UPDATED AND EDITED FOR TYPOS AND INCLUSION OF EMBARRASSING ANECDOTE: STAGE 1/3: COPENHAGEN TO HALMSTAD…OR SO I THOUGHT

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2014 by Peter Madsen

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On my second day in Copenhagen I ventured to the airport, hoping to retrieve my bike. Prior, Jesper and I retrieved the package containing my Apidura touring bags from the downstairs neighbor who’d signed and taken my package without bothering to knock on Jesper’s door. Hmm. All’s well that ends well, I suppose.

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At the luggage claim I spied my bike box!

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Look! There it is!

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I was giddy with excitement; I really feared the worst and that my bicycle would never make it back to me. I hauled the box outside and tore into it, ready to assemble and ride away from the airport. (Which, yes, is actually possible in Copenhagen. I wish the same was the case at JFK.)

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Shawn Wolf at King Kog did a great job packing it. I saved all the padding in my bag for my return flight, which still seemed a long way off. UPDATE: How the hell did I forget this anecdote? I had packed my shorts in my bike box, which means I had to wear my nice, creme-colored and of course easily-stained travel slacks to the airport. As I was snapping zip-ties and wrenching away at my bike, I began sweating, naturally, but so much so weird places on my legs were soaking through, like my thighs of all places. People scattered about the sidewalk were puffing away on cigarettes and watching me, I assumed, because they’d never seen a tourist arrive with such a classy bike, which is to say nothing of his ability to put it together in lightning speed. So I strained and tightened away. Squatting down to twist on a pedal I heard a magnificent riiiiip! somewhere along my ass seam. Two women walking by immediately began laughing. I shoved my saddle into the seat tube, flung my bag onto my back, and pedaled off. It wasn’t until I arrived at the beach where Jesper and Johanna were hanging out that, in changing into swim trucks, I realized the extent of the tear: I’d completely split the seat of my pants from the waistline to where the inseams meet the crotch! It was a ten-inch slit! Only adding comedic value were the starkly contrasting black underwear I was wearing.

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But I was set! I had everything I needed for my tour, which was really happening after all. Those are my ripped-ass pants. I wonder how many additional people noticed what an aloof idiot I am.

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Jesper and Johanna were happy I was happy.

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I was happy, too, because I wouldn’t, after all, have to ride Jesper’s city bike, which he’d kindly offered to lend me for my trek in the event my bike never arrived. It was really heavy and its grips were sticky. Thanks for the offer, though, cuz!

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I took my bike–and facial hair–for a trial run. Bike needed to have its derailleurs realligned, as did my notion that at age 31, I can finally grow the semblance of a passable beard. I still can’t. But check out that sexy, hand-painted top tube! Va-va-voom!

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Post-workout carbo replenishment.

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“I have seven interests: sex (meaning in Danish both fornication and “six”) and beer.”

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The next day I set off along the beautiful eastern coast of Zealand. Sweden is barely visible on the horizon.

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Yeah, I won’t get to wear a beard, I don’t think, ever.

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Fellow cyclists. Ahem.

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I was had my ear buds in yet over the din of Low’s “The Great Destroyer” I heard some wild shouting. I slowed and saw this mad man chasing after me from across the street.

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It was my cousin Pallav Pranav! Yes, mad man indeed! He and his girlfriend Sofia were staying at our Uncle Kaj’s home in Snekkersten, just a few minutes south of Helsingor, where I would take the ferry across the water to Helsingborg, Sweden. We ate Dumle (a chocolate-dipped caramel on a stick) and marveled at the odds of running into each other. They asked where I was staying that night and I said I figured I would find a hostel in Halmstad, which would be at my 100 mile mark. Sofia, sweet as she is, told me I could definitely stay with her sister and children just 20 miles south of Halmstad in the beachy Mellsbystrand. Excellent! I was completely winging my nightly accommodations and the universe was seeing to it that for my boldness I would be rewarded! Again we wondered aloud at the slim odds of our paths crossing.  What we didn’t talk about is what a jerk Pallav Pranav is for not hanging with Jesper and me in Copenhagen. He must think that with his charming laugh no one can stay mad at him for long. That’s true…

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…Yet for the transgression I decidedly did not share my Haribo Roulettes: vital calories I would need for the rest of my journey.

