I’m Running as Fast as I Can
The other day, I noticed an article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about rankings of the world’s 30 "fast cities" by Fast Company magazine. Being a relatively recent newcomer to Missouri, I try to read as much state news as I can but some days I’m busy enough that I don’t manage to get through much more than the tremendously useful set of links John Combest provides every day. So it was a few days after the fact that I discovered Fast Company has designated St. Louis as a "slow" city slower, even, than Boise, Idaho.
It’s actually not much of a surprise to me that Boise was chosen for one of the 30 "fastest" cities in the world although I grew up in Portland, Oregon, my dad was raised in Boise, and we vacationed there every summer. Not too long after my dad retired, my parents moved inland to Nampa (part of the extended Boise metro area), and I joined them for a little while leaving my six years in Washington, D.C., behind me. I stayed busy with freelance projects and a copy editor job. Before the Show-Me Institute enticed me to Missouri, with its siren song of free-market think tankery, I had come to appreciate the Boise area’s status as one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation. There’s no question, it’s an up-and-coming burg I mean, it would have been unthinkable only a few years ago to see Nampa sandwiched directly between Las Vegas and Los Angeles on a 2006 list of Rolling Stones tour dates.
But, hey the very fact that I’ve moved here makes Boise a little slower, and St. Louis a little faster. My residency here has already slightly increased the local demand for tasty ethnic food, live music, and independent film. And it’s reduced Boise’s demand for those same things by a similar margin. I can argue all day that a few simple economic reforms would work wonders in revitalizing St. Louis, but nothing speaks louder than personal action. Although I can’t bring St. Louis from the bottom five into the top 30 singlehandedly, it won’t be for a lack of eating, listening, and watching on my part.
I just need to know where you’re hiding the crazy, avant-garde jazz. Does St. Louis have a budding John Zorn or Frank Zappa? A nascent Henry Threadgill or Albert Ayler? A homegrown Sonny Sharrock or Marc Ribot? If you know, don’t keep it to yourself.