Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blurry Proof the Eighties Are Returning

Guy with Izod shirt and turned-up collar; East Village.

Girl whose pants have myriad zippered pockets; Penn Station.

It's happening everywhere I look. The guy with the turned-up collar was actually the third such man I'd seen that night. I've seen several more since. And what's really weird about this is that it's stylish nostalgia. This isn't like what usually happens when styles boomerang. The usual script was in evidence in 2000 or so when bell-bottom trousers (god help us) came back, and the ads were all, "This is a seventies fad---with a new millennium twist!"

Here there is no twist. It's not just eighties styles; it's vintage eighties clothes. This simply baffles me. I grew up in a time of skinny ties. And there'd been skinny ties before---in the 1920s. But imagine if they'd tried to sell 20's-era skinny ties in the eighties without updating the fabrics---no neon, no shiny stuff, no pastels. Would that have made sense? And yet that's exactly what's happening today as we revisit the eighties.

The closest parallel I can come up with is that, also in the eighties, there was a brief flirtation with '50s music---The Stray Cats, Billy Joel's "An Innocent Man" album, Tracey Ullmann's "They Don't Know About Us," etc. It was a very brief time---I want to mentally put it at 1985---But it was purely musical. Maybe Tucson was out of it, but I don't recall anyone pomading their mohawks or rolling up cigarettes in the sleeves of plain white T-shirts.

Anyway, if the eighties do indeed return (and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm also seeing bug-eye sunglasses and TV ads for big hair), I sure hope they do it right. Yes to sci-fi funkiness, no to Jheri curls! Hooray, big decorative belts! Boo, leg warmers! We've had 25 years to think about it---we can do better than turned-up pullover collars. Yeesh.



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