In his second book of the BJ Longstreet Trilogy; Billam Northgate continues to explore the American Middle class value system while at the same time taking us on a marvelous journey through the city of Boston through a cultural buffet that is written in a style that is sometimes reminiscent of Raymond Chandler.
Wonderfully written and insightful; Come Summer is essentially a love affair between a writer and his city that gives us insights into the lives of a group of friends who met in college who have returned to the college town for a reunion that reconnects them, reveals them and confirms them. Come Summer also features more of the rich and enchanting poetry of poet, Mahmoud Basri.
-Poets and Rogues Magazine
Jayna took me to an Art Market in SOWA, which I was told meant South of Washington Street, the way that SOHO in New York means South of Houston; although SOWA, with its upscale gay couples and families that have more dogs than kids, is more of a pleasant sort of cultural excursion that's tucked away in a truly diverse part of the South End; despite the fact that SOWA tends to promote homogeny-financial homogeny-by being a market of moderately priced and largely non-essential goods, which always made me think of the diversity in Cambridge; which is basically fading as financial homogeny is making its way from Harvard Square-a former Bohemia- and into the rest of the city; although there are still places like Central Square and Inman Square that resist the trend.
I remember going to a seminar at the MIT museum in Cambridge with Regine once; a seminar that was a lot more laid back than the kind of thing that you'd encounter at some hotel off of Route 2; but it was also an opportunity for techs to talk to techs in that peculiar Esperanto of Latin, bastard Martian and Klingon that requires whole paragraphs made up of words that start with Latin roots; words like micro, trans and tele, that you thought you understood when they were being applied to your favorite home appliances.
After the seminar, Regine and I started walking toward Central Square which is a marvelous strip of bohemian and working-class indulgence that bills itself-and not without good reason- as the city's "Cultural District"; although no one ever seems to enter it intentionally because it just sort of happens like some sort of Gaelic faerie land that's wedged between Boston and Harvard Square; the kind of place you sort of come upon the way you suddenly notice a carnival as your train is leaving town, or a kind of sudden no man's land that causes you to break stride and question where you are before proceeding as you stroll on past rows of tiny bars and tiny stores; stores that sell everything from LP's to art supplies to BDSM fetishwear; places that are wedged between even tinier restaurants that seem to have a penchant for Indian, Middle Eastern and Far East Asian cuisine; with the only concession to Mall culture being made by a Walgreens that I think used to be a Woolworths.
All in all; Central Square can be best described as edgy, in a "don't start none, won't be none" sort of way, but also vaguely dangerous; the way that Harlem is vaguely dangerous for black people who aren't from Harlem; although, outside of the occasional 4am shooting-which has become standard in America- Central Square is a pleasant slice of Middle Americana/Bohemia where disputes are far more likely to be settled by petitions than fist fights.
What made Central Square significant for me was the fact that in a city that works really hard to tone down the presence of religion; the Christmas season can be somewhat bland for transplants from the places in America where Jesus is still bigger than Pope; but you could always count on Central Square to put out Jack-o-lanterns that stay up past Halloween or a pageant of Christmas lights that are interspersed with other lighted things that have less to do with Christmas than with Central Square's commitment to diversity and part
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