Needles, Kazoos and the White Walkers: Seattle, WA

My adventures around Washington State and the Closed City of Tacoma were joined by a special guest star and old university friend. My exploration of Seattle is joined by another special guest star: time-travelling me. See, I realised I wouldn’t have time to go visit Seattle during this trip, but I had been the year before. So without further ado, let’s visit the past. You don’t need a TARDIS when you have this t–[No. –Ed].

Seattle

We start off where we must, the iconic Space Needle. I think, more than other famous American cities, if you took away that one structure, you’d have a tough time picking it out of the crowd. As the Needle is a little bit out from the cluster of skyscrapers, you can easily separate it from the rest of the city and, if you do, the mass of buildings becomes somewhat generic. The one standout feature might be the monorail:

Seattle

Down below there’s some sort of festival…fest going on:

Festival Fest

And in the literal shadow of the needle is Frank Gehry’s … thing, the like of which we’ve met before, way back in the past (or from past-me’s point, the future) in Cleveland.

Gehry's Thing

After looking at stuff that we were near before, but are now high above and far away from (the main point of all tall buildings, I guess), we head back down and join the crowd. A reasonable number of people are listening to the band on stage. The band has this chap as one of its members:

Washboard Spoons Look at that face. That is the face of a man who has consumed human flesh.

I know what you’re thinking: guy on washboards, the guy next to him is playing the tamberine, the one next to him is playing what looks like a homemade double-bass, this is just going to be full of try-too-hard eijits, isn’t it? Don’t worry, they still have someone on the staple of all successful bands, giving appropriate time for powerful solos:

Unleash the Kazoo Unleash the kazoo!

Okay. We tried. Let’s go, instead, into Gehry’s House of Fun or whatever it’s meant to be.

Soundwave Oh yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

It’s the EMP Museum and when I’m there, they have a good exhibit on Jimi Hendrix as well as one on Battlestar Galactica:

Battlestar Galactica Battlestar Galactica

Another museum, the SAM, seduces me over the course of a couple of days. I see a stray poster for it, advertising a Nick Cave exhibit. I’m a bit tempted, as Nick Cave’s a fantastic singer and some singer’s ventures into other art forms can be pretty good. (Hey, I like Dylan’s paintings, no repenting). Plus, if it’s Nick Cave, then it’s going to be an upbeat, cheerful affair. So I pop in, buy a ticket to the exhibit, take in the rest and get to the top floor and the exhibit. Ticket punched, walk through, the first info board reads something like: “Nick Cave is an American sculptor and performance artist. There is another Nick Cave who is an Australian singer”. Sonofabitch. This is what I get for not having Google for the day. So what does the artist Nick Cave get up to?

Nick Cave Sound Suit … Actually I can see the other Nick Cave going for that. (Source)

The next portion of the Seattle trip takes place… not in Seattle. Kind of misleading title. But I’m heading down to the water, passing through Pike Place Market, to catch the ferry to Bremerton.

Pike Place Market

The old family friend I visited in the future I’m off to visit again. This time he introduces us to his neighbour, a charming guy who uses his nice, peaceful cabin to do some metalwork. What kind, you ask?

These GuysThese guys.

While we’re visiting he’s quite happily forging away on his next piece:

Forging

He focuses on beautiful display pieces rather than, y’know, stabby pieces, but his resources and knowledge will sure come in handy when the White Walkers come: there’s a large stash of obsidian outside and he knows how to make blades and arrow heads. He’s a pretty good bet.

Heads

It’s pretty reassuring that if a White Walker Apocalypse does happen that I’ve got a full proof survival plan:

Step 1: Somehow cross half the planet to get to a remote part of Washington State.

Step 2: Safety.

With that sorted out, we head back to Seattle and, along the way, encounter a proper biker:

Proper Biker

I’d had my theories earlier on that bikers were migratory, heading to the warmer, southern parts of the US during winter. During this visit it’s the end of May, so they must be returning north for the summer. Back in Seattle, it’s time for a quick quiz. Any guesses as to what this building is?

This Building

It’s an unusual building and I don’t have an explanation for why I’m outside it. It is, of course, a public library. Actually, given that this one came first chronically, maybe this is where I got incepted into visiting them. Of course, maybe I’m just a book junkie and like libraries, but doesn’t that explanation seem just a little too convenient?

Seattle Central Library

See, it’s not just public libraries. It’s always the strange ones, the John Lithgow Rabbit Jane Eyre libraries. They’ve all been odd in someway. Well, except for Eden Prairie which was odd in how … un-odd it was. Seattle’s offering proudly strikes the proper level of weird, though. There’s the glaringly red corridor:

Red Corridor

And the suspiciously yellow escalator:

Yellow Escalator Boo indeed, escalator, boo indeed.

There’s plenty of desks and computers and even some microfiche, but sometimes you want something simple, understated. Just a few shelves of books and a little place to read them. For that reason, we’re wandering up to the University of Washington to check out a simple student library.

Suzzallo Library Simple.

That’s the Graduate Reading Room of Suzzallo Library, which looks like:

Suzzallo Library

I mean, y’know, whatever. My square slab of concrete university library was beautiful in its own, ugly, way.

With that piece of thinly veiled jealousy we’re about ready to leave Seattle, and leave the far distant past of 2011 for the slightly less far distant past of 2013, where I’ve just gotten to Spokane. I would like to congratulate myself on writing a post on Seattle without talking about Frasier the entire time. To celebrate:

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