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I hopped on this ferry, which is free. I even had time to down a Tuborg as I traded Denmark for Sweden.

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After a couple hours I stopped off at a sandy harbor and went for a dip. There a pot-bellied grandfather bounced his infant floaties-wearing grand daughter in the water. Why didn’t I take a photo of them instead of my stupid bike?

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Paths like this one are commonly encountered next to highways. I was charmed, blissfully charmed.

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After a while my route took me away from the coast; I knew I was heading north as long as the sun was on my left. And then the sun left altogether and I was left with only my paper map, as my iPhone was nearly dead. No worries! Mellbystrand is only 2o miles off.

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I arrived in town and washed down pizza slices with beer, waiting for Sofia’s sister to get in touch with me while the bartender reluctantly charged my phone behind the bar. Neither she nor Pallav  Pranav would respond to my calls and texts. Uh-oh. It was now 11 pm and I contemplated my options: Sleep on the beach and ride 120 miles tomorrow to Gothenburg, or carry on through the night to Halmstad and crash at the first hostel I find. I opted for the latter. (It turns out that one of Sofia’s sister’s children smashed her phone that afternoon, rendering her incommunicado.)

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I rode for an additional three hours. When there were road lamps I was fine, but soon I was in the middle of the grassy countryside with lousy bike lights only suitable for already semi-lit city streets and I had to follow the dim white median lest I tumble off the shoulder into the ditch. I was relieved every time a vehicle came up behind me because not only would I briefly benefit from their headlamps, but as they passed and wound through the darkness ahead, the red beam of their taillights would give me a feel for the otherwise invisible contours ahead. During these long hours I was rather lonesome, and I was upset with myself for not leaving Copenhagen sooner (I left at the lackadaisical hour of noon. Noon!). In Halmstad I stopped for a gyro and called every listed hostel, and they all, bored, told me the same thing: We’re completely full–it’s summer time–try the hotel. Stupid me. I was already mystified by how expensive Copenhagen was, stripping me of nearly $100 a day for basic meals and a few round of beers at night. I wanted stop up this financial gush, so I decided to continue riding through the night. After a few hours more, at 3 a.m., I was zonked. I passed hamlet after hamlet, each annoucing themselves from a far by a slender church steeple. Churches, hmm…churches have yards… Atheist that I am I didn’t expect a church yard to have any protective ju-ju, but I figured any yard-keeper who stumbled upon a weary, resting travel probably wouldn’t be a dick about it.

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So I crashed below this one. I slept for five hours, draped in my rain shell, and slept deeply with my saddle bag as a pillow.

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That’s the bench I curled up on. I woke up at 8 a.m. when a guy walking his dog ambled through the yard. I pulled on a new jersey, slapped myself across the face a few times, and hit the road after refueling with bread and cheese at a grocery store.

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No longer than ten minutes after settling into a nice pace, this guy on a bike pulls even with me. Whoa! I look behind him and there four other dudes right behind him! Two of these guys are even riding LOOKs, the same make as my own. We chat a bit and I learn these guys–All French and living in Paris–have ridden 100 miles for the past 11 days to attend a friend’s wedding in Gothenburg, 100 miles north, my second stopping point. “Can I ride with you guys?” Sure, they said. Then we put our heads down and cranked for a couple hours. Where did these guys have such energy reserved, having already ridden 1100 miles in 11 consecutive days. I knew I had over-packed my bicycle, but fucking hell–there were a few times when I was in some real pain. I hoped, though, that if I stuck with them I might be able to crash with them at their friend’s place. (Nope, I didn’t have any accommodations lined up in Gothenburg, as I was still hoping another cousin’s friend would come through; I intended to sleep, once again, in a hamlet’s church yard–punishment for my piss-poor planning.) After a few hours we stopped for lunch at a grocery store. I packed away salami and cheese and bread while these guys–I was slowly learning their names: Foucauld, Gérald, Leo, Antonin and Jules made a strange olive-oil-based banana puree with lots of nuts and berries mixed. It was delicious and no doubt great fuel. Check out their awesome blog documenting their Paris–Gothenburg trip.

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For their grueling pace I didn’t have much time to document hardly anything of our day together. Above, my hands began peeling.

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The roads are in impossibly great shape throughout Sweden.

