You know Christopher R. Weingarten as the neologism-spouting, profanity-spewing, Columbia Journalism Review-starring “last rock critic standing,” as his 1000TimesYes Twitter bio so self-deprecatingly puts it. We know him as a Voice contributor, friend, and until recently, neighbor. Why “until recently,” you ask? Because on Tuesday, his Park Slope apartment burned down, taking with it a wholly subpar DVD collection, a winter jacket, two Buddha boxes, a Wii balance board, and around 20% of other the assembled detritus one builds up after living in the same place for eight years. Weingarten actually ducked into the flaming building like some demented action hero to save his laptop, on which his much-anticipated Hipster Puppies book resided (“My fucking book is due in two weeks,” he told us over the phone this morning, “I was like, fuck this, I don’t care if I die”), but needless to say, the whole thing’s been something of a catastrophe. He tells some of the sad story on his blog today :
Here’s what happened:
I’ve lived in the same building in Park Slope for 8 years. It’s the only place I’d ever lived in New York, and I’d grown quite attached to it. It was a lot of space for not a lot of money. I could hold BBQs on the back porch, I could blast records at 4 am in my quiet, basement-level bedroom. I think very fondly of our time together when it was humbly sheltering me from the elements as opposed to being on fire.
Read on for the rest of the harrowing tale, which involves firemen “hacking away at the walls like Drake hacking away at a metaphor,” an abysmal Billy Joel-related joke, and some terrifying photos, or check his always entertaining Twitter account, where he just rated the conflagration according to his patented 140-character system. “I give the fire a #1.5 because it mostly sucks but still gave me a chance to hang out with friends and evaluate my life,” he wrote, which is considerably better than a #0.0, if you think about it.
The worst casualty, as he rates it, are his two first generation Buddha Boxes, that quixotic little toy that makes soothing ambient loops. So let’s start a campaign. Anyone have a first gen Buddha Machine lying around that they would be willing to donate to the cause of Chris’s mental health and sanity? He will repay you with another couple thousand album reviews, various other pieces of criticism, and an unbelievable amount of snark and vitriol–all things that are far harder to replace than a pretty Japanese gadget.
As for the rest of it, well–“I’m sad I’m going to have to buy another copy of Cabin Boy,” he told us, “but luckily, those things are cheap.”