2005 was an interesting year. my 30th trip around the sun began in february and i lived in the wicker park neighborhood of chicago, right there on milwaukee avenue in the middle of the action. “the crotch” we lovingly called it, that intersection of damen, milwaukee, and north avenues. summers, winters, we were all over that crotch, soaked in whiskey and vodka and rock and roll.
i frequented reckless records as they were only a couple of doors down from my apartment, often picking up issues of NME to find out about the latest music from britain. even as a teenager i was obsessed with NME and melody maker and was turned on to a lot of music because of those magazines. bloc party was likely an NME discovery back then, we didn’t have apps like shazam and i wasn’t looking at blogs that much since it was still the myspace era for me and most of my friends (we were too old for facebook).
i went to this show alone if i remember correctly. i watched the drummer Matt Tong in total awe. if you’ve ever seen bloc party live when he was still with the band, you probably get what i am talking about. he straight up destroys the drums live. he was soaking wet with sweat from the slaughter of the performance, it was fantastic. i’ve always had a thing for the rhythm section. see a show with me, then wait and see how long it takes before i comment on the drummer or the bass line. seriously, try me.
about a month after the show i went to costa rica on a whim. i was working at the pontiac cafe at the time and i was making a fair amount of dough in a short amount of time so i bought a plane ticket and went to costa rica and i think i spent all of three days planning everything. on the flight, i had my headphones on listening to the stations that were provided by the airlines and then a song came on that stopped me right then and there. in the air, above the clouds, “so here we are” came on, a bloc party song that was one of my favorites from their album, silent alarm. (i need to get that on vinyl, now that i think about it.) it’s a killer song, and it was just what i needed to hear at that moment.
i was really unsure about my life, i had graduated from art school four years earlier, i was waiting tables, i wasn’t making art (of my own), i had an unrequited crush, i was drunk a lot because it was chicago and that was what you did in wicker park in 2005. i watched a lot of six feet under back then too, which explains why i was very introspective. (i still love that show deeply.)
to get to costa rica from chicago, you have to fly to miami first. in the airport, i went to the bar and had a mojito and nervously fidgeted because we didn’t have phones to stare at back then when the uncomfortableness of traveling solo seeps in. it had been awhile, i hadn’t been able to afford much travel since moving to chicago seven years prior, but i managed to get to the UK, amsterdam, and now costa rica.
that trip to costa rica re-invigorated my love for travel. on the flight, Kele Okereke sang to me, “i figured it out” and i wrote it down in a notebook. i still have it somewhere. i knew right then, on that airplane to costa rica, that i needed to make a big change soon.
i was going to have to leave chicago.