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The French squad all rode road bicycles except for Gérald, author of the above photo, who rode a fixed-gear track bike (!). Riding 1200 miles fixed seems like a fool’s errand but Gérald was often at the front of the train, pushing the pace! And when he tired he’d buzz to the back and take photos of us all! Downhill, he’d prop his feet up on his downtube and spin out; when we stopped to fill our water bottles and grab a breather, he’d roll a cigarette! Gérald speaks modest English so I tried to even the field by speaking in nearly non-existent French: How is is possible you’re so fast when you smoke? He only flashed a wide grin and lit his cigarette! Amazing!

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We got to their host’s place in Gothenburg. Those are the guys! Their host Erika was so sweet she immediately offered me a place to stay. Because I was so bushed by the time we helped her make dinner I crashed at 6 p.m.! She let me stay in her bed so I wouldn’t be disturbed by the others–she slept in a cot in the kitchen. Incredibly generous, both l’equipe francaise and Erika. Thanks so much, guys!

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I was a little concerned about leaving our bikes out over night so I was relieved to find them unmolested come morning. I woke early–6 a.m.–and headed off on my last 100-mile leg on the way to the summerhouse. I’ll post about that beautiful and much hillier route soon!

Peter Madsen

YEARS HAVE PASSED AND I STILL LIVE ON A BIKE, ONE OF WHICH I TOOK TO DENMARK AND SWEDEN

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2014 by Peter Madsen

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I throw horns at the world, I throw horns at my bike, and I would have thrown on Scandinavian black metal if I hadn’t instead thrown on Mozart, or, more than likely when this photo was taken, …Haim.

Preamble: I haven’t updated this blog since late 2009, when I shut my laptop for a while and rode off on my bike. I interviewed hundreds of people, published a book, rode enough miles in New York City to circle the globe, and now I’m returning to “Crust+Commerce”, a questionably named blog I maintained during my year in San Francisco (2007) and my first year in NY (2008). During the interim I cross-posted pieces I’d done for Thrasher or Street Carnage or my own site “Word on the Street New York.” Those posts create a nice buffer between now and the earlier posts that are so cringe-worthy to me I don’t dare revisit. I see younger-me almost as I might a younger brother (I don’t have one): I know him better than anyone; we came from the same place and the same parents, but he’s going through some weird phase and I don’t really want to deal with him. I guess now is when that kid (26) and me (31) snap back into place, on this blog. Or something.

I hadda get outta deh.

Summer in New York City is my third favorite season; better put, it’s the season I second-hate the most. We have heat, tourists, humidity, .0425 trees per person (I made that up but you considered it), tourists, hangovers hurt more, and the amount of idiots on bicycles–which says nothing of tourists on Citibikes–apexes. Did I mention tourists?! I figure the only way to beat them is to become one, on a bike–my own–somewhere far away yet familiar: Denmark and Sweden, countries where I have gobs of family but are so prohibitively expensive I only afford to visit every three years. The plane ticket, not including the $200 bike-checking fee each way, was $1400. Fuggit, I hadda get outta deh.

Oof: Exactly.

IMG_1680Buckled into my window seat, I stared at this screen, unblinking, until we landed. Actually I stared at this screen, drained my iPod, and zonked myself with Heinekens before reclining my seat into some guy’s stickered laptop, causing him to yell at me in some curious brogue. Actually, I’m very mindful to look before reclining, so that didn’t happen. I always stash reading material in the little cargo net at my knees but I’m too impatient to read on planes. Wait, that’s not true either–why am I fibbing my way through a blog post? I read Bad Day magazine and Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams with such vigor I littered the floor with their pages until my seat partner complained to a stewardess. Again, I’m making stuff up to amuse myself, something I’d do if I was stuck on this 8 hour flight and was typing this in real time. I am typing this in real time. STOP IT!

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Finally we landed and look how beautiful my sweet fatherland is! Just squint.

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Now, my cousin Jesper, a Dane who, like the rest of our family, never erred in moving stateside, had sent me this photo: two cans of Denmark’s finest suds and keys to his apartment. Why his spare tag said his name instead of mine was not important: I knew what my reward was once I figured my way to his place. I had intended to assemble my bike and ride to his place in grand fashion but the baggage claim office explained that my bicycle stopped off in Frankfurt for no apparent reason. “Don’t worry! We know it’s there and it should arrive sometime tomorrow.” Ok, ok, I told myself, this is why I bothered to insure my bicycles before I left. I looked at my phone and figured I might as well just walk to Jesper’s place. Judging on Google mapsit looked like a 30 minute stroll.

