Burning Flags Press The website of Glen E. Friedman. Renowned for both his work with musicians like Fugazi, Minor Threat, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, Slayer (and many, many more) as well as his groundbreaking documentation of the burgeoning skateboard phenomenon in the late `70's, Glen has been privvy to (and has summarily captured on film) some of the coolest stuff ever. He's also an incredibly insightful and nice guy to boot.
SoHo Blues - Photography by Allan Tannenbaum Allan Tannenbaum is a local photographer who has been everywhere and shot everything, from members of Blondie hanging out at the Mudd Club through the collapsing towers of the World Trade Center on September 11th. You could spend hours on this site, and I have.
Robert Otter Photographs Amazing vintage photographs of New York City, specifically my own neighborhood, Greenwich Village.
oboylephoto Just some intensely cool photographs of abandoned places.
The Weblog of Spumco's John K. The weblog of cartoonist John Kricfalusi, crazed mind and frantic pencil behind the original "Ren & Stimpy," as well as "The Goddamn George Liquor Show." Surreal, unapologetic, uncompromising genius.
The other day, I was prompted to write a post after yet another sighting of Jon Spencer. For those who may not recognize the name, Spencer is the driving force behind the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and formerly the lead singer/guitarist of Pussy Galore. Technically speaking, he also sang and played guitar for Boss Hog (alongside his wife and fellow former Pussy Galore member Cristina Martinez), Heavy Trash and, briefly, a band called Shithaus with future Cop Shoot Cop/Firewater mainstay, Tod [A] — but that’s more for my fellow rock geeks out there.
In any case, after dropping my own kids off at their school, I was walking south on Second Avenue and who should I spot but the man himself, attempting to hail a cab with his teenaged son. My post was ostensibly going to be about how odd it is to see your idols become parents. If you’re familiar with Jon’s work in Pussy Galore and the Blues Explosion, you doubtlessly know him as a tight-trousered, sweary rock hellion. To see that same guy out of character is always striking to me. There he was like everyone else, trying to get through the day, with his son at his side — a seemingly normal kid in a high school varsity jacket, although he’s clearly inherited his folks’ good lookin’ DNA. Knowing better than to bother Jon at this moment (no one wants to be hassled when they’re with their kids), I said nothing and kept walking.
So, yeah, like I said, I was going to post some sort of tenuously insightful entry about how great it is that we’re all in the same boat and blah blah blah, and I wanted to illustrate the point with some images from Jon’s notorious past. Being a long-time, slavish fan of the gloriously rude Pussy Galore, I wanted to capture an image that really summed them up. In searching for same, however, I managed to strike the particular type of oil that really fuels this weblog…. a shot of the band photographed in what is clearly New York City, but not necessarily that immediately obvious. That picture is the one below.
Just as a bit of quick backstory, Pussy Galore originally hailed from Washington D.C., but moved to the grittier pastures of New York City (like Bad Brains around the same era) to make their mark. Alongside similarly inclined acts like Sonic Youth, SWANS, Foetus and my beloved Cop Shoot Cop, they helped carve out New York City’s post-punk, post-No-Wave identity. While ostensibly named after Honor Blackman’s busty Bond girl from “Goldfinger,” make no mistake — Pussy Galore intended to offend you at every turn (select song titles include “Fuck You, Man,” “Adolescent Wet Dream,” “Cunt Tease,” “Pretty Fuck Look,” etc.) Their records (still in print — go get’em) are a giddily profane blitzkrieg of barely contained chaos. In other words, they were brilliant. Here's a quick taste...
Anyway, I’d stumbled across this photo on Tumblr, appended with the legend “Scanned from Away from the Puslebeat fanzine, 1988.” Though quite grainy, it depicts the 1987 line-up of Pussy Galore (from left to right — guitarist Neil Hagerty, guitarist/vocalist Julia Cafritz, vocalist Cristina Martinez...she's on the table, drummer Bob Bert and vocalist/guitarist Jon Spencer — Pussy Galore had no bass player) being characteristically provocative at what looks like a city park’s chess table (note what Julia’s doing with her hand). Here's another look...
I know what you’re thinking: “Alex, this could be taken anywhere in New York City! There’s not enough information to provide an answer.”
