In the midst of picking out frames, matboard, fillets, etc., long conversations often arise in the shop. One thing in particular (aside from framing) comes up all the time. In full disclosure, this is only from a few weeks of observation, but patterns are patterns.
Some people talk sports, a lot of people assess the local economy/FedEx, and an unnamed source
Mike persistently floats conspiracy theories. But none of this truly captivates you, dear Memphians.
What you really love talking about is… (drum roll, please) why Memphis stinks. Comes up all the time. Somebody has one foot out the door, turns around, and before you know it, “downtown is dead” has snowballed into “Memphis is the worst city in the world.” This should come as no surprise, since the inferiority complex of this city is well-documented.
Well, wipe that muddy tear away from your eye, ye morose riverfolk.
I thought of a few things today to change your opinion of our ridiculously self-deprecating city.
First, you should watch Jim Jarmusch’s 1989 film, Mystery Train, set in Memphis. It’s a classic and it might just convince you no city is cooler than ours. The plot centers around three sets of foreign protagonists, all somehow connected because of Elvis. The best line in Mystery Train is definitely “It feels cool to be in Memphis.”
Secondly, just listen to the song Mystery Train over and over.
Now that you got trains heavily on the mind, get on the train. Take it to New Orleans. The train is slow, but the scenery is beautiful. Roger Ebert noted “the best thing about Mystery Train is that it takes you to an America you feel you ought to be able to find for yourself, if you only knew where to look.” I feel the same way about the train ride from Memphis to New Orleans. The landscape the train cuts through feels like a window to how you always imagine the South,but you never see. It makes you feel proud of where coming you’re from, and excited for what you’re heading to.
Lastly, if you got the time, watch Jarmusch’s classic set in New Orleans, Down by Law.
Head back home. Know that it feels cool to be in Memphis.