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Hmm. I was thirsty, though. I hailed a cab, which was a late-model Mercedes Benz draped in a rather sharp black and green swoosh along the sides. I gave the hack the address and he said it was about 7 miles away. Good thing I didn’t walk. I gazed out the window at a beautiful summer day: It was 75 degrees, I smelled the sea in the breeze, and plenty of people strolled in beachwear. When I got to Jesper’s, the meter read 380 kronors. Savvy traveler I am, I had the exchange rate figured before I left; this, I knew, was roughly a $48.00 fare–a little pricey, but that’s what an NY airport fare goes for, more or less. “Oh,” I asked, “is it customary to tip a cabbie in Denmark?” The hack turned around, placing his arm on the back of the passenger seat, smiled broadly and nodded, “Ooh! Yeeees!” Ok, weirdo. I tipped him 20%: 76 crowns. He took the money and thanked me no less than five times. I got out and call Jesper, who bounced down his apartment’s staircase carrying a stack full of garbage. “Cousin!” We embraced while he was still holding the trash, which bounced against the back of my white-trousered knee. (More on those trousers, later.) “Welcome to Copenhagen!” The first thing he introduced me to, naturally, was his dumpster.

Upstairs on his balcony, he and I knocked back Carlsbergs–his noon was my six a.m. so I had the advantage (think after-hours)–and I asked him about the exchange rate: It’s 1:8, right? “No, no, it’s more like $1 is worth only 5 kronor. I’m more than sure, man.” I recalculated the fare on my phone and learn I just tipped $17 on a ~$70 cab ride that in NY would have only taken me from the top of Central Park to Houston Street. “Øøøøøøøøøøøøøøø fuck.” My cousin laughed, telling me people rarely tip in Denmark, and if you do, it’s only a couple crowns and even that goes a long way. I hadn’t even had a meal nor been there an hour and I was practically out one hundred bucks. I helped us to another round of Carlsbergs from Jesper’s fridge.

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I’ll continue this post and others about my trip throughout the week.–Peter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP GOING?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2011 by Peter Madsen

WORD ON THE STREET: Hey Mary! How are you and Mark doing? I talked to both of you about two months ago.

MARY: Wow, hey. You remembered my name. Yeah, we’re alright.  We actually started dating right around then. We first saw each other at a Starbucks—we met through a mutual friend—and we were immediately attracted to each other. We later talked about how it was a mutual feeling when we first locked eyes.

Oh yeah? What first struck you about him?

Ha ha! Actually it was his nose—he has a very Italian nose. He’s really insecure about it but I fucking love noses [laughs]. Especially that one.

Do you ever pinch it to just to piss him off?

No, but I kiss it. And I nuzzle it. You know, like Eskimo kisses.

So how did you and Mark start talking?

Well, he adored me. That’s probably what kept me coming back. He was just such a sweetheart; very affectionate.

Did you and Mark go do something your first night?

No, but we would see each other here and there. Mark later told me he would look for me every day, you know,  trying to purposefully bump into me. He was always the same—flirtatious, but in the good way, and not in the obnoxious way, which I get all the time and totally turns me off. The way he did it was just really sweet.

What was Mark’s approach?

Well, he would listen to me in conversation, like just like a friend, but he would give me compliments, good ones, so that I knew he was paying attention to who I am, as opposed to just what my face looks like, or my tits. He said things that genuinely led me to believe that he was beginning to see who I was—and genuinely liked who I was. That’s appreciated.

What’s the nicest thing he ever said to you?

Hmm…I can’t think of it right away. We’ve been fighting so much, lately. He’s actually the shittiest boyfriend ever. What I’m describing is how he was when he first drew me in.

When did things get rocky?

