A tale of the City
Those who follow these little literary perambulations have probably deduced that Culture Vulture is for the most part a homebody. Oh, sure, we get out to local rock shows every now and again and attend the cinema several times a year and show up at the Farmers’ Market pretty much every Saturday morning and make the stroll to our favorite pub on a fairly regular basis, but for the most part it’s a pretty safe bet that on any given evening you’ll find me, if you know where to look, comfortably ensconced at Culture Vulture World Headquarters with the television droning away in the background while my nose is stuck in a book—more often than not some dog-eared science fiction novel of 1960s vintage—or a periodical, Rolling Stone or Fortean Times being the magazines of choice for lo these many years. That’s the way it is, and I like it that way.
But (like Pee Wee Herman says, everybody has a big but), once in a great while the lovely I. Daphne St. Brie and self will forsake our comfy bungalow for a brief getaway, in this case a road trip to the city.
Back in the day we thought nothing of setting our sights on some event of choice, usually a rock concert, and blazing down to San Francisco and back in one caffeine-infused 12-hour frenzy of music appreciation. But here in our late adolescence—or incipient middle-age, as some would have it—we find ourselves less often inspired to rocket off on unplanned adventures and more inclined to scan the Pink Section for months at a time waiting for the perfect event to inspire us with enough gumption to actually buy tickets ahead of time and plan an overnight excursion.
So it was that a month or so ago we purchased tickets to see Austin, Texas’s mutant popsters Spoon at the Fillmore last Sunday night. Daphie was introduced to the band’s recorded output a year or two ago by a musically astute coworker, and since then we have spent many a pleasant hour in the Echo with Spoon providing the soundtrack for whatever excursion we were engaged in.
Adding attraction to the idea of a trip to the city was that we’d have a chance to visit Daphie’s bro, Al, a skateboarding prodigy who also teaches high-school mathematics in Oakland, and his soul mate and sidekick Aydgie, who works for a prestigious nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the arts.
Groovy and admirable jobs aside, it’s the utter goofball charm of this incomparable couple that makes driving to the city to see them worthwhile. Cruising the streets of San Francisco with people who know the place like the backs of their hands is akin to soaring on a magic carpet to alight at the best, cheapest sushi bar or most diverse neighborhood market. And having a steak and salmon barbecue on a sunny, windswept Pacific Heights patio in the company of good friends and family is about as close to heaven as I’ll ever get, I’m pretty sure.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, Spoon was excellent.