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An Open Letter To Conor Oberst

Conor, my old friend, it’s me, Iman. How could you do this to me? Me, your faithful as a horse drawn carriage , loyal as a Siamese Cat, fan and rock critic and buddy. Don’t you love me anymore? Or worse, don’t you love NYC any more?

Remember back in the day, you had a place in the village and were tripping the light fantastic on fairy dust and rake thin models? Wrote some pretty terrific songs as well, “Train Under Water,” “Road To Joy,” omg, “Lua”. I mean, cmon, “Lua” is the most New York of New York songs filled with morning cups of coffee and newspapers and girls on drugs and taxis that won’t stop and I remember introducing Marie Lynn to the song and her flipping out. You ended the tour back here and played 7 nights at Town Hall. Pretty damn amazing as well. All dressed in white -bet you changed before you went home in the grime and grit of a Manhattan Autumn.

But you were like Lee Marvin in “Paint Your Wagon,” born under a wandering star, and off you went to that pyschic colony and made “Cassadega” and I’m not complaining mind because you did come back home and the album you got out of it might have been a touch over-produced but that’s the absolute worst you can say about it. And you still gave us the last night of the tour at Radio City Music hall.

Just last year you sang about leaving NYC (on the album of the year), went to Mexico and came all the way back home and you played the record store Other Music and the Bowery Ballroom and terminal 5 (ugh -never play that airline hanger cheap piece of crap again -the worst room in the city) and why wouldn’t you? You didn’t just love us, you were one of us and we loved you right back: a favorite son in a city packed with favorite sons. You were the JFK Jr. of pop, sightings abounded, rumors of bars you were seen in, hangouts, girls… Christ, you were new york.

But “Outer South”, despite some terrific songs (“I Got the Reason” may well be a personal best), was your least good album to date and then I heard you had dropped your apartment in the Village and then I got the list of dates near me on your current tour:
Toad’s Place New Haven, Conn. July 3rd
River by River Battery Park, July 4th

The last train out of New Haven back to the city is 1138p so I don’t stand a chance of catching that (Marie Lynn is renting a hotel room but I can’t be bothered. And anyway, Toad’s Place is small and it will be packed and I am way too old for that shit).

As for Batterry Park: what do I look like? A member of Woodstock Nation? Free concerts are all very nice and if I was seventeen I might well hang out all day for a good spot by the stage (or any spot at all come to think of it) but I’m not and I won’t and any way, dude, this is New York City, there are millions of rooms you can play where it isn’t a crap shoot as to whether you actually get in or not. One night? That’s all we get after all this time?

Here is my request: add an afternoon gig at the Living Room or Roseland or something on Sunday July 5th, or Radio City Music Hall the week of July 6th. Is it too much to ask for? For me and my Manhattan Madhatters who made you one of our own.

Conor, you’re making me feel (as New York’s representative) like a first wife. Don’t you love me any more? I think it’s ageism as well. Marie Lynn is going to see you twice and I’m going to see you nonce. Think it over or, to paraphrase from your newyorkcentric masterpiece, goddamn you’ll make me cry.

Your old pal,

Iman Apple Lababedi

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