Hudsonblick 03

I hope that enough of you speak some english, because if you don’t, you are missing out on some great stuff from Charles here. For myself, I can only repeat how thankful I am for his thoughts and stories from across the big one.


Yup, that is a real Hudsonblick, taken by Charles.

Now, check out this former bike riding Danzig fan and let him know what you think!


I was having a hell of a day at work. I“™d been at a Danzig show the night before, so I wasn“™t just hung-over: my ears were ringing and I was half-deaf. The ghastly florescent lights were making the edges of my vision strobe like an acid flashback. I spent most of the day trying to act like nothing was wrong.

After running down the clock, I headed out to the parking lot. I work in New Jersey and live in New York, which is about an hour“™s commute. Normally, on the way in I“™ll listen to classical music, to get into that „I“™m an adult“ frame of mind, but that morning Johnny Cash had been a necessity. This left me with the Beethoven CD for the ride home.

This is the first time in my life that I“™ve owned a car. I“™ve had a license since I was a teenager, but it never made any sense to go and buy one. The hassle of maintenance, the hassle of parking, the hassle of having to hide the keys from myself every time I wanted to go drink. It was all just too much bother. And moving to New York City made it even less likely, as renting a parking spot in New York costs as much as renting an apartment anywhere else in the country. I joined the „More Bikes! Less Cars!“ movement, and my likelihood of owning a car shrank even further. Then I left the city.

Technically, it“™s actually possible to live here without a car. I“™m within walking distance of a supermarket, and within hiking distance of a train stop, but that would only help me if I worked in the city instead of in New Jersey. Within two weeks of moving here, I acquired a certified pre-owned Honda Civic. It“™s not sexy, but it gets good mileage. Hopefully it“™ll chew through the environment a little slower than the rest.

Beethoven“™s Fifth makes incredible driving music. When it“™s not bombastic, it has a gliding tension that naturally evokes cunning and decisiveness. When I was a kid, I used to play tail-gunner in the back-facing seat of our family“™s station wagon. Now, I“™m the pilot. Coolly guiding my car through Tetris patterns of slower vehicles, dancing around shredded tire debris. Swooping past a white compact that can“™t stop in time for stalled traffic. There“™s an audible crunch, and then it“™s behind me.

The abstract pattern of red and white lights, of yellow and white lines, and the smooth curving trajectory through space puts me into the realm of science fiction, just like when I was the tail-gunner. Highway driving at night is not a human experience: it“™s too clean and well-defined. It“™s the experience of a mathematical vector. Through long right-hand curves, the too-bright headlights of oncoming traffic slide to the left in another frame of reference, an animated backdrop to the motionless red tail-lights ahead. Sometimes I“™m tempted to test the reality of the scene, to see what happens if you violate the rules of this abstract world and let your vector stray from the white lines that guide its direction. Following those white lines demands absolute, unconditional faith.

The Fifth is over, and I“™m floating forward on the second movement of the Sixth now. It“™s a light feeling, drifting through the universe. Focused ahead, scanning for police and obstacles. Ignoring the flares of the wipeouts and breakdowns on the side of the road. The tail-lights of a merging truck float down from above, and fall in behind me. Jaw set, foot firmly on the gas, gripping the wheel firmly and always, always watching the lines. By the time I“™m home, everything else is unpleasantly complicated.

I miss riding a bicycle to work. I miss the death-race through rush hour traffic, hustling downtown on Broadway between lunging cabs and lumbering buses. I miss that first, frigid gust of wind that sucks the air out of your lungs the second you hit the street. I miss showing up to work and sneering at the mortals who commuted in their safe, warm, comfortable little cars.

The lake seemed like hypnotic underwater moonlight painted by a diver artist. Moonlight dripping from the heart of a wild poet. It was spellbinding like a great work of art. Projected against the high vault of the night sky, this spell had unleashed and enraptured the constellations, and the stars, now released from one another, flew about like red ribbons, blue diamonds, gold insects, fire ivy, hooks sparkling with joy, vermilion mouths, knots of burning coal, clusters of emeralds, ruby doves in total freedom.

The stars in freedom flew and darted over the slippery lake of tempered moonlight.

— F. T. Marinetti, The Untameables

Link of the week:

NY Press makes dead pope jokes
The rest of the world makes dead NY Press jokes

18 Kommentare

  1. 01

    I’m currently attending driving school and hope to have my licence before May.. so I’ll soon see what it’s like to drive.
    About the link to the mpg: 51,5MB without a „warning“ can be a shock to people without a broad band connection ;)

  2. 02

    Hi Dirko,
    sorry about that… but it’s just so COOL!

