It had been entirely too long since we’d last checked in at The Gilded Brick. It’s one of the last bars left in the West Village (corner of Grove and Palmquist) with an anti-fratboy policy, not to mention a pinball machine that flashes “TILT” at you every three minutes, whether you deserve it or not.
When we plunged into the place’s raucous gloom, we found several flashpoints already in progress.
Ricardo Justerini was abstractedly holding forth about the parallels of Blake’s mystic visions to the later work of Renaissance (the band, not the era). “You can peel the layers, you can analyze the symbols, you can keep diving downward as long as you want,” he was saying, while fishing some Balishag out of the bag (to which the proprietor turned a customary blind eye). “You can descend for hours, days, weeks, all without ever hitting bottom.”
At this point, one of his auditors fell off his stool and, as it were, hit bottom.
Meanwhile, in another corner, Menelek the Third was at fever pitch. “Allowing local schoolboards to foist their antiquated notions of evolutionary science on the populace was NOT the point of the U.S. Constitution!”
“Right,” agreed the large man known only as Neutron (whose views are anything but neutral). “The point of the Constitution, as I understand it, was to foist antiquated notions of economics on the populace. And to get us to invade poorer countries.”
We were looking forward to diving into the mix, and went first to the bar to arm ourselves. “Chimay Red,” I said; but the answer was, “Sorry pal, we only have Heineken and Genuine Draft tonight.”
Gloria Fitzwilliams (“Fitzy”) punched me in the arm. “You said this place had beer.”
Right, I thought, that’s why we don’t come here anymore…