When I realized Mark’s not capable and/or willing to do the things for me that I had done for him. For instance…there are many different ways to show love and affection, right? …Like thinking of that person when they’re not there. If you walk by a florist and you see white roses—and you know those are her favorite—you buy her the white roses. Or, you’re in a record store and you see the favorite album she lost—you buy her the album. Things like that. I had done some things like that for him, and then the time came where he had the opportunity to do something like that for me and it just never happened….Or…let’s be real…I had bought him dope several times, because he doesn’t make money as easily as me. Then there was the time I didn’t have money, and he had $30, and instead of getting me one bag and him two, he got himself three and me none. There were other things, like I would buy him a gigantic thing called Tilt in the morning, and he wouldn’t even want to give me a few sips. He would just grunt and complain. He’s very selfish and it’s becoming more and more frequent. I’m just realizing that’s who he is. He hid it well, at first.

That sounds frustrating.

Yeah, and he lies about things. He’s just very consumed by taking care of his needs and doesn’t seem concerned with being with someone else in the way a relationship requires.

Where’s Mark right now?

Where is Mark right now? Probably passed out on a park bench or crashing into a wall. I don’t know; he’s inebriated wherever he is.

Do you like him inebriated?

Nooo, he’s terribly obnoxious. But, then again, when he’s completely straight in the morning, he’s miserable. But then, in the middle of the day before it’s too crazy, he’s normal. You know, he’s not fucked up to the point where he’s stumbling on his words and being boisterous. He’s straight enough to have a civilized conversation. And be sweet.

He’s at his best in the afternoon.

Well, it all depends on how much money he makes….I think sometimes it’s my fault. I’d never had a relationship on the street before. Maybe my expectations are too high—that’s what Mark tells me—and that I’m expecting too much from him. What I keep telling him is all I expect is decency, to be honest, to think of me when I’m not there, to be where he says he’s going to be. And to not be so selfish. There’s no reason to treat me that way…but he’s so conditioned by what he’s been through on the street that he just treats everyone in this way—as if it’s him against the world.

I think that’s a common theme among us young men.

Yeah, but I think you should put that aside when you meet someone you’ve supposedly fallen in love with. He tells me he “loves” me all the time.

You’ve been together two months and you’re using the L-word.

Yeah, that started about a month ago or so. I said it first. I was the one to say, you know what, how about we just be boyfriend and girlfriend and be committed. You don’t shit on me and I won’t shit on you and let’s take it from there. I don’t remember exactly when I told Mark I loved him, but he had probably just done something sweet.

What’s something sweet he does?

OK, he does do sweet things all the time. He takes my shoes off every night and massages them. Every night. And he hugs me and holds me and touches me. Mark is very physically affectionate.

You said before he’s an angel when he sleeps.

Yes! That’s when it’s the most peaceful and beautiful, when we’re falling asleep and lying in bed. It’s just pure affection and innocence, you know? Nobody’s looking for anything, nobody’s being selfish. We’re relaxed, calm, and we’re in the moment.

Is the sex good?

It’s very good! Maybe that’s what’s keeping me going. He’s surprisingly good in bed. I can tell if a man is going to be good with me in bed, just by the way he touches me at first. My reaction to Mark’s first touch was: This is how I like to be touched.

Did you guys do anything special for Valentine’s Day?

I was alone on Valentine’s Day. We’re weren’t really together-together on that day. Actually, my valentine was an overdose.

Oh, fuck.

Yeah, I was on cocaine and heroin. My dealer gave me a gift by giving me $70-worth of coke when I had only bought $40. I figured I would just push this as far as it will go. I put it all in the cooker at once and shot it and I had a seizure.

That sounds painful.

I actually came out of it feeling very good and wanting to do it again. Nobody else wanted me to do it again, though. They took care of me right there—the seizure didn’t last long. Mark wasn’t there that night—I was hanging with my dealer and a couple other girls.

What was Mark’s reaction?

He told me shooting cocaine was no good and he asked me to stop because it’s crazy or stupid. You know, the general caring reaction.

Are you going to miss sleeping next to Mark tonight? Or do you think you’ll find him?

Well, we agreed to meet up at ten o’clock on St. Mark’s and Second Avenue, and if he’s not, he’s in big trouble.

Do you think you guys are going to work it out?

I totally see us having a future—if we left New York and/or just generally got off the drugs and tried to do the right thing and live a good life—the way we were meant to…or the way that would be most conducive to our happiness.

Why can’t you keep the love and the drugs?

Because they make people someone they’re not, and Mark is not a selfish junkie who lies; Mark has become that because of the life he needs to live to maintain the drug usage.

How do you know that about Mark if you’ve only known him to be a junkie?

