and Philip on the four stringer. The consummate bookends... Jem and Terry, rounding out one VERY impressive spectacle of musicianship at it’s finest. And I don’t want to forget Ms. Ella, who put on a stunning performance. We left the theater nearly speechless again.

Back into the cold blow where we ran into Sheva having a tough time hailing a cab. Then it was time for some exploration. Couldn’t resist the temptation to visit the establishment voted “Best Dive Bar In Manhattan,” so across 44th we went to Jimmy’s Corner, a gem of dumps with wall to wall boxing memorabilia, and Jimmy himself a former trainer, pictured with all the greats. About 10 foot wide, cheap drinks, a jukebox full of Stax music, very friendly and no-nonsense waitresses, nasty enjoyable dive. A late-night sashay up Broadway with the mandatory re-fueling stop at Connolly’s, and it was “do not disturb” time.

Day 4
“Blood n’ Guts”

Finally alive at about 11 A.M., and not quite ready for a jog through Central Park. But, I’ve started the day with a marathon runner’s sure routine... coffee, a headache reliever, and a smoke. We haven’t slept in this late in a long time. Blame it on the Pogues.

Early afternoon and we’re off to the Chelsea neighborhood to The Atlantic Theater Company’s presentation of “The Lieutenant of Inishmore.” I think I’ve figured out what happens to United Nations delegates when they finish their respected terms... they become NYC drivers, as our cabbie seems to be speaking anything but English.

Jana has been to several shows, but this was my first so I honestly didn’t know what to expect. The theater itself, looks like a renovated church along a street of apartment buildings. Once inside, a very intimate setting and not a bad seat in the house. Row F, and there is Ms. Carmen and our two seats next to her. Soon saw Neil (sans MacRua nametag,) and his cousin from Chicago. Lights went down, and this show came alive with one of the funniest performances I have ever seen. Picture bumbling, fumblers trying to cover up the death of a mad-man’s beloved cat and you have a small premise of this play. Probably not much of a description, but I wouldn’t want to give too much away... but I would highly recommend it.

Back to the hotel and I soon sensed that we wouldn’t be going to see The Pogues tonight. Although she would never admit it, I could see that Jana wasn’t feeling well. Show cancelled. I went down to the Nokia and quickly sold the tickets for face value. Yea, I know... blasphemy, but I have to take care of the priorities, and the concert was number two on the list. On my way back to the hotel, some bible-beaters on a makeshift stage were yelling at everyone passing them, assuring all that they were going to hell. I was in the mood to tell the messiah who tried to hand me the “real” writings to fuck off.

We’ve still got Sunday night’s show.

Day 5

After the previous night’s timeout, it was another restless early rise for me. A few hours of guilty glances at the clock, and a sigh of relief when Jana finally got up feeling fine. Time to downshift and slow the pace, especially the long-distance walking. Following a late breakfast, newspaper, and the HUGE television news... another Trump on this planet that The Donald can pay child support to when the next flavor-of-the-month model comes around. It must be the attractive comb-over, or comb-down in his case.

Time for some real touristy stuff for us. A cab ride, this time with a turban-wearing driver back over to the Hudson River for a Circle Line boat cruise.

So we “set sail for a three hour cruise” circumnavigating the island of Manhattan. The only problem was the same wicked wind blowing, and once you left the comfy confines of the lower deck it was pretty miserable on the bow or open upper decks. It was still an enjoyable way to kill a few hours. We hadn’t really seen lower Manhattan, and we made two passes by Battery Park with a detour out past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

On the bow of the boat confronting the wind, snapping pictures, I shivered not necessarily from the cold, but from trying to visualize two jumbo jets plowing into the once tallest buildings in this cramped area. Pretty eerie just thinking about what this city must have gone through. Heading north on the “Ees Rived” under the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, now on the stern staring south I was still trying to fathom the 9/11 hell. Upriver past Queens and The Bronx, now on the Harlem River up to the northern tip of Manhattan I finally convinced Jana to come up to the top deck and as soon as we rounded the point and back on the Hudson, we were graced with a few snowflakes. I loved it... she was freezing. Back to the lower deck, back to port, and back to the hotel.

We splurged at a nice restaurant tonight, and although I would hardly consider myself a food critic, an average meal considering the bill. One more late dash down Broadway to Connolly’s for the last muster of Medusans. Ran into Sheva, DzM, and had a hello/goodbye meet with photog extraordinaire Josie, aka Chichi. Hung around for a while and overheard a conversation from a group next to us discussing The Pogues forum. Soon met Mr. & Mrs. redandblack78, a charming couple from Pennsylvania, with Steve and Liz up from Texas, who were all soon off to the show. It was too late to rush for the coveted rail spots and too early for the Pogues so we had a couple more drinks before the short walk to the Nokia.

The usual pat-down and sweep with a hand-held metal detector and we were in for the last show of the Pogues U.S. 2006 tour. Opening acts had just finished up, so I got in the drink line while Jana went scurrying to the ladies room. As the line seemed to be going nowhere, I ended up in a seemingly lengthy conversation with a guy in front of me who’s accent necessitated several “I’m sorry’s?” from me. He eventually introduced himself... Michael from London, originally from Ireland and now living over here. He really couldn’t grasp the fact that we flew up from Florida to see the band. After stating that he’s seen the Pogues “about twenty times,” I think it finally sunk in after I replied “Thursday was the first time we’ve ever seen ’em.” Drinks in hand, a “cheers” to Michael, and into the theater.

