A two-day business trip to Seattle has left me wistful. 10 years ago I moved away feeling only marginally more at home in the city than I had as a college Freshman in 1993. But from the vantage of my posh hotel room (with a view of the Space Needle, for kicks), in the pleasant company of my travelmates (fun-loving people, new friends), with all the good stuff paid for (three superb meals, wicked-delicious beer), Seattle felt doable. A decade on, with the lousy jobs, abortive friendships, and roach-ridden apartments behind me, maybe I can be at peace with the place.
Speaking of West Coast dreaming, we watched Gimme Shelter last night, a window on the Stones’ calamitous December 1969 concert at Altamont Speedway outside San Francisco. The music is electrifying, including incendiary moments from Ike & Tina Turner’s set. The party’s cut short by a murder in the front row and you’re left to connect the tragedy to the decadence of the decade (much footage is devoted to people given over to every kind of pleasure). Sarah was mostly repulsed. I found myself swept up in the anarchic revelry.