Everyone has their light, and everyone has their darkness, and his light shines through occasionally when the drugs aren’t as prevalent. The drugs have kind of taken over right now, but it doesn’t mean he has to be that way the rest of his life.

You said you were in jail recently. Mark must have been worried.

Oh, yes he was, but not at first. We had had an argument, because he lied to me when he said he didn’t get any bags out of copping for someone when he actually did. I yelled at him, walked away, and I got arrested just a few hours later. He had assumed I had just left town and that he meant nothing to me and he was pissed.

Why did you get arrested?

I was inside one of my dealers’ houses…narcotics had been watching him and I didn’t know it. So my dealer was expecting his dealer to show up at any moment, and when there was a knock at the door he didn’t look in the peephole and he opened the door wide open. Behind him sitting on the carpet was me and two other ladies shooting dope and coke—that was enough for the cops. Before I knew it we were all in handcuffs. I would have been released the next day, but someone messed up on my paperwork—which happens all the time with people who don’t have expensive lawyers—and I got stuck in Riker’s Island for 20 days on a $1 bail. Once Mark found out what happened he couldn’t have even gone to pay it because I was under a fake name. I was so dope-sick you wouldn’t believe it. I had the worst vomiting, diarrhea, and disgusting aching body for seven days until I finally got medicated with methadone.  But that’s the deal you make with Satan when you start shooting dope—you have to live through that suffering. So my dealer got released, paid our bail paid and ran up to Mark and told him where I was. Mark felt so awful because he had been angry.

Was it was a happy reunion.

Oh, my god. When I first saw him he looked so happy. He jumped on me and kissed me in front of everybody, all the street kids. I hadn’t made someone light up like that in a long time.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about Mark?

[Sighs] That I love him, even though he’s not perfect.

–PETER MADSEN

 

Ps. WordontheStreetNewYork has become nearly unnavigable–and totally inaccessible to me–just yesterday. There’s this stretch of code or something on the top of my homepage that has appeared. My website’s back-end is wordpress.org blog. Does anybody know what to do? If so please contact me at pfmadsen@gmail.com

SXSW RECAP: BIKE PUNKS AND THRASHER’S TEXAS DEATH MATCH

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2011 by Peter Madsen

I went to SXSW last week because Thrasher magazine was putting on a “Texas Death Match,” a four-day, two-stage event at the Scoot Inn, replete with a six-foot mini ramp in the back. Having freelanced to them for a few years from afar (they’re stationed in San Francisco), I figured I’d do well to pony up for a plane ticket and meet them out there–my editor said he’d give me enough assignments to make it worth my while. When I saw the playbill (Odd Future, Pentagram, Das Racist, Hunx & His Punx, Pentagram, Danny Brown, etc.) I knew I was making a wise investment.

Photo by John Prolly

Once I got to Austin I knew I’d additionally made the right decision to check my bike and skateboard there, too (despite the oversize fees costing me nearly the price of my front wheel). But just look at those wide open streets! Smooth sloping hills, and normal, right-next-to-the-curb bike lanes aplenty! I went to Austin knowing that it’s great for cycling but I was nonetheless amazed by how courteous motorists were. I don’t think I had to make my usual “Yo! Yip!” sounds or use my bell but a couple times, and that was directed at distracted show-goers instead of the usually impatient, presumably constipated NYC cabdrivers.

I concede it’s kind of a stereotype that late-20-something skateboarders get into track bikes, but that’s fine. These two things are huge sources of enjoyment; the bike anymore, I admit, more frequently so. Sometimes stereotypes are around because they’re true.

A bike friend put me in touch with Drew, an Austinite he met in Puerto Rico during a vacation, who let me crash and showed me around town. I got into town a couple days before Thrasher‘s event started on Wednesday so I could unwind a bit. “Wanna go to a bike gang party and keep drinking beer?” Why yes, yes I do.

Black Label, a local bike gang, had a bunch of folks out for some beer-drinking relays. I opted out of that and tallbike-jousting and made myself useful by manning beer runs.

I know a lot of people would be thrilled by this sight but I bypassed it several times for more tall cans of Lone Star. Tell me, what is wrong with shitty beer? I know Four Loko is cost-effective, but, what’s the sprint-to-the-finish, snow cone-tasting rush?

