Feb 2, 2010

Buffalo Is Cold

We just saw James Blackshaw in Buffalo. If you don't know James Blackshaw then you can thank me for introducing you to his music after checking out the youtube video below. James is an English boy who plays instrumental compositions on his 12 string acoustic guitar. He does so beautifully, with notes tumbling and falling like the colours in a kaleidoscope. The fingers of his right hand move like little robotic limbs while his left hand, when it's not simply resting, moves with a languid grace. In technical terms he is the most impressive musician I've ever seen. But I'm not a musician so I might not be qualified to back that claim up. However I can say without fear of contradiction that watching James perform is delightfully hypnotic. Both visually and aurally.

I mention this because James had played a gig in NYC the night before and had taken an 8 hour Greyhound bus trip to get to this snowy cold city. Now if you take an 8 hour bus trip out of London you will be pretty close to running out of towns and cities to play in. I find that more often than not what lies behind the differences between British and American culture is the scale of the two countries. The more time I spend here the more differences I notice. Like why can you see so much leg under the door of an American public bathroom door? Seeing underpants around the legs of musicians I admire is not helpful. But the big difference I'm noticing right now is the cold. Being Brits James and I exchanged a few words about the weather in Buffalo before his show. Words like "fucking hell it's cold" and other undeniable truths.

I say undeniable truths but actually I think someone is lying about the world. The latitude of Buffalo is 42.886N. Which is further south than Nice and all of the Cote D'Azure. Which is different from Buffalo in many ways. But mostly because it's warm. Even when it's not warm in Southern France it's not this cold. I know science tells us the explanation for this is the Gulf Stream. But when I'm this cold and I try and I'm supposed to be further south than Biarritz and I'm asked to believe it's because the sea is a couple of degrees warmer off Blackpool then I'm starting to lose enough trust in science to think that the flat earth society might be on to something.

It doesn't help either that Americans use Fahrenheit. When people here say it's minus two they don't mean minus two Celsius, they mean minus two Fahrenheit. Now minus two Celsius is cold. It's below the freezing point of water right? and having grown up in the North of England I'm pretty familiar with it. Minus two Fahrenheit is minus 17 Celsius. Which is below the freezing point of my brain. When Britain had a cold snap recently the temperature in a town in Cheshire fell to minus 18 Celsius and every TV news broadcaster sent a crew to report on it. When it's minus two Fahrenheit here... no one bats an eyelid. Which is probably as well because it might freeze shut.

No comments:

Post a Comment