Art, Love, and Death on Berkeley’s Telegraph
by Steed Dropout
Mar. 3, 2016
The Med’s lordly flies [a fly infestation] have choked, but construction noise from a project next door is at a dull roar. The construction noise comes in like a low-flying B-29, or a base-note dentist’s drill.
Perhaps this is the price we pay for the new mural on the block. The mural, entitled, “Wired,” and named by Steed Dropout, replaced a bare pressboard construction barrier, which had acquired the usual tags that Telegraph is heir to.
Before it was a mural, it was Shakeaspere’s books, a 50 year Telegraph landmark. Med owner Craig Becker says the mural is hurting his business.
We asked Becker how the honkingly high artwork could hurt business. “Because one-fourth of the block is closed,” he told me. “It’s depressing,” to pass by this void,” Becker said.
Business, at the Med, has ground to a halt; the ear-shattering coffee grinding can still clench teeth. Becker blames the new student union late night hours for a slump at the Med, noting that student union campers once were frequent night flyers at the Med.
A community college student, who worked at the Med in kitchen prep, killed himself a few weeks ago, but he was not well known because he was out of sight at night and an introvert.
Owner Craig Becker learned of the death from the suicide’s father, who was trying to find his son.
From the Med’s resident philosopher, we learned that the dead Med head was one of our resident depressives. We recognize each other’s fears and tremblings.
Dropout’s last words from his psycho-therapist were, “do you own a gun (no)?” And “be sure to call 9-11.”
A Cal student jumped to her death from the third floor of the Carlton Hotel, recently.
Nothing by way of a motive has emerged for the jumper’s death, but the jumper inspired an unusually tasteful memorial of fresh flowers and a few encomiums, including notes attempting to explain. The notes tell us that although she was–like the dead Med head–unknown, she mattered somehow.
For all its charm, the floral memorial is now tattered, and talk of the dead Med head has subsided. Dropout was the only one asking questions, anyway.
There is much to live for here, what with the openings within months of a books/records store where the famous Cody books earned its international chops, joined by whatever adventuresome retailers will occupy the gutted Shakeaspere’s.
A popular corner spot, burned down five years ago, is racing towards completion. This should provide more bodies for the new chairs at the Med and if Amoeba music, also at the corner gets permission to purvey pot, the corner at Haste/Telegraph will…will…go blooey.
Blooey trumps phooey.
More photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/berkboy/