CHICAGO/NICOLAS JAAR/BASQUE PEOPLE
"...the worst pizza I have ever eaten opened mid-flight and released a cluster bomb of now coagulating pizza slices into the air. All eight slices landed on top of two bicycles..."
The worst pizza I have ever eaten was from a Seven Eleven in Chicago, Illinois. It had been reanimated from frozen stasis by the clerk at more likely than not 5:00a CST on an unseasonably warm November morning. They’ll do that at Seven Eleven, cook your frozen pizza for you. They even put it in a box.
“Trust me, Padro—"
Iñigio stumbles forward through the maze of street lamps, presumably to his apartment, I’m not actually sure where we are headed.
“You didn’t want her! That bitch! She was horny. And old! I’m doing you a favor.”
Ing was convinced I had been trying to sleep with an obviously fifty-year-old brunette outside the bar after last call. He does not know me very well, probably for the best, because at this point it very well could have been the case.
The worst pizza I have ever eaten was still in the box Ing cradled against his body. I’d latched onto him after deliberately abandoning my travel partner at a Nicolas Jaar show in Pilsen about four hours prior. I ran off with the intention of both of us getting lucky before we left the city in the morning. Ing had been my bum all night— cigarettes and drunken conversation. I think I was the one who paid for the pizza.
How the hell did we entertain each other for so long? I know at one point Ing found some Spaniards at the last bar… I vaguely remember a blues cover band? I shouted “Viva la ETA!”, a radical Basque nationalist group. I thought it maybe it was something they were proud of in the region— this is not the case.
We arrived at the lobby of Ing’s apartment at about 5:30. Finished our smokes (last two), and embarked for the third floor. The steps were a challenge. Upon reaching his door, Ing set the pizza down on the bannister so he could fish for his keys. The box immediately entered free fall.
The box that contained the worst pizza I have ever eaten opened mid-flight and released a cluster bomb of now coagulating pizza slices into the air. All eight slices landed on top of two bicycles at the bottom of the stairwell. Without speaking, Ing and I walked back down the three flights of stairs, cherry picked the shattered pizza from the spokes of the two metropolitan-Chicago-grade-dirty bikes and floor, reassembled the pie, and continued as if nothing had happened. We opened Stellas from Ing’s fridge, ate every single bite of the fuzzy pizza, and continued slurring banalities of good faith at one another. I passed out on his couch, he tossed me a blanket which went unused. I woke at seven, and then again at eleven. I looked around for a pen and a piece of paper, a folly— and soon gave up.
I left his apartment without any more interaction, hailed a cab, and called Austin. He got laid that night and was eating breakfast at a DePaul university dining hall with Celeste.
Space Is Only Noise is a a good place to start with Nico. His music is generally regarded as dance/electronic, and depending on what releases you listen to it varies from club-oriented house to completely ambient. His use of low frequencies is pure finesse.
A Nico track is unmistakably dense for it’s genre. There is a really good BBC Radio One mix that aired in 2012, right around the time Space was gaining traction in the alternative press. He’s Chilean and I met quite a few Latinos at the show. The energy was undeniable—he maintains an heir of foreignness that is reflected in the expansiveness of his soundscapes. A Nico track is like navigating a city map— fixating on a single route is a challenge, but can be done with patience.
The Basque region is an autonomous territory that exists between the border of southern France and northern Spain. They speak their own language, euskara, which sounds nothing like Spanish or French. Most people in the Basque region speak Spanish in addition to their native tongue. The territory won autonomy from Spain in 1935, and to this day the Basques have a fierce passion for their national history. Located in Europe, a generally safe destination for Americans traveling abroad, the Basque region would be a wonderful place to spend a week or two. The south of France is famous for its wines, and Spanish food, especially on the Mediterranean coast, holds a candle to French haute cuisine in terms of quality and compassion. This author recommends visiting in October, the month they celebrate independence, for a euskal jaiak festival. It’s gangbusters, I’ve heard.