Well, maybe so, but from the looks of the photograph and the clothes the band are sporting, it looks to have been taken during the same session that resulted in the back cover photo of the band for the 1987 re-release of Groovy Hate Fuck (Feel Good About Your Body). See that back cover below.
Here’s that photo on its own...
And here’s a further shot from that same session.
Okay, so where does that leave us? From the looks of those photos, it appears that Pussy Galore might have been photographed in the garden on Avenue B at East 6th Street (where Eddie Boros’ Toy Tower used to stand). There used to be a lot more junky metalwork in that particular park. Moreover, they could have also have been photographed a little further down the way on Avenue B at The Gas Station, which had become a mangled garden of scrap metal sculpture circa 1985. In any case, if either is the case, neither spot is particularly far from Tompkins Square Park … the park I suspect my mystery photo was taken.
Given that I’m friends on Facebook with the great Bob Bert (Pussy Galore’s then-drummer, and also a former member of Sonic Youth, Bewitched, Chrome Cranks and Lydia Lunch’s Retro Virus, I thought I’d ask the man to see if he could shed any light. I posted the photo on his timeline and waited. In short order, Mr. Bert wrote back saying the following: “Photo was taken by Monica Dee whose whereabouts I do not know!”
I did a little searching for Monica Dee, but didn’t come up with much, other than she’s taken a huge swathe of great photographs of loads of my favorite bands.
Anyway, I had a little extra time today, so after spending a large portion of my morning doing some work, I decided to take a breather and head to Tompkins Square Park. I printed out the photo for reference and headed east.
Now, granted, I’m sure a lot has changed with the very topography of Tompkins Square Park since 1987, but I figured that some of the specifics would still be there. Given the row of building facades in the back, I figured the picture — if indeed snapped in Tompkins Square — would have found the band seated on the northern edge, believing that to be East 10th Street behind them.
Now, obviously, Tompkins Square Park in 1987 was a WHOLLY different affair than it is here in 2014. Today, it’s a comparatively genteel patch of green in the middle of an increasingly desirable swathe of lucrative real estate, replete with a dog run and a state-of-the-art playground. Back then? Not so much. That all said, there are still some areas of the park that are more hospitable than others.
Suspecting that the chess table and accompanying benches in question might be located in the little courtyard on the north side of the park behind the public restrooms (bookended by basketball courts), I strolled in. Around the edges of that courtyard lurked a gaggle of none-too-subtly dope-smoking high school hip-hoppers, who eyed me with thinly veiled derision (although, to be fair, with my greying hair and in my blazer, I probably looked more like preoccupied high school math teacher in search of truants than any sort of serious threat to their leisure time). I left them alone and tried to stake out the scene, looking for the knobby tree to the right of Jon’s head. Here’s that shot again.
I’d been hoping that it would present itself to me, but I couldn’t find that tree. Here’s a pan shot of the area in question. Click on it to enlarge.
From the looks of it, a tree or two has been taken down, but I didn’t seem to find the exact location. But I feel I’m really close.
People keep sending me the clip below in much the same fashion they follow the instructions to “light fuse and get away,” expecting, I suppose, a massive detonation.
Honestly speaking, up until today, I’ve had absolutely zero to say about Taylor Swift. I mean, I’m not supposed to have anything to say about her. She doesn't matter to me, but then — her music isn’t for me. I don’t wish her ill or anything. She’s just not on my radar. Why she’s on anyone’s radar is another matter. Personally speaking, I don’t think her music’s all that exceptional, but again — it’s not my concern.
In my former place of employment, however, Taylor’s name was routinely invoked. Whenever I expressed my absolute lack of affinity for her or her music, I kept hearing the same incredulous retorts. Evidently, she writes her own stuff. Kudos for that. And wouldn’t I rather my daughter have a role model like Taylor Swift than, say, Ke$ha or Nikki Minaj or Katy Perry or __________ (insert coquettish pop starlet of your choice here)?
I don’t have an answer for that. I mean, honestly, from what I can tell, my kids know who Taylor Swift is, but they don’t express a lot of enthusiasm or familiarity for her music. That’s fine with me. I’m sure there’s a day coming soon wherein my kids will listen to music that they dig, and there’s a huge probability that it’ll be music that I find unfit for human consumption, but that hasn’t happened yet. Normally, here’s the part where I boast that my kids can name songs by Devo and SWANS when they hear them, but that’s simply because they hear me playing that stuff.
