Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Ruins of Byron at the W Court Hotel

This past weekend I stayed at the W Court Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Don't ask me why. It is not important for this article. How and why are not important here. The journey will not be covered, only the details of the destination. What I saw anyone could see, if they looked around and were not too busy.

Whatever, Whenever...that is the motto of the hotel chain. there are several W's, each one has a special designation. This one was known as the "Court." I never saw a courtyard, or any judges walking around, I suppose it makes more sense than the one up the street, the W "Tuscany."

Whatever, Whenever...all exemplified by the surrounds, the textures, the sounds. What kind of hotel was I staying in? What was I supposed to do while there? How would a vacation in such a place be seen as good or bad? What was the ideal stay supposed to be like? It was all up to me. The rooms trapped me in complete freedom.

It was all very romantic. The hotel did not provide me with a copy of Lyrical Ballads or paintings of man in his natural state. To those of an emotional temperament, it was not Walden, it was not the Lake District. No. it was not for them, but then again romanticism has passed them by. They are locked up these days, they are denounced, medicated, called all sorts of names, and for the most part ignored. The romantic belongs to a different sort now. More ambitious, more dirty, more violent, more austere, more bottled up for special moments. Less literate. Still emotional driven, abounding in passion, even if they need whole corporate apparatuses and magazine articles written in perfectly good commons sense to get them to accept the fact.

The W Court gives them the cages they need. Those who consider themselves the bastard children of Byron can come here and unwind. Byron's legitimate children, the one who inhabit English departments and read his poetry, who know less of an image, and less of a man, they are off in Greece, staying God knows where. But the Hotel I was staying at, this was the place for those with passions that reach out for sheets and curtains.

This was no Marriott, no Best Western. This was no place for the Beats or the Star Children. My room would not hold them, they would leave quickly and take the mini bar with them. Wordsworth and Shelly might just sleep there and do no else, going out, looking for a tree to write about. This was a high class establishment. This was a place for youngsters with nascent beards and longish hair to sit declare "We'll no more go a roving."

Nothing was set up as a small paean to reason, no feeling was triumphant. Everything was joined together to create an experience of fancy and passion. A CD case in the room declared that I could, "Listen to me or whisk me away for $13." Yes, the CD is embodied with the pathetic fallacy. It calls out to you. It has feelings and it lives. It is part of a world that feels and moves with the observer. You can whisk it away like you would a damsel to a castle for a night of lovemaking upon cold ruins.

The sign to hang on the doorknob, to announce my intentions for breakfast, asked me questions...why not a pastry or toast (I feel like a biscuit actually) what about a drink or fruit (okay, I suppose) who wants eggs or pancakes (I'm the only one here, and yes, I would like those) What side? (Left or right?) Who wants a quick start (How about ahead start? I could have lunch for breakfast) What about a NY Minute (Why not an hour?) Want to be healthy (At these prices I couldn't afford to eat much anyways)?

Elsewhere things remained silent, preferring to ooze romantic tendencies all over the place instead of trying to strike up a conversation with me. There were pillows covered in shells, pure whimsy. Trying to rest on them was like sleeping on glass. Another pillow was covered in some sort of fur or hair. A stuffed beard upon the chaise lounge.

There was reading, but done in the form of pictures, elaborate and well lit hieroglyphics. Magazines with one syllable titles, encapsulated style, finesse, beauty surrounded by the sublime, gentlemen and ladies doing what they damn well pleased looking off into cocaine and starvation induced stares at the reader or over to the next page where another model or a watch posed. There was a book on Spectacles, no judgements made within the pages, all gatherings, all colors, for whatever superstition, what a wonderful thing, social art with people as flecks of paint.

Another volume sat upon the desk. Within its pages was a listing with pictures, of all the hotels in the W family. But the cover was what caught my eye and my heart. It had a purple background with white images poured over the top. From a distance it looked like a psychedelic design, the kind of random fanfare that is the only allowed representation of passion and emotion with abstract gears of design. Paisleys and Pollack stains are what you usually find if someone is trying to be warm and avoiding any realistic depiction of the world outside and inside of them.

But the cover, which lit up in the darkness as if trying to dispel death with intense feeling and joy, was filled with the outlines of shapes that resembled real objects. There was plenty of swirl but realistic forms could be picked out. There was a genie's oil lamp spewing out all wishes and desires, trying to make them real. A girl cast a shadow and an outline by an champagne bottle opening up in the corner and sending foam all over the cover. I managed to notice, with my ribald eyes, that it resembled a circumcised phallus and the drops coming out looked like the discharges know to emerge from within when rubbed like the genie's lamp.

Away from it all, emerging from and surfing the contents swooshing all around was a couple, a man and a woman. He was following behind her, his muse leading him onto greater glory, If I turned the cover he would leap out and land in San Diego, Boston, Paris, Rome, and San Francisco, in the lap of luxury, his beloved transformed into a hotel room capable of holding and soothing him.

The elevators, the transport tubes for the young romantic who were piling out into the hallways and falling out of rooms, were mobile clubs, going up and down to a throbbing beat pulsating out of the ceiling and mixing with the melting lime and rose colored lights. I admit I danced, in front of other people. But it was for myself and no one else. I didn't earn any money.

Down in the lobby were red lights and mirrors, mirrors were everywhere int eh hotel in fact, reflecting off one another and creating clear abysses for Byronic heroes in backward caps and bejewelled necks to lose themselves in, maybe giving them a vision of suffering that would cause them to take up a rifle.

But then again, surrounded by so much luxury, amde to feel and be put at rest, everything given to them, everything coming in easy, perhaps not, I can imagine it:

Whatever, Whenever...here comes the end of the world, the country, the city, my life, all in full view. What does everything else matter? All is despair and agony, without ecstasy, without creativity, and what better way to create than to procreate! Here is the best time of my life, the worst time, the times for screaming, for staying away in dark luxury...let me spend 22 dollars on a muffin and some orange juice...someone is starving, someone has no house...ah but all is despair unto the end of human existence...what matters charity...what matters sympathy...though we must fight the conservatives, please pass the whiskey from the mini and let us pour a drink, or empty it out down the sink...what folly!