Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Manchester United. Manchester City Divided.

"Earlier this season, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini
said his failure to buy Van Persie was the difference
between the two teams in title race."

BENNINGTON -- Didn't really think twice about it when the ginger-topped grandma said she, hubby and Gabriel had been in Manchester earlier in the day. Manchester, Vermont. Right now, grandma and Gabriel were in the Graffiti Vault celebrating his 49th birthday. Gabriel is a poodle. He became the first pooch to Chalk It Up in the vault.

It was one of the few moments of note on an otherwise sunny early spring Monday at Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery in downtown Bennington. Traffic was decent but the business day by and large would be one of those that slip through the crack of memories.

The first 8 hours, anyway.

Art Gallery Dude spent many of the first 8 hours surfing the Web. More than a few times Beady Eye's posted this update or that photo ...

Liam Gallagher at Heaton Park 2012 (BE Facebook)

You can't look at one Gallagher brother without thinking about the other Gallagher brother without thinking about their band without thinking about all of the rock 'n' roll Oasis made without thinking about where the band is from, Manchester, without thinking about which soccer club the Gallagher brothers love, Manchester City.

Well, that's how one brain works, anyway.

By the late afternoon yesterday, the Facebook updates and Twitter tweets began to stream in: Manchester United had become champions of England for the 20th time.

Poor Gallagher brothers.

* * *

ABOUT 5:30 IS WHEN the besties walked into the gallery.

They looked tired, exhausted, slunky and sticky. You would be tired, exhausted, slunky and sticky, too, after driving 3,000 miles from San Francisco, as Nicole and Stephanie had just done, with only two more hours remaining on the road home to Raymond, New Hampshire.

* * *


Earlier yesterday, a woman and her brother walked into Fiddlehead and gadabouted the gallery before stumbling upon AGD at the counter. One thing leads to another and ...

"Let me get this straight: You're from San Francisco but have a house in Arlington and you're an artist with the last name of Rockwell."

Anna Noelle Rockewell smiled. I think she was pleased someone made the connection.

Anyway, yeah, she is a Bennington College grad -- like the owners of Fiddlehead -- and she's an artist living in San Francisco with a home in Arlington and Anna's last name is Rockwell.

Lo and behold, Anna Noelle Rockwell had a few cards showcasing her work, indeed indeed, and here's one of them ...

Anna's work HERE

"I'll show the owners and let's see what happens," AGD said.

And then the latest Arlington Rockwell artist walked out of Fiddlehead.

* * *

STEPHANIE JUST FINISHED her military career, and Nicole went to San Francisco so that the besties could drive back home to New Hampshire together. After 3,000 miles they were tired, exhausted, slunky and sticky. Probably stinky, too. You would be, too.

Bennington would be their last pitstop. They stretched their legs in Fiddlehead.

Nicole loved the stemless wineglasses but the Steve Williams mugs spoke louder so she bought a pair, one for Mother's Day, the other for dad. Stephanie loved the Eric and Trudi Cooper dichroic glass earrings from Manchester, Michigan. They're for mom on Mother's Day.

"Are you guys hungry? Looking for any suggestions?"

"No," Stephanie said. "We're tired. We have 2 more hours to go."

"Cool. Enjoy the ride over the mountain. And thanks for serving."

* * *

TWENTY MINUTES PASSED. Lovers walked into the gallery.

While Colleen Steinbeiser was chalking it up in the Graffiti Vault, her boyfriend Brian chatted up Art Gallery Dude. Or maybe it was the other way around.

"Where are you coming from?"

"Manchester, New Hampshire," Brian said.

"That's kind of funny because 20 minutes ago a girl was in here and bought earrings from Manchester, Michigan."

Not sure he appreciated that bit of whimsy. Such is life. But he did appreciate the conversation a little more after AGD talked about having to drive to Manchester all those times -- listening to nothing but Oasis -- because he was the sports editor of a weekly rag in Lebanon and had to cover playoff games galore in Manchester.

"I went to Lebanon High School," he said. "I graduated in 1979."

Really now. Lebanon High was the bread and butter of my coverage.

"So you know all the famous names then. Lang Metcalf ...

The late great Lang Metcalf (Joey Kulkin photograph)

" ... and Richie Parker. Some people say Richie is the best athlete ever to come out of Lebanon."

"Yeah, Lang Metcalf was the basketball coach who won all those games," Brian said. "And I remember Richie was really into golf. He was good at basketball but golf was his big thing."

Colleen Steinbeiser emerged from the Graffiti Vault right about then.

Colleen Steinbeiser is a happy woman, not just because she chalked "Love This Place!!" -- using a heart to symbolize love -- with a peace sign below the message, but because you can feel the love in her spirit and joie de vivre in her smile. She tells a great story.

She was a "campus brat" at the University of Arizona, where her parents met. They moved to her mom's hometown of Chatham, New Jersey, then moved to her dad's hometown of Chicago when he was transferred there. She graduated from Illinois State -- "Go, Redbirds," AGD said and Colleen said "That's right!" She wanted to move back to Jersey to be near grandma but took an internship in dining hall services at Syracuse University. "Then I gave myself a promotion at took at job at UConn." 

Then she got married and moved to Webster, Massachusetts, before her husband's job moved to Concord, New Hampshire -- so they moved there. Then they divorced. 

Now she's dating Brian. 

"We wanted to get out of Manchester for a few days."

The first 3 letters in Colleen's email address are hjf, which stand for "happy, joyous, free." She is love. And she was excited at the prospect of being in "Chalk It Up 3!" and said she'd buy the book.

Moments later the lovers left Fiddlehead.

AGD followed them to the door because it was closing time. He didn't have his phone, though, and that sucks because he watched Brian and Colleen cross Main Street like a couple straight out of the '70s Romance Playbook: in the middle of the road she slipped her right arm around his waist, he cradled his left arm over her shoulders and in stride they squeezed into each other like lovers who are deeply in love.

Fuck me. I will never ever again be at the front door without my camera, he muttered.

And Manchester City will never be champions of England as long as Robin van Persie keeps scoring hat tricks at Old Trafford with goals that bend the laws of physics ...

Robin van Persie (photo from

And the music of Manchester City brothers divided will never be heard when you take your car and drive real far, past Raymond, and into the heart of New Hampshire.