Sunday, 29 September 2013

Meet Me In St Louis, Lewis

Quotation Of The Day ~ W.C. Handy: St. Louis woman, wid her diamon' rings, Pulls dat man 'roun' by her apron strings.

Something very odd has happened to me over the past few months -- i have developed an overwhelming urge to visit St Louis, Missouri. As the regular reader of this blog (i.e., me) will recall, thanks to the recommendation of a friend who lives in nearby St Clair, Missouri, at the beginning of this year i started listening to radio station K-SHE ( from St Louis (two of their slogans are "Real Rock Radio" and "The Rock Of St Louis"), and it's now my favourite radio station -- i listen online virtually every morning.

(Just as an irrelevant aside, i find it odd that few of K-SHE's deejays use their full names: there's Tommy T., Lern [Lauren Colvin], Uman [John Ulett -- a legend in St Louis broadcasting, i'm told], there's Radio Rose [i think her surname is Dalton], there's Favazz [no idea what his name is or even what the word means!] but there's also Mike Doran -- well, there's one in every crowd...)

Listening to the deejays talking about the place -- and even listening to the local ads -- piqued my interest. I even subscribed to The St Louis Blues Twitter feed and ordered one of their baseball-style caps, and my interest in hockey is non-existent!

For a while, i was working on the thesis that St Louis is one of the relatively few cities in the world that has an instantly-recognisable skyline, thanks to The Gateway Arch (so-called because St Lou is "the gateway to the west" -- an expression which dates back to the Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1804, which set off from there). It's a massive structure, half the height of the Empire State Building, and looms over the city in the same way the CN Tower looms over downtown Toronto. But my thesis lies in shreds: i showed a photograph of the St Louis skyline to nine people and only one identified it -- although when i posted the photograph to Facebook, i had a much better response -- but that's shabby research. Very few responders got it wrong (one guessed "Elizabeth Taylor," some friends i got!) -- but that could well be because the people who didn't know, didn't attempt to guess. So, ultimately, i don't think that my thesis is entirely valid. Not bad, but not great. My conclusion is, that anyone who has seen it, can never forget it, but many people (at least outside the U.S.A.) simply have never seen it.

Evidently St Louis has a fairly high crime rate. That's okay, though -- if and when i visit i shall fear no fear. (When i lived in N.Y.C. in the 70's, before it cleaned itself up, i loved to just walk around and i inadvertently wandered into both Harlem and Hell's Kitchen -- both notoriously nasty neighbourhoods at the time -- i must have a beatific smile or something because i was hassled not.

It looks like a beautiful city, the downtown area seems to have a lot of wide avenues, a lot of green spaces...

Here's a selection of random photographs of the place, maybe they'll help explain my curiosity:

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