At the end of the day, my kids will like and listen to whatever the hell they feel like, and there ultimately will be precious fuck-all I can do to stop or dissuade them from it. My own parents tried to get me to disavow my fandom for KISS back in the day, which backfired on a positively herculean scale.
Regardless of that strenuously dubious (and ultimately meaningless) title, the question remains …. Why Taylor Swift? What does she have to do with New York?
She was born in Pennsylvania, but evidently spent most of her life in Nashville, Tennessee. If I’m not mistaken, she only bought apartments (notice the plural, please) here in April (somewhere down in TriBeCa). Seven months later, that she should represent this fine, storied city in any capacity is beyond laughable, regardless of your taste in music.
That would seem to go without saying, no?
Earlier today, though, I was having a conversation with a friend about the changing face of this city, looping back to our ongoing discussion of how this place has closed and how that place is going out of business. My friend had sent me a photo of the former entrance to Some Records, a once-mighty stronghold of punk rock vinyl that was formerly perched on East 6th Street (don’t bother looking for it now, obviously). As is usually the case in these exchanges, we both came around to the fact that the city that we’d known and loved was really no longer there. Sure, I may wander the streets of the Lower East Side in my vintage Cop Shoot Cop t-shirt, listening to Kraut on my headphones and vainly searching for antiquated Missing Foundation graffiti and ancient Rock Hotel flyers, but that New York City (so often slavishly rhapsodized here on this weblog) is effectively GONE, replaced by avenues peppered with frozen yogurt joints, banks, 7-11’s and Le Pain Quoditiens.
The particular subcultures I was enthralled by are now memories, but so is the diversity and the soul of bygone eras. Apologists will continually cite the maxim that “change is the only constant” in the urban environment, but that’s a shallow cop-out.
But that’s just my tastes and my experience. Folks from all walks of life and all areas of interest express the very same laments that I do. The particulars may be different, but the chorus of the song remains the same — the character of New York City is changing, and not necessarily for the better.
When my wife and I talk about moving out of Manhattan as we periodically do, it used to send me into a a panic. But now, with so much of what I loved about the city I was born and raised in having already vanished or in the process of vanishing … the notion of leaving doesn’t sting quite as bad.
With all that mind, maybe Taylor Swift does accurately represent this city after all.
Here’s a very quick breather from all my Manhattan-centric blather.
Back in the mid-90’s, my friend Rob D. de-camped from the East Coast and started house-sitting at his step-mother’s well-appointed bungalow in Costa Mesa, CA….located in the heart of Orange County (or “behind the Orange Curtain,” as we used to say). By this point, I’d never been to California before, but had myriad preconceptions about what Los Angeles and its environs were like, largely based on the movies and TV, but also from my rapturous appreciation of California’s rich lineage of punk bands, from X to the Germs to Fear and Black Flag and The Minutemen and beyond. So, as soon as Rob was settled there, I leapt at the chance to go visit, which I did at least three or four times for a couple of weeks a throw.
Nestled on a Costa Mesa corner (don’t ask me which, I’ll never remember), Rob’s step-mother’s place was actually quite nice, equipped with a lovely, sunlit, ivy-covered back garden that we basically never went into. The surrounding area, though, still exuded the same vibe — or at least to my misguided, starry-eyed mind — as seen in suitably punky films like Penelope Spheeris’ “Suburbia.” The local deli looked exactly like the one Otta frequents in “Repo Man,” so much so that we grew to refer to it as “the Repo Deli.”
Across the street from same was a decrepit bar with a hackneyed nautical theme called The Helm, an establishment wherein many beverages were zealously consumed and many ridiculously feverish debates were staged. I gather, sadly, that The Helm has since closed.
Given my preoccupations, there was one locale I wanted to pinpoint, but being that this was largely prior to the era of Internet ubiquity (isn’t that weird?), I didn’t have the means on hand to do the proper research. I was also aware, by this point, that the locale in question no longer existed in the form I was seeking. That place, as rhapsodized in song by The Vandals and detailed in the rumination of West Coast punk lore, was The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Comparable to, say, NYC’s own A7, The Cuckoo’s Nest was a fabled live music venue that catered to O.C.’s community of troubled punk teens. The picture up top (possibly taken, though I’m not positive, by Glen E. Friedman) shows the Misfits performing there. This, mind you, was well prior to the era of Hot Topic and the like, when the very word “punk” still packed something of a punch. I know that seems positively quaint now.
