New York TO SOUTH DAKOTA 1978
Arriving in New York, Joe Eula turns out to be a very good host. He has a stunning apartment on West 54th Street, and seems to know everyone; Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli, and Miles Davis (with whom I have a memorable brief phone conversation) to name but three. It would be very easy to be seduced by all the magic that New York has to offer, but I am here for a purpose as Joe reminds me; I needed to get busy.
After a few days acclimatizing and sight-seeing, I head north towards Harlem to visit The American Indian Museum. I feel a little exposed with my bulky leather camera bag slung over my shoulder.
I drop a quarter into the hat of a homeless man near Times Square, and walk on. I am immediately aware that I am being shadowed. I jump on a bus and make my escape. Whew! That was close! This is 1978, and New York has a tough reputation.
Or am I just imagining things?
I miss my stop, and head further into Harlem than I intended. I’m out of my element here. A kindly gentleman points out my error, and directs me south a couple of blocks.
Finally I walk into the museum, a relieved tourist!
Over the next few days I visit The American Indian Museum, The Hispanic Museum, The Museum Of Natural History, and The Museum of Modern Art.
I pound the streets and soak up the atmosphere. This is so different from North Yorkshire. I feel a sense of freedom amongst these huge buildings and vast avenues.
This is the life, I write in my diary, and later use this phrase as the chorus for a song for the album. Here it is:
All humanity is here. People of all colours and shades. I try to engage in conversation as much as I can, and mostly people are friendly and seem happy to talk. They are amused by my accent!
But where are the Native Americans? I can’t seem to meet one. Not even at The American Indian Museum!
I think I’m going to have to head west.
I say my good byes to Joe, and board a flight to Chicago. We leave in bright warm sunshine, and arrive in deep snow. It’s very cold. I’m not expecting this, and besides, I have more flights to catch, to Watertown, South Dakota, via Minneapolis St. Paul.
Both flights are delayed by the weather, but finally I arrive in Watertown, and am greeted by my new hosts Br Benet, Br. Michael, and Br. Sebastian. They’re Benedictine monks and live at Blue Cloud Abbey where I am to stay for this stage of my journey. All three are dressed in bulky casual clothes, and don’t look like monks at all. They’re very welcoming, and take me for a pizza, with jugs of light ale.
Later we drive to the Abbey in a huge car. We stop to pick up a hitch hiker. He is an old Indian man. He is very large, and only speaks Lakota. He shakes my hand and smiles. I have met my first Indian!
More to follow
Links to further blogs about Everybody Powwow! below:
By the time Ian Tompson greeted me at the front gate of Humber Road Studios in Blackheath, on the first day of recording Everybody Powwow!, I thought I was well prepared, and was looking forward to finally getting in the studio with my songs…
I wake to the sound of surf, the sea, lapping at my feet. The light hurts. I push down into my sleeping bag. It’s wet. There’s a heavy dew. I rub my eyes, my skin is sore, the sun is already hot. I reach for a bottle of water, drink and lie back….