THE KING OF NEW YORK (W.I.Z. on Meeting Lou Reed)
British alternative film/ video director (& long term Skrufff reader) W.I.Z. shares his memories of meeting Lou Reed in New York in the mid 90s…….
W.I.Z. “The first time we ever went to the USA my producer Kim Mnguni and I, it was a brisk frosty spring 1994. We landed JFK and gaily rode the bus to Manhattan, passing street signs like ‘Queen’s’ and ‘Bronx’ sent us into paroxysm’s of awe.
The whole day was spent strolling the pavements in pop revelry, Velvet Undergroud rhythms in our every step.
Take a walk down Union Square you never know who you gonna find there…’
We were emissaries of John Stewart’s Oil Factory Films the legendary music video company and that evening we’d been invited to dine with his famous brother Eurythmic Dave.
We arrived late at the ‘downtown’ restaurant and in a private room were rather awkwardly introduced to Dave’s already eating guests, Siobhan Fahey, Terry Hall and then to our utter disbelief, Lou Reed.
He shook my hand with piercing eyes and dryly said ‘Hey WIZ how you doin’. Politely we were ushered to the lower league end of the table.
Us kids couldn’t sit still for long, we had to leave for another engagement somewhere ‘cross town’. We left the restaurant’s quiet side street to a busy intersection, it was night and chilly. I went hundred yards ahead of Kim and from the curb we hailed taxis but strangely the yellow cabs would first sail past Kim and then myself, we looked at each other wondering what we were doing wrong.
Eventually one although passing Kim did slow for me. At this point it’s pertinent to say that Kim is a black woman and as the driver pulled up I asked why he hadn’t stopped for the lady, he spat me a look of pitying distain and sped off. With all enchantment sucked out of us, we shivered.
Then something magical, from nowhere Lou Reed was standing next to me, with a deft click of his fingers a cab obediently screeched to a halt, with elegant courtesy he opened the door. He leant into our window and with resigned majesty said ‘You know, I hate it when that happens’.