In any case, we never found it. Everything that seemed cool about that scene was basically long gone by a good decade by that point anyway. But that didn’t stop me from grinning like the damn tourist I was when we were driving around the area.
Here’s Wikipedia’s much more thorough history of the place:
The Cuckoo's Nest was a punk rock nightclub that was located at 1714 Placentia Avenue in Costa Mesa, California. There were often confrontations with the punks from the Cuckoo's Nest and the cowboys from Zubie's, which shared a parking lot. The police were constantly harassing the punks. Club owner Jerry Roach fought a number of court cases in an effort to keep the club alive, and in his 1981 film on the subject Urban Struggle he suggested that perhaps this was the first time that the authorities would stamp out a fad.  The club was a hub of the punk rock in California. The club is notable as being home to the first slam pit. Bands such as 999, The Ramones, XTC, The Damned, the New York Dolls, Black Flag, T.S.O.L., Circle Jerks, Bill Madden and The Redeemers, D.I., the Vandals, Symbol Six, Agent Orange, JFA, Blondie Chaplin, Squeeze, the Adolescents, X, the Go-Go's, Bad Brains, the Cramps, Iggy Pop, Dead Kennedys, the Dickies, Violent Femmes, Ultravox, the Motels, the Bangles, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, John Cale, Suicidal Tendencies, Los Lobos, Fear, Wall of Voodoo, the Misfits, the Knack, the Crowd, Social Distortion, and Jericho Shaxe all played gigs there. The club was memorialized in the Vandals song "Pat Brown," a song about a club goer who actually tried to run the cops into the ground.
The film "Urban Struggle" documents early slam dancing at the Cuckoo's Nest, and includes performances by Black Flag, T.S.O.L., and the Circle Jerks. The film also goes into the legal battles that surrounded the nightclub and Jerry Roach's defiant effort to "shove punk rock right up their asses." Recently, Jessee Roach designed a series of Cuckoo's Nest tee-shirts.
When demolition crews were preparing to tear down the Cuckoo's Nest building, Roach, who owned the Cuckoo's Nest and turned city efforts to close it into a First Amendment cause, said that as long as the building stood, it would be a reminder of his and the punk-rockers' defeat at the hands of city authorities and the club's outraged neighbors.
"I don't have fond memories of losing, of unfairly having my means of making money taken away from me," said Roach, who in recent years has traded concert clubs for real-estate and restaurant ventures. "I still think I was railroaded, but that's the breaks. I don't have any nostalgia for it. I'm kind of glad it's getting torn down. I'd rather have it not be there than be a pizza place.”
Some veteran O.C. punk-rockers had similarly unsentimental reactions to the news that their long-ago playpen would be razed.
Jim Kaa, guitarist of the Crowd, who performed often at the club, said: "[A] couple of things stick in mind. [The scene at the Cuckoo's Nest] was crazy; it was young, and the police didn't know what the crazy punks were about. There was a lot of fighting, not just [against] the people at Zubie's but punks against punks. 'The Legend of Pat Brown' epitomizes the entire craziness of that whole era."
Jack Grisham, whose band, T.S.O.L., was one of the top-drawing acts of the Cuckoo's Nest era, has fond memories of the old days but no nostalgia for the building. "It's already wrecked as far as I'm concerned," Grisham said. "It was wrecked the day Zubie's got it.”
Grisham has plenty of war stories to tell.
"They'd come out of [Zubie's] drunk, and there'd be fights every night. There's a videotape of me beating up these two cowboy guys, and I was wearing a dress at the time. I was trying to [tick] my dad off for a while, and [wearing a dress] was working good."
Although the Cuckoo's Nest was closed and eventually torn down only to be replaced by a plumbing supply shop, the legend continues to live on through the music and now a theatrical feature film has been scheduled for production through Endurance Pictures, and will be directed by York Shackleton, the critically acclaimed writer and director of such films as Kush and Street. "This story captures the mood and intensity of the punk ritual...and sheds some light on the much maligned and misunderstood punk phenomenon." Randy Lewis - L.A. Times
A new documentary about the Cuckoo's Nest, directed by Jonathan W.C. Mills and executive produced by York Shackleton is currently in the works. The first excerpt from this film was released on YouTube on October 31, 2008.
