June 27, 2004



"Fanelli's": an extract from my "Fave Cartoons" section.

December 29th, 1997. Fanelli's, on Prince and Mercer in SoHo, is one of the great bars in Manhattan. I had been in New York only a couple of days when I found myself there, drinking heavily.

I no longer drink much, however at the time I had this idea that seriously heavy drinking was essential in order to enjoy New York properly. I don't think I was wrong, either.

Around midnight at the bar I bump into an old acquaintance of mine from Chicago, Mark Mann. He had moved to New York about 3 months previously to do something with his film career. He is one of the funniest and most interesting people I know, but at the time I didn't know that. We were quite suspicious of each other for the longest time before we admitted that we actually were friends.

I hadn't told anybody I was moving to New York except on a need-to-know basis, so he was quite surprised to see me there. A ghost from his former Chicago life- just popped out of nowhere.

Told him my story. Told him about being laid off in Chicago. Told him about this new job I got in New York. Told him I only knew I got the job officially 5 days before Christmas- only about a week previously. Asked him how he was liking New York.

"It's great," he said. "Everybody's insane with loneliness, but that's OK. After a while you realize that's part of the edge."

I was hit with a paradox. I wanted to be in New York, I wanted to be "part of the edge", but I didn't want to be "insane with loneliness". Was one necessary in order to have the other? Was it a price worth paying? To this day, I still have no answer.

A couple of months later (July, '98) I drew this, sitting on a barstool. Thinking back to that conversation with Mark, suddenly I had a realization: The simple truth about New York is that people don't go there to give. They go there to take, or at least, to get. If you feel like giving, good for you, somewhere an angel is smiling yada yada yada, just don't expect other people to follow your example. And if you're feeling lonely, at least now you now know why. This drawing is partly about that.

Posted by hugh macleod at June 27, 2004 7:17 PM | TrackBack


But seemingly true...

Posted by: Jennifer at June 28, 2004 7:15 AM

"don't drink much"?

Explaina the last Blogmeet then sirrah.

(Oh, got some of your cards, very nice as well)

Posted by: Tom Reynolds at June 28, 2004 7:31 PM

Compared to my NY days, it was't much ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at June 29, 2004 2:02 PM

I lived in SoHo for 10 years - basically all of the '90s. Great place to be, great time to be there.

Fanelli's is a clasic New York bar. I hope it's there for a long time to come.

Posted by: fiat lux at June 29, 2004 5:37 PM

New Yorkers have invented 'Cuddle Parties' in acknowledgment of the insanity of loneliness. This saddens me but I recognise a similar thing going on here in London. No hugs, no touching. We're living so close to each other and invading each other's personal space so we put ourselves in little mental cages to protect ourselves. We have to or we we'd go mad and thump each other for being inadvertantly touched up for the fifty millionth time that morning on the Tube. Trouble is, you can't switch off forever.

Posted by: jane at August 26, 2004 2:49 PM