We paused at the middle level and I actually had a very brief thought of taking a right and down the stairs into “the pit,” but quickly laughed that one off. Instead, it was a left turn into the seats again where gray hair outnumbered pierced lips by about 200-1. On came the band for yet another premier show, and this one just seemed so bittersweet.

Instead of the lump in the throat, it was “I got something in my eye.” There was really no change it the set from the Thursday and Friday shows, yet every song somehow sounded better... maybe it was the reality that this may very well be the last Pogues show we will ever see. The finish of “Fiesta,“ and that was that... show over. We sat there for a while, comfortably numb and finally made our way down the stairs, to pause when I thought I recognized a couple people down in front of the stage. And sure enough, amid the piles of empty plastic cups were DzM and Sheva looking as satisfied and happy as we felt. Went over and bid our adieus, and inquired about a post-show meet-up, with DzM mumbling something about Rocky Sullivans. Adios, and we were soon seated at Connolly’s... again. Very mellow crowd tonight... a little bit too soft even for a Sunday night in Manhattan. Off to the Hotel?... Hell no, and after getting an address, it was cab time to Lexington and 28th. Had no idea what we were in for, but once out of the cab, who is the first person we run into in front of the bar... Michael from the drink line at the Nokia. This is getting to be a little too weird... makes me wonder if we’re being followed this week. He introduces us to one of his mates... a dude with a leather beret, and so much of a drunken thick accent, that I couldn’t understand a fuckin’ word he said. We retreated to the open spaces at the end of the bar, and after a matter of only a few minutes, here comes Mr. leather beret screaming incoherently, giving us both a big hug... apparently our new friend. We were outta there after an hour and while trying to grab a cab, who do we see over on the corner yelling at everything... you guessed it.

Day 6 and the rest

For the past few days, local news has had reports of an identified, photographed subway robber who has already claimed three victims up in Harlem. So what better way to cap off our New York trip... a hungover ride on the B train up to the American Museum of Natural History which is located on the West side of Central Park. My first subway ride, and it was everything I expected... nauseating, not the least bit enjoyable, and I now have some empathetic thoughts for people who have to endure this underground shithole on a daily basis. But hey, it goes with the territory. It would be easy to spend a couple of days in this museum, but we took the condensed version, and quickly covered most of it in about four hours. Very interesting, but I soon had cravings for the couch in our hotel room. Enough of the subway madness, so it was a cab to Broadway and 47th where I was soon reclined. There were no more Pogues shows to produce the early evening excitement tonight, and there was absolutely no desire hit the pubs so it was a quiet night at The Doubletree.

And before we knew it, it was “Tuesday Morning,” and our return to Florida. Actually happy to be going home, but also very sad to be leaving this exciting city where we’ve had so much fun, met some great people, and really had some memorable times at concerts that we never thought we’d see in our lifetimes. It was beyond question, an experience that we will never forget.

The flight back to Florida was actually relaxing, unlike the high-strung uncertain one a week earlier. Prior to our trip, friends suddenly became New York City experts, filling our heads with groundless warnings about the dangers we would face. Yes, Manhattan is a fast pace but with some plans and a little common sense, it’s no different than any other big city. No, New Yorkers are not rude...with the exception of the Uptown bitch. Anywhere we went, we found people to be very friendly and helpful with any questions we had. No, we did not get dragged into an alley and mugged....there was never a moment where I felt defensive or threatened. I did however keep a wary eye on leather beret guy at Rocky Sullivans... probably a harmless drunk, but when we saw him out on the street yelling at pretty much everything, my thoughts of him being a pretty loose cannon were justified.

There were also many misconceptions about the concerts. I read the reviews of the shows in D.C., Atlantic City, and Boston preceding our trip by so-called “journalists.” The majority I read had too much emphasis on how fucked up and inarticulate Shane was. Was he wasted? Don’t know, don’t care... we enjoyed his performance, and understood most of what he said between songs. What these hacks should have focused on was how impressive this entire band is live. But, what do you expect when some of these assholes couldn’t even get band members names or instruments right in their summary. We wouldn’t have spent this much money to travel so far if we didn’t think The Pogues would put on a fine show. They really exceeded our expectations, and then some. Would we do it again? In a fuckin’ New York minute, without a doubt!

So here we are back in Florida, hopefully with some long-term normality in our lives this time.

Just a few bits of gratitude... to The Pogues... some unforgettable shows. Thank you for coming to the U.S.

Thank you DzM... if it wasn’t for your tireless work on this site, we probably would have never seen the band. Nice to meet you, and thank you for tolerating my computer incompetency.

And a huge thanks to all of you people who have wished us well during a very trying time in our lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken down reading your encouraging thoughts. It would be nice to think we could meet someday... maybe at a Pogues show.

CHEERS ALL!!!!!!!!

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Your intrepid maintainer is DzM.