My friend Bob Egan of PopSpots fame hipped me to something new quite recently. Not sure when this functionality was introduced, but if you go on Google Maps these days, there’s a new feature (in the upper left hand corner) wherein you can step back in time to view proceedings from an older vantage point. That said, it seems to only stretch as far back as 2007.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t really consider 2007 to be all that long ago. Hell, I don’t consider 1997 to be all that long ago, but of course, that’s just me being an old man.
While I was tooling around on it, however, I was continually struck by how different things are already. Step back in time to 2007, and you’ll be surprised by what you find.
Here are a few of the sights that set me off….most of which are no longer there...
The Virgin Megastore (now a bank, of course)...
The Green East Deli on Fourth Avenue and 10th Street (which has been nothing now for some time)...
The Lyric Diner's old neon sign (lost after an ill-fated dalliance as a Greek tavern)...
Mondo Kim's on St. Marks Place (since then a selection of failed ventures)...
The old 99X on East 10th between Third and Fourth (now a real estate office)...
The old DKNY mural on Houston Street (since painted over)...
Surprise, Surprise on Third Avenue & 12th Street (now a Basics Plus)...
The Mars Bar on First Street...
Max Fish on Ludlow Street....
Rockit Scientist Records on St. Marks (note punk handing out tattoo flyers in front)...
Some time back — when I was spending more time on Tumblr — I came across a photo of one of my favorite bands, that being The Stranglers. Yeah, I know, big whoop. That said, what made this photograph special to me was that it was clearly taken here in New York. Here’s the photo in question. Sadly, I have no idea who took it.
Back in the day, so to speak, the Stranglers came to these shores like all the other bands from their milieu, and dutifully played around town. In fact, here's another shot of the band in NYC, this one taken by the great Marcia Resnick.
Then, for some reason — doubtlessly financial — the Stranglers stopped coming to the States. I suppose they figured that it wasn’t worth the time and expenditure to try and “crack America,” so they stopped touring here. They did return, however, last year (albeit without long-absent original lead singer Hugh Cornwell, but that’s a saga for another thread) and played the Highline Ballroom. I was there, and my mouth still hurts from grinning so hard.
Anyway, given the comparatively youthful demeanor depicted in the top photograph of the band in what looks like a city park, I’m assuming the photo was taken at some point in the mid-80’s, when Hugh was still in the band.
The giveaway that it was taken in New York City is the architecture pictured in the background. When I first glanced at it, I almost immediately recognized it. Look at the distinctive stairwell (just behind bassist Jean Jacques Burnell’s head) that snakes up the exterior of the building on the left and culminates just beneath the rooftop water tower….that’s a bit of New York City if I’ver ever seen it.
I also believed I knew the exact spot. Being that I walk through it virtually every day as I’m bringing my kids to school, Gramercy Park seemed like the most logical assumption. For a start, throughout the 80’s, the Gramercy Park Hotel was the go-to spot for bands like the Stranglers (you’ll remember I made a similar discovery about the Gramercy with Iron Maiden). It would make perfect sense that the band were staying there (there is documentation that they did stay at the hotel), and then taken directly outside for a photo shoot, much like the `Maiden boys. I figured I’d solved the case.
Wanting to be sure, though, I went and took a look.
I didn’t snap a picture, but take a look at this Google image of Gramercy Park, specifically the buildings in the background….
That’s the building I assumed was pictured behind the Stranlgers (looking west from the mouth of Lexington Avenue), but obviously something is wrong. It doesn’t match up.
Then I took another look at the original photo.
Take another look at lead singer Hugh Cornwell there. Here’s a closer look.
Here’s a later shot of Hugh.
And here’s one more.
This is ridiculously granular, but dear old Hugh has a little bit of a bulbous blemish on the side of his mouth (this coming from someone whose physiognomy is riddled with hills, valleys, bubbles and bumps). If you take a look at the image in the first photo, said bump appears to the left side of Hugh’s handsome mug. But, if you examine those later photos of the singer/songwriter/guitarist, you’ll notice the bump is on the right.
Smell what I’m cooking?
