We have been staying in the Logan Square area of Chicago. Before I came away I spent a couple of nights in an Airbnb in Cambridge and on my second night was joined in the little flat by an American gentleman called Miles. He was in Cambridge at a conference but came from Chicago and when our conversation turned to our trip he said “oh you will love Logan Square. There are lots of bars and restaurants. It’s a bit like Camden”. Miles had obviously never been to Camden, but still it was nice.
There were indeed lots of bars and restaurants and we did eat in them most nights. However it soon became obvious that this wasn’t quite our crowd. The first night we went to a bar/brewery (which I mentioned in the water, water everywhere blog the other day). Someone on Tripadvisor described it as “noisy and overrated”. Indeed it was noisy, but that was mainly due to lack of soft furnishings. It s certainly somewhere that you couldn’t bring the parents, or anyone with hearing aids for that matter. I’ll never forget years ago sitting in an Indian restaurant on Broad Street in Birmingham after a day’s filming and the soundman walked out. Now this wasn’t for the usual reason that you lose a soundman (joke: What do soundmen use for contraception? Answer: their personalities); it was just too noisy. You see soundmen spend their entire lives not listening to what is being said but the background noises (I think perhaps I am a soundman in training). So when you end up in a bar with wooden floors, wooden seats and leather couches, sound ricochets around like a pin ball. So in this case my soundman couldn’t bear the noise and left. Well that was the excuse that he gave anyway. Anyway, this bar in Chicago was noisy.
As I looked around the bar I noticed something. We were definitely the oldest people in the bar. And we were the only ones without tattoos. Our waitress was friendly, but not overly chatty. Well, who wants to chat to your parents when you are working? She was professional but that was about if. A couple of nights later we found ourselves in another bar/restaurant “Son of a Butcher” (my favourite name and favourite burger of the trip so far). Again our server was friendly, but it was noticeable that he dealt with us as quickly as possible so that he could get on with chatting to the younger clientele and give them fist bumps and free shots.
For the final two nights in Chicago we ended up in the same bar. We watched the Cubs game there on Thursday night and liked it so much that we headed back for our last night. We had the same waitress on both nights who obviously had drawn the short straw and had to serve the oldies. As we sat eating our “small plates” which we were having as our mains (they were massive) I noticed a girl setting up her laptop by the bar. On our first night in Logan Square we had walked passed a cafe where every single person was under the age of 30 and had an apple product, so I guessed she was was just setting up to check her emails, then I realised no, she was a DJ.
When I did mobile DJ’ing in the 80’s it was man’s work. For a start you had to lug a twin deck mixer combo, rope lights and a stash of vinyl from the back of the car. That was before you set up the flashing traffic lights and smoke machine . It was hard graft. These days superstar DJ’s turn up with a USB stick full of tunes and a snazzy set of headphones and they are off. (If you want to see a great parody of just how vacuous DJ’ing is, watch this: https://youtu.be/49EhuzrRj8I).
So our lady in the bar sets up her laptop (an Apple MacBook, obvs) and tries to plug her external hard drive in which must have had all her banging tunes on. It was a USB drive so she tried it one way, it didn’t work, so she tried it the other way and it still didn’t work so she tried it the first way again and this time it fitted (that my dear is the mysterious way that USB’s work. Never on the first or second attempt, only on the the third attempt will the thing fit). It wasn’t long before she was set. The piped music (which I was quite enjoying) was faded out and the house DJ began club night with…No Doubt’s Don’t Speak. Ok, not what I expected, but it’s a good tune, so I was happy. Then it got surreal. Bearing in mind that other than myself and Karen there wasn’t anyone under 30 in the bar, she followed No Doubt’s 90’s classic with:
Wham – Wake me up before you go go
UB40 – Red, Red Wine
Savage Garden – Truly Madly Deeply
No Diggity – Blackstreet
Presumably there was nothing from 2016 the kids wanted to listen to. Or she was being ironic. I just can’t tell with these young people.
Tomorrow: You say Metro, I say Metra. Now the eagle eyed among you will have noticed that I said that tonight’s blog should have had the title You say Metro, I say Metra. But the Bond aficionados amongst you will remember that at the end of “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977, great film) it said “James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only”. Two years later Bond was back, but in Moonraker (1979, rubbish film). We had to wait a further three years for For Your Eyes Only (1982, meh film). Basically on the back of the success of Star Wars, the Bond producers wanted to cash in on the science fiction craze and hastily put Moonraker together. In a similar vein, a better subject matter came to light so I went with that. I will get around to the metro stuff. Oh, and if you had never spotted that Bond mistake, you are not an aficionado so don’t come in here claiming you are. Capiche? Good.