Three weeks ago when I came to visit from Belfast I had never heard of East Nashville - now it seems everywhere. The New York Times has just weighed in and called it the 'New Greenwich Village'.
Actually, that's not true.
In local author Ann Patchett's article, musician Todd Snider describes East Nashville as being the closest he'll get to his fantasy of the famed New York neighbourhood. But, by creating a 'stripped of context' pull-quote/strapline from Todd's comment, (if he even said it - how do we know?), one begins to create the 'reality' of such a thing.
Other blogs, (consisting perhaps mainly of bot farms dedicated to making money through Google Ads), will pick up on this post and disseminate the idea of 'East Nashvillage'.
Rather than being a 'living machine' for the the quick spread of 'truth' as some Internet Utopians in the 90's, (myself among them), predicted, the Interweb allows for the real-time manufacture and dissemination of narrative fantasies presented and consumed in place of actual 'facts on the ground' reality.
If the people reading this have ever listened to the Show they know that Belfast has the world's largest ex-pat Moroccan community, (outside of Africa), in the world; with over 70 Mosques in South Belfast alone. Because I commented on this fact in several shows, (not sure which ones, maybe this one, or this one, or even this one), I STILL get requests from mainstream media to talk about the impact of Islamic culture in Belfast.
Except, the thing is. I made it up. The show is a construct, a meditation on reality and fantasy and what drives a fantasist to live his life as art. But, if people start to believe in the specific 'facts' you are presenting, and miss the larger message you're trying to get across, what are one's responsibilities, what does one do?
I ramble on in such a way because my natural inclination is take the techniques I developed in Belfast and apply them here in Tennessee. Rather than simply reporting on what I see around me here, why not implement Phase 2 of LTA and promote Nashville, East and West, North and South, Yankee and Southerner, 3 Meat and Veg and Provence Bread eating as the place to be? As the New Greenwich Village of our time?
Something for me to think about.
OK, enough rambling, it's Sunday morning and I'm off to visit the local Iraqi diner for a classic 'Baghdad Breakfast'.
Oh, didn't you know? There's plenty of great Iraqi retaurants here; after all Nashville's got the largest Iraqi refugee population in the United States!
Update 23rd September 2007: I found out tonight from an unimpeachable source that Nashville actually has the largest Kurdish community in the United States! So perhaps doing the show while in the U.S. there is no need for fantasy or exaggeration.
(Special thanks to everybody at yesterday's East Nashville 'Hoop-Jam' for letting me take their pictures. That's Sunny at the top of the post, of Hooprama - why not give them a call and learn to hoop? Better for you than sitting around blogging).