THE ORIGINAL PHOTO IS REVERSED!
So, it SHOULD look like THIS!
…and those ARE the same buildings (the rear of two buildings on Park Avenue) in the background.
So, yes, the Stranglers were indeed standing in the middle of Gramercy Park.
Glad we cleared that up.
Here they are firing on all cylinders from roughly the same era as this photograph!
Given my preoccupations, I’m prone to stumbling somewhat routinely over stuff like this. I discovered the clip below just this afternoon and it’s precisely the type of thing that makes me light up like a pinball machine. Herewith “Eightiesville,” a short film by one Jim Cherry. Herewith Jim’s own description of the project…
I set out to capture 1980s Manhattan with a Bolex 155 Macro-Zoom Super-8 (silent) camera. Starring in order of appearance: Stephanie Kaye, the Empire State Building, I. M. Pei's Kip's Bay apartments.
Ronnie & The Jitters playing a Rock Against Racism rally at Central Park Bandstand: Warren Keller on sax, Dave Post on bass, and Ronnie Decal on guitar,
Joan Baez's nephew Nick Marden (in fedora and badged-up leather jacket),
Neon Leon (last to see Nancy alive with Syd),
Jane Webb and Michael Trulinger at Flushing Meadows site of the 1964 World's Fair,
The Plastics (at Irving Plaza)
Klaus Nomi (at Exile in Brooklyn), The World Trade Center Wolman Skating Rink Saks Fifth Avenue Fiorucci, Maureen Hymers wearing white slacks outside Fiorucci. Also handled camera on shots of me.
Having no access to Klaus' catalog, I faked in license-free iMovie loops--as for the soundtrack generally.
BEST VIEWED FULL SCREEN WITH HEADPHONES ON
ALL MUSIC & SOUND EFFECTS ARE ROYALTY-FREE APPLE GARAGE BAND / JAM PACK.
Alrighty, so since posting this quiz, consensus both here and over the the Manhattan Before 1990 group on Facebook asserts that the estimable Mr. Richards is striding with characterstic loucheness, in David Gahr's pohtograph, past the facade of 122 St. Marks Place. Let's look again, shall we?
Today, that very spot would look like this....
...and being that I just got a new iPhone 5S, here's that same spot with the PAN function (click on it to enlarge)...
Of course, in 1981 (when the video for "Waiting on a Friend" was shot), 122 St. Marks Place probably wasn't anything especially notable. If this address is the correct spot, though, eight years after this photo was taken, 122 St. Marks Place opened as Sin-E, a lovely little coffee shop/bar/performance venue that I spoke about back here.
As I stated in that post, I had some great times at Sin-E, ranging from a rollicking live performance by Gavin Friday through a random spotting of Iggy Pop (who shot me a deranged grin and an enthusiastic thumbs-up when I spotted him and exclaimed "IGGY!"). Sadly, the incarnation of Sin-E on St. Marks Place closed in 2000 (it moved down to Attorney Street, if memory serves, and closed some years later).
In the wake of SIn-E, though, 122 St. Marks has become a bar called Bua Bar. I couldn't possibly know less about it, I'm afraid. Honestly speaking, once Sin-E vanished (along with Alcatraz down the street, and now the Yaffa Cafe), my reasons for spending any time on that particular strip largely faded away.
Just for laughs, here's a shot by storied photographer Richard Corkery for the NY Daily News of Keith walking back to the fabled stoop.
The photo below originally appeared in an October 1985 issue of SPIN, photographed by one David Gahr. Even a passive fan can spot that that’s ol’ Keith Richards, strolling manfully down a street in the East Village, almost certainly snapped on the same day as the video shoot for “Waiting on a Friend.” Great, fine, we can probably all agree on that.
Back in the Summer of 2012, you might remember yet another post I put up about the early Beastie Boys (i.e. prior to their makeover as beery partiers, but after their migration from hardcore to hip-hop). It was a great shot of the band — still a quartet, rounded out with future Luscious Jackson drummer Kate Schellenbach — lounging against the wall of a lot between West 22nd and 21st street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues (across from what was then Danceteria). Here’s that photo again.
And here’s another shot of that same tag, courtesy of a July 1985 copy of SPIN. I remember cutting this out and taping to the door of my dorm room my freshman year of college.