I like old fashioned coffee shops. You know the kind. The joints that have dilapidated furniture, and bad art on their walls. I love the raggedy, old magazines, and the books strewn about the tables, and the floor. I sit in the stinky old sofas, or rickety chairs holding my good, old, cup-a-joe. The radio is blaring jazz or blues...Not that Starbucks elevator music! I am in the company of construction workers, poets, artists, madmen, street people and the unemployed. I hate the antiseptic, upscale ways of the Starbucks chain. They don't allow 'real' artists to hang artwork on their walls. All they have is corporate, pre-approved prints...Yuck! Their coffee is too expensive for the rabble I like to commiserate with, but that's alright with me. I like a cheap cup of coffee. I like the old coffee houses that sponsor poetry slams, and lousy folk guitar players. We try to hide our laughter when we hear a bad performance, which occurs almost every Friday night. We are in awe of performers, when they are actually good. We reward them all, good or bad with tips, and applause. Yah don't get that at Starbucks, baby!
Do a test for me, will yah? Try and bring a harmonica in Starbucks, and do a few riffs. Do a Bob Dylan thing, like "Blowin' in the Wind". I bet the snotty manager will 'kindly' ask you to leave the premises. It's a mortal sin to disturb the corporate types, masturbating their Mac, lap-top keyboards! The upscale mommies, with their sleeping babies in the thousand-dollar perambulators, might take offense at your disturbing song. It's not politically or socially correct! Up your arse' I say!
I like the conversations and arguments I hear in the mom-and-pop type coffee shops. Strong, cheap, caffeine, and the sharing of ideas, stimulates my mind. In my favorite coffee shop, appropriately named, "The Funky Java", I can play a game of Backgammon or Chess. I can fiddle around with an electric guitar or a set of drums. My shitty art work hangs on the walls, along with the work of other "not so great" artists. I sell a piece every now and then, at bargain basement prices. The owner's mom is a 'neato' revolutionary, who praises the working man, and just so happened to get a degree from Stanford University, way back in the good old days, when women weren't supposed to be educated. She is over 80 years old, and still likes her cocktails! She loves books, and art...a true intellectual, God bless her!
Starbucks won't have my art. I am the Anti-Christ to them. Lord help the world, if I should hammer a nail into one of their pristine walls. My painting might fall and hit some corporate attorney in the head. Lawsuits would fly! The corporates who run good old Starbucks wouldn't want this horror! Next time you visit the local Starbucks mausoleum, take a look at the plastic people. Most of these automatons sipping their lattes, are totally self-absorbed. I'd like to bring my boom box in there, and play some Bo-Diddley for these anal-retentive yuppies! I'd want to get some conversations or arguments going on! Maybe I would throw a few decks of cards on the sterile tables. Anything, just anything, to bring out some humanity in these robots! The whole scenario would end with me kicking and screaming, as the local gendarmes load me into their squad car, with my hands cuffed behind my back. "Watch your head, sir".
from my 2nd book: "A Spider in the Corner of My Mind"...available on Amazon.com