can’t hear no buzzers or bells

on the trainI went back to San Francisco to walk up and down more hills, and sketch more random spots in the name of satiating my urge to put pen to paper, and discovered a few art shops here and there to look at or buy more pens, because you can never really have enough.

And so I got off at the touristest of traps, Pier 39, and it was cold. I listened to the sea-lions, showing off, and looked out at boat-shaped alcatraz, deciding it was too cold to draw there, and that some hot clam chowder would help (and it did, though I broke the head off of the plastic spoon). I think I waslistening to Pulp, or the Smiths, I forget now. Was going to walk up Russian Hill from Fisherman’s Wharf – one look, and sod that. So went straight into one of my favourite things in San Francisco (and totally free), the Musee Mecanique, a motley collection of ancient and newer arcade games and attractions, wooden and pixelated.

uncle sam

I went there on my first trip to SF, back in 2002, when it was stranded out by the ocean at the cliff house, and loved it; I cannot believe I’ve not been back since it moved somewher a bit more accessible. It’s (and I use this word a lot, but I mean it, though it makes me sound like Timmy Mallett) brilliant, an historical treasure trove, full of things you might recall from your youth no matter how old you are, even if you’re 100. And people were at the musee mecanique having such fun. You will too. Bring quarters. I was skinnier back when I first shook this Uncle Sam’s hand; he hasn’t changed (though my less-than-extraordinary rendition makes him look a bit like rowan atkinson). I played the old Star Wars arcade game (i used to be an absolute artist at that; used to be, this time i got shot down by a stupid tower on the death star after dispatching loads of tie fighters), and got my Magneto-shaped ass handed back to me by Chun-Li in X-Men vs Street Fighter – been a long time since i played arcade games. So I did some drawing.

I could have spent all day there. But I didn’t. I went walking, and walked up hill.