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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ziggy Plays

I once read in a travel guide that Key West was home to the indolent and the indigent. I really liked the sound of those two words together - they have both two-letter alliteration and rhyme. Not to be upstaged by Key West, I think NYC can lay claim to top dog when it comes to the numbers of people where less than complimentary adjectives (that rhyme and have two-letter alliteration) apply: insolent, insouciant, incoherent, incompetent, indignant, insentient, insistent, indulgent and of course indolent and indigent.
But, however talented, driven and ambitious one might be, I think one begins to realize, especially in a big city where the evidence is ubiquitous, that good fortune is an element in one's life. Anyone can fall between the cracks. I remember a TV program where a son was admonished by his father that one should never speak ill of "man who was down on his luck." It was said with such gravity, that it has stayed with me to this day, making me realize that indigence and indolence do not always go hand in hand.
These were the thoughts that came to mind when I entered the F train from Brooklyn last night and was accompanied by a musician who I had seen and heard before. He wanders from subway car to subway car (exiting and reentering the adjacent car at each stop) and plays a variety of songs with both his electric guitar and miniamp slung around his neck. I really like the feeling he brings to his music and the coarseness of his voice. I gave him a dollar. It suddenly occurred to me that this was a bloggable event, so with only seconds to act, I pulled out my point and shoot camera - all I had with me. As he was exiting the car, it also occurred to me to ask his name. "Ziggy" he replied. "Z, double i, double g, double y, dot com" he added. I tried to confirm the dot com address with a fellow rider, but he was not sure. So, expecting an Internet fishing trip, as soon as I got home I typed ziiggyy.com into a browser bar and Voila! - Ziggy's myspace site popped up. A feeling of comfort came over me now that he had not just a face but a name and a place to listen to his music.
I also started thinking that I should expand my vocabulary a bit. New words came to mind like misjudged, tenacious, hopeful ...

10 comments:

Lucy said...

I have see this guy, he is very good, but he does seem to be very fierce and insistent, and works those train cars hard...probably would do well playing actual venues in Brooklyn too. I really like his style, all black and a lot of leather, very elegant...

Lorelai said...

Wow, you really are a fantastic writer. You need to have your own column somewhere. Well I guess maybe this IS your column...I am a faithful reader! I look forward to your blog every day at work!

Anonymous said...

You are just too good! I love your blog. You're writing is so easy to read and so natural. Thank you for keeping up this blog. I love it!!!

RD said...

This is fantastic blog writing! (Is there an echo in here?) Now I really want to see and hear this Ziiggyy for myself. Off to visit his website. Thanks for your regularity, tenacity, veracity, authority, and clarity in documenting NYC!

in-a-silver-bag said...

Thank you for yet another wonderful story from the farway city I love so much!

Brian said...

lorelai, anon, re, in-a-silver-bag:
Thanks so much. I was very inspired.
I'm glad I communicated my various feelings successfully. Writing this way and revealing so much of oneself in print makes one vulnerable. If it works, great; if not, it can be quite embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you like him. I've heard him play the same songs over and over for 5 years, and it's a bore. I don't think people should be forced to listen to music while they are virtually held captive in a space.

Kevie said...

I just discovered your blog while doing an image search. Wonderful work. I'll be spending a lot of time here I think! I've lived in the East Village for 20 years, and you're making me see my surroundings with all-new eyes. Thank you.

Liz said...

I just saw Ziiggyy get into an argument with a police officer who told him not to play. I must say, he actually stood up for himself very articulately (and loudly). He saw me watching the whole exchange and talked to me a little bit when we both exited the train at my stop. He says he used to be a police officer, and that he left the force because he didn't like the way they train you to treat other people. Whether it's true or not, it certainly was interesting. I was trying to find his website and found your blog. Thanks.
Incidentally, I too have seen him on the train for years, but tonight's episode was very humanizing. I had my camera with me and thought about trying to take a picture of him and the cop, but was afraid this might make the whole situation worse. I tried setting up to take a picture with my phone, but there was no inconspicuous way to do that either!

Brian Dubé said...

Liz,
What great additional bio material and personal story. Thanks!