$5.52 for Camel Filter Wides? That’s not bad. I quit two years ago but I still find cigarette prices cut in third…interesting. Anybody know the current prices in Missouri? $2.70 last I was there…

Back at the Black Label party, this flame-shooting marching band appeared, cheerfully enough, out of nowhere. The trombonist had a cabled gas canister attached to his waist, which he ran to the rear of his horn. Christ, just don’t inhale.

The party migrated to someone’s house nearby where we found this contraption in the backyard. Drew and I took turns trying to subdue this thing until it swiftly popped my shoulder out of socket. What’s that saying, “You play around, you lay around?” I’d had enough fun for the day.

Photo by John Prolly

The next day I caught up with John Prolly, prolific bicycle blogger, and we rode around as Austin got ready for SXSW. This cyclist knows you gotta time the lights if you want to systematically catch all-greens (nice monstrous leg definition by the way, there, guy!).

Prolly showed me this sick spot by the springs. Don’t doubt the man’s got some hops. I took his Milwaukee Bruiser for a spin and, after nearly wrecking after a couple two-inch airs, I sheepishly set his bike down. My shoulder throbbed with gratitude.

Things started cooking at the Scoot Inn come Wednesday. Above, Das Racist. “All the non-white people please come to the front!” (I interviewed them at two in the morning later in the week in a back room at Emo’s and it went…terribly. After one particular dud of a question my publicist friend nudged me and said, OK, now you’re prodding. Whoops. Das Racist and I apologized to each other about three times and we agreed to redo the interview back in Brooklyn.)

I caught Gavin’s stand-up routine, which elicited a variety of yucks, chuckles, a guffaws. He made a great point about speed boats and cock-blocking, a not so practical tip on consuming cocaine in mild, public environments, and promised we’d all get laid at SXSW (I…didn’t. Weep.) I saw Gavin later at the Thrasher party, and I asked him if he’d checked out the skating on the mini ramp. “I’m 40 years old. I don’t check out skating, just like I don’t check out street hockey.” Yikes. I told him he might be at the wrong party, and though I said it nicely, I think that’s the curtest I’ve ever said to the guy. I doubt he gave a shit, as I saw him there again the next day. He looked good in his new, white cowboy hat. I sincerely mean that.

I, for one, checked out the skating. This flick of Raney Beres I took ended up on the Thrasher website. Beyond this dude, Kenny Anderson, Ethan Fowler, Braydon Szafranski, Justin Strubing, and others put forth some quality shredding.

Photo by Jordan Joseffer

Mr. Andrew W. K. and I hash it out–once again. We very smartly applied (100 spf) sunscreen before we got going.

Photo by Brock Fetch

I interviewed Detroit-based Danny Brown. Not only is his music incredibly fucking funny, but he’s equally so during an interview. He answered my last question, in part, by making a loud, slurping sound. He is my new favorite rapper, and he can be yours, too:

Speaking of rappers…You no doubt heard by know how nuts the Odd Future set was. I was seriously worried for the safety of Tyler and Hodgy Beats (and, gulp, the kid whose nose is about to get smashed when he lands on him).

OK…this one takes a bit of context: Saturday afternoon, I was at the hotel and I had to pee. Even though I was alone I closed the bathroom door. Once I finished, though, it wouldn’t open again; the knob would spin and spin in either direction–and I left my cell phone on the bed! After ten minutes of banging on all and screaming, “SOMEBODY HELP ME! I’M STUCK IN THE BATHROOM! ROOM 215! HELP!!!”, my fate set in–I would miss several assignments, stuck in this 4’x8′ room in an empty hotel, quietly hyperventilating, while the folks at Thrasher wondered why I wasn’t meeting up to interview people. I kicked the door with my heel and was surprised when it went nearly through. This door is made of particle board! I grabbed a wall-mounted clothing iron and started banging away. When that broke in my hands, I grabbed the ironing board itself and, well, shredded a hole in the door. A full size mirror crashed in shards, much to my (regretful!) aural satisfaction. I later evoked that scene in The Shining to describe the damage but, ah, as you see, that’s kinda under-evokes it. Jordan, the staffer I was staying with, was rightly concerned about the damage–he’d put the room on his credit card–but I met with the hotel manager in the morning and he agreed I shouldn’t have to pay for damages. Thank God.

