The Memory Man #3

From now on, the title to this account is going to highly apt as it is written purely from memory and notes I made on various photographs at the time, so if this seems a little disjointed I do apologize. This covers the two days I spent in Chicago which I do believe may have been Saturday and Sunday, in fact I’m willing to be my left testicle on it…..

I woke up bright and bushy tailed at about 8:30 and set the coffee machine going while I showered and dressed for the day, my first instinct was to familiarize myself with the surrounding area so I’d not get lost as the day went on. I called in on an electrical goods store and bought myself a CD player which actually worked and had a brief mooch around the side streets near the hotel, noting that there were several pick up point for a bus tour of Chicago in much the same style London has open-top bus tours and made a mental note to that the next day. I went on and had a wander around Millennium Park and took photos of the various sculptures which frequented the place, one which stuck particularly in my memory is one which can best be described as an upturned reflective Jelly Bean. Countless people were having limitless fun looking at their distorted faces on the curvatures while a brass band was finishing performing and posing for photographs, the band in question was from Germany. After a pleasant hour or so strolling around the park and taking many pictures I returned to the hotel to consult some local tourist guides to make a plan for the day and night, noting several places to each I finally focused on a bar called Andy’s Jazz which was about thirty minutes walk from the Hotel and decided that’d be my venue for eating during the evening and as a place for entertainment. I road tested my CD player and listened to the two CD’s Andrea had prepared for me to listen to on the plane over, the CD’s were a mix of Jazz, Blues, Rock and Easy Listening which tracks ranging from All Blues by Miles Davis to Wish You Were Here by Incubus to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue; an eclectic mix no doubt although I can’t say I’m a big fan of the Stooges or Jason Mraz. Although I know I’m six years too late and you’ll probably never read this but, Andrea, the track you listed as Shake It and Break It is in fact “Sing Sing Sing”… still I digress. After this I contemplated getting some lunch but decided I’m make myself work for it and went to the hotel swimming pool with my intent of doing twenty lengths before going out to lunch which at least two half lengths underwater…. so I arrive in the pool room to discover this is a proper sized professional swimming pool, not the dainty things I’m used to at hotels in England. So I drop the notion of some lengthy underwater swimming and just stuck to my twenty lengths, decided that tomorrow I’d do fifteen. Once I’d knackered myself out I dried off in the sauna, evidently it must of been slightly off season or I’d chosen a slow time to swim as I virtually had the place to myself save for the life guard and another chap. Well I re-showered and got dressed again and nipped out for some lunch, I did contemplate popping into the bar across the road for a beer but decided against it as it was a bit early for me, I settled on a small pizza place nearby and had myself a cheese and tomato pizza and a cappuccino and read a few chapters of the book I was reading (Midwich Cuckoo’s I think) and had a brief wander up town to familiarize myself with the route to Andy’s Jazz and check out admission times, dress code etc as helpful as written guides are, they’re as up to date as the time they were printed. Seemed pretty much laid back and the sort of time I was expecting things to kick off, so I made my way downtown, tipped a rather awesome alto sax playing busker on the way back and couldn’t help but resist taking a snap of the Wabash Bridge. I did toy with visiting the House of Blues but ultimately decided not to for reasons I can’t recall for the life of me. I nipped into a few shops on the way back but didn’t really buy anything, besides I had a phone call to make. I returned to the hotel, had another coffee and phoned Andrea to confirm I’d arrived safely, flight times and numbers for Monday etc and just some general chit-chat. I then booted and suited myself up ready for my night out at Andy’s, I toyed with getting a taxi but settled on walking there and would decide on my transport for the end of the night when it came. I did some checks on my e-mail and had a gentle stroll up towards Andy’s remembering to bring my ID as this was emphasized to be carried when I visited earlier. The lady on the door was very friendly and was another who was amused by my driving license photo… Unlike Buddy Guy’s there was an admission charge on the door which covered the entire evening… not a problem. There was a two hour rule on tables for food but this was not a problem for me dining solo, I was served by a very sweet dark haired girl who evidently had some Hispanic blood in her and had the Tomato and Basil soup to start with followed by Ravioli and a Salad. While the individual portions were not as big as they were in Buddy Guy’s there was definitely no space for dessert, I unusually accompanied my meal with a glass of white wine, followed by a root beer. I love root beer, but it’s rarer then Rocking-horse shit in the UK, so I always have a few while in the states. There were two bands on over the night and being highly efficient I failed to make a note of the names of either of them; the first was an acoustic trio of Piano, Double-bass and Drums and played in a style reminiscent of the Oscar Peterson Trio which was a pleasant accompaniment to my meal. Once my meal was over I moved over to the bar for the rest of the evening and started on the Goose Island Ale again and badly attempted to flirt with the barmaid and then started chatting to a few peeps at the bar as the primary band departed and the secondary band arrived and set up for their performance. Once again I started chatting to the bar maid, sensibly this time, and pointed out a glaring error on the ID board before having a little chat about my journey over and how long I would be in town for etc.. The band started up at this point, they were an organ trio consisting of Organ, Guitar and drums and were a mix of the styling’s of Jimmy Smith and Brother Jack McDuff which lead to a highly entertaining evening. I was joined at the bar by some business men who recognized I wasn’t American and decided I was Australian…. After correcting them on this we got talking and I ended up introducing them to the cocktail Rusty Nail, I noted with interested that in the audience was another familiar looking face. A girl who was the spitting image of my old college friend whom I’d had a tiny bit of a crush on, Sabina. I was going to introduce myself but decided against it as “Hey you look like a girl I went to college with” probably isn’t the best chat up line in the world, plus there was the issue of one of the people she was with. This chap can’t of be taller than six foot nine and can’t of been wider then a beer truck, so just a diminutive chap, since I didn’t know anything about the situation I guessed sticking to the bar and watching the band was the best option. Funnily enough despite it taking me twenty-five minutes to walk to Andy’s it took me forty to walk back… I can’t figure out way….


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