New York has the best crazy people I’ve ever seen. Obviously, you’ve got your run-of-the-mill oddballs who just mutter or twitch a bit as they walk past you, which provides a nice bit of background ambience, and I don’t know whether it’s simply that New York is a bigger city, but I’m sure I see a lot more of these than I have elsewhere.
But then, above and beyond these, you’ve got the real superstars, the guys and girls that come in as energy-filled, youthful hotshots bulging with potential; that develop and enhance the whole paradigm of ‘crazy person on the streets’; and mature into an icon, a role model for future generations to aspire to. My favourite of these so far was the guy who came off the streets and into the Church I was in tonight (for the Jazz Academy) to tell people about God. There was also quite a lot about earthquakes and the Republic Party, but God was the main gist of his very colourful monologue.
The downside, however, of a city that is size of New York which has such a strong mass-transit system and literally hundreds of popular public fora, is that these epitomal crazies are transient. Back in Cardiff, on the other hand, with its soliarty canol dinas, two local entertainers achieved cult followings:
Toy-Mic Trev (now believed to be singing classic tunes in the sky – RIP) turned out day and night to serenade the world. He was always up for a duet or a group number, he took requests, and at Christmas-time his delectable carolling put everyone in a holiday mood far moreso than Slade playing over a tinny sound system in a large department store.
Ninjah, on the other hand, was (and indeed, still is) more of a percussionist. He’d turn out fairly regularly to play the bins in Cardiff city centre, and even moved on to gigging at some local venues. He always maintained an air of mystique, rarely replying to any passer-by’s comments or questions, and only then with the most cryptic and brief of asseverations.
It’s one of my many resolves to consistently find someone in New York who can equal these two greats. I think it’s do-able, with time.