Coffee Shop: Life On The Street
A few days ago I changed my Facebook status to ‘I can’t, I won’t and I don’t stop’, that imminently rappable line from The Beastie Boys classic “Sure Shot”. Perhaps I was feeling like an unstoppable force, perhaps I was just feeling fat and sassy. In any case, it garnered more comments then I’ve had for quite some time. The reason I was reminded of Messrs. Diamond, Yauch and Horovitz had to do with Spike Jonze. Just two nights ago I was watching a collection of Jonze’s music videos. There was the hilarity of that other B-Boys classic, “Saboteur”, the clever tricks of Weezer’s “Buddy Holly Song”, and some new gems I was unacquainted with, namely Fatlip’s “What’s Up Fatlip?” and Daft Punk’s “Da Funk” (a dog’s gotta have his beats, I won’t deny that). The overarching theme of these videos is The Street, guys hanging out on The Street, walking, frontin’, rappin’, buyin’ books…usual street activities.
I can relate to these videos as I am a full-time observer of The Street. Not exactly a flaneur, I am a wage slave for chrissake, but I work at a coffee shop that faces a tight street with narrow sidewalks and lots of traffic. The shop is about the size of some people’s walk-in closets. I stare at The Street for most of the day…that milk steaming really gives one time to …stare. I see suits, college students, panhandlers wanting to cash their coin takings, kids heading to and from school, moms pushing baby strollers and the occasional drunk weaving down the street.
I like the ebb and flow of The Street through the door of the coffee shop. For the most part The Street gives me a clientele that skews high on the downright nice meter. People are kind, generally in a good mood and always willing to listen to my never-ending blather about this, that and the other. Sometimes, they laugh.
However, once in a while, The Street spits up something, shall we say, undesirable. Like maybe a drug addled smack head in a blue hoodie wielding a knife the size of my little fingernail. If this guy had seen the Spike Jonze videos he would have known that saying something as clichéd as “Give me your money!” just wouldn’t cut it. Where was the funny low-rider bicycle? Where was his loopy crew doing guerrilla-style interpretive dance? Hell, where were the phat beats and the fly lyrics? No where to be found. Instead, I got a pasty-faced pimple king taking swipes at the air and yelling, “Open IT!”
Now, I am a creature of moods, mostly the bad variety. It was at this most inopportune moment, while harsh words were being yelled and knives were swishing this way and that, that a mood came upon me. “No.” I was immovable. I can’t, I won’t and I don’t open it. This did not endear my new Street friend to me. His response was to take our poor innocent cash register and dash it to the floor. “OPEN IT!” The chances of me getting down on the floor in front of a strung out junkie with a vicious looking pair of nail clippers were slim to none. Instead, I just dug my heels in and again uttered my new favourite catchphrase, “No.” He took a tentative step toward me, huffed in exasperation and then dashed out to rejoin The Street.
Overall, his dialogue was predictable and his moves were flat. Perhaps Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” would have helped him out on that front. Or maybe he needs to lay off the smack. Whatever the case, he need not ever darken my door again, because I am closely reviewing Dinosaur Jr.’s “Feel the Pain” and I am going to carry one mean golf club with me wherever I go.
Held up at knifepoint: 0/10
Spike Jonze vids: 7/10