Before SXSW was over I’d interviewed this Josh T. Pearson:

Killer Mike:

Piper Halewell:

And, happily, this guy, one of my favorite interviewers ever:

My buddy Drew and I bookended my week in Austin with another bike gang party, thrown by the Skidmarks.

“Throw” is really the operative word in that sentence, as a variety of heavy objects–including a severed pig’s head, were catapulted at random show-goers.

Charmed! Thanks Austin!

Here’s a great edit of the Death Match highlights:

PETER MADSEN

WORD ON THE STREET: The Olympics are Over

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 by Peter Madsen

RAY RILLEY, 56, HELL’S KITCHEN (“Or what’s left of it”)

Did you watch the Olympics? You said you paid attention to the hockey game between Canada and the United States.

Just in the newspaper. I know the US was not given good odds going into the game. They surprised a lot of people.

Somebody said that because Canada has so many NHL veterans and the US has so many relative newcomers, that watching the game was like watching a varsity team scrimmage with the JV. Do you think that is an accurate way to think of it?

No. No, they’re all professional players. Canadians are just inherently better hockey players than Americans. Where are you from?

The USA. Why, do you think I talk funny?

Yes, a little. You sound Canadian.

That’s the Minnesotan in me.  By the way, do you think we could argue that Minnesotans are inherently better hockey players than the rest of Americans?

It seems like hockey is a bigger sport in the East than in the rest of the country. I don’t know about Minnesota, per se. If you tell me it’s big there, I’ll believe what you’re saying. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, The Northeast in general: the farther you get away from there, it’s like nobody cares about hockey.

Did you grow up playing hockey?

No, never did.

Did you ice skate?

No.

How about roller skating?

Um, roller skating: yes.

Did you play roller hockey?

No.

You know, it’s not too late for you. They have city leagues in the summer, or if you want—

—I know. It’s getting very big, especially on Long Island. Street hockey is huge there.

Is that where you’re from?

No, I was born in Philadelphia. I lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. I’m your tri-state guy, here.

Did you hear about the luger who died?

Yeah.

What do you think of figure skating?

I don’t see a sport in that. I understand it’s a competition but I’m a baseball and football fan, primarily. With football, you see the sport in the clicking of the helmets.

Baseball has the crack of the bat.

And the blocking of the base. It’s not entirely a non-contact sport.

What do you think is the most honorable sport for an American man to play?

If I had my choice I would want to be a baseball player. To me they have the most fun life of any of the professional athletes.

What’s up with the weather? Do you think this most recent snowstorm is going to be our last of the season?

No, because we have March now and it’s a very unpredictable month. It could be 90 degrees one day and then 45 degrees the next.

In Iowa we say we’re not in the clear until the high school girls have had their state championship.

The girls’ championship must be after the boys’, then, huh?

Yeah, I suppose so.

EX-CURSION #1: ROOSEVELT ISLAND

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2009 by Peter Madsen

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MY DAD IS PRETTY EFFIN’ AWESOME…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 1, 2009 by Peter Madsen

paps

…but he don’t like swears. Just recently he publically reprimanded me on Facebook for filling a status update with the f-word (I was bemoaning my work being interrupted by an insultingly loud coffeeshop band–a sentiment he would share had he been there), adding how I should attend anger management classes.

For reals? See, it took precisely 3.7 seconds lurking his facebook page to find the above piece of incrimination–which was once very publically his facebook thumbnail, no less! Yes, that is the noggin of Saddam Hussein my father is resting his sandy L.L. Bean sole on. While the sentiment is funny and a safe one to hold, I will curb my enthusiam as I point out how, in Islamic culture, showing the bottom of one’s shoe is a tremendously filthy thing to do–it is the cultural equivolent of “flipping the bird,” only this gesture packs so much more oomph because you’re literally acquainting them with the dirtiest parts of your day. This convention is so alive and well, certain forms of leg-crossing are strictly no-no’d–a fact mentioned in the Islamic cultural guidebook my dad passed down to me. My father’s facebooked expression is exponentially more offensive than whatever textual virulence I spewed at the shitty band at Cafe Orwell.

I figure my dad and I should just agree that swearing is 1.) fun, 2.) therapeutic, 3.) and something he, I, and everybody else we know enjoy doing every single day. Anyway, what’s a hearty exchange of Fuckin’ A! between father and son but the sweet, swift sound of a hatchet being buried.