    OK, like the man said, the „death maze“ link is a little bandwith intensive, but totally worth it!

    PS: good luck with your license. Remember: speed is your FRIEND.

  3. 03

    Why is it that everyone writes my nickname with a capital D? ;)
    I belong to the happy few in my area having a 1MBit connection so I could download the video in about the time it takes to view it. It’s just incredibly crazy.. Was the cam mounted on an unicycle or what? A bike can’t fit through all these tight gaps *g*

  4. 04

    There are some other good videos on the same site. Put that high-speed connection to use!

  5. 05

    Hi Charles,

    while I was studying I had a real cool old racingbike on wich I listend to nothing but Mozarts Requiem.
    Mortally bombastic! It makes you wanna fly.
    For the car I prefere Brahms in the wintertime and Beethovens Triple Concert for spring. Open the window and CHECK IT OUT-LOUD!

  6. 06

    That must have been before my time. Or maybe before the kids‘ time. ;)

  7. 07


    Wow, that must have been *fun*!

  8. 08

    Hey, Mozart’s Requiem is really good music! Gotta put some Mozart and Brahms music on my mp3 player and try biking with it in spring *g*
    Browsing through my downloaded files I noticed some already downloaded bike videos from that site.. Just incredibly crazy ;)

  9. 09

    Bicycle content at Spreeblick – very much appreciated, thx Charles!

    As a go-anywhere, anyday cyclist, I think Berlin wouldn’t be the same city to me if I’d have to use a car instead of the bike regularly.

    And woo-hoo, these videos really rock. Nevertheless I always hate myself for driving anywhere close to that combat-style. It happens from time to time, though…

  10. 10

    Riding a bike is really a special way to experience a city; more street-level than by car and more far-ranging than by foot. When I started riding a bicycle in NYC it competely changed my perception of the place.
    Do you do the Critical Mass in Berlin? The one here is a blast, but the mayor has been cracking down on it since the Republican National Convention. But that’s another story…

  11. 11

    At least during the winter, there surely isn’t anything like a Critical Mass of cyclists in Berlin. But aided by a certain amount of self-confidence (my lane, dude!) and the use of simple but benevolent communication basics, riding a bike in Berlin is actually quite manageable (and fun).

    As far as a city’s personal reception is concerned: When I came to Berlin back in ’94, I used to go anywhere by subway. The result was that, after one or two years, I knew quite a large number of „hot spots“ of the city – but didn’t know anything about how they’d been webbed together. This radically changed when I started riding the bike on a regular basis, but it still took me a long time to get the whole picture. But again, it’s been real fun.

  12. 12

    Critical Mass is a group ride that a lot of cities do once a month. It looks like Berlin has one: http://www.fortunecity.de/olympia/adrenalin/95/

    If it’s still going on, you should definitely give it a try. Safety in numbers!

  13. 13

    Critical Mass – thanks for the enlightenment. Maybe I’ll give it a try very soon:

    „Die nächste Critical Mass Berlin findet statt am Freitag, 26. Oktober 2001. Treffpunkt: um 16:00 Uhr am Brandenburger Tor.“

    („Next Critical Mass Berlin takes place on Friday, 10/26/2001.“)

    Jeez, what an ugly website! ;-)

  14. 14

    oops, it might be a little late for that one…

  15. 15

    Ah, just wait long enough. They’ll be back.

  16. 16

    charles, i finallystopped worrying about you and that damn bike when you moved and got a car. Now i’m not so sure. what is critical mass anyway… when i am on the highway going a „little“ over the limit, i love to listen to Born to be Wild, at top volume. maybe i shouldn’t be telling you this. as for your driver’s license, i remember the day after your 16th, we HAD to be at the DMV first thing. soon followed your first accident when someone got in YOUR lane. some nerve.

  17. 17

    I sure showed them! ;-)

    Critical Mass is a bike ride that happens once a month in many cities: on a given day (usually the last Friday of the month) at a given place, riders get together and then ride around the city. In NYC it reached the point where there were literally a thousand riders stretching from Union Square, down to Houston, over to Sixth Ave, and all the way back up to midtown. Then the cops closed in and it got a little dicey… Lately the city has been arresting people for riding witht his group: last month it was only 400 people, of whom 35 got arrested. These usually get thrown out once you get to court, but the arrest process and bike impoundment is punishment in itself. And cars just get tickets!